Emmett Clayton has a nightmare before an important chess match: he and his opponent are chess pieces on a giant, fog-covered chess board. Clearly he's worried about his match with Tomlin Dudek, a kindly old fat Russian. Later, the two meet, not coincidentally, in a French restaurant, where they begin using the salt and pepper shakers and other objects on the table as chess pieces. The game continues in Clayton's apartment - secretly, because both Dudek's doctor and his coach would throw fits if they knew the diabetic Russian was out late, eating rich foods with his opponent. Clayton loses the impromptu game and has a nervous fit, from which Dudek tries to calm him down. The next day, Clayton decides he must murder Dudek before the match. He concocts a scheme that makes it look as if Dudek had met with an untimely accident in the hotel's trash compactor, but our rumpled and seemingly disorganized Lt. Columbo is on the case. Written by
Did You Know?
The final combination of the chess game played between Dudek and Clayton in the restaurant and finished in Dudek's hotel room was actually played in game Wolthuis-Alexander, Maastricht 1946. In the movie Dudek demonstrated the line leading to mate, in the actual game black resigned after the first move of combination, Qxb4. Also, Columbo, when reading from Dudek's notation, says that Black resigned on the 41st move. In the actual game from 1946, the sequence takes place earlier in the game (Black resigned on the 25th move). See more
During the drive when Columbo picks up Clayton from the hospital, Clayton says "I stopped to pick up a new transistor for my hearing aid, it went out on me last night." He should have said battery instead of transistor-- if a transistor in his hearing aid "went out" then he needs a whole new hearing aid since transistors are not replaceable by the average person. See more
Mr. Clayton, there's the world's most legendary chess genius, comes out of retirement just to play you, and you're not even curious enough...
Curiosity breeds sympathy, my friend, and sympathy is one emotion a champion can not afford on the night before the match.
The title "Columbo" is shown on top of a dream sequence, where the chess player is part of a life size chess game. See more