Why You Should Watch That Show About Chess


This Thanksgiving break, I decided to give in to the temptation of the social media craze surrounding The Queen's Gambit, a new mini-series on Netflix that recently came out. I usually don’t jump on the bandwagon of new shows or trends when it’s widely popularized, but it was only a seven episode show. My brothers were home for break, which was the perfect combination to binge it in one go. We watched one episode the night after our big Thanksgiving meal, and I ended up going to bed that night at 3am. 

I was hooked. 

Not only does this show have a complicated yet powerful female lead, but the cinematography and style of each scene was perfectly crafted. Every detail was intentional with this show. I love when there is so much attention to detail in a show because when an artist puts their love and care into their projects, it shows in their work. This is one of those shows. 

You can tell the director and producers meticulously dressed Beth Harmon, the protagonist's, throughout the years to represent her journey and struggle with addiction. She starts off with conservative clothing and mild make up in the beginning, but as her confidence grows, so do her style and makeup choices. Harmon is shown wearing a white coat and hat at the end of the series, which represented her as the queen piece in chess. Not only is her style immaculate in this show, but both actresses who play young and old Harmon are brilliant. If Anya Taylor Joy does not get an Emmy nomination after this, I will riot. 

The writing is impeccable. It has a great balance of illustrating the world of chess, as well as developing Beth’s personal life and her friends’ lives. Also, I loved that the show didn’t solely focus on a love interest (something that I am a sucker for but have grown tired of). There have been so many tropes about that with female leads (i.e. Hunger Games, Divergent), and although she does have moments of romance, it does not overshine the main plot. Instead, they showed the overall downfall of an orphan who was able to overcome her personal demons and childhood trauma, which eventually leads to her pure love for chess by beating her biggest opponent in the end. The writers illustrated friendships and nemesis in a boy heavy world, but once Beth established her skills, they no longer saw her as just a woman, but as a threat. If that doesn’t radiate queen energy, then I don’t know what does.

With a show that is mainly centered around chess, you would expect to learn quite a lot about how to play the actual game. 

I did not.

I mean, I am aware of the basics like which pieces move on which board. But honestly I was trying hard to follow her moves and the other competitors, and I did not learn a thing. Then again, it could just be me and my inability to skillfully play chess, but don’t let that stop you from investing seven hours of greatness. This show is amazing even without someone knowing anything about chess! I hope you seriously consider watching this and falling in love with it like I did.