From Russia With Love (James Bond, 1963): Kronsteen vs. Mac Adams
(taken from youtube:

Watch out the cupholder S.P.E.C.T.R.E. delivers to his agent Number Five and Head of Planning, Kronsteen, calling him to report immediately to the organization's Headquarter!

In Venice, the Czech Kronsteen plays in the "International Grandmasters Championship Final" against the Canadian Mac Adams. The score is 11½ - 11½, suggesting the last game in a World Championship match..

The setting is a beautiful old castle with a huge demonstration board where the pieces are moved with long sticks on a magnetic type of board. A large audience watches the games in this classic chess scenery.

From Russia with Love, written by Ian Fleming was published in 1957 as the fifth novel of his James Bond series. It was then the second James Bond cinema film, starring Sean Connery as the fictional MI6 agent '007' James Bond. Released in 1963, the film was produced by Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman, and directed by Terence Young. 

One of the villains is Kronsteen (brilliantly played by Vladek Sheybal), an arrogant mastermind of evil and grandmaster plotter for the organisation SMERSH, labelled S.P.E.C.T.R.E. in the movies, as the new James Bond film 2015, featuring Daniel Craig in his fourth performance as James Bond, is named Spectre in the title design.

Kronsteen is also a world-class chess player who, when asked if his plan would be successful, replies:

"It will be. I've anticipated every possible variation of countermove."

The position in the movie on the wallboard when Kronsteen got new instructions is based on an intruiging King's Gambit played by Boris Spassky and David Bronstein (Kronsteen!, well, in reality Bronstein lost) in the sixteenth round of the 27th USSR Championship held at the Chigorin Chess Club in Leningrad from January 26th to February 26th, 1960 and won by Viktor Korchnoi (ahead of shared runners-up Petrosian and Geller).

The game chosen by the film producers, was a magical masterpieces reminiscent of Grandmaster Boris Spassky's beautiful 23-move victory playing the King’s Gambit against Grandmaster David Bronstein at Leningrad in 1960. The finish became immortalised on this film scene from the James Bond - 007 movie 'From Russia With Love'.

Appropriately our hero’s surname in reality (Spassky) has 007 letters. His first name (Boris) is an anagram of "orbis", Latin for "globe", and indeed Boris was going on to be the World Chess Champion from 1969-72.

Note: The missing white center pawns on d4 and c5 make the film scene inaccurate from a chess perspective

Vladek Sheybal (Kronsteen in the film)
Peter Madden (Mac Adams in the film)
From Russia with Love (The Bond movie)
From Russia, with Love (The Bond novel) (Screenshots) (James Bond Character - Kronsteen) (Background story) (Blog with analysis) (Nigel Short on the King's Gambit) (Tim Krabbé in his Open Chess diary, article #250) (Bill Wall on the plot) (Italian language, with board visualisation of the film game) (Origin game Spassky vs. Bronstein) (Every move of the origin game explained) (Replay these two games)


VENEZIA - Venice International chess tournament series

The first series of international invitation Italian tournaments (before Reggio Emilia and later Rome) has been played in Venice. Preliminary minor events happened in 1929 and 1930.

Ten bigger tournaments, starting in 1947, played annually the first four editions, afterwards held unregularly until 1974. Tartakower took clear first at its inauguration, O'Kelly and Canal joint runners-up, followed by Monticelli, and Grob (14 players).

Najdorf won ahead of Canal, Barcza and Euwe in 1948 at the Venice invitational. Szabo triumphed in 1949 above 2. Rossolimo, 3. Prins, 4.-7. Golombek, Gligoric, Barcza, Foltys, 8. Paoli, 9. Kottnauer, etc. (16 players).

The tournaments were played in fine buildings each time. Venice 1950 became a great event: Kotov won before Smyslov, Rossolimo, and Pachman. Enrico Paoli won the brilliancy prize for a famous game he played against Soviet grandmaster Kotov (replay with background comments in Chessgames: Kotov vs E Paoli, 1950).

The fifth edition in 1953 succeeded Esteban Canal, legendary Peruvian player domiciled in Italy.

After a longer break, the event moved to the Casino Municipale in the 1960s. Ivkov won in 1966. A great Dutch success happened in 1967 when Donner won above of then reigning world champion Petrosian, who shared second place with Evans.

In 1969, Hort won two full points ahead of joint 2.-7. Robatsch, Taimanov, Tatai, Lengyel, Benkö, and Dr. Saidy, followed by 8. Matulovic, 9. Ivkov 10./11. Unzicker and Medina Garcia, 12. Paoli, 13. Zichichi, etc. (16 players).

Browne took Venice in 1971, ahead of surprising Mariotti, and surpassing amongst others Hort, Kavalek, and Gligoric.

The last winner of the major series at Venice was Liberzon in the tenth edition of 1974, winning outright, runner-up was former World Champion Smyslov, in a field including also Andersson, Timman, Savon, Suttles, Benkö, Tarjan, Ostojić, or Mariotti (14 players).

The event has been an elite tournament from 1947 until 1974. The closed international series definitely ended with a minor master in 1980, won by Karaklajic ahead of Nemet. Later Venice hosted small, national closed tournaments, and some Open Festivals.

Albo d’Oro

1929 Pitschak
1930 Mieses
Master tournaments:
1 1947 Tartakower
2 1948 Najdorf
3 1949 Szabo
4 1950 Kotov
5 1953 Canal
6 1966 Ivkov
7 1967 Donner
8 1969 Hort
9 1971 Browne
10 1974 Liberzon

11 1980 Karaklajic

Three World Chess Champions competed at Venice – but all were not winning!

Euwe  failed in 1948, Smyslov  failed in 1950 and again in 1974, and Petrosian  failed as reigning World Champion in 1967.

Botvinnik, Tal, Spassky, Fischer, and Karpov as well as Korchnoi and Keres never took part at Venice International.

Sources: (historical survey by Jan van Reek, no longer available)

Watch out:, the first chess clock is invented at Venice 1499