Does The Royal Game anime really exist?

The Royal Game anime still from GothamChess's instagram

Chess has taken the world by storm since 2022 and recently a certain rumor has been making rounds. What is this rumor you say? It’s that The Royal Game anime is a chess anime about Viswanathan Anand’s defeat against Magnus Carlson and how that led to the Revolution of Chess in India. It is a thrilling plot, but is it real? Let’s find out!

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Is there The Royal Game anime?

With the hype that name has been gathering, it is unfortunate to know that there isn’t any anime about Chess. The Royal Game apparently is a myth in the community that has caught fire since Levi’s, aka GothamChess’s, recent video upload on multiple platforms such as Instagram and TikTok. It seems it’s another one of those times where Levi pulled our legs. But is this simply out of nowhere, or did he have a reference?

I am here to tell you, folks, this wasn’t a fluke. There is a book named The Royal Game and you’d be surprised to know how different it is compared to Levi’s version.

Levy’s Version:

The protagonist of the show is Viswanathan Anand, the first chess Grandmaster from India. He was the 5 time World Champion till the time Magnus Carlson defeated him in 2013. Vishy realized the difficulty in defeating Magnus and raised an army of Grandmasters from India. He has now 83 to his cause and Carlson has been held in tight ropes.

Chess revolution in India
Chess Revolution in India | Courtesy of GothamChess’s Instagram

The Royal Game

The original story was written by Austrian author Stefan Zweig and its name was Schachnovelle (Chess Novella). The story starts with the narrator having a fortunate meeting with the then world champion, Mirko Czentovic on a train. As the narrator and a fellow enthusiast, both attempted to play against the champion. They lost the first consultation match and went for the second. As they were about to lose the second match, Dr. B prevents them from blundering and takes it to a draw.

Viswanathan Anand reimagined through AI
Viswanathan Anand reimagined through AI | Courtesy of GothamChess’s Instagram

It is then revealed that Dr. B is a Chess addict. An addict in its true sense, his journey to such obsession is a painstaking endeavor of greatness. He was kidnapped by was Gestapo who wanted to extract information about the assets of the nobility, as Dr. B was their lawyer. He was kept imprisoned in a hotel room, with nothing in eyesight. Dr. B was able to retain his sanity by stealing a past master’s chess book, where he learned all the previous matches and combinations in chess. With nothing else to learn, he began playing against himself.

His obsession grew to such an extent that he could mentally split himself into two personas, each playing a side differently. It grew to a point where his behavior grew more frantic and chaotic. He was rushed to the hospital where the doctor attested to his insanity, keeping him safe from the Nazis. He stayed there and recovered. The doctor advises him to not play chess to avoid triggering his compulsive behavior.

Magnus Carlson reimagined through AI
Magnus Carlson reimagined through AI | Courtesy of GothamChess’s Instagram

The story ends with a match between the champion and Dr. B, where B won the first match. During the second match, his compulsive behavior started making its appearance and the narrator shook him out of it. He resigned and the game ended.

Should there be a Chess anime?

Definitely!! There are anime about all sorts of sports from Basketball to Shogi. It is due time that there be an anime about chess as well. There have been countless instances of chess references in anime such as No Game No Life and Clasroom of the Elite. It would be a no brainer to go chess considering the popularity it has amassed so far. It would be a sure hit if executed properly.

No Game No Life
No Game No Life | Courtesy of Madhouse

This is where things turn difficult. Although the potential is there, the execution will lack behind, because:

  • Chess is a very logical game. To make it dramatic would defeat the essence of the game.
  • The anime will have to play out the matches between characters without any blunders. Otherwise, the viewers will chew out the show.

What I mean by blunders is not the occasional blunders we all are fated to make. Chess is an endeavor toward perfect moves and for the characters to make basic and rookie mistakes that defy theory in a competition would be stupid and unnecessary in a show and game that is dictated by logic. It would make the character a very redundant part of the show since he would never add any progress to the protagonist.

Conclusion

To sum it all up, we have been pranked. There is no The Royal Game anime and there is also no news that there is a chess game in production. It would, however, be amazing to have such a show if they could tackle the issues I have pointed out above.

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