Ennio Morricone about chess
What is it about chess that makes you so passionate?
Sometimes it is its lack of predictability. A move exceeding the routine is indeed more difficult to foresee. Mikhail Tal, one of the greatest chess players in history, won many games thanks to moves that baffled his opponents and left them with no time to reflect. Bobby Fischer—a real ace, perhaps my favorite—invented sudden and surprising moves. They took risks playing by instinct. I instead pursue the logic of calculation.
Well, I would say that chess is the best game precisely because it’s not a mere game. Everything is put at stake—the rules of morality, of life, the wariness and the determination to fight without bloodshed, the resolution to win and do so correctly—with talent, rather than sheer luck. In fact, when you hold these tiny wooden statuettes in your hands, they become powerful as they absorb the energy you are willing to transfer to them. In chess, there is life and there are struggles, too. It’s the most violent sport one could think of, it can be compared to boxing, although it is much more chivalrous and sophisticated.
I must confess that, when I was composing the music for Tarantino’s latest movie, The Hateful Eight, as I went through the script, I recognized the tension that silently grows among the characters, and I thought of that like the feelings one develops over the course of a chess game. Unlike what happens in Tarantino’s films, neither bloodshed nor physical harm is part of this sport. Still, there is nothing aloof about chess. Quite the opposite, this game is dominated by a spasmodic and silent tension. Some even say that chess is silent music, and playing is a bit like composing for me.
Actually, to say it all, I even composed the “Inno degli scacchisti” [Chess Players’ Anthem] for the Chess Olympiad in Turin in 2006.