01x06 - Adjournment

Episode transcripts for the TV show, "The Queen's Gambit". Aired: October 23, 2020.
Set during the Cold w*r era, orphaned chess prodigy Beth Harmon struggles with addiction in a quest to become the greatest chess player in the world.
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01x06 - Adjournment

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Men are gonna come along
and wanna teach you things.

Doesn't make them any smarter.

In most ways, they're not,
but it makes them feel bigger.

They can show you how things are done.

You just let them blow by,

and you go on ahead,
and do just what the hell you feel like.

It takes a strong woman
to stay by herself,

in a world where people
will settle for anything,

just to say they have something.

There we are.

So you never forget who you are.

- Pawn to king four.
- Pawn to queen bishop four.

- N to KB-3.
- Pawn to queen three.

P to Q4.

Pawn takes pawn.

- Knight takes.
- Knight… king bishop three.

- N to QB-3.
- Pawn to king's knight three.

P to B4.

P to B4.

The Levenfish. Never liked it.

- King to B3.
- I'll take the knight.

- Pawn takes.
- Pawn to king five.

Pawn takes again.

Hey, you know what Scharz
says about that in the footnote?

I don't read the footnotes.

- Okay, well, it's time you started.
- I don't like Scharz.

Oh, I don't like Scharz either,
but I read him.

What's your move?

Queen takes queen. Check.

The weather is hot today.

I feel sick.


Here you go.

Not that one.

This one.


Come on.

- Is there a bathroom?
- Oh, yeah, it's just through there.

There's space in the closet.

You can hang your clothes up
in there if you want.


- I thought I was gonna get a couch.
- No, I said living room.

Just gotta…

Pump it up.

- I got it.
- Really?

- You sure? Gonna be all right?
- Sure.

Oh, there's no booze in the apartment.

Didn't think there would be.

You can get changed in my bedroom.

I need a shower.

She's all yours.

Here, we'll start with these.

"The Hastings Christmas Chess Congress."

"Falaise Hall, White Rock Gardens."

"Record of games."

"Luchenko-Uhlmann. Borgov-Penrose."

"Grandmaster Chess." Whoo!

Play the Hastings games first.

I'll play black.

I haven't had any breakfast.

Eggs are in the fridge.

Thank you.

Then, we'll play the Borgov games first.

- All of them?
- He will be in Paris.


I will eat first.

Why not advance the knight?
Why isn't he defending against the rook?

What's gonna become of the backward pawn?

You replay the game
so you can feel the wins for yourself.

You read game books like Reinfeld

that are full of queen sacrifices
and melodrama.

You know from your tournament experience

you can't rely on your opponent
setting himself up for a queen sacrifice,

or a surprise mate
with a knight and a rook.

But that's who you are.

You're bored with ordinary chess,

even when it's played by Grandmasters.

You're bored in the way you probably were

when you read
Reuben Fine's endgame analysis.

And then the counter analysis
in Chess Review

that pointed out the errors
in Reuben Fine.


…look at this.

Fine missed one.

Look. Ready?


Has this…

With the knight.

- Yeah.
- It's good, it's good!

Yeah. Yeah.


And you haven't done anything
like what I'm making you do now.

We're playing serious chess.

Workmanlike chess.

The kind of chess played
by the best players in the world,

the Soviets.

And you know why
they're the best players in the world?

They have the best suits?

It's because they play together as a team,

especially during adjournments.

They help each other out.

Us Americans, we work alone
because we're all such individualists.

We don't like to let anyone help us.

You're helping me now.

Am I?

'Cause it looks more
like I'm putting you to sleep.

I'm sorry.

I'm tired.

I should probably go to bed.

What, and miss out on all the fun?

Mm. I'll survive.

What fun?

I wonder who that could be.


Right on time.

- Come on in, come on in.
- Good to see you.

Beth Harmon, this is Hilton Wexler
and Grandmaster Arthur Levertov.

The new champ.


Benny needed a lesson in humility.

I'm already tops in humility.

Hello, Beth.

Uh… oh…

I'm Cleo.


Do you do problems?

- No.
- Never?

I always found them irrelevant.

Positions that never come up
in actual games.

Let me show you one you might like.


- Can I mess this up?
- Go ahead.

Hilton, she is not
one of your problem freaks.

- She's the US Champion, for Christ's sake.
- It's okay.

This one is…

…my favorite.

How does White win in three?

Benny, under what mound
do you hide your drinking glasses?

Hey, quit distracting her.

She's not.

King to queen seven.

Jesus! That's fast.


No, thank you.

I should fix the food.

Come on, that's enough of that.

- Come on.
- Do you ever clean?

Are you here with Arthur or Hilton?

Both of them.

Neither of them.

Two of them are better than one,
if you know what I mean.

How do you all know each other?

A sad story,

involving me, a bad breakup,

and a walk through
le Jardin du Luxembourg,

where those two stopped me
from k*lling myself.

Like I say, a sad story.

But as I walked past,

Arthur and Hilton were having
a violent argument over a chessboard,

and I became mesmerized by their passion.

Well, that's how they tell it, anyway.

No, the truth is, um…

Benny was there,
and I became mesmerized by Benny.

Over and done.

What do you do?


Something in fashion?

That's a nice way to put it.

I'm a model.


That must be exciting.

Fashion is exciting.
Modeling and models are insipid.

But it pays for my studio in the Marais.

Oh, you have not been to Paris?

Not yet.

- Do you live there?
- Sometimes.

Sometimes Berlin, sometimes here.

I'm a, uh…

- How do you say? A vagabond?
- I don't know.

Modeling sounds pretty exciting to me.

Plus, I imagine
they give you a lot of free clothes.

Ah, you like nice clothes, huh?

I do.

You could never be a model.

You are pretty enough,
but you are much too smart.

Models are empty creatures.

The camera lens fills them
with color and texture,

and, once in a while, even mystery.

But just like there is no mystery
to a vacant lot,

it's just there until you put
something interesting on top of it…

Models are the same.

They are just what you put on them.

You know, most are terrible in bed.

But then, anyone who doesn't eat
is terrible in bed, don't you think?

Here we go.


Let's do a simultaneous.


Play all of us.

Uh, not me.
I don't even know the rules.

I'll spectate.

- Do we have enough boards, enough pieces?
- Yeah, in the closet.

We can set them up
right here on the floor.


- Time control?
- Let's play speed chess.

Well, that'll give us an edge.
We can think on your time.

Mm. I wanna try it.

You're not so good at that, remember?

I'll bet you ten I can b*at you.

What if you throw the other games,
spend all your time against me?

What if I kick you in the crotch?

- I'll bet you ten on them, too.
- Okay. It's your money.

It will be.

Let's do it again.



Well, kid…

I think you've got it.

It was such a pleasure.
Do look me up if you come to Paris.

- Will you be there in two weeks?
- Oh, who knows?

- Ah, bye.
- Bye-bye.


Nobody has done that to me in 15 years.

- Not even Borgov?
- Not even Borgov.

And I'm sober as a judge,

as Alma would say.

I, myself, am not.

Good night.


Wait. Hey.


Do you still like my hair?

That's what it's supposed to feel like.


You should play the Sicilian.


In your game with Borgov,
you should play the Sicilian.


It's what he's so good at.

It's also
what you're most comfortable with.

You should always
play your line, never his.

You play what's best for you.

Thank you.

Anything else?

One more thing.

They never say "check"
at the big tournaments.

Are you serious?

Yeah, very.
They never lay their kings down, either.

I meant, "Are you serious?"

"This is what you're thinking about
right now?"

Good night, Benny.

Good night.

Welcome to our international tournament.

This is a single round-robin event.

Everyone plays everyone.

There are six players and five rounds.

One round a day for five days

with one day off for adjournments.

Places in our cross table
have been chosen by lot.

Colors have been chosen accordingly.

Mr. Borgov, what's
it like to compete with younger players,

and how much longer
do you think you'll play?

"I feel good,
as good as I felt when I was 4 years old,

and played my first game."

"Chess still…

Excites me in the same way."

"I have no plans to stop playing,

and I'll…

likely die with my head on a chessboard."

Miss Harmon, what do you say
to those in the Chess Federation

who accuse you of being too glamorous

to be a serious chess player?

I would say
that it's much easier to play chess

without the burden of an Adam's apple.

So, how are you feeling
about your match with Alec Bergland?

I'm looking forward to it.

Does that mean you think you can b*at him?

It means that I have to b*at him.

Miss Harmon, do you feel good
about rematch with Grandmaster Borgov?

Very good.

I slept on the plane,
so I arrived in Paris with no jet lag.

I'm very well rested.

At night, I stay in my room,
and study Mr. Borgov's old games.

Including the one against you
in Mexico City?

Especially that one.

The time control
is 40 moves in two and half hours.

Any questions?

Very well.

Good luck to each of you.

May the best man,

or woman,


I'm sorry, Mademoiselle?

Excuse me. Would it be possible
to have an autograph?


Tomorrow, it's you…

…against Grandmaster Borgov.


What, you thought you could sneak
into town without me knowing?

Who is this?

And now you insult me.

- Cleo?
- A very sad Cleo.

I'm sorry. I was just…

- Where are you?
- Downstairs.

- Here?
- I thought you might come down

and join me for a drink.

I have a match tomorrow.

One drink, and then you go back up
and resume your rigors.

It's the final.

I should probably sleep.

Of course you should.

I understand.

But maybe tomorrow night?

Well, who knows
where I'll be so far in the future?

But, um, I wish you luck in your match.

Thank you.

You know, it's a lovely bar.

I think I'll go toast
your success on my own.

Sweet dreams.


So, the pretty girl has taste
to go with her other gifts, huh?

You make me sick, you know.

Thank you, so do you.

Now, just one drink.

I wanna get to bed early.


So, what will you have then,
for your one drink?

Must be special if it is your only one.

What are you having?

It's called pastis.

Very Parisian, very ordinary.

Here, try it.

Tastes like licorice.


The anise.

I like it.

- I could see myself living here.
- I could see it, too.

A little pied-à-terre
on the Rue des Capucines,

or the Boulevard Raspail.

In a few years, I'll be world champion.

I can live wherever I want.

It will be much sooner than that.

If I lived here…

I would go to plays, and concerts, and…

I would eat lunch
in a different cafe every day.

And I would dress the way
that women do here, you know?

So smart with their nice dresses,
and their perfect haircuts.

You already have
so much more than they do.

And something that none of them have.


And that can give you a life
that anyone would envy.

There's nothing keeping me in Kentucky.

The possibilities are endless.

And one of those possibilities
is staring at you.

No, they're looking at you.

I think not.

You are very beautiful.

- I don't see myself that way.
- Then you are blind.

Do you like to f*ck?

- Cleo!
- What?

I make it easier for you.
Did you like to f*ck Benny?


How romantic.

And have you ever been in love?

Not with Benny.

Of course not.

No woman can compete
with Benny's love for himself.

So, we are still in love?

What's his name?


To unrequited love.

And to stupid men.


Let's see how many lies they tell.

Excuse me?

Mademoiselle Harmon, vous êtes là?

Mademoiselle, on vous attend.

Je descends tout de suite.


Thank you.

I'm sorry.

I resign.

There's a rumor you were drunk.

I wasn't drunk.

Or hungover, then.

I could have been stone-cold sober.

It wouldn't have made
the slightest difference.

I don't believe that.

What time do you get in?
I can come pick you up.

I'm going back to Lexington.

I need to be alone.

That is the opposite of what you need.

Beth, please just come to New York.
We can talk it out.

- Beth?
- Thank you, Benny.

For everything.

You shouldn't be by yourself.
You know what happens.

Maybe that's what I want.

- What, to get drunk?
- Yeah, good and drunk.

f*cking b*mb.

And maybe high, too. Why not?

- You wouldn't if you were with me.
- I know.

What if I said,
"Go ahead, get drunk"?

Would you come then?

Benny, I don't know what I'm doing.

Or going to do.

- Hello.
- This is d*ck Chennault.
- Um…
- Your lawyer.


I tried to get you three times yesterday,
and the day before. Where you been?

In Paris.

Playing chess.

How sweet it must be.

What is it I can do for you,
Mr. Chennault?

Uh, it's, uh, it's Wheatley.
He doesn't wanna sign.

Sign what?

Title for the house.

Can you get over here
so we can work it out?

I don't see why you would need me.
You're the lawyer.

And he said he would sign
whatever was necessary, so…

Oh, well, apparently,
he's changed his mind.

Come in.


Mr. Wheatley has a proposal.

You can live here while you're looking
for something permanent.

I thought I could keep the house
if I made the payments.

Uh, Mr. Wheatley…

Says you misconstrued him.

He, uh, claims he was just permitting you
to stay in the house, uh…

Until you got settled.

That's not true.

He said I could have it.


Can't you even look at me?

- You adopted me. Can't you talk to me?
- Alma.

- Alma wanted a child.
- You signed the papers.

- You took on a responsibility.
- Alma wanted to adopt you, not me.

You're not entitled to everything I own,

just 'cause I signed
some papers to shut her up.

Not that it worked.

You adopted me.

I didn't ask you to.

- You're my legal father.
- The money in this house is mine!

No smart-assed orphan
is gonna take it away from me.

Oh, I'm not an orphan.
I'm your daughter.

Not in my book, you aren't.

I don't give a shit
what your g*dd*mn lawyer says.

Or what Alma said, either.
That woman could not keep her mouth shut.

I thought the piano would help, it didn't.

So, here you are.

It's all so pathetic.

Did you ever hear her play?

Of course.

Yes, but did you ever really listen?

Alma was not pathetic,
she was stuck. There's a difference.

She didn't know how to get out of it.

Pathetic, well…

I'm looking at pathetic.

What do you want from Beth, Mr. Wheatley?

- I want her out. I'm selling the house.
- Sell it to me.

What are you talking about?

I'll buy it.

I'll pay whatever your equity is.

- No, it's worth more than that now.
- How much more?

I'd need 7,000.

Your equity is less than five.

It's seven. I'll show you the receipts.


Seven thousand.

- You have that much?
- Yes.

But I will be subtracting
what I paid to bury Mother.

I'll show you the receipts.

It's too hot in here.


Good luck.

I'll, uh…
…send over the paperwork in a day or so.



You want another job?

Dear Miss Harmon,

as we have been unable
to reach you by telephone,

we are writing to determine your interest
in the support of Christian Crusade

in your forthcoming competition
in the USSR.

Christian Crusade
is a nonprofit organization

dedicated to the opening
of closed doors to the message of Christ.

We have found your career
as a trainee of a Christian institution,

the Methuen Home, noteworthy.

We would like to help you
in your forthcoming struggle,

since we share your Christian ideals
and aspirations.

If you are interested in our support,

please contact our offices in Houston.

Yours in Christ, Crawford Walker.

Take the money. They're loaded.

They'd pay for my ticket to Russia?

More than that.

If you need to play another match before,
they'll back you,

and if you ask them,
they'll fly me out there with you.

Separate rooms, of course,
considering their views.

Why would they pay so much?

They want us to b*at Communists for Jesus.

These are the same people that paid
for part of my way two years ago.

Are you, uh…

Coming to New York?

I have to stay in Kentucky a bit longer.

I have a tournament in San Francisco,
and I need to take care of this place now.

I'm fine, Benny, really.

How are you?

I'm managing.

I miss you.

Study the game pamphlets
from the last Moscow Invitational.

- I'm not even sure I'm gonna go.
- Just do it, Beth.

Write the Jesus people back.

Tell them you will take all the help
that they can give you.

I will have the asparagus vinaigrette
as an appetizer

while I think about my main course.

Very well, Miss Harmon.

And would you care for a cocktail?

No, uh, Coke is fine.


I'll have a Gibson.

On the rocks.

Of course.




That's my girl.


Are you in there?

I've been calling.

Are you okay?

I'm worried about you.

Beth, it's Harry.

Beth, if you're in there,
please open the door.


Elizabeth Harmon?

- Yeah.
- This is Ed Spencer.


I'm the local tournament director.

I'm calling about tomorrow.


The tournament.

We were wondering
if you could come an hour early.

The Louisville paper
is sending a photographer,

and we think WLEX will have somebody.

Could you come at nine?

Miss Harmon?

Uh, yeah, um…

I'll be there at 9:30.

Half an hour is more than enough time
to take the pictures.



Oh, shit.


Ed Spencer.

- You made it.
- Yeah, hi. Um…

You wouldn't happen to have any aspirin?

- I'm sure I could find you some.
- Thank you.

- N-no.
- Beth Harmon?

Annette Packer.

I was your first official win.
You cleaned my clock.

- The whole thing lasted about 15 minutes.
- Sorry.

Oh, don't be, it's an honor.

I'm always telling people

that I was there for
two of your big firsts.

I… I knew you were going places,
and that meant something to me.

You know?

That it was possible…

For us.

So, are you playing here today?

Oh, God, no.

I haven't played in a few years now.

I'm premed, so I have exactly zero time.

I, um, I-I do miss it, though.


I, uh, I heard you were gonna be here,
so I came down for the weekend.

To thank you in person.


I'll see you inside.



Oh, thank you.

There's no smoking in here.

Right, of course. Thanks.

Play starts in a few minutes.

Right on!


You got a new car.

Yeah, I, uh, I wrecked the other one.

This one's more me.

Are you here to play or…

- No.
- Well, what are you doing here?

I've been calling.

I even came by one time.

Did you?


I'm worried about you.

What on earth for?

I've seen you once or twice
at the supermarket.

You following me?

I work there.


I'm Assistant Manager,
so I'm usually in the office.

You've never said hello.

Well, you didn't seem…


You need help.

What kind of help would that be?

Help with my chess? We tried that...

- That's not what I'm talking about.
- What are we talking about?

My dad drank.

He wasn't mean or anything.

He just got quiet
and fell asleep in his clothes.

- Okay.
- You smell just like he did.

Your eyes are just like his eyes,

- and your skin is...
- My skin?

Like I said…

I'm worried about you.

Sounds more like
you're feeling sorry for me.

I didn't say that.

I'm not the one supposed to be in college,
not working in a supermarket.

I'm doing both.

You know what?

Yeah, I like working there.

It's a good job, and the people are nice.


Good luck, Beth.

Ow! Damn it! Harry!

I told you to leave me alone!

Jesus f*cking Christ.

Who the hell are you?

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