Chess themes and subthemes in classic Bergman directed film

The 2018 World Junior Championships are underway in Gebze, Turkey, and one participant is 12-year-old Volodir Murzhin from Russia. Murzhin (right) is photographed with coach of the Russian junior chess team Grandmaster Farrukh Amonatov, who considers Murzhin a big talent since he won the European Championship for Boys Under-12 recently. (Photo: Amruta Mokal)

And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. And I saw the seven angels which stood before God, and to them were given seven trumpets – Revelation 8:1-2, Holy Bible, King James Version 

In 1957, Swedish director Ingmar Bergman released The Seventh Seal, a film which pitted the personification of Death against a medieval knight and was resolved only by a game of chess. When Death (played by Bengt Ekerot) confronted the knight Antonius Block (played by Max von Sydow) and told him his time was up, Block negotiated for a chess game to be contested to determine the outcome of Death’s contemplative wish. The challenge was accepted, and Death chose, naturally, the black pieces. The tale was both intriguing and a fantasy. The title refers to a passage from the Book of Revelation used at the beginning and ending of the film. ….

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