Closing Gambit – A Major new feature documentary premiering at Cannes in 2018.
Anatoly Karpov – World Champion. A loyal member of the Communist Party and a personal friend of the Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev, is the epitome of the younger Soviet ‘New Man’.
Viktor Korchnoi – A survivor from the siege of Leningrad. Cantankerous, free-spirited, and a critic of the Soviet regime who sought political asylum whilst playing chess in Holland in 1976. Korchnoi is the challenger for the crown in the 1978 World Championship in Baguio City, The Philippines. What happened during that summer in 1978 is one of the most incredible sporting stories that has never been fully told until now.
Both men were bitter personal rivals: Karpov is a legendary sports personality of the Soviet Union with a chauffeur-driven Mercedes, Moscow apartment and country dacha; whereas Korchnoi is a traitor to Russia – airbrushed from Soviet history and known only as ‘The Contestant’.
As the players fought on the chess board, their teams fought a war of espionage even John Le Carre would struggle to invent. Parapsychologists, thought waves, flag wars, mirrored sunglasses, coded yoghurts, KGB agents, corruption, and a sect of Eastern mystics wanted for murder, were just some of the events that overtook chess in this epic world championship event.
Younger by over twenty years, Karpov led by 5 wins to 2 with the Champion being the first to win 6 games. But then the unthinkable happened – Korchnoi won three games in quick succession to level at 5 wins each. The Soviet Ice Man had begun to melt…