The Fabulous 60s: Formative Influences

What Forms the Chess Player?  Let’s Start with a Classic.

For many chess players, science fiction (books, TV, movies) was a big formative influence.

Here’s a Tholian from the Star Trek TV Series.

A Tholian

I posit that Tholians would probably be pretty good at chess.

And in the 80s?

In the mid 80s, the graphic novel The Watchmen by Moore and Gibbons became a big draw, quite the favorite of Joel Benjamin and me. 

Hurm! – to quote Rorschach.

Every aspiring chess talent should take a look at this tale of alienation, despair, and a nightmarish President leading the U.S. to hell. The morals to be drawn are quite unclear, but one that comes to mind is if you tease a big blue naked guy, he might leave Earth altogether and that might not be the best thing for all concerned. I think the Rorschach character was probably a chess player.  Come to think of it, Ozymandias, Nite Owl (the younger one), and Dr. Manhattan are all chess player candidates too.

The Watchmen

Rorschach: Talents Mapping to Chess?

Here’s a paragraph from Wikipedia talking about Rorschach.  See if you think this description pegs him as a chess player or not.  And if so, what rating (approx.?)

Like most characters in Watchmen, Rorschach has no “super powers.” However, he is a resourceful, ruthless investigator, infiltrator, and fighter. He is exceptionally skilled at using otherwise harmless objects as improvised weapons, at various times using hair spray, pepper, cooking fat, electrical wiring, and a toilet bowl to great tactical advantage. The fact that he could shatter a toilet bowl by just kicking it once is another evidence that he may also possess great physical strength (in addition to experienced fighting skills). He seems able to withstand great pain and discomfort, ignoring Antarctica-levels of cold with only a suit and trench coat for protection.

Rorschach has been described as “tactically unpredictable” and has a creative flair for the dramatic to enhance his interrogations such as when he hid a note in Moloch’s refrigerator to startle the old convict into compliance.

He also had a gas-powered grappling hook, manufactured for him by Night Owl, which he used to climb buildings, and on one occasion as an effective improvised weapon.

Presto… At long last….A Film!

I am very pleased to report that the powers that be are finally making a movie out of this book. And guess what?  Many chess players like film!  That should not be a surprise, many of them are not lacking for free time.

A Film Poster

Plot Synopsis (from Wikipedia)

In an alternate 1985 where superheroes exist, Richard Nixon is still president, and tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union are at an all time high. The vigilante Rorschach is investigating the murder of the Comedian, and uncovers a plot to discredit and murder various heroes. Rorschach discovers a far wider ranging conspiracy involving his colleagues’ past which could completely change the course of history.

The Cast (from Wikipedia)

MG Notes 7/7/08: the real surprise for me is Billy Crudup as the big blue guy, Dr. Manhattan. I am not familiar with the fellow picked for the Comedian, but this is a pivotal role.

  • Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Edward Blake / The Comedian: A vigilante superhero who is commissioned by the U.S. government. Prior to Morgan’s casting, producers Lawrence Gordon and Lloyd Levin met with Ron Perlman to discuss portraying the Comedian.[7] Morgan found the role a challenge, explaining, “For some reason, in reading the novel, you don’t hate this guy even though he does things that are unmentionable. […] My job is to kind of make that translate, so as a viewer you end up not making excuses to like him, but you don’t hate him like you should for doing the things that he does.”[8]
  • Jackie Earle Haley as Walter Kovacs / Rorschach: A superhero who continues his vigilante activities after they are outlawed. He was transformed over time from a “soft” costumed hero into a killer who sees the world in black and white.[3] Rorschach wears a mask with ink blots that morph to reflect his emotions: motion capture markers were put on the contours of Earle Haley’s blank mask, for animators to create his ever-changing expressions.[9] Haley found the mask “incredibly motivating for the character” because of its confining design, which heated up quickly.[10] Small holes were made in the mask for him to see.[9]
  • Malin Akerman as Laurie Juspeczyk / Silk Spectre II: A retired vigilante superheroine. Åkerman described her character as the psychology and the emotion of the film due to being the only woman among the men. The actress worked out and trained to fight for her portrayal of the crimefighter.[11]
  • Carla Gugino as Sally Jupiter / Silk Spectre: A retired vigilante superheroine, mother of Laurie Juspeczyk. Gugino’s character ages from 25 years old in the 1940s to 67 years old in the 1980s, and the actress wore prosthetics to reflect the aging process. Gugino described her character’s superhero outfit as an influence of Bettie Page-meets-Alberto Vargas. The actress donned the trademark hairdo of the character, though it was shaped to be more plausible for the film.[13]

Niall Matter as Mothman: He is not a main focus of the storyline, but appears in flashbacks, at one point reduced in his later years to fragile sanity, unnerving the second Silk Spectre. He is regarded fondly by most of the Minutemen, and the first Nite Owl sends the second to visit him, uncostumed, on his behalf.

Character Art

The Comedian

Rorschach center, (with Ozymandias, left and Nite Owl, right)

Silk Spectre II (action still from film draft, Malin Åkerman)

Malin Åkerman, originally from Stockholm and Winner of the Ford Canada “Supermodel Search” at age 17   I just really enjoy any word with that cute circle over the A.   Å Å Å Å Å Å Å Å Å


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