Set in Chinatown in the late 1950s and early 1960s. A 9-year old girl named Meimei is in a store with her mother and Meimei wants some salted plums. Her mother scolded teaching her the art of invisible strength. This invisible strength would be used in a chess game.
Meimei is always being told not to say this and always do that. Respect others and lose less. She struggles with her self-control and always doing what her mother tells her to do.
Aii-ya! Stupid girl!
After they a receive the game chess Meimei become fascinated with the game and wants to learn more. She goes to the library to read books upon books about chess.
After becoming a prodigy in chess her mother decides to make Meimei's brothers, Vincent and Winston, do her chores because Meimei has to spend her time practicing and learning more about the game chess. Her mother gives Meimei more freedom such as not having to finish her dinner and making her brothers sleep somewhere else so she can concentrate.
After letting all this pressure and stress build up Meimei finally can't take it anymore and tells her mother, but the outcome didn't go as she hopes. After her mother reacted in a negative way she knocks over a woman next to her. Meimei takes this opportunity and runs off.
Hours go by and Meimei finally comes back home. Her mother doesn't say anything as Meimei goes to her room and thinks. She imagines a chess board and sees her pieces running away from her mother pieces realizes what her mother has taught her. All she can think about now is her next move.