State of Kentucky, 1957. After the death of her mother, 9-year-old Beth Harmon is left an orphan and sent to a Catholic orphanage. In this institution, children are regularly given "vitamins", and on the advice of another ward, Beth leaves the green capsules overnight. There, the girl meets the elderly cleaner Shaibel, whom she asks to teach her how to play chess.
During the day, having escaped from boring classes under the pretext of washing a rag, Beth plays with Mr. Shaibel in his basement utility room, and at night, having taken a green capsule, plays chess games on the ceiling of the dormitory. In a few years, the girl will be adopted, she will begin a completely different life, but the main role in it will be played by her love of chess.