Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit a hit on mainstream media

by ChessBase
11/18/2020 – In a recent review for ChessBase, Albert Silver stated that Netflix’s ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ was “the best chess-related movie or series to grace the screen, from the tour de force performance by Anya Taylor-Joy to the gorgeous cinematography”. But, is this opinion shared only by the loyal legions of chess fanatics? Or is the series actually a hit? According to the ratings and the reviews on mainstream media, it is one of the best releases of the year!

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Passionate, magnetic

An immense amount of people have enjoyed — most likely in one sitting — the gripping story of Beth Harmon on Netflix’s ‘The Queen’s Gambit’. Apparently, Beth’s passion for chess has led to heaps of viewers to turn to their favourite browsers looking for ways to learn more about the royal game. As shared by FIDE on Twitter:

Not only that — plenty of reviews have praised the series on mainstream media. If you are hesitant to trust Albert Silver’s excellent review (published on a chess media outlet, after all), take a look at what has been written about the series elsewhere. We list a few of the many articles below. [Click images to enlarge.]

‘The Queen’s Gambit’ Review: Coming of Age, One Move at a Time

Mike Hale for the New York Times

[Scott] Frank wraps it all up in a package that’s smart, smooth and snappy throughout, like finely tailored goods. The production has a canny combination of retro Rat Pack style, in its décors and music choices, with a creamy texture, in its performances and cinematography, that is reminiscent of another Netflix period piece, “The Crown.”

The Queen's Gambit, Netflix

The Queen’s Gambit review

Allison Shoemaker at

The Queen’s Gambit,” Scott Frank’s adaptation of Walter Tevis’ coming-of-age novel of the same name, absolutely demands the use of “thrilling.” Anchored by a magnetic lead performance and bolstered by world-class acting, marvelous visual language, a teleplay that’s never less than gripping, and an admirable willingness to embrace contradiction and ambiguity, it’s one of the year’s best series.

The Queen's Gambit, Netflix

From an orphanage basement to the top of the chess world

Lucy Mangan for The Guardian

It looks gorgeous, the main performances are superb, the vital chess exposition neatly done and the true meaning of each game to Beth is made clear, whether spiritual battle, learning curve, inner reckoning, occasional flirtation, retreat from or re-emergence into the world. However, without the anchoring point of a true story behind it all, it has the feeling of a fairytale rather than the sports movie or biopic its trajectory and tropes keep pointing viewers towards.

The Queen's Gambit, Netflix

“The Queen’s Gambit” Is the Most Satisfying Show on Television

Rachel Syme for the New Yorker

What makes “The Queen’s Gambit” so satisfying comes in large measure from the character Taylor-Joy brings to screen: a charming, elegant weirdo who delivers her lines with a cool, wintergreen snap, and never really reacts the way one might expect. [...] The chess masters Garry Kasparov and Bruce Pandolfini, who consulted on the show, taught Taylor-Joy how professionals move the pieces along the board, but, as she told the magazine Chess Life, she developed her own way of gliding her hands across the board.

The Queen's Gambit, Netflix


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