The new Netflix 7 part series “The Queens Gambit” is about a child prodigy, in this case a young 9 year old girl, who happens to be a one in a billion chess genius. While in an orphanage she learns chess from the school janitor and after only a few games, the janitor realizes that she is a gifted genius of Chess. When it comes to child prodigies, there are only 3 kinds, Mathematics, Music and Chess and this series is one of the best of its kind when it comes to Chess prodigies, the last one was “Search for Bobby Fischer”, released in 1993.
Even for those who are not true fans of the great game of Chess, this series will win you over and maybe even make you a convert when you realize the extreme challenge that Chess is to master. There is so much you have to know, and any real player knows that with just one small mistake a game can be lost on the spot. For years the debate has been, “is Chess really a sport”. Chess was on the cover of Sports Illustrated several times in 1972 during the Spassky Fischer match in Reykjavik Iceland. In my opinion, chess a sport, because of the toll it takes on the body because of the stress of playing any game against a top player.
This series is extremely well written, photographed and acted throughout the entire 7 hours and holds the rare distinction of getting 100% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 97% from the audience. The high score on IMDB is 89%.
The actress Anya Taylor-Joy plays the child prodigy Beth Harmon, and as she becomes an adult in her 20’s playing in tournaments, she develops a severe drug and alcohol problem to deal with the extreme stress of playing Chess professionally. Her acting in this series is worthy of an Oscar, even thought this production will probably only be considered for an Emmy Award. Over the centuries, there have been several top chess players who have gone insane due to the stress of dominating this extremely challenging game. The most severe example was Bobby Fischer, who became an anti-Semite, in his later years, even though he was Jewish himself.
The Queens Gambit is one of the best movies of its kind that I have seen, and I give it my highest recommendation. I am also including a link to the analysis of the championship chess game in this series, that was taken from an actual Grandmaster game that was played in 1993.