I would like to let you all know that Ian and I together completed our four year documentary on young blind chess players of India titled Algorithms late last year. It had its World Premiere at the International Film Festival of India in Nov 2012. It was also a Film Bazaar Recommended (FBR) film at the industry event parallel to IFFI and screeners have been taken by visiting festivals. Please visit www.algorithmsthedocumentary.comto know more about our documentary. 

While we wait to hear confirmation of our next screening, which will be International Premiere of the film, we are working on a High Definition exhibition copy for the film. This involves a complete re-working of picture grading to the big screen projector. This is very expensive – we had earlier done it to the computer monitor.

So, following the advice of many other documentary filmmakers, we have launched our project in the Kickstarter website. Crowd funding your project through Kickstarter is slowly becoming the most viable way for documentary filmmakers and now one-third of films that come to festivals are funded this way. In fact, the Oscar award for short documentary went to a Kickstarter film this year!!! 

So, this mail is a humble request to ask all of you to visit the Kickstarter website – http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/704302232/algorithms-four-moves-in-we-are-all-blind and support us. We launched our film today and have a goal of £10,000 in 45 days. If we cross £10,000 in 45 days we get the funding, if not, then nothing. Backers should pledge their contribution and if the project is successful money will be taken out of their account on 16 April. 

If you are able to pledge some amount that will be really great – you can see the amounts you can pledge and the rewards you get for it in the website. In case you are not able to pledge an amount please do support us by spreading the word about this. Forward this mail to your circle. 

Do get back about your thoughts on our project and website.

Thanks a lot
Geetha and Ian.

ALGORITHMS – Four Moves In, We Are All Blind 
by Ian McDonald 

A unique documentary about three blind boys from India who dream of becoming chess masters, supported by their blind coach and mentor.  



In India, a group of boys dream of becoming Chess Masters, driven by a man with a vision. But this is no ordinary chess and these are no ordinary players. Algorithms is a documentary on the thriving but little known world of Blind Chess in India. 

Filmed over three years from just before the World Junior Blind Chess Championship in Sweden in 2009 to just after the next championship in Greece in 2011, it follows three talented boys from different parts of India and a totally blind player turned pioneer who not only aims to situate India on a global stage but also wants all blind children to play chess. 

Algorithms travels with the chess players to competitive tournaments and visits them in their home milieu where they reveal their struggles, anxieties and hopes. It moves through the algorithms of the blind chess world challenging the sighted of what it means to see. Going beyond sight and story, this observational sport doc with a difference elicits hidden realms of subjectivity. It allows for the tactile and thoughtful journey that explores foresight, sight and vision to continue long after the moving image ends.

Algorithms is the first ever feature documentary on Blind Chess. 


Chess is an ancient and universal game with origins in India. When Geetha and I began this project in India in 2008, we knew what we were encountering was unknown, complex and beautiful. Then began a journey that challenged our perception of ability and disability, of sight and vision. The paradox of using a visual medium to image those without sight that weighed heavily on us lessened with the complete trust we gained by being with the community through the years. Four years later and with over 240 hours of footage, we began to compose the first ever feature documentary on Blind Chess. Initially, my concern was to capture this mind game as a game of equality for the blind and a metaphor for life. Chess demands patience and foresight that go with being blind. Four moves in, it puts the sighted on par with the blind. Blindness that emerged as ‘difference, not lack’ then went beyond to actually critique our ocular-centric world. Also, with one constant focus on the truth of the lives of the blind chess players, the slant shifted from the sociological to the philosophical. I began to understand the Indian verse: sukha dukhe same kritva – that joy and sorrow, profit and loss, winning and losing are but the same; they torment us but we must treat them as same and engage in life. Finding hope in hopelessness and possibility in impossibility, the Blind Chess community moves forward, reminding us of the forgotten significance of touch and of the materiality of our social existence in an era dominated by the visual and the virtual. 


Algorithms had its world premiere at the International Film Festival of India 2012. It was also a ‘Film Bazaar Recommended’ film at the industry event running parallel to IFFI and screeners have been taken by the some international festivals attending the Film Bazaar. Please visit www.algorithmsthedocumentary.com and go to the Press page to know more about the interest generated from just one screening of the film in Goa.


Why do we need further funding? We have taken this film forward from a nascent idea in 2008, first shoots in 2009 to final shoot in Jan 2012 to almost a year long edit and final copy in time for its World premiere at the International Film Festival of India. This we have done as independent filmmakers. The lack of grants and funding sources for documentaries especially in India (we managed to get a couple of small grants in UK) prompted us to ask for support from individuals who could contribute to the film in cash and kind. A sort of non-online crowd sourcing, along with a couple of angel-investors. And, we have done the post-production work to a high professional standard. However, the picture grading we did was not to a big screen projector. This is expensive. We also want to take the desired high quality outputs, which again is very expensive. Then we need to send off the film to as many high profile international film festivals as possible. We need a minimum of £10,000 and anything more will go towards high end outputs and towards promoting the film – go to festivals, take it to markets, and meet distributors who can get it on the big screen or small or both.

While we have begun the process of sending off submission copies to festivals, ideally, we would like to do the grading work and have a big screen exhibition copy ready by April-May. The international premiere is crucial for this film. To get the film to its international audience, we need your support. 

This film is ambitious in its aesthetics, weaving together the aspirational with the meditative to reflect on sight and vision, sound and touch. It is not just us filmmakers who are eagerly awaiting the response of the sensitive film viewing public in the world to this film, but it is also the blind chess community. Often ignored, they want visibility! 


Charudatta Jadhav from Mumbai is a champion player turned pioneer. He discovered the game of chess soon after he went blind in his teenage years. It gave him confidence and a purpose in life. Convinced of the power of this game, he has dedicated his life to develop chess for the blind. A highly successful IT professional, Charu is a man of great drive and ambition, and he aims to situate India in the top five countries for Blind Chess. 

Darpan Inani from Baroda is the most talented and highest ranked totally blind player in India. This idiosyncratic, confident and highly intelligent teenager is focussed on what he wants to achieve in chess, and in life. Darpan possesses a wisdom that belies his young age. He is a topper in his sighted school and wants to be the first blind entrepreneur of India. 

SaiKrishna S.T. from Chennai is the ambitious rising star of blind chess in India. He is fun-loving, gregarious and makes friends easily. But as a partially sighted boy faced with the possibility of going totally blind, there is a lot more steel to Sai’s character than at first appears. Sai studies in a blind school and is again a topper. He wants to be the first blind journalist of India. 

Anant Kumar Nayak from Bhubaneshwar is a promising new talent. He is a gentle boy with an endearing if slightly eccentric personality. With a strong sense of moral duty and responsibility, the totally blind Anant struggles to balance his commitment to chess and studies. Anant has come second in training exams for IAS and hopes to be a rare blind IAS officer of India. 

More here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/704302232/algorithms-four-moves-in-we-are-all-blind

Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar
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