Not to step on your particular example, but one good reason to reject such a pitch is that, IIRC, the idea of Spock and Data playing 3-D chess by calling out their moves has already been done in comics--by Peter David in The Modala Imperative.
Yow! You're right! After 600+ TV episodes and countless books and comics, I had completely forgotten about that. No wonder I liked the idea so much.
What's even weirder is that this pitch came from a fairly well-known, published professional writer. (No, don't try to guess; you'll get it wrong.)