Chess provides the dramatic focus in this Belgian film which explores the internal conflicts of a young chess prodigy seeking the deeper implications of life and the game. The drama begins in 1828 in the luxurious country manse of a local marquise. She is deeply involved with understanding the mystical meaning of chess and hopes to hold the annual world chess championship in her home. The champion will become betrothed to her lovely daughter. The match takes place between Max, the eccentric and unstable prodigy, and the British world master.