- 1. Dark's nothing to be afraid of.
- 2. In fact, I'd go as far as saying
there's nothing to be afraid of.
- 3. Anywhere.
- 4. The strongest person is the person
who isn't scared to be alone.
- 5. It's other people you got to worry about.
- 6. Other people. They'll tell you what to do,
how to feel…
- 7. Before you know it…
- 8. …you're pouring your life out
in search of something
- 9. other people told you to go look for.
- 10. Someday, you're gonna be all alone,
- 11. so you need to figure out
how to take care of yourself.
- 12. Hello.
- 13. Beth Harmon?
- 14. Yes.
- 15. Uh, this is Harry Beltik.
Uh, from the Kentucky State Tournament.
- 16. No, I remember.
- 17. I hear you dropped one to Borgov.
- 18. I wanted to give condolences.
- 19. Thanks.
- 20. What were you playing, white?
- 21. - Black.
- Oh, it's-it's better that way.
- 22. I mean, if you're gonna lose.
- 23. Suppose so.
- 24. What did you play?
- 25. Closed Sicilian.
- 26. Rossolimo? Really?
- 27. I let him do it to me.
- 28. That's a mistake.
- 29. Uh, look, I'm in Lexington for the summer,
and I thought maybe…
- 30. Maybe what?
- 31. Would you like some training?
- 32. I-I know…
I know you're better than me.
- 33. But if you're gonna play the Soviets,
you need help.
- 34. Where are you?
- 35. I'm on my way to the Phoenix Hotel.
- 36. I'm moving to an apartment on Thursday.
I could come by then.
- 37. Why don't you come over right now?
- 38. Excuse me, miss.
- 39. What happened to that gawky kid
who kicked my ass five years ago?
- 40. Apparently, she grew up.
- 41. A.I. Deinkopf.
- 42. Middlegame Strategy.
- 43. I've read that one.
- 44. J.R. Capablanca, My Chess Career.
- 45. That one, too.
- 46. Fornaut, Alekhine's Games 1938 to 1945.
- 47. Yes.
- 48. Meyer, Rook and Pawn Endings.
- 49. I know, you've read it.
- 50. No.
- 51. But I have my own copy upstairs.
- 52. Well, some of these
are gonna be new to you.
- 53. Capablanca played on intuition.
- 54. And his natural gifts,
which obviously were considerable.
- 55. Unlike Bogoljubov and Grünfeld,
who memorized everything.
- 56. Yeah, I know how you feel about them.
- 57. I read your piece in Chess Review.
- 58. Nice cover photo, by the way.
- 59. I see players at tournaments
after their games have finished,
- 60. sitting there studying opening variation
- 61. or middle-game strategy, endgame theory.
- 62. - Like it would have made a difference.
- You don't ever study?
- 63. I analyze games.
- 64. What actually happened,
not what could have happened.
- 65. - And I play it by ear.
- Like Capablanca.
- 66. - He would have beaten Borgov.
- Mmm, not every game.
- 67. Mmm, every game that counted.
- 68. - You think I'm a prima donna, don't you?
- It's chess.
- 69. We're all prima donnas.
- 70. So, I've replayed your match
with Benny Watts a dozen times now.
- 71. Why?
- 72. - That's ancient history.
- Well, it's not that ancient.
- 73. - I'm a different player now.
- In some ways.
- 74. You're stubborn, so you get mad.
- 75. When that happens,
you can only see what's in front of you.
- 76. Anger clears my head.
- 77. Anger is a potent spice.
- 78. A pinch wakes you up,
too much dulls your senses.
- 79. Where'd you get that from,
a fortune cookie?
- 80. Mrs. Grecco, my second grade teacher.
- 81. - Ah.
- 82. But the point is still valid.
You've got to stay open.
- 83. If you get locked into one idea,
like this king knight pawn, say,
- 84. it's death.
- 85. Look.
- 86. - Now, the knight pawn is pinned.
- 87. So you got to move the king now,
or you get stuck later.
- 88. I can see that, but—
- 89. But look at the queen-side pawns,
way over here.
- 90. - He could do this.
- Try it.
- 91. See?
- 92. It's a good sequence.
- 93. It's from Alekhine.
- 94. I'm saying I got it from a book.
- 95. I know what you're saying.
- 96. Let's eat.
- 97. You're not the same person
you were five years ago, either.
- 98. - No?
- 99. But I can't figure out what's different.
- 100. Um, I've become more profound?
- 101. That's not it.
- 102. And I, um, got my teeth fixed.
- 103. - Yeah, that's it.
- 104. It's the teeth. It was driving me crazy.
- 105. I used my tuition money.
- 106. My parents are plenty ticked off about it.
- 107. It was worth it.
- 108. Uh, I should go.
- 109. Uh, I'll leave my board here.
- 110. I'll take this.
- 111. I'll be back in the morning
with more books.
- 112. Shit.
- 113. Oh, God.
- 114. No.
- 115. You see, I'm a little shy.
- 116. What seems to be the trouble?
- 117. Well, it's difficult to show you
the symptoms at the moment, because…
- 118. it comes and it goes.
- 119. Oh, it comes and goes?
- 120. Yes, it's so unfortunate.
- 121. It's always the same
whenever I see a doctor.
- 122. When… when I come, it goes,
- 123. and when I go, it comes.
- 124. Okay, tell me, what was your endgame?
- 125. You just saw it.
- 126. What was your plan?
- 127. To beat you?
- 128. - I don't know what it was.
- Exactly, you're still just improvising.
- 129. I just wiped you out five times.
- 130. I'm a master,
- 131. and I've never played better in my life.
- 132. So modest.
- 133. But I'm nowhere close
to what you'll face in Paris.
- 134. I could beat Borgov
with a little more work.
- 135. You can beat Borgov with a lot more work.
- 136. Years more work.
- 137. Borgov's not some
Kentucky ex-champion like me.
- 138. He is a world champion
- 139. who could have beaten
both of us when he was ten.
- 140. Do you even know his career?
- 141. No.
- 142. Well…
- 143. Read it.
- 144. Read the games from Leningrad, 1962.
- 145. Look at the way he plays
- 146. Look at the games
with Luchenko and Spassky.
- 147. You might learn something.
- 148. No, this way.
- 149. Right.
- 150. "Look at the games
with Luchenko and Spassky,
- 151. you might learn something." Fuck.
- 152. "I'm a master."
- 153. It was so bad.
- 154. Summer's coming.
- 155. Come on.
- 156. I'll turn it down after this. I just…
- 157. I love this song.
- 158. Are you coming?
- 159. "In a fight,
you want the first blow to be the last."
- 160. "And you better be the one to throw it."
- 161. "Few things
are as mentally brutal as chess."
- 162. "Attackers may sometimes regret
- 163. but it is much worse to forever regret
- 164. an opportunity
you allowed to pass you by."
- 165. So, it's not always about attacking.
- 166. Sometimes, it's much better
to take a piece back.
- 167. So, this is Smyslov versus Botvinnik.
- 168. Now, as you can see,
- 169. Botvinnik should have taken
the pawn with the queen.
- 170. He must have been very tired,
- 171. or someone must have drugged his tea.
- 172. Anyway,
I always thought that was interesting.
- 173. "I'm a good
player, but I play people half my age."
- 174. "I don't know
how long I can keep winning."
- 175. "I can fight against anyone but time."
- 176. I'm moving out of the hotel tomorrow.
- 177. Into my apartment.
- 178. Whoa. Uh…
- 179. Play pawn to king five.
- 180. Humor me.
- 181. - That's unusual.
- 182. Player named Mikėnas
came up with that one.
- 183. How far away is it?
- 184. The apartment.
- 185. Oh, um, New Circle Road.
- 186. Hm.
- I won't be coming by so much.
- 187. It's not so far away.
- 188. No, but I'll be taking classes,
and I should probably get a part-time job.
- 189. You could move in here if you want.
You know, for free.
- 190. Really?
- 191. Yeah.
- 192. Really.
- 193. Um…
- 194. - Sorry, I…
- Uh… no. No.
- 195. I'm ready now.
- 196. Now or never.
- 197. So, um…
- 198. should I stay here or go back to my room?
- 199. Whatever you want.
- 200. Okay.
- 201. Good night.
- 202. Good night.
- 203. Beth?
- 204. Beth Harmon?
- 205. Margaret Neil.
- 206. Well, Margaret Johnson now.
- 207. Fairfield High?
- 208. Margaret.
- 209. Mike and I tied the knot
right after graduation.
- 210. Congratulations.
- 211. Not long after,
we were blessed with this little one.
- 212. What's her name?
- 213. Jean, after Mike's grandmother.
- 214. I read about you.
- 215. The chess and the traveling.
- 216. It must be exciting.
- 217. It is.
- 218. Being around all those boys
is a real thrill.
- 219. You wanted to know
what the boys were like,
- 220. if I dated any of them.
- 221. That time I came over to your house
with the Apple Pis.
- 222. Oh! Gosh!
- 223. That seems, uh…
- 224. like a million years ago, doesn't it?
- 225. I should probably get my errands done,
before this one gets…
- 226. really fussy,
and the window of opportunity,
- 227. as we like to say, slams shut.
- 228. It was nice to see you.
- 229. You, too.
- 230. I think there's more to life than chess.
- 231. Yeah, one of my heroes is Philidor.
- 232. This French musician,
used to play chess blindfolded
- 233. in Paris and London.
- 234. Diderot wrote him a letter.
- 235. Now, you know Diderot?
- 236. French Revolution?
- 237. Yeah, it's close enough.
- 238. So, uh, Philidor was doing
- 239. and burning out his brain,
- 240. or whatever it was they thought you did
in the 18th century. Anyway…
- 241. Diderot wrote to him
and said something like,
- 242. "It's foolish to run the risk
of going mad for vanity's sake."
- 243. Now, I think about that sometimes,
- 244. when I'm analyzing my ass off
over a chess board.
- 245. I, um… I saw your picture
on the cover of Chess Review,
- 246. and those pictures
Townes took in Las Vegas,
- 247. for the Lexington paper.
- 248. They were beautiful.
- 249. - I thought maybe the two of you were—
- No, we weren't.
- 250. Truth is…
- 251. I was waiting for you to come back.
- 252. You're why I got my teeth fixed.
- 253. Didn't Koltanowski
use to play blindfolded all the time?
- 254. And he wasn't crazy.
- 255. No, no, no, he's-he's not. It was, um…
- 256. It was Morphy who went crazy,
- 257. Morphy thought
people were trying to steal his shoes.
- 258. Well, maybe he thought
shoes were bishops.
- 259. Yeah, maybe.
- 260. Beth?
- 261. Let's play chess.
- 262. Okay.
- 263. Two packs of Chesterfields, please.
- 264. This, too.
- 265. Sure you wouldn't rather just steal it?
- 266. You gonna be there?
- 267. That tournament?
- 268. Yes.
- 269. Good luck.
- 270. Keep it.
- 271. For the first time.
- 272. Whoa, that doesn't look right.
Your knight is hanging.
- 273. Mm-mm.
- 274. You're missing it.
It's a much stronger move than it looks.
- 275. Okay, watch.
- 276. The knight takes,
- 277. and the pawn moves up.
- 278. If he didn't move it up,
the bishop would be locked in.
- 279. When he does…
- 280. …the other pawn falls.
- 281. - What about the other bishop here?
- For Christ's sakes.
- 282. It's check once the pawn moves,
and the knight trades.
- 283. Can't you see that?
- 284. - No, I can't. I can't find it that fast.
- Well, wish you could.
- 285. You're too sharp for me.
- 286. Hey.
- 287. Breakfast is almost ready.
- 288. I have taught you everything I know.
- 289. Which, admittedly, is not a lot.
- 290. I've got to start studying.
- 291. I'm supposed to be an electrical engineer,
not a chess bum.
- 292. Where are you gonna go?
- 293. I'm moving to that apartment.
- 294. It's closer to the university.
- 295. - I'm gonna leave you—
- You're wrong, you know.
- 296. You've taught me a lot.
- 297. I'm really glad you called.
- 298. I'm glad I could be here with you,
- 299. After you lost your mom.
- 300. It's more than that.
- 301. You've really helped me.
- 302. I guess you've helped me, too.
- 303. You've helped me realize something.
- 304. What?
- 305. That I don't love chess.
- 306. No, it's okay.
- 307. I just don't love it
as much as I once did.
- 308. I'm not obsessed with it
the way one has to be to win it all.
- 309. The way you are.
- 310. I'm gonna leave you…
- 311. this.
- 312. You have a lot in common.
- 313. Really?
- 314. Morphy was a lawyer or something,
in New Orleans.
- 315. You look at his games,
- 316. the way he played.
- 317. He sacrificed knights and bishops
like he had a dozen instead of two,
- 318. and then he'd move in on the king so fast,
his opponents would just freeze up.
- 319. It's too bad Morphy and Capablanca
hadn't been alive at the same time.
- 320. They could've played each other.
- 321. Yeah, it's too bad Morphy
fell into a muttering paranoia and died.
- 322. He would stay up all night,
in Paris, before his games,
- 323. drinking in cafes,
and talking with strangers.
- 324. And then he'd play
the next day like a shark.
- 325. Well-mannered, well-dressed,
moving the pieces
- 326. with these small, ladylike hands.
- 327. Crushing one European master
- 328. You know what they called him?
- 329. "The pride and the sorrow of chess."
- 330. And then he retired at 22.
- 331. - And you think that's gonna be me?
- I think that is you.
- 332. I think maybe…
- 333. it's always been you.
- 334. Be careful, Beth.
- 335. Why, hello, Beth.
- 336. Why, hello, Benny.
- 337. I read about your game with Borgov.
That must have felt terrible.
- 338. - I felt like a fool.
- I know that feeling.
- 339. Helpless.
- 340. It all goes, and you just…
- 341. push wood.
- 342. Who have you got up first?
- 343. Manfredi.
- 344. That shouldn't take too long.
- 345. Highest-rated players
in the whole fucking country,
- 346. and yet here we are
at some second-rate university,
- 347. playing on cheap plastic boards
with cheap plastic pieces.
- 348. If this were
a golf or tennis tournament,
- 349. we'd be surrounded by reporters,
as opposed to…
- 350. …whoever these people are.
- 351. You should see where
they play in the Soviet Union.
- 352. I'm planning on it.
- 353. You have to get past me first.
- 354. I'm planning on that, too.
- 355. Now, most players, they lack
the courage in their convictions.
- 356. The key is to not be tentative.
You have to play with absolute confidence.
- 357. I can tell, on the first move,
- 358. whether someone's got that or they don't,
just from how they move that first piece.
- 359. What advice would you give
to any young players
- 360. who wanna follow in your footsteps?
- 361. Um…
- 362. I'd tell them to read my book.
- 363. Obviously. Um…
- 364. Yeah, play through all the games.
You know, I'd tell them to get in shape.
- 365. Most people think about chess players,
they think about people who look like you.
- 366. Harmon!
- 367. Wait up.
- 368. Found you a reporter, I see.
- 369. - Funny. Ha.
- 370. What did you do to that poor guy
you played in the third round?
- 371. He looked like he wanted to kill himself.
- 372. Uh, which poor guy are you talking about?
- 373. Touché.
- 374. Hey, uh, some of us have been, uh,
heading down to the student union,
- 375. having a couple beers,
playing some speed chess.
- 376. You should join us.
- 377. No, thanks. I have to study.
- 378. Thought I'd go back to the dorms,
read your book.
- 379. You know, get in shape.
- 380. You do realize
that we have the whole day off tomorrow?
- 381. Can I ask you a question?
- 382. Ooh.
- 383. Depends on whether or not
the answer will give you an edge.
- 384. Seriously?
- 385. Are you that nervous?
- 386. - Was that the question?
- No! What's with the knife?
- 387. What do you mean?
- 388. I mean, why do you carry it around?
- 389. This is for protection.
- 390. - From what?
- 391. Study hard.
- 392. Beth!
- 393. Beth Harmon,
this is Danny Weiss and Dave Friedman.
- 394. Nice to meet you.
- 395. Actually, we met.
You beat me the other day.
- 396. Me, too. Rather badly, in fact.
- 397. - Sorry.
- 398. After I finished weeping in my room,
I replayed the game.
- 399. Learned a lot from it, so thank you.
- 400. - You're welcome.
- Beth, take a look at this.
- 401. It's White's move.
- 402. What would you do?
- 403. Typical mid-game Ruy Lopez.
- 404. Well, yeah, we know that,
but what's the move?
- 405. - You see?
- Maybe you're right.
- 406. No, I know I'm right,
and Beth sees things the same way I do.
- 407. The pawn move is too weak, right?
- 408. The pawn move
only works if he plays his bishop.
- 409. Exactly.
- 410. - Bye, boys.
- Whoa, hold on.
- 411. How about some speed chess?
- 412. Or we could play some skittles, or blitz,
- 413. or bughouse?
- 414. No, I'm just gonna get some coffee,
and then I'm gonna go back and study.
- 415. Well, Weiss will get you some coffee,
won't you, Weiss?
- 416. Uh… yeah.
- 417. Sugar, cream?
- 418. Yes.
- 419. - Thank you.
- Uh, get me an apple juice.
- 420. But not one of those, uh,
crappy plastic cups.
- 421. Get me a-a milk glass.
- 422. Yeah, sure.
- 423. Please, sit.
- 424. Fine.
- 425. One game.
- 426. - Got it?
- All right.
- 427. Okay.
- 428. Shall we say…
- 429. five bucks a game?
- 430. - I haven't even had my coffee.
- Well, look, here it comes right now.
- 431. - There you go.
- Thank you.
- 432. All right, you take a sip of that coffee,
and I'll punch your clock.
- 433. Go ahead.
- 434. Again?
- 435. Again?
- 436. Again?
- 437. Again?
- 438. - [man 1] I need to see proof.
- [man 2] Calling me a liar?
- 439. It's gonna be you or me.
- 440. - Are you trying to psych me out?
- No, I don't need to do that to beat you.
- 441. Listen, I'm sorry about yesterday, okay?
I wasn't trying to hustle you.
- 442. - Weren't you?
- Come on, Beth.
- 443. You're the best player here.
- 444. And I've been watching your games. You…
- 445. You attack like Alekhine.
- 446. You held me off well enough yesterday.
- 447. But that doesn't count.
That's speed chess.
- 448. I'm better at speed chess than you.
I play a lot in New York.
- 449. - You beat me in Las Vegas.
- That was a while ago.
- 450. You were too hung up on doubling my pawns.
- 451. I don't think
I could get away with that again.
- 452. Do you ever go over games in your head?
- 453. When you're alone.
Play all the way through them?
- 454. Doesn't everybody?
- 455. Well, I never thought
you'd let me trade queens.
- 456. I didn't think so, either.
- 457. Thirty moves, man, Jesus.
- 458. That many?
- 459. Hmm.
- 460. Looks like you can outdrink me, too.
- 461. I really appreciate
how you're taking this.
- 462. - I'm raging inwardly.
- Well, it doesn't show.
- 463. Should never have played
that goddamn bishop pawn.
- 464. - No, probably not.
- What are you gonna do about Borgov?
- 465. I don't know.
- 466. I don't even have a passport.
Or the right clothes.
- 467. I hear it's pretty cold in Paris
that time of year.
- 468. I'm not talking about Paris.
I'm talking about Moscow.
- 469. What, do they not deliver mail
- 470. What's in Moscow?
- 471. The Moscow Invitational.
- 472. The US winner gets invited.
You didn't know that?
- 473. Yes, ma'am.
- A couple more, please.
- 474. - Uh, no, thanks. I'm still on my first.
- Well, I'll drink them both.
- 475. Easy there, tiger.
- 476. How do I get to Moscow if I go?
- 477. Uh, well, I mean, when I went,
- 478. the Federation paid for my ticket,
and then this church group
- 479. covered the rest of it.
- 480. Did you have a second?
- 481. - Weiss.
- 482. - It would be tough to go to Russia alone.
- 483. Here you go.
- Oh, thank you.
- 484. You always drink this much?
- 485. Sometimes, I drink more.
- 486. Who else will be playing in Moscow?
- 487. Four top Russians,
and four other countries.
- 488. If you keep doing this,
you're gonna end up washed up
- 489. by the time you're 21.
- 490. I like your hair.
- 491. Uh-huh.
- 492. Yeah, sure you do.
- 493. What about Moscow?
- 494. Four Soviet chess players
is a lot of Soviet chess players.
- 495. Murderous.
- 496. But you're the only American
- 497. I can think of
that might be able to do it.
- 498. I went to pieces
with Borgov in Mexico City.
- 499. When do you go to Paris?
- 500. In five weeks.
- 501. Well, you'll need a good trainer.
- 502. Not Harry Beltik.
- 503. Someone…
- 504. - better.
- 505. Someone more, um, mature.
- 506. Who'd you have in mind?
- 507. Can you come to New York?
- 508. I don't know.
- 509. You can sleep in my living room,
and you can leave for Paris from there.
- 510. That's very nice of you,
- 511. but I'm not even so sure
I wanna go to Paris anymore.
- 512. What are you gonna do instead, huh?
- 513. Now that you mention it,
yeah, sounds pretty good.
- 514. Beth…
- 515. Borgov made me look like a fool.
- 516. - That's 'cause you weren't ready.
- I don't know if I'm good enough.
- 517. You're the best there is.
- 518. You beat me.
- 519. Okay, fine. I'll come to New York.
- 520. Great.
- 521. We'll leave from here. I'll drive us.
- 522. - When?
- Tomorrow. Afternoon.
- 523. Once everything here finishes up.
- 524. Oh, and about sex…
- 525. forget it.