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Computer Chess

3.1 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Set over the course of a weekend tournament for chess software programmers thirty-some years ago, COMPUTER CHESS transports viewers to a nostalgic moment when the contest between technology and the human spirit seemed a little more up for grabs. We get to know the eccentric geniuses possessed of the vision to teach a metal box to defeat man, literally, at his own game, laying the groundwork for artificial intelligence as we know it and will come to know it in the future.

Review

Computer Chess struck me as the movie most perfectly made for the hardest core nerds among us. --Monty Cristo, Ain't It Cool News

Product Details

  • Actors: Wiley Wiggins
  • Directors: Andrew Bujalski
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Black & White, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Unrated
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Kino Lorber
  • DVD Release Date: November 5, 2013
  • Run Time: 92 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00EO2I6PQ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #85,146 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Amazon Video
I saw this movie with my girlfriend at the screening in Tallahassee, just around the corner from Florida State University. I'm a lifelong computer nerd and Computer Science student that appreciates quirky movies, dry humor, and whatnot. I also grew up during an era of computers that came just after those depicted in this movie and so that aspect was very nostalgic for me. My girlfriend, on the other hand, isn't a computer nerd at all. So, I think the fact that we both found this movie very enjoyable and almost fell out of our chairs laughing at least once or twice makes for a pretty good vote of confidence. I admit that this one isn't for everyone but I also think that a lot of people could really enjoy the movie. It's very different but I found that quite refreshing and I think that others will as well.

I think that out of everything which I enjoyed about the movie, it was the characters that really took it home for me. They're all so different and each have their own little back story which makes for interesting interactions among the characters. I think that these back stories were developed well enough so that some of the characters really had a good sense of depth. But at the same time, this movie wasn't always about depth. A lot of it was very situational; you get to enjoy watching how the characters interact or get involved in some pretty awkward situations.

So, give it a chance. I think that you could come away very happy that you gave this somewhat "artsy" or "indy" film a chance. I know I did.
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Yes, another indie. Copyright 2013 and no rating, so it never showed in general theatres. The director tries to re-create (in grainy black and white, though color filming REALLY DID EXIST in the 1970’s) the look and feel of early attempts at “artificial intelligence”, via annual competitions for who had written the best computer chess software. The programs played games against each other until the final winner played a game against a human grandmaster.
Commentary by one of the Deep Blue programmers, Murray Campbell, and a short special feature showing four actual computer vs. computer games at increasing levels of program sophistication, are perhaps more interesting than the film itself. As the 70’s moved into the 80’s a debate was going on as to the most successful way for a computer to beat a human expert: “brute strength” [take advantage of a computer’s exceedingly fast processing power to examine EVERY POSSIBLE MOVE, for as many turns out as the computer could handle] vs. a more sophisticated approach, that tried to some degree, to replicate the way humans play: look for the more promising moves, and explore those ones out further than you can go by examining ridiculous moves. Campbell says brute force basically won out, as computers got faster and faster, memory capacity larger and larger, and then May 11, 1997 Deep Blue beat the world master Gary Kasparov, in two matches. Since then, no human grandmaster has been able to beat the best computer programs [sigh]. Campbell observes astutely: in the early years every programmer was faced with his computer making a move that looked embarrassingly bad. Now, when the machine makes a move that nobody would anticipate, it’s because it’s THAT GOOD. Coming next: Terminator, Rise of the Machines, mwhahaha. Oh: I give the movie a B-, and the extras are quite good.
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I get its a very careful reconstruction of a geek event in the late 70s. I get the motif of a baby picture of the PC industry, and also the references to Jobs and Gates. But the pacing is very slow, and the film often feels like its building to something that never arrives. (Although this may be intentional - perhaps the promise of technology is always promising too quickly?) Clearly a very well made film, but not my cup of tea
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What a bizarre, hilarious little movie. As a chess player and software developer, it was easy for me to get into the strange little world that the movie team created. However, you don't have to understand chess or computers to enjoy this movie... a computer chess tournament is just the unusual setting they chose for the cast of colorful characters to carve out their little side plots.

This is a movie that shows itself through its details and dialogue so you have to pay attention to what's going on. Although it has a somewhat straightforward story line it's a little hard to follow because of the weird zig-zags it takes between the characters. But it's absolutely hilarious! I laughed out loud many times at all the dry, subtle humor peppered throughout. Michael Papageorge and the tournament director are two very memorable characters.

Other reviewers seem to think this movie attempts to be high-minded, which is silly. It doesn't have anything to say about computers or chess. It's just a weird little comedy that's certainly not for everyone, and it's impossible to tell if it's for you until you sit down and watch it. In my opinion it's worth the gambit, just give it a shot!
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I guess it was too film-studenty for me. I would have liked to have enjoyed it, but its look-at-me-I'm-doing-something-intellectual points were not wrapped in enough actual entertainment. I felt like I was back in high school trying to pretend there is deep meaning in Shakespeare. The Papageorge character was fun, at least. He almost saved it.
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