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.
Did You Know?
During his simultaneous exhibition, Clayton says that Frank Marshall once played 155 games simultaneously, losing only eight, and later having complete recall of all the moves from all the games except two of them. This actually happened, in 1922. See more
After Linda packs Dudek's medications into the bag, she holds the handles with the strap between them when she closes it and walks through the door of the bathroom. In the wide shot of her walking through the door, the bag is latched properly. See more
I'm sorry, Mr. Clayton, but along with all the other trivial evidence that we've talked about, the murderer in this case just had to be a deaf man.