Over my fall break, I found myself blessed with long periods of time that did not require immediate completion of work; I chose to utilize that time to watch "The Queen's Gambit" with my friends in San Diego.
"The Queen's Gambit" is a visually stunning and incredibly calculated show that documents a young orphan's journey to achieve the title of Grandmaster. The show begins with a young Beth Harmon first being introduced to chess in the basement of her eerie orphanage and unfolds as she ages and develops her chess abilities. Despite chess saturating a large portion of this brilliant show, I found that my lack of knowledge of chess did not impede my understanding of or interest in this show. In fact, I found myself enamored with the premise and characters, choosing to research its background and development.
Below, I compiled an interesting list of ideas and facts specific to "The Queen's Gambit," which I urge everyone to fervently digest should the stringent confines of work and responsibilities temporarily disappear.
The show is adapted from Walter Tevis' 1983 novel entitled "The Queen's Gambit"
The novel is both imbued with realistic and fictional elements; it incorporates the author's real-life experiences with fictional characters. However, the drug addiction being rooted in an external home environment is based on the author's experiences and closely mirrors Beth Harmon's experience in the orphanage.
The actors memorized, calculated, and played all of their characters' chess moves.
Although they were guided by professional chess players in the background of each scene and shot, the actors deliberately memorized all their moves. These efforts culminated in a very authentic and natural chess game, which was a large factor behind why I found myself infatuated with this show.
The show's developers conferred with and were advised by professional chess experts.
One of the individuals that the creators brought onto the show was Garry Kasparov, who sought to visually and accurately bring Tevis' descriptions to life in a way that would invigorate the audience. He additionally spoke at length about Soviet culture, which was helpful in further adding to the Cold War background the show was set in.
Overall, "The Queen's Gambit" is a phenomenal adaptation that should not deter viewers who know relatively little about the sport of chess. The atmosphere of the show is authentic and riveting–something that I found myself in awe of.