Photo Courtesy of Netflix. Story Courtesy of Press-Republican movie reviewer Amanda Martin.
That pretty much sums up this Netflix original mini-series called, “The Queens Gambit;” which is more or less about an orphaned, genius child who made it successfully through life by simply being obsessed with the game of chess.
The leading role, played by Anya Taylor-Joy, known as Beth Harmon, plays a most believable part as an orphan who’s mom tries to commit suicide with them both in the car. Beth survived. Mom did not.
With no father to be found, Beth is sent to an orphanage.
This leads to huge emotional issues throughout Beth’s life. It also leads to an addiction that is caused by tranquilizer pills that were given to the children in the orphanage. When a law is passed that no longer allows distribution of the pills, Beth goes into withdrawal.
It was what got her through. What made her feel, “alive.”
Beth befriends a janitor in the basement of the orphanage, Mr. Shaibel, who reluctantly introduces her to the game of chess. She would go down to see him once a week during their “Sunday Quiet Times,” and her visions while taking the tranquilizers at night would “show her the moves of the board.”
Let me be honest, when I read the description on the Netflix screen, I passed it by more than once. I thought, “There’s no way I’m going to make it though an entire season about a girl who can play chess.” Truth is, I couldn’t peel myself away from it and had to finally give up at 2:00 in the morning and concede to the fact that I will just have to wait another day to finish the last two episodes.
So, you don’t know how to play chess, right? Most people don’t. I happen to know the ‘basics’ that my oldest brother Hugh taught me when I was about the same age as the young lady that portrays Beth in her early years in the film. It helps to know the moves and the rules. But, it’s not necessary to enjoy the series.
However, to help a bit, a gambit is an opening move in which a player will sacrifice pieces to later gain a positive position. According to The Chess Website, “The Queen’s Gambit is probably the most popular gambit.” It also just happens to be the final move Beth Harmon makes against opponent Vaily Borgov, the Russian world champion.
Basically, the objective of the queen’s gambit is to temporarily sacrifice a pawn to gain control of the center of the board.
I know, reading that might seem boring. The whole thought of the movie might sound boring. I thought so too. You REALLY have to give this one a chance.