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“The Queen’s Gambit” is based on the 1983 novel of the same name written by Walter Tevis. The program portrays a female chess prodigy, Beth Harmon, who rises to the top and takes on the male-dominated field. It is the number one show on Netflix as of Oct. 28, 2020.
Anya Taylor-Joy plays Harmon, a fictional main character, who is an orphan in the 1960s. A strict Christian group runs the orphanage; they treated the girls like they are in a psychiatric institution. The orphans are administered tranquilizers and pills to control their mood.
The resident janitor, Mr. Schaibel, played by Bill Camp, introduced the young heroine to the royal game. He takes time out of his life to teach her at a young age to become a chess aficionado like himself. After the staff gives her a green pill, she begins to visualize a chessboard with moving pieces on her dorm room ceiling.
Tevis created Beth as a tribute to highly intelligent women like his daughter, Julie, and his aunt, who gave him his first chess set as a gift when he was 7 years old. He started playing with his family and his neighborhood friends. He stated:
I like Beth for her bravery and intelligence. In the past, many women have had to hide their brains, but not today.
Although Beth is super talented and clever as an adult, she becomes addicted to drugs. She struggles to find a balance between her passion for chess and her addiction.
Written by Jessica Letcher
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware
Wired: Why The Queen’s Gambit Is the No. 1 Netflix Show Right Now; Angela Watercutter
Chess News: The Queen’s Gambit – A review; Albert Silver
Yahoo! Life: Netflix’s New Hit Show ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ Is All About Chess, And Fans Can’t Get Enough; Emily Becker
Featured Image Courtesy of Ali Eminov’s Flickr Page- Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of Gage Skidmore’s Flickr Page- Creative Commons License