Computer Chess

Computer Chess

Sloan Foundation Film

Release Date



  • Andrew Bujalski


  • Kriss Schludermann
  • Tom Fletcher
  • Wiley Wiggins


  • Sundance Film Festival, 2013
  • TFI Sloan Filmmaker Fund Grant, 2012

A 1980s-set story centered around a man-versus-machine chess tournament.

Set in the early 1980s, in and around an isolated roadside hotel, computer programmers gather for a tournament that pits their chess programs against each other. The action is centered on the junior programmer of an academic team who begins to suspect that their computer is able to detect the difference between a computer opponent and a human one, and thus is exhibiting elements of self-consciousness. He also learns from another member of the team that the computer had been engaging him in gnomic philosophical dialogue and hinting that it thinks it’s alive.

Possible Topics

  • How playing chess affects the brain
  • Artificial intelligence: From lab to life
  • The emerging field of biologically inspired artificial intelligence
  • Supercomputers of the future

Past Programs


Computer Programmer Culture of the 1980s

The Cinefamily, Los Angeles, CA


The Humanity of Strategy

Athens Ciné, Athens, GA


Women in Software Development

Belcourt Theatre, Nashville, TN


A.I. and Gaming

Maine Film Center / Railroad Square Cinema, Waterville, ME


The evolution of gaming and society

Bryn Mawr Film Institute, Bryn Mawr, PA