No more than a two-hour dialogue between three disparate foreigners held for investigation in a Paris cell block in 1939, this drama about war and its consequences focuses primarily on the three men. Lodek (Jorg Godzuhn) is a German sailor who is very much against Hitler and his tactics (Lodek tells this tale, which emerges in flashbacks), Grunstein (Fred Duren) is a Jewish butcher who happens to be in France because of an inheritance he needs to collect, and the third man is a Greek cook (Klaus Schwarzkopf) whose main distinction is a fleeting encounter with Kaiser Wilhelm, the high point of his life. In order to wile away the time, the men drum up a chessboard and chess pieces from materials at hand, and start long chess sessions in which their attitudes and thoughts about life are exchanged. When Grunstein cleverly develops a move that "trumps" and stumps his opponents, he wins three games in a row, and even now Lodek cannot figure out how he did it.
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