A "Pawn Sacrifice" is a move in chess in which a player sacrifices his pawn for a soft advantage such as more space for his pieces or positioning them in better squares in order to develop an attack subsequently. It aims to create unbalanced positions so if the player who is committed to the pawn sacrifice did not capitalize on his temporary advantage, he would lose the game at the end due to his inferiority in material.
The narrator of the conspiracy theory audio that Bobby Fischer (Tobey Maguire) is listening to is Liev Schreiber, who plays Boris Spassky.
In preparing to write the movie's script, screenwriter Steven Knight read many of the books that have been written about Bobby Fischer and the "Match of the Century", as well as speaking with people who knew him. "The most useful material was archival footage of him being interviewed," said screenwriter Knight. "Bobby spoke and moved oddly, and to see that was helpful. If you noticed him walking down the street, you'd think, 'there is a curious person'. He might have ended up just another homeless person, but he was just so good at chess that he was saved by it. And, of course, cursed by it as well."
Bobby Fischer was wanted in the United States of America for violating economic sanctions against the former Yugoslavia by playing a chess match there in 1992. He fled to Japan and was arrested in July 2004 for trying to leave Japan on a revoked U.S. passport. Thus, he was detained in Japan awaiting deportation to the USA. He renounced his U.S. citizenship and tried to become a German citizen, but was denied. Finally, in March 2005, Iceland's parliament voted to grant him Icelandic citizenship. He remained a fugitive from the USA until his death.
The screenplay for this film was featured in the 2009 Blacklist, a list of the most liked unmade scripts of the year.