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CBSRMT Episode Information
Title:
The Chess Master
Plot:
An uneventful game of chess with a stranger in the park leads to a world of adventure for an out-of-work advertising agent.
Episode:
1334
Air Dates:
First Run - May 28, 1982
Repeat - September 3, 1982
Writer:
Listen:
Rating:
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11 Responses to Episode 1334


Unschooled in the Game, I had never heard of the "Muzio gambit". Wikipedia explains: In the Muzio Gambit (like the similar Hamppe-Muzio gambit in a Vienna game), "white gives up a piece in the hope of establishing a powerful attack against the black kingside." The Muzio Gambit serves a metaphor for our protagonist's battle to reveal the truth behind the sinister Mr. Chessman's manipulations. From a discussion at chess.com: "The Muzio, while not really refuted, has lost much of its punch in this age of computers where defensive lines seem to appear magically out of nowhere. But it's quite a playable and exciting opening .... ... White gives up a full piece (two pieces in the Double Muzio) for tempo, development and an attack. Once you have invested that material, you crossed the Rubicon. You can not back down for a single move." ... "Of course, one must be tempermentally suited to play such an opening; it's not for everyone."

I thought this was a good mystery, with a nice creative twist at the end. Fred Gwynne is always great to have for a character as he always seems to do a fine job, no matter what the part. At one point I couldn't help but to picture Herman Munster playing chess with someone on a NYC street.

Quote: I thought this was a good mystery, with a nice creative twist at the end. Fred Gwynne is always great to have for a character as he always seems to do a fine job, no matter what the part. At one point I couldn't help but to picture Herman Munster playing chess with someone on a NYC street. Fred is one of my favorite voices on radio...esp. CBSRMT. Very vivid episode...

The material for this story didn't support the full three acts. I find that RTMT stumbles when it does espionage/spy stories. At first, I thought the story was going to involve something along the lines of a game that would involve a player losing their soul.

Another good one that wouldn't really work in this non-cold war time. But, I agree it did kinda drag a bit.

I actually thought that this episode was fantastic. I was young when the Cold War ended, but still remember the tension between the USSR and the United States. Fred Gwynn was perfect. 5 stars.

This one is so highly entertaining, mostly due to Fred Gwynne's work as the chess master named Chessman. If Mr. Chessman hadn't turned out to have been what he was (don't want to give it away!), he's someone I'd love to be friends with. His style of speech is very "listenable," as is Gwynne's very voice. As to the comments about how the Cold War's being over (or is it?) makes this episode not "work," well, that's what the imagination is for. That's like saying a bit of entertainment set during the Crusades or the Gold Rush couldn't work because those times are in the past, right?

I rate this episode ★★★★☆ for GOOD. Murray Burnett wrote one of the best mystery stories involving the game of chess. The suspenseful plot points, the surprising climax and the resolution were on the mark. There wasn't a lot of character development for our minor characters, but a lot for our protagonist & antagonist. Another way to title this mystery tale would be "The Pawn" or "What Is Your Game, Mr. Chessman?" The music, I like. There were many tracks that built the suspense and increased the tension as the story progressed. The sound effects, however, not so much. There were the sounds of daily traffic in New York (which is where the story takes place), people murmuring in the lobby, the sounds of chess pieces being moved, an envelope, the dialing of a rotary phone, and a tiny clink sound of the washroom key. It would've been enticing if the music was played in the middle of the scenes instead of playing them to change the scenes. For example, in Ep. 1245-THE JUDGE'S HOUSE, there was horror music playing in the middle of a scene in ACT-3 that moved the story up on another level. If they played the suspenseful tunes in the middle of this story, it would've brought chills and goose bumps to the listeners. I enjoyed Tammy Grimes' narrations as the Host. In her Prologue, she points out how chess made an impact in ancient times and it still does today. In ACT-2, she explains how people can change instantly whether they're in a crisis or something new comes around in their lifestyle. In ACT-2, she changed the William Shakespeare quote to, "All the world's a chess board." It worked in a way, since there are some who are treated like pawns in a gigantic power struggle. Then, she explains how people are like ostriches where we, metaphorically speaking, stick our heads in the ground to ignore the things we don't want to see/hear. In ACT-3, she makes a historical reference to Robert James "Bobby" Fischer who defeated Boris Spassky at the 1972 World Chess Championship. Her Epilogue was the most interesting part because she points out that there were no women's rights in the 6th Century of Persia where chess was played, but there was a thing called "Women's lib" back then. And that is linked to chess because the Queen is the most powerful piece in the game and the King is barely useful. And the cast is fantastic in this Drama-Mystery: Paul Hecht (as Charley Williams), Fred Gwynne (as Lawrence Chessman a.k.a. Victor Sergave), Lamis Farris (as Susan Williams & the Woman), and Russell Horton (as Ben Bradley & Mr. Tompkins). It's too bad that this was the only CBSRMT episode that Lamis Farris worked on; she really had talent. But Fred Gwynne; one of his best roles! Listen to the way he laughs at the 6-minute 23-second mark. If you enjoyed this story, check out the other episodes that CBSRMT has done involving chess: Ep. 0493-CHECKMATE and Ep. 0574-YOUR MOVE, MR. ELLIS. =0]

I love Fred Gwnn and I agree with Russel this is one of his best that I have heard and recall. He was a brilliant talent and I think was taken for granted way to much! This episode form one act to the otters left me intrigued and wanting to know what happens next! Then the ending absolutely was a surprise! Great one check it out... and for pete sake tell us what you think!!! Looking forward to what Russell has for the month of April!

Murray Burnett wrote one of the best mystery stories involving the game of chess. The suspenseful plot points, the surprising climax and the resolution were on the mark. There wasn't a lot of character development for our minor characters, but a lot for our protagonist & antagonist. Another way to title this mystery tale would be "The Pawn" or "What Is Your Game, Mr. Chessman?" The music, I like. There were many tracks that built the suspense and increased the tension as the story progressed. The sound effects, however, not so much. There were the sounds of daily traffic in New York (which is where the story takes place), people murmuring in the lobby, the sounds of chess pieces being moved, an envelope, the dialing of a rotary phone, and a tiny clink sound of the washroom key. It would've been enticing if the music was played in the middle of the scenes instead of playing them to change the scenes. For example, in Ep. 1245-THE JUDGE'S HOUSE, there was horror music playing in the middle of a scene in ACT-3 that moved the story up on another level. If they played the suspenseful tunes in the middle of this story, it would've brought chills and goose bumps to the listeners. I enjoyed Tammy Grimes' narrations as the Host. In her Prologue, she points out how chess made an impact in ancient times and it still does today. In ACT-2, she explains how people can change instantly whether they're in a crisis or something new comes around in their lifestyle. In ACT-2, she changed the William Shakespeare quote to, "All the world's a chess board." It worked in a way, since there are some who are treated like pawns in a gigantic power struggle. Then, she explains how people are like ostriches where we, metaphorically speaking, stick our heads in the ground to ignore the things we don't want to see/hear. In ACT-3, she makes a historical reference to Robert James "Bobby" Fischer who defeated Boris Spassky at the 1972 World Chess Championship. Her Epilogue was the most interesting part because she points out that there were no women's rights in the 6th Century of Persia where chess was played, but there was a thing called "Women's lib" back then. And that is linked to chess because the Queen is the most powerful piece in the game and the King is barely useful. And the cast is fantastic in this Drama-Mystery: Paul Hecht (as Charley Williams), Fred Gwynne (as Lawrence Chessman a.k.a. Victor Sergave), Lamis Farris (as Susan Williams & the Woman), and Russell Horton (as Ben Bradley & Mr. Tompkins). It's too bad that this was the only CBSRMT episode that Lamis Farris worked on; she really had talent. But Fred Gwynne; one of his best roles! Listen to the way he laughs at the 6-minute 23-second mark. If you enjoyed this story, check out the other episodes that CBSRMT has done involving chess: Ep. 0493-CHECKMATE and Ep. 0574-YOUR MOVE, MR. ELLIS. =0]

I love Fred Gwnn and I agree with Russel this is one of his best that I have heard and recall. He was a brilliant talent and I think was taken for granted way to much! This episode form one act to the otters left me intrigued and wanting to know what happens next! Then the ending absolutely was a surprise! Great one check it out... and for pete sake tell us what you think!!!

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