Closing Gambit: 1978 Korchnoi versus Karpov and the Kremlin (2018)

Closing Gambit: 1978 Korchnoi versus Karpov and the Kremlin (2018)
6.8
  • 85
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Release year: 2018 ()
  • Running time: 85 min
  • Original Title: Closing Gambit: 1978 Korchnoi versus Karpov and the Kremlin
  • Voted: 85

1978 - Anatoly Karpov is the World Chess Champion having won the crown back from Bobby Fischer without playing a match. A loyal member of the Communist Party and a personal friend of the Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev, Karpov is the epitome of the younger Soviet 'New Man'. Viktor Korchnoi is a survivor from the siege of Leningrad - cantankerous, free-spirited, and a harsh critic of the Soviet regime who claimed political asylum in Holland in 1976. Two years after his defection, Korchnoi is challenging Karpov for the crown in the 1978 World Championship in Baguio City, The Philippines. What happened during that summer in 1978 is one of the most incredible sporting stories that has never been fully told until now. Both men were bitter personal rivals: Karpov is a legendary sports personality of the Soviet Union with a chauffeur-driven Mercedes, Moscow apartment and country dacha; whereas Korchnoi is a traitor to Russia - airbrushed from Soviet history and known only as 'The Contestant'. ...

#PersonCharacters
  • Great promise but gets bogged down in politics... by 5

    I used to play quite a lot of chess when I was younger and now picking it up again. Watching different World championship matches is an integral and fascinating part of the journey. When I saw the trailer for this film I really excited. Tense, close battle full of drama with a bit of Cold War politics sprinkled all over. I am afraid to say that this film was 80% politics and KGB/USSR bashing (mainly by bitter Eastern Europeans and holier than thou haughty residents of the Perfidious Albion). Not one game was shown in any detail. KGB this, KGB that. Poor Viktor etc etc. Well, poor Viktor loved himself so much that he left his family behind and was no way near Karpov's level. I grew up in the USSR and so have my parents and many of my friends. Everyone had a good time. Golden childhood. This film was a missed opportunity. I almost bought it but luckily it is available for free on Amazon Prime. Since I will never watch it again, I guess I saved myself some money. Shame, as I would happily pay as long as the film is worth it. Not bad, not great. 5/10.

  • Fantastic chess documentary by 9

    Great movie. It tells a story about when chess was political. It makes me want to learn more about chess history. Fantastic movie, highly recommended.

  • Awesome doco of political chess and human nature by 10

    As a chess player, Korchnoi never really attracted me. But after watching this doco I may go back and examine his games. But this doco is not only for chess players (apart from about 3 specific moves) it is all about the man Viktor. A Russian chess prodigy he defects from the USSR and then takes on the mighty Soviet chess/political system and damn nearly destroys it.

    Lovely commentary from a host of chess contemporaries, you see Viktor in his prime, in his depths of disaster and in his return. Likewise Karpov has come up in my eyes because of his compassion after the fall of Communism.

    If you know something about chess, this story is for you. If you do not, this story is for you. This is just a great story. Enjoy.

#PersonCrew
1Liam Ayrescinematographer
2Sebastian Cardwellcinematographer
3Alan Byrondirector
4Tim Martenseditor
5Vincent Vardnousheditor
6Garry Kasparovself
7Anatoli Karpovself
8Viktor Korchnoiself
9Boris Gelfandself