Algorithms | India | 2012 | B&W | 100 mins
English, Hindi, Tamil, Odiya with English subtitles
Dir: Ian McDonald | Prod: Geetha J


Four years in the making, ALGORITHMS, a multi-award winning documentary on young blind chess players from India, comes to USA!

Algorithms, a compelling documentary about young blind chess players from India, will have its premiere theatrical screening on Friday, 17 October at the Laemmle in Los Angeles. The film will run for a week and director Ian McDonald and producer Geetha J will be present for select weekend shows for a Q&A.

Algorithms will run for a week from Friday, 24 October at the Quad in New York. The film, which has already picked up numerous awards at film festivals in South Asia, Europe and Africa, is now a contender for the Academy Award in the Feature Documentary category.

Algorithms is Ian McDonald’s debut feature documentary. Looking ahead to the screenings in LA and NYC, Ian said:

“The response to Algorithms has been amazing wherever it has screened. Audiences have been really taken with the subject matter and truly moved by the inspirational characters in the film. I am really looking forward to seeing what the audience in the US make of the extraordinary young blind chess players of India!”

Algorithms is produced by AkamPuram India, and is supported by TATA Consultancy Services from India, Newcastle University in the UK and FIDE, the World Chess Federation. It is distributed in North America by First Run Features.

See attached Notes for synopsis, screening history and responses to the film. A trailer for the film can be seen at

Contacts: Director Ian McDonald. Ph: +44 07828637358

Producer Geetha J. Ph: +91 9447744864


In India, a group of boys dream of becoming Chess Grandmasters. But this is no ordinary chess and these are no ordinary players. Opening at Laemmle’s Town Center 5 in Los Angeles on October 17 and at the Quad Cinema in New York City on Oct 24, Algorithms is a documentary that transports us into the little known world of Blind Chess.

Chess is an ancient and universal game with origins in India. Filmed over three years in different parts of India, Algorithms follows three boys and an adult champion who not only aspires to bring global recognition to India’s blind chess players, but also wants to encourage all blind children to play chess.

The filmmakers travel with the players to competitive tournaments, including the World Junior Blind Chess Championship. They also film them in their home milieu where they reveal their struggles, anxieties and hopes. Moving through the algorithms of the blind chess world, the film is a tactile and mindful journey that challenges the notion of what it means to “see.”

Filmmaker Ian McDonald:

Ian McDonald is a sociologist and documentary filmmaker developing a centre for Film Practice at Newcastle University. Having always used the camera to support his research on sport and physical culture in UK and India, Ian’s move to documentary filmmaking, benefits from a seemingly effortless ‘way of seeing’ that has resulted in documentaries with a difference on art and sport, especially of the ‘sporting outsider’- the one who is seen as ‘different’ by a ‘normal’ society. His documentaries have been screened at film festivals, conferences and campaign meetings around the world. Algorithms is Ian’s debut feature documentary.

Select Quotes on Algorithms:

Algorithms is an inspiring documentary about young blind chess players from India. This first feature film by Ian and Geetha, is a true work of passion that, to me, expresses the cinematic beauty and power of documentary. I hope you will agree.


Their spirit to play chess just like anyone else is very powerful. They do not wish to be patronized by providing them handicaps. They prefer to be beaten fairly rather than a politically correct draw. This is what I admire most in them. I wish Ian McDonald all the very best. We have been in touch from the time he started making this movie. My heart is always with the project.

Viswanathan Anand

I loved this film. It is all that a documentary should be. Unobtrusive and compassionate without being sentimental, sympathetic without being condescending. In short, very good.

Shyam Benegal

A delicate film that lets you feel every nuance as it happens, even before it happens and stays with you long after the film ends. Algorithms teaches you to be ‘alive’. That is indeed rare.

T.M. Krishna

Algorithms is a wonderful film – beautiful to watch, engrossing, with great characters and a brilliant insight into their world.

Nick Broomfield
What a huge viewing pleasure! Algorithms is absolutely wonderfully shot, impeccably edited and with a range of engaging characters all of whom are portrayed with charm, wonderful insight and immense humanity.

John Akomfrah
Algorithms, a stunning independent black-and-white film, transforms the cerebral idea of calculation into a captivating lyric of touch, celebrating the indomitable will, spirit and humanity of young blind players from India.

Larry Kardish

Select Links:

First Run Features

Los Angeles
October 17-23 • One Week Only!
Daily Showtimes: 1:40, 4:20, 7:10 & 9:55 plus Sat&Sun 11.10 am

17200 Ventura Blvd., Encino • 310-478-3836

New York City
October 24-30 • One Week Only!
Daily Showtimes: 1:00, 4:00, 6:30 & 9:15

34 West 13th Street • 212-255-2243

Producer GEETHA J
Production house AKAMPURAM

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