A24 Acquires Rights to 'Checkmate' Film About 2022 Chess Scandal

A24 wins bidding war for "Checkmate," a film about the 2022 chess scandal involving Magnus Carlsen and Hans Niemann. The film, produced by Emma Stone and directed by Nathan Fielder, will explore the rivalry and scandal that shook the chess world.

Aqsa Younas Rana
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A24 Acquires Rights to 'Checkmate' Film About 2022 Chess Scandal

A24 Acquires Rights to 'Checkmate' Film About 2022 Chess Scandal

A24 has won a heated bidding war for the rights to produce 'Checkmate,' a feature film based on the 2022 chess scandal involving grandmasters Magnus Carlsen and Hans Niemann. The independent entertainment company secured the project with a seven-figure offer, outbidding major Hollywood studios and streaming services.

The film will be produced by Academy Award-winning actress Emma Stone and directed by Nathan Fielder. Stone will produce alongside her husband and business partner Dave McCary under their Fruit Tree banner. 'Checkmate' is based on a book proposal by Ben Mezrich, the author behind works adapted into films like 'The Social Network' and 'Dumb Money.'

The scandal at the center of the film erupted in September 2022 when then 19-year-old chess prodigy Hans Niemann defeated world champion Magnus Carlsen at theSinquefield Cupin St. Louis. Carlsen subsequently withdrew from the tournament and accused Niemann of cheating, sparking a firestorm of controversy in the chess world.

Niemann admitted to cheating in online chess matches as a youth but vehemently denied any wrongdoing over the board against Carlsen. The dispute led to Niemann filing a $100 million defamation lawsuit against Carlsen and the website Chess.com, which was later dismissed in June 2023.

The film 'Checkmate' aims to capture not only the rivalry and scandal between Carlsen and Niemann but also explore the rise of the billion-dollar chess industry and the collision of tradition and innovation in the ancient game. "The story is not only about the rivalry and the scandal, but the macro backdrop is the rise of a billion-dollar chess industry and so-called 'collision of tradition and innovation' in the game," a source familiar with the project revealed.

A24's acquisition of 'Checkmate' marks another high-profile project for the company known for producing critically acclaimed and commercially successful films like 'Everything Everywhere All At Once,' 'Moonlight,' and 'Uncut Gems.' The film has the potential to ignite a global chess boom, much like the Netflix series 'The Queen's Gambit' did in 2020.

As of May 2024, the film is still in the early stages of development. The exact plot details remain under wraps, but 'Checkmate' promises to bring the captivating story of the Carlsen-Niemann rivalry and the 2022 cheating scandal to the big screen. With A24 backing the project and the star power of Emma Stone and Nathan Fielder attached, the film is poised to make waves in the entertainment industry and the world of chess alike.

Key Takeaways

  • A24 wins bidding war for "Checkmate" film rights with 7-figure offer.
  • Emma Stone to produce, Nathan Fielder to direct, based on Ben Mezrich's book proposal.
  • Film tells the story of 2022 chess scandal between Magnus Carlsen and Hans Niemann.
  • Project explores rise of billion-dollar chess industry and tradition vs. innovation.
  • Film in early development, with potential to ignite global chess boom.