The Immortal Game was a chess game played on 21 June 1851 in London by Adolf Anderssen (white) and Lionel Kieseritzky (black).
This was just an informal game during a break of the first international tournament. However, this casual game passed into history as likely the most famous chess game of all time, due its spectacularity and beauty. Anderssen sacrificed both rooks, a bishop and the queen, and then did checkmate with his three remaining minor pieces.
And what does that have to do with Blade Runner? (Warning, spoilers!)
There is a correspondence chess game in the film, played by Eldon Tyrell (creator of the replicants) and J. F. Sebastian (genetic designer) helped by the replicant Roy. This is their telephone conversation:
Sebastian: Queen to bishop 6. Check.
Tyrell: Nonsense. Just a moment. Mmm… Queen to bishop 6. Ridiculous. Queen to bishop 6… mmm… Knight takes queen. What’s on your mind Sebastian? What are you thinking about?
Roy: (whispered to Sebastian) Bishop to king 7. Checkmate.
Sebastian: Bishop to king 7. Checkmate, I think.
As surely you have guessed, these are the last moves of the Immortal Game, when Anderssen sacrificed the queen and did checkmate. I would say that Ridley Scott plays chess.
In the next photo is the final position:
Kieseritzky/Tyrell have lost only three pawns; Anderssen/Sebastian/Roy have lost two pawns, a bishop, both rooks and the queen, but they win. If you know the game of chess, will see the checkmate with bishop and both knights; if you don’t, believe me, it’s a checkmate and is spectacular (of course, not only because of these last moves, the winning combination started five moves before)
It is a rule that good chess players always see a checkmate before it happens. So, if the checkmate is unavoidable, the losing player resigns before. Kieseritzky was a good player and, according to some source, he resigned and the last few moves were not actually played on the board in the original game.
Eldon Tyrell was a bad player, because didn’t see the checkmate until it was done on the board; “nonsense”, “ridiculous”, the poor fool was saying just before the last move, totally unaware of the imminent checkmate. J. F. Sebastian said to Roy that had defeated Tyrell only once (“he is a genius”, Sebastian said about the fool Tyrell), so was even worse. A bad player and a very bad player, dumb and dumber, playing the moves of one of the best chess games of all time, and not knowing what was going on. Pathetic.
No wonder that Roy, the only one who knew what was doing, decided to kill them 🙂