Vienna, 1938: Austria is occupied by the Nazis. Just as lawyer Bartok is about to flee to America with his wife Anna, he is arrested and taken to the Hotel Metropol, the Gestapo headquarters. As an asset manager to the aristocracy he is to help the local Gestapo leader Böhm gain access to bank accounts.
Bartok refuses to cooperate and is thrown into solitary confinement where he is psychologically tormented for months and begins to weaken. However, when he steals an old book about chess it sets him on course to overcome the mental suffering inflicted upon him, until it becomes a dangerous obsession. Based on the last book by Stefan Zweig.