The Queen’s Gambit

Main

  • Anya Taylor-Joy as Beth Harmon, an orphan who matures into a competitive young adult fueled by a desire to become the greatest chess player in the world while masking a growing addiction to the drugs and alcohol that allow her to function.
    • Isla Johnston as young Beth
    • Annabeth Kelly as five-year-old Beth
  • Bill Camp as Mr. Shaibel, the custodian at the Methuen Home for Girls and an experienced chess player who teaches Beth how to play the game.
  • Moses Ingram as Jolene, a rebellious teenage girl at the Methuen Home who becomes Beth’s closest childhood friend.
  • Christiane Seidel as Helen Deardorff, director of Methuen Home for Girls.
  • Rebecca Root as Miss Lonsdale, the chaplain and choir director at Methuen.
  • Chloe Pirrie as Alice Harmon, Beth’s deceased mother who was a mathematics professor at Cornell University before experiencing a downward spiral in her mental health.
  • Akemnji Ndifornyen as Mr. Fergusson, the orderly at Methuen, who among other roles administers state-mandated pills to the girls.
  • Marielle Heller as Alma Wheatley, who with her husband Allston adopts Beth as a young teenager and later acts as a manager for Beth’s chess career. Alma’s biological child died sometime before Beth’s adoption, and she since develops a worsening alcoholism that begins to influence Beth.
  • Harry Melling as Harry Beltik, a champion player Beth defeats in her first tournament and later befriends.
  • Patrick Kennedy as Allston Wheatley, Alma’s husband and Beth’s estranged adoptive father.
  • Jacob Fortune-Lloyd as Townes, a fellow chess player for whom Beth develops an unrequited love.
  • Thomas Brodie-Sangster as Benny Watts, a notorious fellow chess prodigy who is one of Beth’s most challenging competitors and later a mentor and friend.
  • Marcin Dorociński as Vasily Borgov, the current Soviet world champion chess player and Beth’s strongest competitor.

Recurring

  • Sergio Di Zio as Beth’s father
  • Dolores Carbonari as Margaret, Beth’s high school classmate.
  • Matthew Dennis Lewis and Russell Dennis Lewis as Matt and Mike, twin brothers who serve as registration officials at Beth’s first tournament and go on to become her friends.
  • Janina Elkin as Mrs. Borgov, wife and translator for Vasily Borgov.

(I took the cast from en.wikipedia.org)

My Reviews:

I was curious the first time I saw the title, and when I saw the red haired girl holding a rook with her right hand. It caught my curiosity and I decided to watch it. This Netflix series revolves around an orphan who was a highly talented child when it comes to chess. She was taught by a custodian at her school, and this girl later on became one of the world’s best chess players.

However, this girl was struggling emotionally and was dependent on tranquilizers which was a common practice in the 1950s. She often visualizes playing chess at night time before she sleeps, while staring at the ceiling after drinking her pills. She visualizes the chess board upside down. She memorized all the squares in the chessboard.

Moreover, chess is a two-player strategy board game played on a checkered board with 64 squares arranged in an 8×8 square grid. The basic rules of this game involves two-players, where one player is assigned white pieces and the other black. Each player has 16 pieces to start the game: one king, one queen, two rooks, two bishops, two knights and eight pawns. The object of the game is to capture the other player’s king. In setting up the board: The board should be set up with the white square in the nearest row on the right, “white on the right”. If this isn’t done the king and queen will be mixed up. Shake hands across the board before the game starts. White always moves first.

This series have seven episodes:

  1. The openings
  2. Exchanges
  3. Doubled Pawns
  4. Middle Game
  5. Fork
  6. Adjournment
  7. End Game

I love each episode. My favorite part is the openings and the end game. Between the two, I love the “End Game” more, since “The Opening” was tragic and very sad. I love the part where the protagonist was facing her toughest opponent of the game, a communist in Russia. I love it when the world’s Russian champion, asked her for a draw, but she was in it to win it. She continued to play the game, even sacrificing her knight and bishop and even her queen, to regain another queen with her pawn landing the end square of the opponent, and won by defeating the King of the opponent.

I love the protagonist’s passion to win the game.


This series reminded me how good chess is for mental stimulation. I love to play this game too when I was in high school. In fact, other than swimming, I have played chess and scrabble too for the intramurals. I am more inept with solo games than team games. In addition to that, I love the word factory too with the sands of time.

Going back to chess, I just miss this game. It’s been a long while, since the last time I played this with a person. Most of the time before, I play this with the computer as my opponent. Hehe.

Hoorah for the creators of The Queen’s Gambit! My applause.

Harmon and Townes