The Queen’s Gambit Season 1 Episode 6 Recap – what happened in “Adjournment”?

By Daniel Hart
Published: October 23, 2020 (Last updated: December 3, 2023)
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The Queen's Gambit Season 1 Recap
Anya Taylor-Joy in The Queen's Gambit - Image Courtesy of Netflix


Episode 6 is a chapter of a flawed genius reaching her peak. The Queen’s Gambit brings alcoholism into the fold — addiction has been the centrepiece of this series since the first chapter.

This recap of the Netflix series The Queen’s Gambit Season 1 Episode 6, “Adjournment,” contains significant spoilers.

We recapped every episode — check out the archive.

The opening

The penultimate episode opens with a flashback of Beth’s biological mother telling her that there will be smart men out there trying to teach her things but advises her never to forget herself, which fits the theme of the chapter because she ends up doing just that. In the present day, Benny is continuing to train Beth chess moves and Russian while on a road trip to New York.

Welcome to Benny’s place

Benny lives in a basement apartment in New York that’s rather basic and lays out all his chess achievements. Beth seems surprised by the place, and it takes her a while to adjust. Benny gets out an air bed for her and tells her there’s no booze in the apartment. The shower is in the corner of the living room — she’s used to a different kind of living.

Benny and Beth practice chess intensely. Replaying play after play so she can match the best players in the world — The Soviets. Benny brings over a couple of friends, including a grandmaster named Hilton. Benny’s friend Cleo offers her a drink, and she says no — Benny looks proud.

Beth is trying a sober life — episode 6 offers the character hope that she can get over her addiction.

Speed chess, again

Beth quickly gets to know Cleo in the kitchen. She tells Beth that these friends stopped her from killing herself. She’s a model. Benny then suggests doing a simultaneous game, but Beth wants to play speed chess. She beats all three of them simultaneously over and over again with speed. Finally, Benny stops play and tells Beth that she’s finally got it.

Sober moves

We all knew Benny had feelings for Beth and he finally stops acting like he doesn’t in episode 6.

Benny tells Beth that no-one has done that to him in 15 years. Beth says she’s also sober which means it must be helping her focus. Benny ends up grabbing her, and they have sex. Straight afterward, Benny wants to talk chess moves which annoys Beth.

Time for Paris

Beth arrives in Paris in 1967. She attends a conference and answers questions, including ones about Borgov. The grandmaster seems impressed by her dedication and preparation. Eventually, in the tournament, it’s Beth versus Borgov. One night, Cleo calls her as she’s in Paris — she asks her if she’d like one drink. Beth is tempted and eventually gives in and joins her.

Just one drink

Episode 6 demonstrates how it only takes a single temptation to relapse, and Beth gives in to that.

Beth tells Cleo that she’s only having one drink. And, typically, it isn’t one drink. Beth tells Cleo what she would do if she lived in Paris. Cleo tells Beth she has a talent that’s more than what most women have in Paris. Cleo tells Beth she’s pretty and brings the conversation to sex and love — Beth admits she’s still in love with Townes.

The important game

Painstakingly, episode 6 sees Beth ruin her entire trip and once again, feel a heavy defeat.

The next morning, Beth wakes up in the bath — she takes a tranquilizer and leaves Cleo in her room. She heads down to her game with Borgov after quickly getting ready. Beth keeps needing to drink water and Borgov senses that she’s not prepared. Cleo joins the audience, and she starts panicking, asking for more water. A tear rolls down her cheek, and she resigns.

Beth wants to be on her own

Benny rings her, and he explains that she was hungover — there’s a tinge of disappointment in his voice. Beth says it wouldn’t have made a difference. Benny wants her to come back to New York, but Beth wants to be on her own.

An unexpected legal meeting

Episode 6 gets worse for Beth as she has to launch into legal mode as soon as she gets home — this scene is heartbreaking in some ways because it presents a man that shows a lack of compassion and Beth only wants accountability.

Beth’s lawyer rings her when she gets home — Mr. Wheatley has changed his mind about the house. She’s allowed to stay in the house until she is settled. Beth speaks directly to Mr. Wheatley and tells him to live up to his promise because he adopted her. She then asks the man if he ever heard his ex-wife play the piano. Beth offers to buy the house, but she will be subtracting what she paid to bury her adopted mother.

An invitation to the USSR

Beth sorts her house out and makes it her own. One day she gets a letter asking her if she’d like to support the non-profit organization Christian Crusade in the forthcoming competition in the USSR. Benny rings her and tells her to take the money and go to the competition. He tells her he misses her and that she should take the money to go.

Out of control Beth

Beth’s drinking continues; when she gets home, Harry Beltik rings her, but she puts the phone down. Beth spends her time in the house dancing, drinking, and smoking. She’s out of control drinking daily. She ends up knocking herself out on the table. Harry Beltik heads over to check on her, but she doesn’t answer.

The ending

Beth receives a call from a local tournament director, and they ask her to arrive an hour early for photos with the paper. When she arrives, Beth asks for aspirin. The first person she ever played in a tournament is there, and she came all the way to the state to see her playing in person. When she smokes outside before the first round, Harry Beltik confronts her and says he’s worried about her — he’s seen her in the supermarket from the office as he works there. Harry tells Beth that his father drank. He wishes her luck and drives off when he realizes that she isn’t listening to him.

Beth does not attend the tournament, and she goes home. The episode ends with her friend from the orphanage Jolene arriving at her house.

The Queen’s Gambit episode 6 is a chapter of a flawed genius reaching her peak. The Queen’s Gambit brings alcoholism into the fold — addiction has been the centerpiece of this series since the first chapter.

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