MOVIE INFO "Pawn Sacrifice" stars Tobey Maguire as Bobby Fisher, the chess celebrity of the late 1960's-early 70's. Maguire has played Spiderman three times, but his acting in this film is mostly limited to sitting at a chess board in this movie (or preparing to sit at one). So--no high flying web moves over the city. However, the chess moves of his character are more challenging and amazing. And Maguire acts well in this film, because, hey, who's going to watch chess on the big screen for a movie--unless the story is filled with tension and drama?! Well, it is. Maguire delivers as the troubled character Bobby Fisher, brilliant in chess, but so personally disturbed and mentally anguished. The build up of the film, and of chess king Fisher's life, was to play the Russians and the great Boris Spassky, in showdown games. Actor Liev Schrieber play Spassky, first coldly, then as a interested study of his opponent Fisher, who is so unpredictable to him, and one to be pitied for the misery that afflicts his talented rival across the board and from across the ocean in America. Spassky is the face of Communism to Fisher, who greatly dislikes it, so some agent of the American government 'recruits' Fisher him to 'win a world war III' cold-war battle of USA vs. Russia by saying that his taking a chess championship away from Spassky is his 'patriotic duty.' Fisher is all in. His listening to doomsday Christianity radio and tapes feeds this act-like-it's-the-end-of-the- world viewpoint to Bobby. Enter in the character in the film of Fr. Bill (Lombardy). He is a whole different and sane and mature and faith-filled man to walk into Bobby Fisher's life. Fr. Bill is a smart chess player, too, and knows all the moves and lingo of the game, and becomes the coach/advisor to Bobby. Lombardy actually had won against Fisher in chess, which Fisher remembers and respects. (Lombardy also was an International Grandmaster who finished second to Fischer in the 1961 US Championship.) He is now Fr. Bill. He will come and try to help the genius but greatly mentally- disturbed Fisher (paranoia) to not beat himself, but attain his goal of winning against Spassky. The character of Bill, played wondrously by Catholic actor Peter Saarsgard, shows a priest serving in a good light. He is non-judgmental, yet firm in care. He is caring for Bobby's humanity, and relating person-to-person with him, every sharing a cigarette or drink or an earthy word or two with him. Bobby sees him as a real person, and eventually as the only one he can believe just really cares for him, without strings attached. When Fr. Bill seems exasperated with his task of helping Bobby (as Fisher gets worse and worse in his paranoia), you see the priest getting out his rosary calling on help from Holy Mary. I liked seeing that scene, of course. The film has its usual language and sexually-risqué PG-13 content, but it doesn't ruin the story, because it comes from a true one (which exhibited these things). Since the film is based on real history, I wondered about where Fr. Bill is these days. Four decades later, Fr. Bill Lombardy is not an active priest. I looked it up to see if he was a retired Jesuit. Alas, he was one of many in the turbulent times of the priesthood to leave it. Yet, the kind of priest he was serving as, back in those times, was of a priest shepherd out caring for a lost sheep. It reminded me of the two effective priests who served at the Newman Center in my collegiate days. They were both down-to-earth, related well to the students and the university, and gave us good years of Catholicism in campus life. Each stayed in the priesthood, too. In the 1970's, while I was not a paranoid man in need (!), sometimes the challenges of collegiate life were plenty enough, and these priests were a testimony that Christ Jesus was on the campus with us-- to help us achieve our degrees and our maturity and our walk with God.