The Queen’s Gambit (Netflix Series)


Cal Schneider

A show on Netflix called The Queen’s Gambit has blown up for no other reason than the fact that it’s about chess…but it’s also not. The show is based on the book by Walter Tevis which follows a chess prodigy struggling with addiction. The show starts off in the 1960s with the main character Beth Harmon waking up under the influence of an apparently important chess match who we soon find out later to be Borgov, the famous Russian chess player.

Now don’t let the fact that this show is about chess bore you; it’s really not about chess. It’s just a front for Beth’s major drug addiction issues. After we flashback from the first scene, the show starts at the orphanage where she gets addicted to tranquilizers that were legal to give to children back then. Throughout the show we see her struggle, fall, get back up, and repeat. We see the main character grapple with the reality of her situation and see her transform from a girl to a woman. The actress Anya Taylor Joy gives us an astonishing performance by keeping Beth’s drug addiction under wraps to society, but if you know what you’re looking for, you can see that she’s obviously struggling.

The plot is so intriguing that you get invested not in chess, but in Beth’s character. Since we see what she was been through since she was a little girl, the audience knows that she has so many reasons to give up, but everyone has that hope that maybe, possibly Beth might finally pull off The Queens Gambit.