Epic chess match: Hawking vs Rudd

by Frederic Friedel
4/1/2021 – Quantum Chess is a variant of regular chess in which every piece is endowed with quantum powers. The game is real and the stakes are high, as the future of humanity hangs in the balance. Was actor and comedian Paul Rudd able to beat Stephen Hawking, one of the greatest minds of our generation, in a game of chess that will determine the future of humanity? Take a look!

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Paul Rudd (born 1969) is an American actor, screenwriter, producer, and comedian. He made his acting debut in 1992. In addition to his film career, Rudd has appeared in numerous television shows, including the NBC sitcom Friends (as Mike Hannigan), and has also hosted Saturday Night Live multiple times. He earned a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy, and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2015. (More on Wikipedia, from where this image was taken)

Stephen Hawking (born in 1942, died on March 15, 2018) was the best-known theoretical physicist of his time, making many significant breakthroughs in theoretical physics. 

Hawking had a rare early-onset, slow-progressing form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease), a fatal neurodegenerative disease that affects the motor neurons in the brain and spinal cord, which gradually paralysed him over decades. In 2005, after he had lost vocal speech, he began to control his communication device, which used the predictive software SwiftKey, with movements of his cheek muscles.

A full biography of Hawking can be found on Wikipedia. You can also watch the 2014 movie "The Theory of Everything" with Eddie Redmayne brilliantly playing the role of the great scientist. It is based on the 2007 memoir Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen by Jane Hawking, which deals with her relationship with her ex-husband, his diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and his success in the field of physics. Watch it (or at least the trailer) and be inspired.

The Quantum Chess match

Caltech's Institute for Quantum Information and Matter in association with Trouper Productions brings you a chess match for the ages: Paul Rudd vs. Stephen Hawking in a game of Quantum Chess, narrated by Keanu Reeves:

Quantum Chess

The rules are quite different to regular chess. Take the quantum queen. It can move twice in a single move, but there is an equal chance the queen may have not moved at all. The opponent can attack any of the queen's positions, forcing her to reveal her true location. This is a short glimpse of the full power of quantum chess. The rules are further explained in the video.

We hope that you enjoy the game between Hawking and Rudd, and, like 8.5 million viewers of the video, will learn to play this exciting game.


Editor-in-Chief emeritus of the ChessBase News page. Studied Philosophy and Linguistics at the University of Hamburg and Oxford, graduating with a thesis on speech act theory and moral language. He started a university career but switched to science journalism, producing documentaries for German TV. In 1986 he co-founded ChessBase.


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