Set in the late 1920s, THE LUZHIN DEFENCE tells the story of a shambling, unworldly chess Grandmaster who arrives in the Italian Lakes to play the match of his life and unexpectedly finds true love. Discovering his prodigious talent in a boyhood overshadowed by his parents failing marriage, Luzhin's lyrical passion for chess has become his refuge and rendered the real world a phantom. Already promised by her family to the very suitable Comte de Stassard (Christopher Thompson, Avenue Montaigne), Natalia (Emily Watson, Breaking the Waves) meets Luzhin (John Turturro, O Brother, Where Art Thou?) and is drawn to his erratic genius. She offers him a glimpse outside his chess obsession, but it is a world he is not equipped to deal with, and his two worlds collide radically.