How the game of chess became a Netflix series sensation

Sophia Bottalico, Social Media Manager

Queen’s gambit: the oldest chess move in history where one ultimately controls the board. Writer Walter Tevis took this concept and wrote his novel, The Queen’s Gambit. In turn, Director and co-creator Scott Frank made an entire Netflix short series based on the novel, which highlights chess and the trials and tribulations that follow with this extremely difficult game.

Receiving nearly a perfect score of 97 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, the series has featured some of the best writing and acting in recent years. The show was released in 2020 and has engaged viewers to an extreme extent.

The Queen’s Gambit tells the story of an orphaned child, Beth Harmon (played by Anya Taylor Joy) who found her talent in chess while struggling with drug addiction. When she gets adopted, her infatuation with chess continues as does her alcoholism and pill dependency. Viewers watch Harmon go through hardships and breakthroughs while competing in chess tournaments across the world as not only one of the youngest players but one of the only females in a male-dominated game.

According to Netflix, The Queen’s Gambit in the first 28 days of its release, has been streamed in over 62 million households.

The story line regarding Harmon digs into the mind of addiction, overcoming misogynistic standards that men had, and growth. All of this sounds far fetched for a show about chess; however Frank did an outstanding job with highlighting these somewhat taboo and tough to overcome barriers.

The character development in The Queen’s Gambit is unlike any other. Frank ensures a strong character arch from almost every featured character, and it really adds to the quality of the series. When deciding on a new show to binge, The Queen’s Gambit should be on the top of your list. All seven episodes are available for streaming on Netflix.