Nazi-occupied Austria. Dr. Bartok is preparing to flee when he is arrested. As a former notary to the deposed Austrian aristocracy, he is told to help the local Gestapo leader gain access to their private bank accounts in order to fund the Nazi regime. Refusing to cooperate, Bartok is locked in solitary confinement. Just as his mind is beginning to crack, he happens upon a book of famous chess games. To withstand isolation, he disappears into the world of chess, maintaining his sanity only by memorizing every move. Based on Stefan Zweig's stirring final novella.