Jacques has risen to a position of modest prominence in a growing French multinational company. Jacques is competent, well-liked, and ambitious. He is also an avid chess player.

Jacques is Matthieu’s boss. One day Matthieu challenges him, at work, to a friendly chess match over lunch. Jacques is pleased, impressed. They play.

Jacques and Matthieu play chess on several occasions. Seeing this, two other employees, Lucien and Remy, challenge Jacques to casual games of chess at work. They all play.

Jacques is the superior chess player. He wins.

Matthieu shows active interest in the game—far more than Lucien and Remy do. He asks Jacques questions about chess strategy. He asks him questions about the grandmasters, about the history of the game. Jacques invites Matthieu into his home. Jacques’s wife cooks them dinner. They talk strategy. They play.

A reform movement sweeps down from the corporate office. There are concerns about productivity in the workplace. Matthieu contacts Jacques’s superiors. He says that his boss, Jacques, is using company time to play chess at work. A number of other employees are involved.

Matthieu is promoted.