Opening chess to the world: The Queen’s Gambit

BETH HARMON is a young chess genius in the Netflix hit series The Queen’s Gambit. Netflix movie poster. 

Seth Hahn | Writer

January 24, 2021

The Queen’s Gambit is a short Netflix series based on the novel by Walter Tevis (1983) about a young girl named Beth Harmon and her journey playing chess. It explores the true cost of genius and work of highly talented individuals. 

The show begins with obvious disorder and panic. After just waking up, Beth Harmon rushes down to a very important chess tournament, where her opponent is waiting. The scene then flashes back to her younger years, where we start from the beginning and learn her story.

For most people, the show was a complete shock to how they previously saw the game, as something boring that old people liked. After seeing chess portrayed in such a different new light, many were inspired to take it up and begin playing themselves. The entire reason this show works so well is “because it excites chess and adds a new layer of emotion to the game,” junior Lucas Purzyki said.

BETH PLAYS against seasoned chess player Harry Beltik. Netflix

“It’s amazing that it was able to keep all of us entertained despite the fact that we know nothing about chess,” junior Madeline Mcdonald said.

Throughout the show, the main character (Beth Harmon) struggles through difficulties including drug dependence, a less than perfect orphanage, and losing her adopted mother. At the orphanage, she finds a friend in an unusual place–the janitor, who taught her the art of chess in the orphanage basement. Beth eventually evolves from a child who lost both parents into a world chess champion.

One of the most pleasantly surprising aspects of the series is the accuracy of each match. Each game of chess is realistic and many word-renown chess players have noted their appreciation.

The show is a wonderfully crafted art piece with some of the most high-quality film production I’ve ever seen.

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