2001 Chess Game by the HAL 9000 Computer

by National Life Master Loal Davis


hal_9000The HAL 9000 Computer


The Cinema classic 2001 directed by Stanley Kubrick featured a chess game between the astronaut Frank Poole and the HAL 9000 Computer (“affectionately” referred to as HAL).

The “actual” chess games appears to be taken from a game played in Hamburg 1910 between A. Roesch (White) and w. Schlage (Black).


Frank Poole versus HAL – Space 2001

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. Qe2

The Worral Attack.

b5 6. Bb3 Be7 7. c3 O-O 8. O-O d5


Reminiscent of the Marshall Gambit.

9. exd5 Nxd5 10. Nxe5 Nf4 11. Qe4 Nxe5


 12. Qxa8

Grabbing material and effectively putting the Queen out of play.  12. d4  appears slightly better for White.

12… Qd3

A Choke Hold.

13. Bd1 Bh3


The film starts showing the game from the diagram position; Poole (White) is considering his next/14th move.

14. Qxa6 Bxg2 15. Re1 Qf3



Here HAL says: “I’m sorry Frank, I think you missed it: queen to bishop three, bishop takes queen, knight takes bishop, mate.” This is English notation and NOT accurate. It would be Queen to Bishop Six.   Also – the HAL 9000 computer gives checkmate in two moves – however Poole could have elongated the game by playing –

15… Qf3 16. Qc8 Rxc8 17. h3 Nxh3+ 18. Kh2 Ng4#

15… Qf3 16. Bxf3 Nxf3#  is HAL’s variation. Is it possible that this was a foreshadowing of HAL’s ultimate breakdown during the movie?

Poole swallowed HAL’s analysis and resigned.



See Comments for PGN Listing.

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One Comment

  1. [Event “Hamburg”][Site “?”][Date “1910.??.??”][Round “?”][White “A. Roesch”][Black “W. Schlage”][Result “0-1”][ECO “C86”][PlyCount “30”][EventDate “2016.01.09”]1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. Qe2 b5 6. Bb3 Be7 7. c3 O-O 8. O-O d5 9. exd5 Nxd5 10. Nxe5 Nf4 11. Qe4 Nxe5 12. Qxa8 Qd3 13. Bd1 Bh3 14. Qxa6 Bxg2 15. Re1 Qf3 0-1

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