"Chess holds its master in its bonds, shackling the mind
such that the inner freedom of the very strongest must
suffer." - ALBERT EINSTEIN
1 EXT. GRANITE COUNTRY HOUSE - ICELAND - DAWN 1
In the grey dawn, a formidable house in the Icelandic
wilderness. A single light burns in an upper window.
Reykjavik, Iceland 4:15am. July 20th, 1972
In the distance, a POLICE CAR approaches, lights flashing.
2 INT. GRANITE COUNTRY HOUSE - ICELAND 2
CLOSE on a hand gripping the padded arm of an armchair.
index finger of the hand is PICKING at a thread.
The HAND belongs to an intense young man with black hair
swept back. He sits motionless, peering at a chess game
which is a few moves old. The man is BOBBY FISCHER.
A SINGLE FLY begins to buzz against the window.
Bobby eyes the fly. The movement of his eyes is immense.
Murderous. The thread he has been picking at suddenly TEARS
with a THUNDEROUS RIPPING SOUND.
The fly is trying to get out the window.
3 BOBBY'S PERCEPTION 3
The BUZZING of the fly is a howling hurricane from hell.
4 BACK TO AN OBJECTIVE VIEW OF THE ROOM 4
Bobby stalks the fly -- CRUSHING IT with a coffee cup.
He sits back down in a business-like way and stares at the
board again, his fingernail beginning to work another thread.
HEADLIGHTS sweep the room and we HEAR a car door SLAM.
Bobby's face betrays no reaction -- but his whole hand CLAWS
the arm of the chair like an animal in a trap.
At the SOUND of someone running upstairs, he glances from
the chessboard to the door, as a knock comes on the door:
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5 BOBBY'S PERCEPTION 5
Someone is POUNDING on the door -- it SOUNDS like the Gestapo
in an old war movie.
6 BACK TO AN OBJECTIVE VIEW 6
The knock on the door is polite.
Bobby grips the armchair, can't stand the noise that only he
can hear -- and he gets to his feet, UPENDING a lamp.
Bobby pinballs around like the fly trying to escape --
breaking shutters as he tries to close them, tripping over a
table. ANOTHER KNOCK, even louder.
Then, just as suddenly, his eyes FOCUS on the chess board.
A new light comes into his eyes as he stares at it -- and
his breathing begins to slow.
A7 ALL SOUND BEGINS TO FADE A7
As he moves toward the board -- his fingers reaching out --
in ultra slo-mo -- to make...a...single...move.
B7 BACK TO THE SCENE B7
Bobby closes his eyes. Content. He has solved the puzzle.
This is the true story of Bobby Fischer.
The door opens. A guy stands there -- mid-40's, pugnacious.
This is MARSHALL. He stares at the debris of the room. And
at Bobby, who appears perfectly calm.
There was a fly. It's dead now.
A huge agenda between the two men. Marshall composes himself.
"Never before in human history has
the outcome of an entire global war
of ideas rested on the shoulders of
The slightest smile begins to form on Bobby's lips.
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I'm quoting the President of the
United States. He was talking about
you. To me. The President of the
United States talking to me. He
called three times. Three.
Marshall lifts the receiver, places a phone back on the hook.
He's been trying to reach you.
Bobby refuses to be intimidated. If anything, his smile
widens. Marshall rights an upturned chair.
In Moscow, Brezhnev opened his only
bottle of 1868 Louis Roederer. Left
over from the revolution. You know
(hammering it home)
Because. He. Heard. You Quit.
Bobby walks to the window, looks out at the half-light.
There are boys your age in Vietnam
giving their lives right now in the
fight against Communism. And all
you have to do is win a game of chess.
...Say something. Bobby, please...
Bobby doesn't answer. Instead, he stares out into the night,
and we HEAR another voice.
7 OMIT 7
8 IN THE FISCHER APARTMENT - NIGHT - BROOKLYN 8
Bobby, age 8, stands looking out another window.
JOAN, Bobby's sister, 14, comes up beside him.
It is 1952.
Bobby, it's bedtime.