The real-life chess matches that inspired a famous episode of Cowboy Bebop
The chess games featured in “Bohemian Rhapsody” are based on two real matches played by a chess master named Paul Morphy. Morphy was a chess prodigy who is considered one of the greatest of all time, and was known as “The Pride and Sorrow of Chess” in the mid-1800s due to his chess career extremely successful but short-lived. While the current perception of chess is that of an intellectual sport played by presumably respectable people, the classic strategic game was looked down upon in Murphy’s day. In fact, professional and competitive chess players were viewed in the same unfavorable light as professional players, making it difficult for the son of a wealthy and distinguished family to pursue a career without social stigma. This negative perception of the game and of professional players was partly responsible for Morphy’s early retirement from competitive chess, although he remained passionate about the game throughout his life.
Like his anime counterpart, Morphy was considered a genius from an early age. He also suffered a severe deterioration in his mental health in the years leading up to his death. According to friends and family, Morphy fell into a state of delusion and paranoia, believing people were trying to poison him or conspire against him. Unlike Chessmaster Hex, he did not die peacefully after playing one last game of chess, but rather died of a stroke in his bathtub, surrounded by pairs of shoes he had inexplicably placed around him. – one of many eccentric habits he had adopted due to his unstable psychological state, according to his friends and family.