Nate steals a car and pursues a black SUV through the streets of Dubai. He finally gets ahead of it and cuts it off.
Three Days Earlier
Nate and Sophie are at the bar discussing their histories when Nate spent her time chasing Sophie across Europe. She goes upstairs and Nate pauses to finish his drink, and two men come in and hold him at the bar. James Sterling arrives, brings out a chess board, and offers a game. As they play, Sterling nervously tapping his pieces, he says that he needs Nate to do something for him. Interpol has learned that President Zaidi of Kazhistan is using his country's nuclear reactor to secretly produce enriched uranium and sell it to terrorists. Interpol introduces a virus into the Kazhistani computers to knock out the centrifuges required. Now Zaidi has gone back to Robert Livingston, the engineer who designed the centrifuges, and asked him to provide new ones. To rebuild the project, a cutting-edge piece of technology is necessary. Livingston has it and Sterling wants Nate and the team to steal it for him. When Nate asks if Sterling has an informant in Livingston's organization, the Interpol agent ignores the question and offers Nate a future favor in return for the component.
Hardison briefs Nate and Sophie on the technical details of the centrifuges, explaining that a precise weight is necessary to balance the equipment. When Sophie wonders why they should help Sterling, Nate points out that no matter how it helps their old enemy, it takes the terrorists out of commission. Livingston lives in the Dubai Sky Spire, the world's second tallest building, and Sophie wonders how they're going to get in. By way of response, Nate hands her a chess piece.
The team arrives in Dubai and goes to the Sky Spire, where Livington is hosting a blitz chess tournament. Hardison explains that Livingston's stepdaughter Olivia is a chess prodigy and Livingston has doted on her since her mother died, the victim of disgruntled terrorists that Livingston had angered. Livingston introduces Olivia to the gathered players and then has his bodyguards usher her away. Nate plans to keep Livingston distracted by making sure that Olivia gets to the finals, which means he and Sophie will work on that while the others find the weight.
Before the tournament begins, Sterling arrives and warns the team that the Kazhistani representatives have arrived early to collect the weight. Nate accelerates the con and has Eliot and Sterling intercept the Kazhistani and pose as Livington's vice-president and assistant, respectively They inform the representatives that they're taking the transfer off-site for security reasons and get them out before Livingston can spot them.
Hardison poses as the son of a Saudi oil minister and sets up an appointment with Livingston. He asks the designer to allow him the use of his secure vault to store a valuable piece of art. Livingston strolls into the only elevator and takes Hardison up to the vault. The weight is in a secure case and assures Hardison that the security is both invisible and unhackable.
Outside, Eliot and Sterling get the Kazhistani to an outdoor café and Eliot tells them that the transfer isn't secure because Interpol has an informant close to Livingston. After they tell the terrorists to meet them at a given time each day until they're ready to make the transfer, the two men leave. Sterling complains that Eliot is putting his informant at risk but the hitter doubts that Sterling even has an inside man and accuses him of lying.
The team meets at their hotel room and Hardison explains that even a single grain of sand can throw off the weight's calibration. The case he saw is sealed and pressurized, and if the pressure in the case drops, the alarms will go off. To get the case open safely, they need to introduce a gas with a different density to fool the pressure sensors. Parker will have to inject the gas into the pressure system and use the half-second the gas allows to switch out the chip into a sealed case. The team reviews the footage that Hardison took of the vault and Nate realizes that Livingston is using a height-and-gait authenticator. They have to hack the system even though they don't know anything about it.
As the tournament begins, Hardison hacks the scheduling computers to make sure that Olivia only plays the lowest ranked opponents. However, that means that Nate will have to play the reminder and win so that he meets Olivia in the final round. Meanwhile, Parker poses as a magazine photographer and gets Livingston and Olivia to pose together. She has Livingston stand on a small platform which Hardison has rigged to measure his weight.
The Kazhistani terrorists wait outside and Eliot and Sterling keep an eye on them from a parked car. The two men drink Sterling's coffee and argue about sniper shots. Meanwhile, Nate starts playing his first opponent, who dozes between moves but quickly takes the lead. Sophie steps in, slips the player her phone number, and leaves with him in tow.
Livingston gets word that the Kazhistani have arrived and doubles his security. Meanwhile, Eliot and Sterling continue their watch and Sterling reads their lips to learn that the exchange is occurring that day and they're bringing the money into the Sky Spire via the utility tunnels. Sterling plans to intercept them and prevent the meeting.
In the hotel room, Hardison uses the measurements from the platform sensors to weight Parker with ball bearings. She wears a pair of boots with sensors and Hardison has her use a Dance Dance Revolution mat programmed with Livingston's gait so that she can practice duplicating it.
Nate sits down with his second opponent, Zangrief, and Sophie reflects light from her compact to a piece of silvered tape stuck to a pillar, and from there into Zangrief's face. He complaints to the arbiter but she has no idea what he's talking about. Zangrief finally snaps and the arbiter has him taken away. Nate is less than thrilled that Sophie doesn't trust him enough to let him win on his own.
Parker gets frustrated trying to "beat" the mat despite Hardison's reassurances, and complains that she's always stayed alive by staying free and alone. Hardison tells her that now that she has a team, she doesn't have to work alone. He has Parker stand on his toes and guides her through the gait.
Nate beats his third opponent in the semi-finals and moves on to play Olivia. Meanwhile, Eliot and Sterling enter the tunnels. Eliot realizes too late that Sterling drugged the coffee as he collapses.
Nate begins his game and tells Parker that he'll keep it going for five minutes to keep Livingston distracted. Hardison discovers that Eliot is out of contact and warns Nate as he begins his game. Meanwhile, Parker enters the elevator and fools the sensors, and then heads for the vault room.
Eliot wakes up and finds himself in an electrical closet with a broken earbud.
Sterling approaches Zangrief in the tournament room and offers him some important information.
With time running out, Parker enters the vault room and asks Hardison to hum the tune they used earlier. He does so and Parker makes her way across the room using Livingston's gait.
As Nate and Olivia play, he tells Parker not to take any unnecessary risks. Olivia overhears him and Nate claims that he's warning her. The teenager says that she learned from her birth father to never be afraid of being afraid. As they play, Olivia taps her chess pieces.
As Parker moves toward the case, Hardison tries to warn her that her left boot is malfunctioning. It splits open and the ball bearings spill out. He tells her that they won't set off the sensors, but Parker can't move without setting off the alarms.
Thanks to Sterling tipping him off, Zangrief accuses Sophie of cheating earlier. They find the compact and the mirror tape and the security guards take her away. Meanwhile, the Kazhistani representatives enter the tournament room and Hardison warns Nate that they need more time for Parker. Nate hesitates and then moves his queen out in an obvious move. Both Olivia and Livingston figure that it's a trap, since Nate defeated three top-ranked players. Olivia takes time to consider the board.
Hardison checks the building schematics and finds the sprinkler system. He tells Parker, unaware that she's already attached herself to the pipe, bypassed the floor sensors, and got to the case. Meanwhile, Olivia takes Nate's queen and the game continues.
Sterling calls the elevator to the ground floor. As he waits, Parker sees the door close and Hardison says that she has to get out now. Parker refuses and injects the gas into the pressure system.
As Olivia defeats Nate, Sterling sets off the elevator alarm. Livingston has his bodyguards take Olivia to a secure room. Nate tries to distract Livingston by accusing him of running a crooked game. As he punches the researcher, the Kazhistanis arrive and prepare to eliminate Nate. However, Eliot has broken out of the closet and arrives to take them down. Once he does, he warns Nate that Sterling has betrayed them.
Parker has no time to remove the weight from the case. She heads for the elevator, only to discover that building security are on their way up. She pries open the doors and jumps down onto the elevator as it comes up to meet her.
Nate runs outside and sees Sterling driving away, and steals a car to go after him. He tells everyone to head for the extraction point. Hardison directs Eliot to Sophie and the hitter takes out his frustrations by beating up the security guards and freeing their teammate.
Nate cuts off Sterling in the street and goes to confront him.
Parker takes it to the roof of the Sky Spire but the guards are closing in. Hardison tells her to look in her backpack and Parker discovers that he packed a chute for her. When she warns him that she's too light for the chute to deploy in time, Hardison reminds her that she's wearing weighted clothing. Parker jumps off the roof, shouting in glee, and descends on the street to meet the others as they pull up in their van.
Sterling tells Nate that he had to get his informant out, and that his inside person turned against Livingston when her mother died. Nate explains that he already knew that Olivia was Sterling's informant… and her daughter. He realized it when he saw both of them tapping their chess pieces the same way. Sterling set the whole thing up so that he could rescue Olivia from Livingston. When Nate wonders why Sterling never told him he had a wife and daughter, even when they worked together, Sterling explains that he was the one who drove away his wife, who took Olivia with her. Olivia gets out of the SUV and defends her father, asking Nate what he would do for his child. Nate concedes the point and asks why Sterling came to him, and his former friend says that he needed the best... and Nate is the best thief he's ever known. Nate gives Sterling a piece of paper with a name and tells Sterling to dig up everything he can on the person. When Sterling wonders if that makes them even, Nate just smiles and walks away.
Livingston makes the exchange with the Kazhistani representatives.
Back in Boston, the team meets at the bar. Eliot plans revenge against Sterling while Parker is happy she got to jump off the world's second-tallest building. Nate figures that they should take the win even if Sterling tricked them yet again. When the team complains that they lost, Nate brings up footage of an explosion at the nuclear plant in Kazhistan. The plant is in ruins and Nate explains that he planted salt in the gas that Parker injected. One grain stuck to the weight and threw it out of balance, destroying the nuclear centrifuges. The team agrees to take the win.