Arkady Balagan, a former world chess champion, witnesses the murder of his fiancee and subsequently develops a debilitating case of agoraphobia. Running out of money and unable to leave his hotel, Balagan uses his analytical skills to become a detective. But, because of his agoraphobia, Balagan needs help in his detective work. Enter his "pawns," friends who venture into the outside world on Balagan's behalf. The pawns include chess fanatic Sam, hotel bartender Danni, perceptive housekeeper Alcina and Balagan's late fiancee's sister, Pippa. The hotel's defiant security manager, Hugo, tries to stop the chess master every chance he gets.