Josh Waitzkin (Max Pomeranc) is, apparently, a seven-year-old ordinary boy, but when he sits in front of a chess board, he changes radically and becomes a prodigy, capable of beating anyone ahead of him. Seeing their son’s potential for chess, Josh’s parents, Fred (Joe Mantegna, The Bronx Bull) and Bonnie (Joan Allen, Bourne’s Legacy) decide to hire a teacher to instruct him.
The chosen one is Bruce Pandolfini (Ben Kingsley, Cut Bank, The Ender Game), a strict instructor who begins to guide the boy to become the new Bobby Fischer, an aggressive chess master and world champion. The goal is to win at any price, no matter what needs to be done to get it. However, little Josh will soon realize that this lack of sportsmanship is not to his liking, and he will rebel to play as he wants and show everyone that to succeed in the world of chess there is no need to sacrifice everything.
The film is directed by Steven Zaillian, famous for feature films such as American Gangster, Hannibal or Gangs of New York.