Fourth Estate / Billy Ferguson

“The Queen’s Gambit”


The Netflix original “The Queen’s Gambit” directed by Scott Frank follows the story of an orphan by the name of Beth Harmon. It shows her prodigious journey to conquer what was a male dominated game: chess. 

This series is drawn from the ideas of the 1983 Walter Tevis novel from which the series gets its name. “The Queen’s Gambit” does an excellent job paying homage to chess, showing the intellectual nature of the game and its history. It also shows the intellectual capability one must have to play it. 

The main character, Beth Harmon, is played by Anna Taylor-Joy. The series is shown from her perspective only and we follow her journey of drug addiction, loss and extreme intelligence that leads her to her victories in chess. 

The actors worked together in such a way to create a series that was not only interesting but rather a work of art. They created a balance between emotion and history to constantly keep their audience entertained. 

This series also used flashbacks to share essential parts of Beth’s life. The writers used this tactic expertly to provide critical information about Harmon’s childhood during scenes that depict drug abuse. 

These scenes impact the audience emotionally and create a lasting connection. They are important and crucial to the series, depicting her struggle — a real human emotion that is not fabricated. 

They show life in real perspective and don’t sugarcoat it. They show life as it is. They also depict success and the importance of the character Mr. Shaibel, played by Bill Camp, who taught Beth how to play chess in the basement of the orphanage she spent most of her childhood in.

One of the most powerful scenes in the series was Mr. Shaibel’s death. This scene was so emotional because Mr. Shaibel was much more than a teacher to Beth; he was the only figure that believed in her ability to play chess. 

In summary, “The Queen’s Gambit” is an incredible journey that shows strength and determination in the hardest times of one’s life. It shows the impact of loss and teaches one main lesson to its audience: perseverance. It depicts realness and is the work of visionaries. 

I would highly recommend this series to anyone. It teaches not only about chess and history but also the importance of overcoming challenges in one’s life. Beth Harmon represents all of us in 2020 who have gone through hell and back. Hopefully, we will come out victorious — just as Beth has.