Did you know that a game of chess can last so long that it is postponed? The player whose turn it is to record their next move and keep it in a sealed envelope so that when both opponents sit down again, they can continue as if the game had not been interrupted. That’s just one of the intricacies of chess revealed to the lay viewer in The Queen’s Gambit.
Adapted from the 1983 Walter Tevis novel, the series directed, co-written and produced by Scott Frank and Allan Scott, along with Frank William Horberges, in equal parts, combines sports narrative, period piece and character study that unfolds in the 1950s through a splendid journey from Kentucky to Moscow through the wit and psychosis of fictional chess prodigy Beth Harmon, a young woman who yearns for control of a chessboard while dealing with the addiction that allows her to access that supernatural mental space that makes her a champion and potentially a great teacher, brilliantly played by actress Anya Taylor-Joy.
In addition, The Queen’s Gambit has a stellar cast of supporting characters such as Marielle Heller, one of the most interesting filmmakers of our time, Thomas Brodie-Sangster (Game of Thrones), Moses Ingram, Harry Melling (Harry Potter) or Bill Camp who they accompany the protagonist like a set of exquisitely carved chess pieces.
As with Walter Tevis’s novel, which garnered praise from the best literary critics for the technical accuracy of its descriptions and for the novelist’s magnificent recreation of the obsessive world of chess, The Queen’s Gambit is an aesthetically prestigious drama perfect that evokes the nostalgia of those stories of the golden age of Hollywood. A controversial take on the obsession, addiction and loneliness of genius that makes chess a truly fascinating game. Captivating, and simply dazzling, The Queen’s Gambit promises to be one of the streaming platform’s breakout series of the season.