Skip to content

Night moves: a happy turn of events

June 4, 2013

I will lay odds of 100:1 on that within the next 100 days I will have watched the 1975 film Night Moves starring Gene Hackman. Don't take my bet: I have already checked and it is available on iTunes.


I would never have known about this movie had I not made a small omission in the game file data of one of the puzzles in my Cordingley project. I have written an article about this project which is due to be published in a forthcoming edition of Chess magazine (, which, when the editor, Richard Palliser was proofing, he asked me about this evening. It is puzzle 44, posted some weeks back on my blog, the 1922 game Emmrich-Moritz, where black fails to find a fairly easy but still pretty mate. This game isn't in Megabase 2012; having corrected the game file data I decided to first double check that it isn't in Megabase- I have learnt during this project how to do more advanced searches in the databases, including catering for slight variations in spellings of names-the game isn't in the database, and decided to also google it. Bingo! Or checkmate! The game score was found, but also it turns out that the missed mate in three was very relevant to the plot.

The film seems to be well regarded, as evidenced for instance by the following postings, which are worth a read.



Extract from the film script

“He didn't see it. Name was Mortiz. He played something else and lost.” The sadness of it touched him again, faint, like a twinge of pain remembered. “He must have regretted it every day of his life — well, I know I would . . .” then, lest that sound unduly portentous, he smiled, “. . . fact is I do, and I wasn't even born.” Paula stood up, gave him back the set.

“That's no excuse.”

“No, I guess not,” and she went, almost abruptly, without further word, leaving Moseby with the chess board like a little graveyard in his hand and his mind full of lost opportunities and frail fragrances.

When Jane next suggests that we watch something together, and there is (I) nothing on TV; (II) nothing saved on Sky Planner, I think I might dare to whisper 'shall we watch Gene Hackman's Night Moves?; it's a thriller,I have heard that it is good'.

Of course, coming to the important bit, here is the game score, courtesy of

Black's 26…Bd5? was a mistake, missing mate in three. (this was Cordingley puzzle 44)

I suspect all chess players know how Moritz would have felt.

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s