Queen of Katwe, a movie about Uganda Chess prodigy Phiona Mutesi has been rated among the six greatest chess movies ever made.
The biographical drama feature was listed first on a list that was curated by The Indian Express‘ sports desk.
According to the news outlet, “the direction and messaging of the movie received a lot of praises, and the movie went on to win a lot of awards at various award functions.”
The 1932-founded paper mentions Pawn Sacrifice (2014), The Dark Horse (2014), The Luzhin Defence (2000), Searching for Bobby Fischer (1993) and Shatranj Ke Khiladi (1977) as the other movies that make the remaining five.
Queen of Katwe – directed by Mira Nair and written by William Wheeler – is based on Tim Crothers’ 2011 ESPN The Magazine article and the book The Queen Of Katwe: A Story Of Life, Chess, And One Extraordinary Girl’s Dream Of Becoming A Grandmaster.
It features Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave), David Oyelowo (Selma), and Madina Nalwanga among others.
Nalwanga plays as Mutesi, a young girl from the slums of Kampala who chases her dream of becoming an international chess champion.
Queen of Katwe opened on September 23 as a limited release in the United States, before a wide release on September 30. It grossed $2.5 million in the first week.
Phiona Mutesi at a glance
Mutesi grew up in the Ugandan slum of Katwe, where as of 2011 fifty percent of teen girls were mothers; when Mutesi was about three her father died of AIDS and shortly afterwards her older sister Juliet died of an unknown cause.
When Mutesi was about nine, and had already dropped out of school as her family could not afford to send her, she found a chess program run by the Sports Outreach Institute, which taught her how to play chess.
In 2010 she played six rounds on Board 2 and one round on Board 1 for Uganda at the 39th World Chess Olympiad scoring 1.5 points from the seven, and as of 2011 she was a three-time Women’s Junior Champion of Uganda.