The Queen’s Gambit (Season 1) Review

Beth Harmon is orphaned at the age of 9 which sees her master chess at a very young age in 1960s America. The price of her stardom comes at a price though.

Number of episodes: 7


The Queen’s Gambit is an amazingly engaging series which is done over only seven episodes. When you think that chess is the central part of the story you will wonder just how this can be engaging. I guess we have all heard of chess and maybe even attempted to play it at some point. Everything about it works so well across the whole series.

Beth Harmon had a rather tragic start to her life and is then put into a care home with other girls. This is where she meets Mr Shaibel the janitor who she then spends a lot of time playing chess with. He teaches her the game but she also plays it in her mind whilst in bed and reads around it all. The thing is though within the home she is living they give the children drugs to make them compliant and behave in a good way. Jolene being a close friend and trying to help her on arrival.

As she begins to impress with her chess ability even going into the local high school to play the chess club. Something happens though that she was not really expecting and she is adopted by Alma Wheatley and her husband. Although we quickly find out that he did not really want anything to do with it, quite quickly leaving his wife. In fear that she will have to go back to the home Beth arrives to keep it a secret which works in her favour when her stepmother allows her to compete around the country.

They start making money and she is completely in the chess world where she makes plenty of new found friends. Mainly males though as it is a very male dominated world. That is something that I really loved and enjoyed about it all. She took on the men and beat them in spectacular fashion at times. This was something that took quite a bit of time, something to remember still is those drugs she was addicted to as a younger child.

Across the seven episodes we see Beth grow up and explore all different areas of her life. Having a few different relationships with the men that are within the chess world. Some just friendships which were very good to watch unfold. Like anyone growing up she makes a few mistakes as well which is makes everything even more believable.

Anya Taylor-Joy deserves all the credits and plaudits for her incredibly fantastic performance. In a series like this you need to have an amazingly lead performance and that is certainly what we get. Along with Isla Johnston who plays the younger years of the character, the shift between the actresses was very believable and made for some good continuity as the character ages and develops.

Plenty of satisfying moments throughout and as I have already mentioned engaging. The world of competitive chess shown as a totally different world to you could ever imagine linked to the game. Something that I would never really have thought about so could only be a good thing to promote the game?

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