As usual, the plan the team devises is clever. They insinuate themselves into the villain's confidences by tricking him into using their Macguffin magic machine (the chess-playing computer that defeats a time-lock), but where the show should be the most suspenseful (the heist) it falls flat. The best part of this episode is the chess match, where Rollin defeats Groate with the aid of the computer and a hearing aid. Like a lot of other land-locked "M:I" episodes, "A Game of Chess" suffers from its claustrophobic atmosphere. Sometimes, this works, but when the plot doesn't advance at a good clip, it can be stifling. Here, we have the ingredients for a great climax, but it really disappoints. Groate is a sinister-enough villain, and it is nice to see him fall for the con as hard as he does, but you never really get the sense that he's the criminal mastermind that the tape hints at.
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