The main characters in Amy Tan's "Rules of the Game" are Waverly Jong, Waverly's mother Lindo Jong, Waverly's brothers Vincent and Winston Jong, and a neighborhood chess player named Lau Po. "Rules of the Game" follows Waverly Jong as she learns to play chess and becomes a local champion.
Vincent and Winston receive a chessboard as a gift. Waverly begs her brothers to teach her to play, and she eventually becomes better than them. She takes the chessboard to the park and challenges an elderly man there, Lau Po. Lau Po helps Waverly develop her skills and teaches her advanced chess strategy.
Initially, Waverly's mother is very supportive. After Waverly begins winning chess tournaments, her mother excuses her from chores and allows her to practice chess instead. Waverly eventually becomes embarrassed by her mother's pride and insults her mother. At the end of the story, Waverly is alone in her room, pondering the fight with her mother.