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Jim Berzchak has a brilliant mind for chess, yet nerves and fatigue stop his playing ambitions. Simply put, he’s afraid to lose. However, from coaching his first team, the Escanaba Eskimos, he realizes there is security in numbers. Now employed as a small town high school teacher, he tries coaching again and is pleasantly surprised to have some girls on the chess team, something unheard of in the past. Everything goes great – for awhile.

Mona Jones, the grandmother of one of the boys decides to take a more active role in the chess team. Her influence creates advantages for the boys. They become much stronger at the game than the girls. A rift develops – the boys become bullies – the team splits in two. Friends become bitter rivals – someone must lose. Jim’s fatigue is worse than ever. Other school activities and caring for his four year old son who can’t speak yet drain his energy. He trains the girls for one last shot against Mona and the boys. Will he prove to everyone that girls really can play chess? Or will Mona and the boys capitalize on Jim’s fears and knock him out of chess forever?

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