It's like prom night for nerds.

Sophie Devereaux

Summer season finale. The team finds themselves with an unexpected client, Sterling, who asks them to steal a nuclear reactor part during a chess tournament in Dubai.

The ClientEdit

James Sterling, Nate's nemesis and former colleague. Sterling contacts Nate and the team, asking them to steal a weight used to calibrate nuclear centrifuges from Robert Livingston, a nuclear engineer who is planning on selling this technology to the government of Kazhistan, who plan to create enriched uranium for bomb-making. Nate is dubious, but Sterling explains that it will take too long for Interpol to mobilize to do the job, and that he feels it requires the team's skills to steal the weight.

Sterling's real objective is to use the team to regain custody of Olivia Livingston, Robert Livingston's stepdaughter and Sterling's daughter. She is Sterling's Interpol informant whose life is put in danger by Livingston's illegal deals, and is heavily guarded while she participates in a chess tournament. He doesn't tell Nate about Olivia, but instead, plans to manipulate the teams activities so that he can get Olivia away from her guards.

The MarkEdit

Robert Livingston, a expatriate nuclear engineer based in Dubai. Livingston develops nuclear technology, and is currently preparing to sell a weight needed to calibrate a nuclear centrifuge to the government of Kazhistan, which needs it to enrich uranium.

Livingston's step-daughter, Olivia, is a chess prodigy. Livingston plans to host a chess tournament to showcase Olivia's skills, at the same time making the presence of the Kazhaks in Dubai appear legitimate.

The ConEdit

The team arrives in Dubai, and quickly infiltrates Livingston's chess tournament. Nate realizes the key to keeping Livingston off-guard is to keep Olivia winning, and his attention on her. However, Sterling realizes a problem has arisen: the Kazhistanis have arrived a week early. Elliot and Sterling pair up to watch them while the rest of the team works on finding the weight.

Meanwhile, Hardison poses as the son of the Saudi oil minister wanting store artwork in Livingston's vault. Livingston gives him a tour allowing him to evaluate the security and locate the calibration weight. They discover the floor of the elevator and the vault have sensors that determine Livingston's weight and walking pattern to authenticate his identity.

The team and Sterling meets to plan, how they will break into the vault. They realize conventional hacking will not work, and that they will have to find a way to simulate Livingston entering the vault. As they do, Nate must stay in the tournament through the final match with Olivia in order to distract Livingston long enough for Parker to break into the vault. Hardison arranges for Olivia to have the lowest ranked opponents while Sophie helps distract Nate's opponents to help him reach the finals.

As the tournament begins, Eliot and Sterling continue their surveillance of the Kazhakstanis, arguing and drinking coffee.

Hardison devises weighted boots for Parker to wear to help her fool the vault's floor sensors.

Once Nate and Olivia make it to the final match the plan begins to go awry because Sterling sabotages it. First, Sterling drugs Eliot, breaks his earbud and locks him in the basement of the building. Then he gets Sophie detained for helping Nate cheat in the chess matches and finally Sterling purposefully sets off the vault alarm by stepping into the vault elevator, trapping Parker in the vault.

Nate tries to stall the Kazhis and buy Parker time to escape, but almost gets killed in the process. Fortunately, Eliot shows up angry, saves Nate and tells him of Sterling's double-cross. Nate goes off to chase Sterling while Eliot rescues Sophie and Hardison helps Parker figure out an escape route from the vault. Parker uses the parachute Hardison added to her gear to jump off the building and meets up with the rest of the team, minus Nate who is "playing chess" with Sterling. Nate reveals that he knows Sterling came to rescue his daughter Olivia and calls in the favor Sterling owes him to get information on a name, presumably Jack Latimer. (Nate also tells Sterling that if he gets the information he won't tell Eliot, who wants revenge on Sterling, where to find him.)

The team returns home believing that Sterling beat them since he used them to rescue his daughter and kept them from stealing the weight. However, Nate reveals that his backup plan had Parker unknowingly sabotaging the weight by adding salt into its chamber when she attempted to steal it, rendering it useless. As proof he shows them a news story of a "waste" plant explosion in Kazhistan.

Episode NotesEdit

  • In this episode, we learn, along with the team, that Olivia is Sterling's biological daughter, and that he is divorced from her mother, who was later killed by a car bomb. This is the first information about Sterling's background we've been given.
  • Hardison describes the weight the team must steal as the nuclear equivalent of "the one ring." He is referring to the One Ring from Tolkien's three volumes making up "The Lord of the Rings."
  • When Hardison tries to teach Parker how to get in rhythm for the job he takes out a dance pad this references the game DDR (Dance Dance Revolution).
  • While teaching Parker to walk with the weight distribution of the mark, Hardison mentions dancing with Parker at the end of "The Reunion Job". 


  • The title of the episode is a reference to a chess opening, a series of moves known as the Queen's Gambit.
  • The irritable Eastern European-accented player (played by Matthew DiBiasio) whom Sophie annoys with her hand mirror is addressed by Sterling as "Mr. Zangrief." This is a corny pun on Zangief, a Russian wrestler from the Street Fighter franchise, and "grief" referring to griefing, a form of harassment in online games where a player deliberately tries to make another player angry.