The protagonist of Amy Tan's short story "Rules of the Game" is Waverly Place Jong, who becomes a chess prodigy at a young age. After her brother receives a used chess set as a Christmas gift, Waverly becomes fascinated with the game and spends the majority of her leisure time learning the rules and strategies necessary to become a chess champion. As Waverly matures, she proceeds to win chess tournaments and becomes a local celebrity, later becoming recognized on a national scale.
The primary conflict that Waverly encounters in the story involves competing with her domineering, controlling mother. Waverly's mother is extremely proud of her accomplishments and makes numerous sacrifices to ensure her daughter's success. Despite her constant support, Waverly's mother makes her daughter accompany her every Saturday to the local market, where she shows her off. One Saturday, Waverly cannot take it any longer and expresses her displeasure at being shown off as an object for her mother's satisfaction. Waverly tells her mother,
I wish you wouldn't do that, telling everybody I'm your daughter...It's just so embarrassing.
Waverly's mother is surprised, upset, and hurt by her response. When Waverly returns home later that night, her mother dismisses her and says, "We not concerning this girl. This girl not have concerning for us." Waverly could have censored her emotions toward the end of the story and showed her mother more respect while they were at the market to avoid the conflict. Waverly could have attempted to ease the tension by expressing her emotions in a controlled manner and discussing her feelings in a more appropriate way. By overtly saying that she is embarrassed by her mother, Waverly makes the predicament worse and offends her proud mother.