Netflix has introduced us to the chess world and what it really looks like through its new limited series, “The Queen’s Gambit” (named after a known chess opening). Currently at number 5 in Nicaragua, it has gained most of its recognition due to the accurate representation of the sport.
Interestingly enough, the series is based on a novel that goes by the same name and is written by Walter Tevis in 1983. The story centers around a young female chess prodigy who faces multiple challenges.
The main character, Elizabeth Harmon (“Beth”), becomes an orphan at a young age and through unusual circumstances her interest in chess arises. She then develops her talents and sets her goal of becoming the best chess player in the world.
Beth grows up in a difficult environment and the series shows the reality of her dealing with mental illness and addiction; these topics target the series towards mature audiences. Nevertheless, it remains very much educational and inspirational.
Elizabeth represents the minority of women involved in the chess world and shines a light on a different perspective of the sport. Although the chess theme may seem a little boring for many, the exciting plot has appealed to a large audience.
From a cinematographic point of view, the series was extraordinarily produced and directed. Each character was deeply analyzed and Anya Taylor-Joy, the actress who portrays Beth, did a beautiful job giving her character an unforgettable essence.
The show was categorized as drama miniseries due to the theme and length (7 episodes, each about 1 hour long and named after chess terms). As a viewer, the series was intriguing and truly admirable. Some critics have surfaced since its premiere, judging chess mistakes throughout the episodes. However, I would recommend this show because of the uniqueness of it.
The cover of the series on Netflix.
Anya Taylor-Joy as Elizabet Harmon in a chess match.