Pawn Sacrifice

Pawn Sacrifice

3.3 105 Ratings

Directed by : Edward Zwick

Release Date :

  • Critics Rating 3.5/5
  • MJ Rating 3.3/5
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American chess legend Bobby Fischer (Tobey Maguire) and Soviet Grandmaster Boris Spassky (Liev Schreiber) enthrall the world with their intense battle of wills and strategy during the 1972 World Chess Championship.


“Thanks to the taut writing and crisp direction, you can't sacrifice this cinematic experience.”

Pawn Sacrifice Credit & Casting

Tobey Maguire

Pawn Sacrifice Audience Review

Biopic of the chess grandmaster who is a genius, eccentric and paranoid

Rated 3.5 / 5
by Madan Mohan Marwah (4,204 DM Points) | See all my reviews

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Most biopics are interesting since they show the achievements of person and his/her struggle to achieve fame. This one is about Bobby Fischer the American chess grandmaster and world chess champion.The film covers his early disturbed childhood years with a strained relationship with his mother who has a clandestine affair going on with a Russian lover after her husband had left her. The film then chronicles his rise from a child prodigy to a world champion bringing out his paranoid delusional character. Even as a child he had refused to accept failure and always wanted to win in chess.The film is set in the 70s when Russia and America were locked in a cold war and higher ups in the political arena wanted their candidate to win.There is a mention of the situation that " we are losing in Vietnam and we need to win this". On one side we had President Nixon and on the other we had President Brezhnev both hoping for a win. At one time Bobby gets a call from Henry Kissinger reminding him to put in his best. Both Bobby and his opponent clearly show that chess is an emotionally draining game where there are a million options available after the first few moves and which demands high concentration.

Bobby is shown as a highly moody, eccentric, and delusional individual who felt that he was under constant surveillance by the Russians. So he frequently checks the telephone and furniture for bugs. He is also hypersensitive to noise and cameras which dominate his events. He is the quintessential poor kid from Brooklyn out to challenge the Russian empire. As a chess wizard he kept saying that he is the best and he is surprised that people find him arrogant and conceited. When asked in an interview what gave him a high when playing he says that"the greatest pleasure is when you break the opponent's ego and when he breaks up inside".The climax has Bobby pitted against Russian champion Boris Spassky in a series of games. His quirky behaviour gets in the way and he asks for silence, no cameras and the audience to be kept at least 5 feet away. He also fails to turn up in one of the matches causing embarrassment all around. All this no doubt makes up for gripping drama

Director Edward Zwick has done justice to the script and made a compelling film.There is enough drama to keep the audience engaged. Tobey Maguire has a big change from Spiderman to Chess champion where he acquits himself creditably. He clearly exemplifies the adage that the dividing line between genius and eccentricity is very thin. His is a award winning performance where he effectively brings out the pain and misery of leading a secluded and solitary existence.