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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Blind Chess: McDonald's Chess Docu Algorithms nominated for Grierson Prize

Hello chess blog friends, we've written about Ian McDonald and his chess documentary on blind chess players from India before. McDonald, from Newcastle University actually remortgaged his home to make the documentary which is now nominated for yet another award, reports ChronicleLive

Dr Ian McDonald, a senior lecturer in film, is in the running for a Grierson prize for his documentary Algorithms, which follows blind chess players in India. He made the documentary, which spans three years, after reading about the chess players in an Indian newspaper in 2006. Dr McDonald directed, filmed and edited the film alongside his wife Geetha, the producer.

He said: “It is a great privilege to be nominated for a Grierson.
“Making the film has been a real struggle, but it’s had a great response wherever it has screened and now for the film to receive this nomination is a real honour for us.”

Dr Ian McDonald and his wife Geetha

Algorithms has already won six awards, including best foreign documentary at this year’s LA Femme film festival and the best film trophy at Film South Asia in Nepal last year. Dr McDonald was inspired to create the film after discovering a “community that was almost unknown to the outside world”.

He said: “To be part of their world for three years was a transformative experience.

“It changed my understanding of ability and disability and reminded me of the forgotten significance of touch.”

The husband and wife duo followed three boys competing in tournaments in India and abroad, as well as visiting the chess champions at home.

Dr McDonald found out for himself that despite being blind, the boys were still able to see the winning moves on the board.

The Grierson awards were set up in memory of renowned Scottish filmmaker John Grierson in 1972, and recognise groundbreaking documentaries. Read full article.

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