A tale of 64 squares!

They said that the number of iterations possible in chess are more than the number of atoms in the universe. Known as Chaturanga, chess is one of the oldest  strategic board games played in ancient India. The Persians later took it to Europe and named it as Shatranj which is officially it’s Hindi name. Most of us might have played chess during our school or college days. I started playing chess with my friends since school days. Those were the days without the internet. I remember me & my friends reading the chess manual and trying to figure out castling, En Passant & what’s the difference between checkmate & stalemate??? Even though  I could not get selected in school & college team but still my interest in chess hasn’t faded.

Enter Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit.Based on the fiery novel of the same name by Walter Tevis, it tells the story of an orphaned chess prodigy Beth Harmon who despite being haunted by her personal demons and addiction to alcohol quickly rose to fame as a skilled and competitive player in a male dominated sport.

Anna Taylor Joy is really the breakout star of this series. She brings this character to life. She learnt how to play chess for this series but developed her own unique style of moving pieces across the board. The expressions on her face as she destroys her opponents with ease while also displaying anger and disbelief after losing adds depth and believability to the character.

Chess is one of the games which isn’t broadcasted live. Most of us think that watching chess games is boring. But director Scott Frank shows as that chess can be as cinematic as boxing. The chess games are so electrifying. Moves, counter moves, reaction on player’s faces and audiences watching, the ticking of chess clock all make every game dynamic. The games are so accurately depicted that many grandmasters including Vishwanathan Anand, Gary Kasparov, the Polgar sisters & the current chess world champion- Magnus Carlsen have praised this series.One of the reasons that this series is a success because it makes chess cool or should I say sexy!!

The cinematography is brilliant, the set pieces are lavish- Vegas, Paris, Moscow etc. and the stylish wardrobes of the 60s makes it an eye popping to watch.

The basic motto of this series is talent can get you success initially but in the end it’s hard work & efforts that you put in will determine how far will you go in life. Also the series depict mental illness, alcohol addiction & overcoming it through willpower & the help of your friends. The series also deals with sexism- as she is the only female competitor in mens’ tournament which is a surprise to many but as she becomes more successful it doesn’t even matter. As she says she doesn’t mind to be the only girl in the tourney.

Overall The Queen’s Gambit finds a way to make chess psychologically thrilling thanks to a knockout performance from Anna Taylor Joy amid chess cerebral moves that will make you play either one or two games even if you don’t know how to play it.

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