Opinion: Netflix original “The Queens Gambit” puts chess in a new light

Opinion: Netflix original

Maria Maraldo '21, Staff writer

The Queen’s Gambit was released in November of 2020 and began gaining traction straight away due to the trend of “binge watching” TV shows during the pandemic. Based on the 1983 novel “The Queen’s Gambit” by Walter Tevis, the title refers to “the queen’s gambit”, which is an extremely popular chess opening. The seven episode-long show begins with the main character, Beth Harmon, waking up late in a hotel room in Paris and rushing off to a chess match. It then flashes back a decade, and the story begins.
Set during the Cold War era in the 1960s, Beth Harmon becomes the essence of a chess prodigy and the show takes viewers through the story of her fantastical yet troubled life. Beth’s storyline comes into existence after she is placed in a glum and repressive orphanage in Kentucky after the death of her mother, which resulted from a car crash that Beth survived. Over the next 10 years of her life, Beth deals with struggles after being adopted, such as a never ending cycle of addiction (result of the orphanage), coming to terms with her past and a plethora of other issues in which chess serves as a refuge for all.
The plot of The Queen’s Gambit could not have been any better, taking viewers through every stage of Beth’s journey with being a prodigy and her unconventional way of dealing with the fame that comes along with it. The tale that strung together throughout the show was a coming-of-age story about a woman who rises as a leader and champion in a male-dominated field (and world during the time period) and defies the odds.
The ending offers a satisfying conclusion, and the charming cinematography of the series really ties the entire show together. Director Scott Frank maintained a gloomy, period feel and color palette which gave the audience a true idea and vibe of the 60s as a decade.
“The Queen’s Gambit” is a show that I would describe as faultless and impeccable, and would recommend it to anyone that is looking for something new and grippingly interesting to watch. It can be found in the Drama section of Netflix.