The Amateur Eye – Chess & Movies

Academy Award winner Gregory Peck taught his young co-stars how to play chess during the filming of To Kill a Mockingbird which was recognizable as being a big help in the quality of talent shown between the youngsters and Peck. His role as Atticus Finch made his acting role the top screen hero in Hollywood history.

Peck was an avid chess player and photographed playing between scenes.  The 1961 World War II film, The Guns of Navarone,  defused tensions among the stars Peck, Niven, Quinn, Baker and Quayle.  The film which took place in Athens enabled Quinn to arrange delivery of his chess set collection.  All the stars got hooked on chess and took out all their rivalry on the chessboards instead of before the cameras. – Celeb 64.

It was a big year for GM Levon Aronian who won the Chess World Cup 2017 $120,000 prize but also adorns the 2017#7 cover of New In Chess seen with his new bride and accompanying story on page 53 showing newlyweds Arianne Caoili and Levon together with Armenia’s President Sargsyan and First Lady.

CAPA GOES HOLLYWOOD is extensively reviewed in Capablanca’s effort to shine among the women in the Hollywood circles and chess circles that likely was Capa’s last resort to try and raise money to meet the excessive financial demands by Alexander Alekhine for a rematch. He could not find it but had a joy of a long stay.

A living chess exhibition game between Capablanca and Herman Steiner was arranged at the Los Angeles Athletic Club, April 11, 1933.  1. e4  e5  2. Nf3 Nc6  3. Nc3  Nf6 4. Bb5  Bb4 5. O-O O-O 6. d3  d6  7. Bg5 B:c3  8. b:c3  Ne7 9. Nh4 c6 10.Bc4 Be6? 11. B:f6! g:f6 12. B:e6 f:e6 13. Qg4+ Kf7 14. f4! Rg8 15. Qh5+ Kg7 16. f:e5 d:e5 17. R:f6!  Which brought a rounding applause from the onlookers. K:f6 18. Rf1+ Nf5 19. N:f5! e:f5 20. R:f5+ Ke7 21. Qf7+ Kd6 22. Rf6+ Kc5  23. Q:b7! Qb6 24. R:c6+! Q:c6  25. Qb4 checkmate.

An Immoral game hailed by Reinfeld but shortly after Capa died, Steiner said the whole game was prearranged. Who knows? Was it hope that such play would find riches to meet the World Champion’s demands?  Who knows?  The actual game score was probably in English Descriptive Notation which was the normal notation used in America.

The game certainly shows the type of square count I developed from the study of Capablanca and Alekhine games and findings about how to play chess I wrote in 2007 Kindred Spirit’s Kaleidoscope.  kindredspiritks.



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