Aaron Carlson is a high school student with lofty dreams of becoming a great lawyer. But his dreams are far from his reality. He is the son of an insurance salesman, and doesn’t have the connections or the grades to make his dreams come true. Aaron’s principal, his school counselor, and his family all insist on a more “reasonable” goal.
But during one of Aaron’s mock trials, Judge Andrews recognizes Aaron’s remarkable talent and dedication. He offers Aaron an opportunity: win a chess tournament and Judge Andrews will secure admission to a pre-law program for Aaron
Unfortunately, Aaron doesn’t even know how to play chess. He starts learning from a book and by playing games on his laptop. Eventually he is invited to play a game arranged by Judge Andrews. If Aaron can win the game, he becomes a member of an elite chess club: the Arcanum. Aaron is shocked to learn that his opponent is his school principal.
Aaron wins, and as he continues to learn the game he discovers he has talent. He also discovers he needs a teacher to help him. Sadly, Aaron doesn’t have the money to hire a teacher, and his parents won’t help. After unsuccessfully searching for a job, Aaron finds a teacher who is willing to help him in exchange for Aaron’s work.
His new teacher, Ben, enrolls Aaron in his first chess tournament. Aaron fails miserably. Aaron considers giving up. Maybe he shouldn’t reach so far. Maybe he was born to be just like his father, and his family. Maybe he should take the job at the factory.
But Judge Andrews encourages Aaron, and reveals that Aaron’s own father is an accomplished grandmaster. Aaron confronts his father and finds the truth. Finally, Aaron’s own father coaches him before the national tournament and Aaron has his opportunity to win a game, and win his destiny.
This film is a good example of how perseverance and drive can help you succeed in life. While boastful and arrogant at times, Aaron has a love for the game of chess that won’t quit. Despite his father’s unwillingness to allow him to play the game, his mother supports Aaron and with the help of a teacher, he becomes quite good at it.
There are lessons to be learned besides just chess here. Aaron follows his calling from God and overcomes against great odds and becomes “totally tops.” We are pleased to award this film our “Family-Approved” Seal for all ages.