A New Lens on Computer Chess
By Dr. Alexey Root, WIM   
August 14, 2011
Filming begins August 19, 2011 in Austin, Texas for “Computer Chess,” a movie directed by independent filmmaker Andrew Bujalski.
According to the film’s producer Alex Lipschultz, both chess players and chess programmers are helping the production. USCF expert and computer chess authority Peter Kappler is advising the film. Chess coach Gary Gaiffe, tournament director Lori Balkum, and USCF expert Drew Sarkisian of the Austin Chess Club found extras to act in the film. International computer chess consultants include Shay Bushinsky, the programmer of Deep Junior.

Alex Lipschultz grew up with chess. His parents, Dr. Steve and Leslie Lipschultz, produce Think Like A King software, the official chess software of USCF. Alex is the reason the software began, when his father used his programming skills to more efficiently run Alex’s elementary school chess club. Copies of Think Like A King software are one of several “thank you” gifts for those that pledge support of “Computer Chess.”

Despite its chess credentials, “Computer Chess” is not a documentary. Alex Lipschultz said, “No real computer chess programmers are mentioned in the film. It's a period piece set in 1980 in the world of computer chess, but the characters are all entirely fictionalized. This movie is very much a tribute to the eccentric passion for both chess and artificial intelligence that carried these guys through the decades, as they refined their machines from clumsy, inept players to real world-beaters, capable of handily defeating a grandmaster. Though the outcome of this story is well known now, we've decided to set the movie in 1980, when the battle of technology versus the human spirit seemed a little more up for grabs.”

To learn more about the film, check out: http://www.unitedstatesartists.org/project/computer_chess
Other links: Interview with director Andrew Bujalski
Crowdsourcing of “Computer Chess” on movieline.com and blogs.indiewire.com

WIM Alexey Root is the author of The Living Chess Game: Fine Arts Activities for Kids 9-14 (Libraries Unlimited, Santa Barbara, CA; 2011) and a frequent contributor to Chess Life and Chess Life Online. See her amazon page for info on all her titles.