Vishy Anand Plays Blind Opponent As "Algorithms" Documentary Launches

Vishy Anand Plays Blind Opponent As "Algorithms" Documentary Launches

| 17 | Chess Event Coverage

On August 9th Viswanathan Anand played a friendly (blindfold) blitz game against a blind opponent in Chennai, on the occasion of the launch of the Algorithms documentary. 

It was a fitting way to launch a documentary, from India, about blind chess players. The country's big star, Vishy Anand, was invited and played, blindfold, against the blind player Charudatta Jadhav of Mumbai.

It was a friendly blitz game. (The moves haven't been saved, it seems.) Anand, who was not looking at the board, won. Charudatta's moves were executed by Sai Krishna, who also features in the documentary.

Anand looking the other way Sai in the middle, Charudatta feeling the pieces.

It was all about the launch of Algorithms, a documentary produced by Geetha J and filmed by Ian McDonald. To avoid any consusion: it is not about blindfold chess, but about chess played by blind people.

Here's a synopsis taken from IMDB:

Filmed over three years, the documentary focuses on the blind chess scene in India. It follows it follows three talented boys from different parts of India and a totally blind player turned pioneer who not only aims to situate India on a global stage but also wants all blind children to play chess. Algorithms travels with the chess players to competitive tournaments and visits them in their home milieu where they reveal their struggles, anxieties and hopes.

Below you can watch the trailer:

Algorithms runs 96 minutes and is fully in black and white. 

“I congratulate Ian and Geetha on a great movie,” said Anand just before the screening of the film. “Algorithms shows how chess is accessible to the blind and the passion they have for the game. It is also a very poignant film which everyone can relate to, the emotions are universal.”

The launch in India comes after the film was screened at international film festivals around the world, where it won several prizes. The reviews have been mixed, but generally positive. A selection:

  • ‘Algorithms is never too sentimental, nor simplistic, and it moves confidently with its charges towards a stirring endgame.’ — The Guardian, UK
  • ‘The movie is an object lesson in how a remarkable subject can be turned into a less remarkable film.’ — The New York Times, US
  • ‘The documentary 'Algorithms' is a moving insight into the world of blind teen chess players.’ — LA Times, US
  • ‘“Algorithms” is a completely unique film, unlike any other documentary you might see this year, both for its content and its form. But while it is that, it is also a deeply absorbing, timeless, universal tale with themes anyone can find inspiration in: triumph over adversity, family love, and a deep respect for the spirit of competition and the tradition of an ancient game.’ — Indiewire, US
  • ‘Visually arresting as it is, the pic stands out mainly for its subject matter, the first documentary on blind chess, even though it fits snugly within the sub-genre of underdog stories.’ — The Hollywood Reporter, US

There will be a press preview on August 18th in Mumbai, and three days later the documentary will be released nationwide in India.

Early January 2014 it was picked up by American distributor First Run Features. It was shown last year in Albuquerque, New York and Los Angeles. Here you can find links to buy the film on DVD or on iTunes. 

Peter Doggers

Peter Doggers joined a chess club a month before turning 15 and still plays for it. He used to be an active tournament player and holds two IM norms.

Peter has a Master of Arts degree in Dutch Language & Literature. He briefly worked at New in Chess, then as a Dutch teacher and then in a project for improving safety and security in Amsterdam schools.

Between 2007 and 2013 Peter was running ChessVibes, a major source for chess news and videos acquired by in October 2013.

As our Director News & Events, Peter writes many of our news reports. In the summer of 2022, The Guardian’s Leonard Barden described him as “widely regarded as the world’s best chess journalist.”

In October, Peter's first book The Chess Revolution will be published!

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