Algorithms ★★★½

Algorithms is a documentary that tells the stories of two years in the lives of three blind Indian boys who are competitive chess players. Yes, there are world junior blind chess tournaments; and it is a tense world indeed. The film is presented in B&W, much of it in heavily accented English (with occasional subtitles). The smart and variously troubled kids are well chosen. This is a very different kind of youth athletics competition film. Chess is not the easiest sport to follow; and this film makes no attempt to show the games as they progress, so it calls for no knowledge of the sport. Rather it centers on the boys, their families, their coach and the pressures on them to make India a power in the sport. Above all this is a film about talented, totally disabled children finding a way to excel despite their disability.