The Queens Gambit - Netflix goes to chess!

I am surprised this doesnt have its own topic here - Its very well reviewed (In Denmark at least), and is a period piece based on a book, or rather, a mini-series, which is always something interesting, instead of those series or shows that are waaaayyy too long for me.

We’ve seen two episodes so far.

I am terrible at watching shows these days that are longer than say, Modern Family and its ilk, but this? I gobbled each episode up without nary a thought for how long they are (45 minutes - 60ish minutes). ´

At almost every turn, what I expect to happen, gets turned aside and something else occurs - Where I expect a normal show to focus on one thing, it rarely doesnt and it also helps that the main actors (Actresses?) plays extremely well and is just a joy watching.

If you enjoy chess, as I found out quite a few people here does, this should really be up your alley.

Thanks for the heads-up. The friends me and my wife have been having viewing nights with for a good 15 years now will enjoy this I think. As will I ;-)

Does Hikaru get a cameo?

Watching the first episode RIGHT NOW, and dislike it. It’s dumb at portraying chess (as usual). It’s all cliche (up to this point)… I will stick to it, hope it improves. They portray chess like it is some kind of alchemy. Dumb.

edit: that old guy in the cellar, so dumb. Scholars mate my ass. That’s the stupidiest thing in chess…

The best chess film ever, ever, was with John Turturro. Lushins Defence, based on a novel by Nabokov. That was excellent.

sorry, I always get triggered when chess is done in a movie or show. Always.

Second half of Ep1 was better, good enough to continue. The music is a bit too sweet for my taste. Doesn’t fit chess in my opinion. Too sentimental… whatever. Imagine a great show like Breaking Bad coming with this kind of music? I think they should not have gone this super nostalgic route.


Sounds like something I’d enjoy, if it’s done well. But since I’m not resubscribing to Netflix (yet), I’ll just wait to hear the verdict of the hivemind.

Man, the second episode was great. it made me really sad. Watching them playing in a tournament. Fuck covid and corona. I want to play in my club again. I haven’t played over the board since February. Shit.

is this show based on real events? Never heard of her. I know the Polgar sisters, they were great female players in the 80s and 90s

edit: fictional

I was bored by the first episode and admit I skipped to the end halfway through. I mean - Anya Taylor-Joy wasn’t even in it! It seemed pretty bland but Razgon says it doesn’t do what you expect it to so I’ll keep watching.

I already watched that episode in The Wire with chess in it. Is this going to top that?

I watched it all, it’s pretty good acting. What else are you going to watch, everything else is bad.

Eh, its not a chess series - its a series where chess plays a large role, which is rare enough that I feel it should get a mention. Heck, it even made my GF want to play chess. If it can do that to others, then its a great thing!

Not every show is for everyone, and thats fine - I don’t like most shows, but this caught my interest. If you are skipping already in the first episode I’m pretty sure this isn’t for you. No harm in that!

that’s true! The 1st episode didn’t give the best impression. But it gets definetely better. Boy, the 60s in a US small town can be pretty depressing if you do not fit into society. I guess, anywhere, if you do not adjust you are screwed.

long live the outsider!

My gf and I watched the first two episodes last night. And I have to say we both really appreciated this. It’s not an overt thing; the show isn’t a series of plot-twists or anything. But it’s so tropey in movies to have characters like Beth’s in peril: from authority figures, classmates, etc. In this show you keep expecting certain roles (the matron of the orphanage, the adoptive mother, the champion played by Harry Melling, etc) to turn on her. I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that they don’t. None of them are heroes, but they’re not villains either. They’re just normal folks generally trying to do their best, sometimes selfish, sometimes not. We’ve really enjoyed it so far.

FYI, Bill Camp is in this show (as the janitor). If that doesn’t make you want to watch it, I don’t know what will.

Exactly this! That is what I mean - I totally expected that as well, and expected to dislike that immensely - but that is thankfully not the story set out to be told here!

I don’t know, I went into watching this one expecting chess to just be the thing she’s a prodigy at and not what the story is actually about.

I’m enjoying it quite a bit, certainly far more than what usually gets served up on netflix.

I cruised through the whole series quickly. I keep thinking to myself “what is that actress from?” I finally got it around episode 6 when her hair is longer. Thoroughbreds from 2017

There is this scene where she plays the Kenntucky Open in Ep2, the final round against Belkin (?).
She opens e4 expecting him to answer e5 or c5. But he answers c6, the Caro-Kann opening.
And that gets her by surprise… eh, I don’t get it. She read up to this point a lot of books on chess theory, and Caro-Kann is nothing to be surprised at, it is a standard opening. Way less ambitious then the c5 (Sicilian).

Stephen King liked it:

@Razgon, thanks for posting about this show. About 75% through the first episode and enjoying it quite a bit.

oh god, this Benny Watts guy… I am a bit sad, that all chess players (so far) are fictional. No Bobby Fisher? He won the US championship title from 1958 to 1966 8 times in a row … So this is an alternate universe? Got it! There are many of them …

Otherwise, I enjoy the show, looking forward to the next few episodes.