A Series About Chess

Without knowing anything about it, I would think it would be about as exciting as watching the grass grow. And in saying that, reveals an ignorance about the game on my part.

But having just finished the 7 part Netflix series The Queen’s Gambit, I am watching it again to fill myself in on the detail I missed the first time.

It is based on the novel by Walter Tevis, published in 1983.

The novel’s epigraph is “The Long-Legged Fly” by William Butler Yeats. This poem highlights one of the novel’s main concerns: the inner workings of genius in a woman. Tevis discussed this concern in a 1983 interview,[the year before his death.

It was originally to be made into a movie with the late actor Heath Ledger acting and directing.

It concerns a 9 year old girl, who is sent to a Catholic orphanage in the late 50s. She becomes a chess prodigy, having initially learned the game from the orphanage’s janitor.

And like most geniuses, has her struggles with her past, and substance abuse.

I can remember in 1972, American Bobby Fischer winning the chess word championship against the Soviet Union’s Boris Spassky. Like hockey, chess was a game that the Soviets owned.

It is a story of ultimate redemption, and gave me an appreciation for the game.

Netflix has really produced some great series and movies.

11-25-20 here is a nice behind-the-scenes video about the making of the series

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