Stanley Kubrick was an avid chess player, and the game in 2001: A Space Odyssey, though it’s incidental, makes sense and seems to have been planned with care. In fact it seems to have been based on an actual game, played between A. Roesch and Willi Schlage in Hamburg in 1910. That game started with the moves 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. Qe2 b5 6. Bb3 Be7 7. c3 0-0 8. 0-0 d5 9. exd5 Nxd5 10. Nxe5 Nf4 11. Qe4 Nxe5 12. Qxa8? Qd3! 13. Bd1 Bh3!:

2001 chess game

Here Roesch (and astronaut Frank Poole) played 14. Qxa6?, picking up a pawn but recklessly abandoning the long diagonal. Schlage (and supercomputer HAL 9000) pounced with 14. … Bxg2. When Poole withdraws the threatened rook, HAL says, “I’m sorry, Frank, I think you missed it: queen to bishop three [threatening 16. … Nh3#], bishop takes queen, knight takes bishop, mate.”

Technically White can hold out a bit longer with 16. Qc8 Rxc8 17. h3 Nxh3+ 18. Kh2, but then the ax falls with 18. … Ng4#. Poole, and Roesch, resigned.