Down 16,168 this week

Ninja Checkmate (1979)
"Shuang ma lian huan" (original title)

 -  Action | Drama
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.1/10 from 305 users  
Reviews: 6 user | 2 critic

Supposedly dead, embittered former official, The Ghost Face Killer has returned and seeking revenge on those martial arts masters than once opposed him - his name is infamous and his Five ... See full summary »



0Check in

Editors' Spotlight

IMDb: What to Watch - Guardians of the Galaxy

In the latest episode of IMDb: What to Watch, Keith Simanton talks with director James Gunn and actors Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana and Vin Diesel about their movie Guardians of the Galaxy.

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 21 titles
created 02 Apr 2011
a list of 3056 titles
created 17 Jul 2011
a list of 23 titles
created 20 May 2012
a list of 19 titles
created 01 Oct 2012
a list of 49 titles
created 5 months ago

Related Items

Search for "Ninja Checkmate" on

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: Ninja Checkmate (1979)

Ninja Checkmate (1979) on IMDb 7.1/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Ninja Checkmate.


Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

The anti-Ching patriots, under the guidance of Ho Kuang-han, have secretly set up their base in Canton, disguised as school masters. During a brutal Manchu attack, Lui manages to escape and... See full summary »

Director: Chia-Liang Liu
Stars: Chia-Hui Liu, Lieh Lo, Chia Yung Liu
Action | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Two martial arts schools prepare for an important tournament.

Director: Chang-hwa Jeong
Stars: Lieh Lo, Ping Wang, Hsiung Chao
Action | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

A winery owner and drunken boxing master trains two young boys in the art of drunken boxing after he catches them stealing from his winery.

Director: Joseph Kuo
Stars: Pai Ah, Jeanie Chang, Hui Lou Chen
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Two warlord chiefs, a ton-fa wielder who can destroy an opponents weapon and a Tai Chi expert that is impervious to weapons, send a pair of killers to track down and kill an old master ... See full summary »

Director: Joseph Kuo
Stars: Mei-yi Chang, Chiu Chen, Pei Ling Chen
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Director: Chia-Liang Liu
Stars: Chia-Liang Liu, Hou Hsiao, Kara Hui
Action | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Director: Cheh Chang
Stars: Lung Ti, Ping Wang, Jeanette Yu Wei
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Three North Shaolin teachers (Lu Feng, Chang Sheng, and Sun Chien) are called on by the Manchus to teach their soldiers and are urged to challenge the current South Shaolin teachers. They ... See full summary »

Director: Cheh Chang
Stars: Chien Sun, Sheng Chiang, Feng Lu
Action | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

The one-armed boxer is stalked by a vengeful flying guillotine expert, after his disciples were killed in the first 'One-Armed Boxer' film. But as the flying guillotine master is blind, he ... See full summary »

Director: Yu Wang
Stars: Yu Wang, Tien Wu Chu, Kang Chin
Action | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A plump butcher student of Wong Fei Hung, Lam Sai-Wing (Sammo) gets into trouble with a rival kung-fu school known as Five Dragons and is accused of raping the head of that school's ... See full summary »

Directors: Sammo Hung Kam-Bo, Woo-ping Yuen
Stars: Sammo Hung Kam-Bo, Hoi Sang Lee, Pai Wei
Action | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Skilled fighter Sung Li Ting is looking for a Kung Fu master who can beat him in battle and teach him new techniques. Shaolin monk Shao Si Yer introduces Sung Li to the Shaolin teachings, ... See full summary »

Director: Tso Nam Lee
Stars: Chi Ping Chang, Yi Tao Chang, Hou Hua Chen
Action | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

The monk Hung Wen-Ting fights against the evil priest White Lotus.

Director: Lieh Lo
Stars: Chia-Hui Liu, Lieh Lo, Lung Wei Wang
Action | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Jin bei tong opens with a group of escort/guards preparing to move a shipment of gold from the local government to an area stricken by famine... See full synopsis »

Director: Cheh Chang
Stars: Chien Sun, Meng Lo, Feng Lu


Credited cast:
Jack Long
Yi-Min Li ...
Ah Pao (as Simon Lee)
Mark Long ...
Ghost Face Killer Wan Chun-Shan
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Jeanie Chang
Tien-chi Cheng
Hou Tao Hsiao
Wang Hsiao ...
Wan's servant
Ching-Shun Mao
Li-pao Ou
Chi-Sheng Wang ...
Chao Yun-Lung
Hsueh-kun Wang
Yung Sheng Wang
Ying Wen
Siu Tin Yuen ...
Master Cook (Guest star)


Supposedly dead, embittered former official, The Ghost Face Killer has returned and seeking revenge on those martial arts masters than once opposed him - his name is infamous and his Five Elements fighting style is deadly. Meanwhile, young Ah Pao joins a martial arts school in order to become a great fighter in order to take revenge on the man who killed his father. He gets very good quickly but timing is everything and his arrival at the school in relation to the return of the Ghost Face Killer sees him suspected of being connected and thus put out of the school. He falls under the tutelage of an elderly chess master in the town while all the time the focus of his vengeance kills his way closer and closer. Written by bob the moo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

independent film


The New Kung-Fu Style See more »


Action | Drama


See all certifications »






Also Known As:

Ninja Checkmate  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(director's cut)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The Chinese title 'Shuang Ma lian huan' metaphorically translates to the joint offensive power of the double knight pieces attack in chess strategy. See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Chess Boxing vs. 5 Elements in above-average kung fu tale
13 October 2002 | by (Bronx, NY) – See all my reviews

NINJA CHECKMATE (1979) is better known as THE MYSTERY OF CHESS BOXING, a more appropriate title given the absence of any actual ninjas from the film. Produced and directed by Taiwanese-based master kung fu filmmaker Joseph Kuo, CHECKMATE ranks with the best of his work (BORN INVINCIBLE, 7 GRANDMASTERS) in telling a simple concise story and peopling it with some of the best fighting stars at Kuo's disposal. Lee Yi Min stars along with Kuo regulars Jack Long (aka Lung Sai Gar) and Mark Long (aka Lung Kwan Wu), while the venerable Simon Yuen (DRUNKEN MASTER) makes an appearance as well. Mark Long plays the feared "Ghost-Faced Killer," a name later appropriated by the rap group, Wu Tang Clan, as part of their ongoing homage to classic kung fu films.

Lee Yi Min (SEVEN COMMANDMENTS OF KUNG FU) plays an eager young student seeking masters who will teach him enough kung fu to enable him to get revenge against the killer of his father. Lee has an amiable quality and ready smile and his character here is willing to withstand humiliation from senior students at the start of his training in order to gain access to the teachers who can help him. In addition to fighting skills, he brings acrobatic and gymnastic skills to the role and his transformation from eager novice to skilled fighter is believably portrayed.

Lee's first real teacher is the cook at the school where he apprentices. Played by Simon Yuen, the cook shows how food preparation leads to development of strength and agility. Lee's next teacher is Jack Long, a chess master who insists on teaching Lee the fundamentals of Chinese chess before embarking on actual kung fu training. Lee is slow to catch on to the significance of this strategy but it eventually serves him in good stead in the final battle. Jack Long has a young daughter, played by Jeannie Chang, who helps persuade him to take Lee as his student.

Mark Long's Ghost-Faced Killer is an embittered ex-official who travels the Chinese countryside using his Five Elements kung fu to challenge and kill assorted retired kung fu masters who had once opposed him. The film is punctuated with several of these superbly-staged confrontations and tension is built up as the killer sets his sights on the chess master and seeks his whereabouts. The stage is eventually set for a final battle between Ghost-Faced Killer and the chess master and his prize student.

The fights are frequent and interspersed with a steady stream of clever and often humorous training sequences. Five Elements Kung Fu is a fascinating concept and involves strategies voiced in such phrases as "earth absorbs water" and "gold cuts wood." The two Longs were both top-notch kung fu performers and are always thrilling to watch, as is the underrated Lee Yi Min.

The film is aided considerably by excellent cinematography and use of small, well-appointed sets and outdoor locations in the Taiwanese countryside. In addition, the lovely and evocative original Chinese music score is retained on the English-dubbed soundtrack. This film was very popular among kung fu fans in New York when it played at theaters on 42nd Street during the heyday of the kung fu genre some 20-odd years ago. Its current availability on VHS and DVD ensures its rediscovery by legions of enthusiastic new fans in the years ahead.

13 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Discuss Ninja Checkmate (1979) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: