Blade Runner / Chess

What is the Significance of the Chess Game?

The chess game between Tyrell and Sebastian uses the conclusion of a game played between Anderssen and Kieseritzky, in London in 1851. It is considered one of the most brilliant games ever played, and is universally known as The Immortal Game.

The Immortal Game, in algebraic notation, was as follows:

Anderssen - Kieseritzky (London 1851): 1 e4 e5 2 f4 exf4 3 Bc4 Qh4+ 4 Kf1 b5 5 Bxb5 Nf6 6 Nf3 Qh6 7 d3 Nh5 8 Nh4 Qg5 9 Nf5 c6 10 Rg1 cxb5 11 g4 Nf6 12 h4 Qg6 13 h5 Qg5 14 Qf3 Ng8 15 Bxf4 Qf6 16 Nc3 Bc5 17 Nd5 Qxb2 18 Bd6 Qxa1+ 19 Ke2 Bxg1 20 e5 Na6 21 Nxg7+ Kd8 22 Qf6+ Nxf6 23 Be7 Checkmate. The chess boards in the film are not arranged exactly as they would in be the Immortal Game, and Sebastian's board does not match Tyrell's.

The concept of immortality has obvious associations in the ensuing confrontation between Tyrell and Batty. On one level, the game represents the struggle of the replicants against the humans: the humans consider the replicants pawns, to be removed one by one. The individual replicants (pawns) are attempting to become immortal (a queen). At another level, the game between Tyrell and Sebastian represents Batty stalking Tyrell. Tyrell makes a fatal mistake in the chess game, and another fatal mistake trying to reason with Batty.

Blade Runner

Murray Chapman