The Queen’s Gambit released; Chess portrayed from new angle

Ben Iampieri, Reporter

     The Queen’s Gambit is a Netflix series based on the novel by Walter Tevis, taking place during the 1950s and 1960s. The seven-episode series is a must-watch.

     Released on October 23, The Queen’s Gambit follows 8-year-old orphan Beth Harmon, who is taught chess by the orphanage custodian. She becomes obsessed with the game and practices in her head by visualizing games. Even though Harmon only got to play chess once a week, by the age of ten, she becomes capable of taking on a room of high schoolers in a simultaneous exhibition—playing them all at once. Chess becomes her escape from reality, because she can control what is happening, unlike in her real life. “I liked the themes that were developed. It’s very interesting how someone can have such a gift for something—in Beth’s case chess—but also struggle with addiction and loss,” senior Taylor Mason explains.

     Getting immersed into the universe of The Queen’s Gambit is easy when the acting is so good. Beth Harmon had two actors, as the series shows Harmon from when she is 8, until she is 22. Young Beth Harmon was played by Isla Johnston, while older Harmon was played by Anya Taylor-Joy.

     The producers, William Horberg, Allan Scott, and Scott Frank made sure to accurately display and dramatize the chess games. This turns the stereotypically boring chess into a whole new exciting experience, likely to invest you into what is happening even if you do not understand it. “My favorite part was when Beth played the Borgov, at the very end,” senior Taylor Mason starts. “I think the creators of the show did an excellent job at mimicking the tension and intensity of such an important chess match.”

     The story does not only focus on chess, but highlights the hardships and struggles of Harmon, mainly addiction, also calling attention to her being the only female chess master during the time period. “It was very detailed,” freshman Anna O’Leary says. “They depicted addiction in a very odd way.”

     “It was different… it’s set in the 60’s, so it shows [the contrast in] culture then versus now,” sophomore Bella Southard explains.

     The show takes chess to another level by turning something stereotypically boring, into something interesting and exciting, likely to get you to want to play chess, too. “I really liked the plot and the characters. It was interesting to watch someone get so into chess,” junior Teagan Flaherty says.

     The series has a 97% on Rotten Tomatoes, and an 8.6/10 on IMDb. “I recommend it,” Flaherty says.

     “I liked the second half more because she was older then, and a lot more things [started] happening in the plot,” Southard explains.