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Queen’s Gambit on Netflix

The-Queen's-Gambit-on-Netflix

The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix is a 2020 American coming-of-age period drama miniseries based on Walter Tevis’s 1983 novel of the same name. The title refers to “Queen’s Gambit”, a chess opening.

Tevis learned to play chess at 7 years old, but he wasn’t a prodigy and didn’t go on to compete professionally until he was an adult. Although he never ascended to Beth’s level, he still appreciated the intricacies of the game and the seed for The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix was planted.

Tevis also spent time in a convalescent home as a child due to medical complications, during which time his parents effectively abandoned him. 

Carers at that facility regularly drugged him with phenobarbital three times a day, and Tevis credited this early experience with drugs as a precursor to the alcoholism he developed as an adult — a parallel that is clear in the book.


The-Queen's-Gambit-on-Netflix

The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix

Orphaned at the tender age of nine, prodigious introvert Beth Harmon discovers and masters the game of chess in 1960s USA. But child stardom comes at a price.

The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix is set during the Cold War era, orphaned chess prodigy Beth Harmon struggles with addiction in a quest to become the greatest chess player in the world.

The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix was written and directed by Scott Frank, who created it with Allan Scott.

Much of the book relied on the advice of noted chess instructor Bruce Pandolfini, so creator Scott Frank brought both Pandolfini and Kasparov on board as consultants. At one point, Kasparov was even invited to play the character Vasily Borgov. 

The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix is probably the most popular gambit and although most gambits are said to be unsound against perfect play the queen’s gambit is said to be the exception.

The objective of the The Queen’s Gambit is to temporarily sacrifice a pawn to gain control of the center of the board.

Beginning in the mid-1950s and proceeding into the 1960s, the story follows the life of Beth Harmon (Anya Taylor-Joy), an orphaned chess prodigy on her rise to the top of the chess world while struggling with drug and alcohol dependency.

The Queen’s Gambit is technically sound thanks to Pandolfini and Kasparov as they were board consultants for the series.

In October, Frank told Entertainment Weekly that the chess consultants created each game you see on screen, the actors memorized and played every match — even the speed rounds.

In fact, they claim that if you freeze frame any move that it’s a real chess setup. Frank said. In one scene there is a whole sequence where you never see the actual chess board, but the actors are still actually moving the pieces where they’re supposed to as they always knew exactly where every piece was supposed to go.”

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Like Beth, Tevis spent much of his childhood in Lexington, Kentucky. As Hill reported for The Ringer, before Tevis became seriously interested in chess, he was obsessed with pool — he watched hustlers compete for big money and learned to play the game himself.

He eventually wrote a short story that he later expanded into a novel, which inspired the namesake film, “The Hustler” (1961).Other books Tevis later wrote were adapted into movies including “The Man Who Fell to Earth” and “The Color of Money,” which was a sequel to “The Hustler.”


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