Directed by Howard Burton • Documentary • With Prof. Jenny Adams; Pontus Carlsson; Sheriff Tom Dart; Deborah Freeman Fahid, Daniel Gormally; Jovanka Houska; Larry Kaufman; Raymond Keene; Rick Knowlton, Mikhail Korenman; David Kwan; Prof. Wang-Sheng Lee; Russell Makofsky; Elshan Moradiabadi; Tunde Onakoya; Elisabeth Pähtz; Prof. Antonio Panaino; Bruce Pandolfini; Carl Portman; Daniel Rensch; Dr. Ulrich Schädler; Prof. David Smerdon; Elizabeth Spiegel; Irene Sukandar; Theo Wait; Jenny Yan; Hou Yifan. • 2023 • 54 minutes
A detailed exploration of the history and widespread social and cultural impact of chess over its first thousand years, from roughly 500–1500 CE. Beginning in Northern India, the film follows the evolution of the game into the Sasanian Empire, its incorporation into the Islamic world through the Arab Conquest, and its eventual penetration into Medieval Europe. A careful investigation of chess pieces over the ages sheds highly revealing light on the artistic and courtly values of many different civilizations. At the same time a close examination of the many chess-related literary references, from epic Persian poems to medieval romances and political allegories, provides an additional array of unique insights into a tapestry of distinct yet overlapping traditions.