Walter Addiego – San Francisco Chronicle
Is there a link between chess and madness? It’s a reasonable question, since the game has attracted more than its share of oddballs and troubled souls — some of them extremely troubled. It’s also a question relevant to “Pawn Sacrifice,” a gripping study of Bobby Fischer, perhaps the greatest chess player ever.
The story, which benefits from Edward Zwick’s old-school direction, charts Fischer’s simultaneous rise to global fame by winning the 1972 world championship and his decline into rage and paranoia. As Fischer, Tobey Maguire is outstanding at capturing the man’s intensity, arrogance and single-mindedness, while ensuring that the audience stops short of dismissing him as a talented screwball.