Mission: Impossible: Season 2, Episode 17

A Game of Chess (14 Jan. 1968)

TV Episode  -   -  Action | Adventure | Crime
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The IMF's target is an international chess grandmaster who also is planning to steal gold seized from the opposition movement of an unnamed Soviet Bloc country. Rollin poses as an amateur ... See full summary »



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Episode cast overview:
Nicholas Groat
Curt Lowens ...
Captain Stevya
Lou Robb ...
Jason Johnson ...
Will J. White ...
Michele Guarini ...
Opponent (as Michael Guarini)
William Wintersole ...


The IMF's target is an international chess grandmaster who also is planning to steal gold seized from the opposition movement of an unnamed Soviet Bloc country. Rollin poses as an amateur chess player, helped by a computer Barney is running that is unbeatable at chess. The plan, devised by Phelps, also calls for a devious way of snatching the gold from both the chess player and the authorities. Written by Bill Koenig

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Release Date:

14 January 1968 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The show portrayed grandmaster chess in an unrealistic manner. The top computers of that era couldn't beat a grandmaster. Phelps scored each player's piece move move as a separate numbered move; in real chess, one numbered move would consist of a piece move by each side. In grandmaster tournaments, one game is played a day, not the several games in the show. Many of the moves made by the players in the games were rank mistakes that a grandmaster would never make. Players never give checkmate in top level chess. Players resign before checkmate is given. See more »


James Phelps: [During the apartment scene when discussing the upcoming mission] Then we're all set except for the typhoid. Who's got it?
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User Reviews

A good episode with one flaw...though I doubt if folks at the time noticed.
26 May 2014 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

flaw--having a computer beat a grand master is most likely possible but he COULD win

A chess grandmaster also has some larceny on his mind, as he's planning on stealing funds in a bank vault that belong to an opposition movement in his Communist Bloc nation. So, the plan is to use a computer to feed Rollin the chess moves in order to make him unbeatable and get the attention of this grandmaster. Then, using the computer, they'll help him rob the vault. Naturally, the IM Force doesn't intend to really help him!

The big problem about this episode is that the writer assumed that you could make a computer that could ALWAYS win the chess match. However, in highly publicized matches years later, Garry Kasparov played a computer and managed to win...at least some of the matches. So, the best computers of the 1980s and 90s, still could not guarantee wins against humans. In fact, when Kasparov did lose matches, the did split several of the games making up the match. However, considering that folks in the 1960s didn't know this and thought computers were magic, this is mostly a problem for folks today watching reruns.

Overall, a decent and involving episode.

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