TV Series Review

Anya Taylor-Joy as Beth Harmon

The Queen’s Gambit is a drama miniseries adapted from the American novel of the same name written by Walter Tevis.

I’m pretty sure most of us can’t name even a single female chess player. Well, most of us can’t even name any chess player, male or female alike. It is most likely because we hold Chess in such high regard, that it is the game of intellectuals or that it’s too technical. As a matter of fact, all these believes are rather true. Chess is, in fact, one of the most beautiful and intricate games ever designed and played. And the TV series successfully presents the same in its full glory.

The series would surely make you fall in love with the Game. The way each character is shown executing their moves and strategies would strike a chord in your brain. You’d be forced to google terms like Sicilian Defence, Queen’s Gambit Declined and what not. But it would be wrong to say that Chess took the centre stage in the series. Rather it was the protagonist whose story stirs more interest as she progresses in the male-dominated society to fulfill her dream.

Before you go ahead, a word of CAUTION! You might encounter some SPOILERS too.

The Queen’s Gambit is the story of how an orphaned girl with a lot of suppressed anger finds her life’s purpose in a game that, at that time was thought to be a dominion of men. The protagonist, Beth Harmon is introduced to chess by her Orphange’ janitor, Mr. Shaibel. That first game lays the foundation for a journey of Beth’s glory.

Chess, as Beth describes is a world of just 64 squares. A world, that she believes she can control and conquer. When she steps into the actual world with her new foster family, she sees for the first time what the actual arena of chess is. From rankings to grandmasters to World Champions, Beth gets to know how competitive and vast this game was.

Thanks to her supporting mother who always stayed by her side and supported her, always making her realize that she is more than just a prodigal chess player and that there is so much life beyond the chessboard, Beth grew up to be a US Champion at such tender age.

The character of Beth Harmon is shown as a normal human any of us can relate to in general life. The series never portrays the protagonist as invincible during her good days, nor does it seem that she is beyond redemption in her off days. Benny Watts, Harry Beltick, Joanes, the opponents Beth faced and defeated who later became her admirers and friends play a great role in her life and make her the best version of herself. Not to forget, her only friend from the orphanage, Jolene is there to lift her up when it seems that Beth is at her lowest after again losing her mother

And then comes the time for Beth to meet her true and most fearful challenge. To go to Moscow and defeat the Soviets to become the World Champion. There too, when we thought Beth is alone against the United Soviets, her friends from America jump to action and make sure she gets every help she needs and that they could provide. As the series nears its end, Beth does win the title of World Champion.

One more thing the series does best is, that it did not portray any character unnecessarily evil or bad. The Soviets especially were shown as gentlemen, unlike most drama series where they are often the villains and crooked. No character is shown as someone who would drag anyone down or wish bad for others. This is the type of world I believe ours should be.

The series will surely be a great watch!

A world “Full of WONDERS!!”