There is something incredibly alluring about watching geniuses at work. With chess, you have two brilliant minds, and all they need to practice their craft is a board, two queens, two kings, four bishops, four rooks, four knights, and 16 pawns. Yet, with the latest Netflix limited miniseries, The Queen’s Gambit, there’s even more to the story that has everyone glued to the screen.
The Queen’s Gambit Is More Than a Chess Story
To most people, 1. d4 d5 2. c4 is nothing but an odd sequence of letters and numbers. To child prodigy Beth Harmon (played by Anya Taylor-Joy), however, that’s the chess opening known as The Queen’s Gambit. The Netflix original series is based on a 1983 novel of the same name, and it follows Beth’s story, a fictional character who is an orphan trying to become the world’s greatest chess player while struggling with alcohol and drug addiction. Despite Beth being entirely fictional, it’s that very real human trait of succumbing to addiction that many famous masterminds possess that makes people root for her overcoming it.
All Chess Games Are Extremely Accurate
What’s so captivating about The Queen’s Gambit, aside from the impeccable cinematography set in the 1950s and 1960s, is that every chess game in the seven-episode miniseries is extremely accurate. In fact, it was designed by chess coach Bruse Pandolfini in collaboration with former World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov. The actors had to learn all chess sequences by heart with the main star Anya Taylor-Joy, who plays Beth, saying that she channeled her experience as a dancer to help her remember the chess moves because it all seemed like a beautiful dance to her.
That’s probably why the series is such a massive hit in the U.S. and overseas – because it’s like a dance where everything is nothing short of brilliant.