#agadmator Jeremy Silman: When I was asked to create the chess position for Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone, I was more than delighted. Throughout my life, I’ve watched movies and TV shows make a joke of real chess positions and real chess lingo. Now, after years of seething, I finally had a chance to do the job right.
My gripes were the following:
* When referring to an opening system, the actors would never say, “Ah, that’s my favorite line in the Sicilian Defense.” Instead they would blurt out, “Hey Jeb! You are playing the Farmer Smith line against the Oak Tree Defense.” I’ve never understood why they couldn’t use a real opening name in the script.
* When referring to a famous player, they would never say, “Oh, there goes Alekhine!” Instead, we would always get some bastardized Russian name: “Oh, there’s goes Ragmazagolsky!”
* The actors were never taught how to move the pieces correctly. A real chess player doesn’t push the piece meekly forward, he grabs the sucker and smashes it down on a square. If he captures, one hand moves his piece and simultaneously cranes the enemy unit off the board, almost faster than the eye can follow.
* In about 20% of the scenes I’ve watched, the chessboard has actually been incorrectly placed, with a dark square in White’s right hand corner (it’s supposed to be a light square in that corner).
* Invariably, no matter how strong the players are supposed to be, one will think for quite a long time, smile, confidently make his move, and his opponent will move something and say, “Checkmate!” (Does any strong player EVER say checkmate?).
Clearly, I was faced with stemming this tide of insanity. Unfortunately, many of these ideas faded when I read the first Potter book and was faced with the problem at hand: What position would I create that would justify Ron sacrificing himself?
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