“It doesn’t matter who you were born with, but who you really want to be” could be the moto of the new netflix’ drama series “The Queen Gambit”, but also not.
The series, based on the book of the same name by Walter Tevis, tells the story of a young chess player – a phenomenon, Beth Harmon (Anya Taylor-Joy), to conquer the male-dominated world of chess and become the best chess player in the world.
The truthfulness of the facts and attention to detail, on the one of Beth’s life, on the other hand and most importantly in the chess games she plays, give the impression that this a biographical series. However, this is a fantastic character, in which both Walter Tevis and the creators of the series, Scott Frank and Allan Scott, gave a great liveliness, which, of course, is caprutred thanks to the poor acting ability, in this case, by Anya Taylor Joy.
Without needing to have chess knowledge to watch the series, the viewer is drawn to the intensity of each game and generally to Beth’s attempt to establish herself in a world that had initially ruled her out. For chess fans, the series alone gives the impression of a tough game, with each game played in it being a move in the biggest game of the series, sometimes studies, sometimes superficial. Of course, if we accept this view, the question arises who is Beth’s opponent on this wider level. The answer, probably, could not be other than herself.
One could, of course, claim that Beth’s opponent is her social status. An orphan, raised in Christian orphanage, adopted by a petty bourgeois family, ending up in a single-parent family with an alcoholic and depressed stepmother, who herself is addicted to antidepressants are the obstacles she must overcome to reach the top. Although all of this seems to occupy Beth and shape her character, they are not the main obstacles on her way to the top. It is the pawns that stand between her and her target, the top-king, with the strongest pawn in the game, the quenn, being her own self to overcome to reach the king: The Queen’s Gambit.
*Gambit in chess terminology means sacrifice.