In 1972, the world was mesmerized by a seemingly unlikely event – a chess tournament. To be sure, this time-honored “game of kings” had long had more than its ample share of followers, but, in this match, the stakes were higher than just proving which participant was the better competitive strategist. The contest pitted Soviet world champion Boris Spassky (Liev Schreiber) against upstart American challenger Bobby Fischer (Tobey Maguire) at the height of the Cold War. The competition was a sort of proxy conflict between the two nations, with their respective representatives serving as surrogate warriors. And the event’s understood though unstated aim was to prove to the world which side was intellectually superior – and thus worthy of allegedly deserved respect and admiration.
For decades, the Soviet national hockey team dominated the sport in the world of international tournament play, including the Winter Olympics. Organized and operated under the auspices of the Red Army, the team was a virtually unstoppable juggernaut. But how did it come to be such a formidable powerhouse?
Much of the time, our lives seem puzzlingly inscrutable. But they need not be if we look closely to see how they follow very clearly prescribed paths that fall in line with what we think, believe and feel. Should we become proficient at that, there’s virtually nothing we can’t come to understand, a point driven home in the engaging new biopic, “The Imitation Game.”