Check This, Mate (November 25, 2020)

ChrisReid

Super Soaker Collector / Administrator
There's a scene with a chess board in the Wing Commander Movie, and that means we need to figure out exactly what set was used in the filming! LOAF studied the footage up close and grabbed some good shots of the pieces. He put a call out online, and surprisingly, fellow fans zeroed it almost immediately. You might have to repaint it, but you too could own the same set as Adam "Bishop" Polanksi!

This came up over the weekend and I have to throw it to any chess experts out there: does anyone recognize the set they use in the Wing Commander movie?





Recreated the board with help from AD. And then Rosie's final move is (I think following one (1) reading of the Wikipedia entry on chess notation) Nxb3.






Also it’s odd that Lt. Polanski is so obviously terrible at the game given that his call sign is Bishop and his nose art is a little chess board.






Bruce Erickson spotted this, which looks like a good match! It might just be a different color variation. One more mystery solved!




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Original update published on November 25, 2020
 

Wedge009

Rogue Leader
It's been so long since I played chess (only played competitively very briefly in primary school and since then only ever had the occasional casual game with friends or against a computer program). I also have no idea about chess notation, but if I understand correctly the winning move was Black Knight takes White Rook at b3. Doing this puts White King in check from Black's Queen. The Black Rook commands row 2 and White King cannot move to either side in row 1 because of the Knight at b3 and the Bishop at a5. And since White cannot take any of those attacking pieces either, because of the check from Black Queen, it's also checkmate.

Anyone have any idea if this is a reference to a chess game somewhere else or is this in all likelihood set-up just for the movie?

BTW, Maniac must be a pretty avid chess player too, to recognise Rosie had the winning move so quickly after she said it. Or maybe that's just artistic licence for the sake of building a connection between them...
 

capi3101

Rear Admiral
The move Nxb3+ is just check - not checkmate, but mate is in three moves. While white cannot move the king out of check or capture the Queen - which is the only piece directly attacking the king, White can interpose with Bd5, Nd3 or Nd7+. In each of these, though, the Queen responds by capturing the interposed piece and offering check once again.

White's position isn't terrible - which can't always be said for chess in movies where one side is fated to lose. With white to move, I'd go with Nxb7. Forks the Queen and the Bishop on a5, with the Queen as the obvious target. If black then responds Nxb3+, the response is Nxd7. I think white is still hosed in this scenario but should still be able to make a fight of it.

As to whether this is a position from a real game, I couldn't say. Me, I still hope that either a) by the 2650's, the game of Chess would've evolved from its current iteration - a process that's been ongoing over much of the last millenia, or b) folks by then would've discovered the awesomeness of Binary Homeworlds instead...
 

AD

Finder of things, Doer of stuff
Rosie technically only says "check." Maniac chimes in with a joke at Hunter's expense near as I can tell, though it's not clear if he actually thinks it's a checkmate. Regardless, Polanski might still have recognized that it was hopeless to continue the game for him and just conceded. (you can hear him knock over the king in the movie thoug the camera just stays focused on his face).
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
BTW, Maniac must be a pretty avid chess player too, to recognise Rosie had the winning move so quickly after she said it. Or maybe that's just artistic licence for the sake of building a connection between them...

For sure, the interaction exists to show the audience (and Rosie) that there's more to Maniac than just his bluster. (As she says: "so there's a brain behind that mouth?")
 
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