Someone at Naughty Dog is a big fan of Bobby Fischer. There's a tiny chess board hidden in The Last of Us Part 2, and while it might at first seem like a normal chess board, it's actually been set up in a very particular manner.
It turns out the chess board in question has been set up to replicate one of the most famous chess matches ever played, as was first spotted on The Last of Us subreddit. This was a game of chess played in New York City in 1956, where 13-year old prodigy Bobby Fischer beat the clear favorite of the match, Donald Byrne, who was one of the best chess players in the world throughout the 1950's and 60's.
The chess board in The Last of Us Part 2 has been set up to replicate the final position in the "Game of the Century," as the match between Fischer and Byrne would be dubbed. Fischer would downplay the big upset over Byrne after the match, saying that he "was just lucky."
Reading this discovery jogged something in my brain, because I somehow recalled a Bobby Fischer reference in Naughty Dog's original game. When Joel and Ellie are hanging out in Bill's diner hideout, Ellie goes to touch a chess board when Bill yells, "Hey Bobby Fischer, don't touch that!"
Ellie and Joel are left puzzled by the reference, and I didn't understand it either until now. Like I said, someone at Naughty Dog must be a really big fan of Bobby Fischer.
Yesterday at the end of the month, we here at USgamer awarded The Last of Us Part 2 our Game of the Month for June. It's a game about hope as much as it is violence, and it's really struck a chord with us here at USG. For more in-depth reading around the sequel, head over to our piece on how the sequel understands the importance of music in the mourning process, or our breakdown of how The Last of Us Part 2 only just pulls off its biggest twist.