The Queen's Gambit Wiki

Mr. Shaibel is a janitor at Beth Harmon's orphanage. He introduces her to the game of chess and opens new doors for the young prodigy.

He is played by Bill Camp.


Now or never.

Mr. Shaibel to Elizabeth Harmon, who quotes him later in life

Beth saw Mr. Shaibel when she went to the basement to clean her chalk erasers and saw him playing chess. She was fascinated by the game and wanted to learn more about it. Having worked out how the pieces move by observing him, she asked him to teach her more. She lost many games, but began simulating chess games on the ceiling before sleeping, allowing her to quickly develop her skills and defeat him. Mr. Shaibel eventually contacted Mr. Ganz from Duncan High School, who coaches the chess team there. Mr. Ganz was so impressed with her skills that he invited her to come play the members of chess club, where Beth easily defeated all of them.

Beth was eventually adopted and she eventually learned about a chess tournament where the entry fee was 5 dollars, which she did not have. She wrote to Mr. Shaibel asking to borrow that money and pay him 10 dollars if she won. Mr. Shaibel loaned her the money but Beth never paid him back. Even so, Mr. Shaibel didn't hold it against her and he kept track of her chess tournaments by reading news articles of chess tournaments. He would cut out any articles related to Beth and pinned them on a wall, which included the letter she wrote him and a picture Mr. Ganz took of them when Mr. Shaibel first introduced them. During this time, Beth had mentioned Mr. Shaibel multiple times, including her first interview denoting and covering her newfound fame. She was disappointed when, instead of mentioning her mentor, the magazine wrote about Beth being a female chess player instead. Beth was sure to correct this during her final game against Borgov, in which she made clear to the press that her history with the janitor was to be printed.

When Mr. Shaibel passed away, Beth returned to the orphanage. Few attended his funeral and nobody had anything interesting to say about him. Beth went to the basement where they played chess to reminisce about their time together. To her surprise, Beth saw Mr. Shaibel had been keeping track of her chess endeavors and upon seeing the picture of them Mr. Ganz took, she became overwhelmed with emotions and grief and cried after leaving the orphanage.

Beth HarmonAlma WheatleyBenny WattsJoleneHarry BeltikWilliam Shaibel
D.L. TownesAllston WheatleyVasily BorgovAlice HarmonHelen DeardorffAnnette PackerBorgov's wifeCleoChristopherDave FriedmanMr. GanzJanetMargaret JohnsonPaul