Beth Harmon play chess

The Queen’s Gambit is a limited series around Beth Harmon, a young CHESS prodigy who discovers her extraordinary talent during her time in a mid-century American orphanage. The story is all about addiction, obsession, trauma, and CHESS!

“Whoa, you certainly know the game, young lady.”,

as said by Mr. Shaibel when she was Eight. He is the custodian at the orphanage and an experienced Chess player who later on teaches Beth how to play the game.

‘Orphanage’-so she has a rough time then? Beth confronts within all her upbringing, constant sexism.

“Girls do not play Chess.”

And has the greatest of addiction and mental illness. “What I want is a drink.”-Beth

But the show is also about how the all-consuming game of CHESS can be a refuge for troubled minds and from the outside world.

“I feel safe in an entire world of just sixty-four squares.”-Beth.

Spoiler Alert!

If you desire to see the series or the book (that I strongly recommend you to), it might be best that you stop reading. But if you don’t care about such things, go right ahead

The series opens up with a girl who is in panic and is popping pills with mini bottles. She is running to a hotel for a Chess-match. How did she get here? Now the film takes us back to the age of eight when she had lost her mother. She comes to a home orphanage for girls. This is where she learns chess, and about drugs as well (pills mentioned below).

It then cuts to the year when she is 15 and is adopted by a couple who specifically called for an older child. Here we see a heart-breaking scene of Shaibel, watching her go. From here onwards, she develops herself as a brilliant chess player, who is a lady!

Where did we hear the title before?

The ‘Queen’s Gambit’ is a famous chess strategy designed to put immediate pressure on the start of the game. It sees a player temporarily sacrifice a pawn in order to gain control of the center of the board. 

White moves the queen’s pawn, two steps. 

Black resists by moving the same counter-pawn. 

The Queen's Gambit Chess Opening
The Queen’s Gambit Chess Opening

Now white gets to trade his wing pawn (left of the pawn moved first), for black’s center pawn. The opening has few variations, but if not taken care of earlier, white gains an edge over the game.

Also, the title comes from a novel with the same name written by Walter Tavis. 

Is the Queen’s Gambit a real story?

Sorry fam, it’s a work of fiction. The author considered it to be a “Tribute to brainy women.”

This show is very much similar to the book. Though there were changes made (which I am happy about). But the plot, character, and her relationships with her surrounding factors remain the same.

Although, The Queen’s Gambit is a fictional story and Beth Harmon is not real, but the character resembles the real-life Chess prodigy, Judit Polgar. In a similar way, Benny Watts is a fictional character created for The Queen’s Gambit. But he was loosely inspired by the famous Chess master Bobby Fischer.

Why Beth is the most interesting character on TV?

From an 8-year-old orphan to a genius chess player, she broke boundaries, no one dares to touch. She brought a presence to the screen that we had never seen before. In reality, she worked hard with dedication to become as fascinating as she is. Her actress Anya Taylor‑Joy brought everything she had to Beth, even before the script was written. She became a fan of Beth as soon as she read the Novel. 

She is an exotic character because the essence of Beth is real. Many of the Chess scenes come from the author’s real-life experiences as a class C competitor. Beth’s battle with addiction was also based on his real-life experiences with heavy drug doses in his youth. Or because Anya embodies the character and her obsession with that, as she said, “I’m willing to bleed for this.” She said in an interview that playing Beth was so real for her, that by the time it finished, it was like waking up from a dream. She had just been Beth whole the time!

When the genius is a female!

Not to mention she is an unmatchable genius. Every male protagonist ever had this character, but we had never seen this with a leading lady! Female characters on TV are almost invariably tied down by their emotional attachments to others and the standards of society. But Beth is ‘herself’. She isn’t the 1960 female character whose life changes because of love! That’s why we find her so captivating. She is imperfectly perfect! 

She has her struggles, internal conflicts, introversion, and substance abuse. But that doesn’t stop her from achieving her dreams.

Anya’s physical appearance

Anya has a magnificent contribution to this character making it unforgettable. Her wide and curious eyes to her unique attire and her oddly cropped hair made Beth more interesting. And all this was for a purpose. Gabriele Binder and her team of costume designers designed 80% of her costumes by themselves. Every single costume Beth wore reflected her emotional state.

There was no sign in the book that Beth had red hair with a French Bob haircut. The way her hair transforms throughout the series says all the whole about her character development. We eventually see smooth and classy hair with a reserved look. However, it turns chaotic again when she encounters her substance abuse and addiction.

The beauty of the game of Chess! 

Chess is known as a game of perfect information. All information is available to both players simultaneously. It’s not like poker with hidden cards or something like a real-time strategy game like PUBG. Every move happens on the board for both players to see. And as a result, the winner is simply the one that played better chess. Unlike other board games that use cards or dice, chess is purely about strategy. 

Chess creates conflict without words

The game is an interesting and engaging game, but not a cinematic one. Two people sitting quietly and playing their moves have a conflict on the board. But visually conveying this is not easy. It takes at least a moderate knowledge of the complex game to understand the significance of the individual moves and the positions of the pieces on the board.

Beth is obsessed with the game. Even while sleeping, all she dreams about is Chess. Games and her moves she visualizes on her ceiling aren’t unrealistic. Besides that, the show’s creators consulted real Chess players, including the world chess champion and Grandmaster Garry Kasparov. And Anya also spent hours training with professional chess instructors, making it more real. The camera angles and editing team did the rest.

The mysterious Green Pills!

In the opening episode, the orphanage gave children green Tranquilizers to keep them calm and sedated. Furthermore, these pills are quite addictive! She continues to take them as she grows up, feeling that she needs a cloudy mind to win the game. Here, the text differs from the miniseries, as the text says not the pills but her excellence was behind her success.


The miniseries stands at 8.6 on a score of 10 on IMDb ratings. 97% of the viewers who watched it actually liked it. The Queen’s Gambit is an incredibly successful series. As per reports, there are no current plans to proceed with the second season, but the show singularly has marked a triumph for Netflix!

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