Columbo (1971–2003)
7.5/10
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28 user 6 critic

The Most Dangerous Match 

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Mystery | Episode aired 4 March 1973
A chess player murders his opponent before a big match. Lt. Columbo must out-maneuver this crafty, but craven, killer.

Director:

Edward M. Abroms

Writers:

Jackson Gillis (teleplay by), Jackson Gillis (story by) | 4 more credits »
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Cast

Episode complete credited cast:
Peter Falk ... Columbo
Laurence Harvey ... Emmett Clayton
Lloyd Bochner ... Mazoor Berozski
Jack Kruschen ... Tomlin Dudek
Heidi Brühl ... Linda Robinson (as Heidi Bruhl)
Paul Jenkins ... Sergeant Douglas
Michael Fox ... Dr. Benson
Oscar Beregi Jr. ... Proprietor (as Oscar Beregi)
Mathias Reitz Mathias Reitz ... Anton
Richard Drout Miller Richard Drout Miller ... 1st Reporter (as Drout Miller)
Manuel DePina Manuel DePina ... 2nd Reporter
Stuart Nisbet ... Dr. Sullivan
Abigail Shelton Abigail Shelton ... Nurse
John Finnegan ... 1st Workman
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Storyline

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 J. Spurlin

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Certificate:

TV-PG | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Tomlin Dudek and his entourage are clearly supposed to be from an Iron Curtain country. Yet Dudek's aide/physical trainer carries American Tourister luggage, as seen when he and Linda leave the hotel with Dudek's medication. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Columbo: Can a diabetic eat garlic?
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User Reviews

Columbo outwits a chess champion in this superior effort
14 April 2005 | by J. SpurlinSee all my reviews

Columbo often plays a kind of chess game with his opponents, but this time his adversary is an actual chess champion.

Emmett Clayton (Laurence Harvey, with echoes of his tormented character in "The Manchurian Candidate") has a nightmare before an important chess match, a nightmare the director helpfully visualizes for us as a giant fog-filled chess board, on which Clayton and his opponent are chess pieces. Clearly, he's worried about his match with Tomlin Dudek (Jack Kruschen, who looks a bit like Captain Kangaroo), 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.

Meanwhile, Columbo appears before there's even a murder: Dudek's coach had panicked and called the police when the champion didn't show up in his hotel room on time. So Columbo is aware of this man even before something serious happens.

The next day something does. Clayton decides he must murder Dudek before the match. He concocts a scheme that makes it look as if Dudek met with an untimely accident in the hotel's trash compactor. But our rumpled and seemingly disorganized Lt. Columbo is on the case.

Clayton makes for an interesting adversary. He refuses to play along with Columbo's pretense, forcing our resourceful detective into some quicksilver improvisation. Clayton won't pretend for a moment that Columbo is just interested in clearing a few things up, and he calls him on it immediately. He also won't stand for Columbo's usual forgetful routine. Wonderfully, he demonstrates his own superior memory in a way I'll leave for you to discover. Clayton is also nearly deaf, a handicap that has both unusual advantages and unexpected perils.

The script is not as quite as sure and deft as the great "Columbo" episodes, like "Murder by the Book" and "A Stitch in Crime." But it comes very close. I particularly loved the scene where Clayton plays chess with a series of fawning opponents as Columbo grills him. And then there's the ending, which is very satisfactory. This is a must-see for "Columbo" fans and good entertainment for anyone else.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

4 March 1973 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

L'ultimo scacco matto See more »

Filming Locations:

Universal City, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Television See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

4:3
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