The Queen’s Gambit: Season 1

  • 07 Nov - 13 Nov, 2020
  • Mag The Weekly

The late Walter Tevis wrote The Queen’s Gambit all the way back in 1983, a year before he died of lung cancer. But it took 37 years to find its way to the screen. From what we can see, this is going to be that kind of series. The hung over woman, opens her curtains, retrieves her shoes, pulls herself together and runs down to the master chess game that she’s participating in. Her name is Beth Harmon (Anya Taylor-Joy). We soon go from Paris in 1967 to Pennsylvania in the ’50s. Nine-year-old Beth (Isla Johnston) is left unscathed after a car accident that killed her mother Alice (Chloe Pirrie), and since her dad is nowhere to be found, Beth is sent to an orphanage. There she also meets an older girl named Jolene (Moses Ingram) who enjoys flouting the rules. But, as expected, she feels lost and adrift. She wanders into the basement one day and sees the custodian, Mr Shaibel (Bill Camp) playing himself in chess. Beth knows nothing about the game but is fascinated. As she learns to take the tranquilisers at night, she envisions chess openings and moves on an upside-down board she envisions on the ceiling. She keeps going down to the basement to play him on Sundays; every time she improves in leaps and bounds, to the point where she eventually beats him. Seeing her remarkable ability, Shaibel invites the chess coach from the local high school to see for himself. As withdrawal gets to her, Beth takes desperate measures to get those vitamins.