The Queen’s Gambit follows the character of Beth Harmon who is orphaned at a young age. Shortly after, she learns the game of chess and is a prodigy. Her various experiences and battles both on and off the chessboard will captivate your attention and have you wanting to know what happens next.
I must admit I simply love the story of The Queen’s Gambit. There are just many different factors that capture your attention, and I’ve always had a fascination with chess. I first discovered this story by watching Netflix’s adaptation. I wasn’t aware it was a book at first, so of course I picked up the book and read it after finishing the miniseries. The miniseries consists of seven episodes and is a phenomenal adaptation that follows the exact events of the book with few, minor changes that have no real impact on the story. The show is one of the best adaptations of a book I have come across if I’m honest. That being said, even though I knew everything that was going to happen, the book was still a fun read with exciting moments.
This only goes to show how well Walter Tevis can write. Tevis wrote seven books during his lifetime. The Queen’s Gambit is the fourth of his novels to be adapted into film. The other three were made into the movies The Man Who Fell to Earth, The Color of Money, and The Hustler. Tevis died in 1984 at the age of 56, just a year after The Queen’s Gambit was published.
Again, I have always enjoyed the game of chess, but I have not had many opportunities to play it. I learned from my father when I was around seven or eight years old. I vividly remember approaching him at the kitchen table as he was drinking coffee and asked him to teach me how to play the game. I never studied the game enough to know the designations of the squares on the board or any strategies that are found within this book. I merely played because I enjoyed it and it stimulated thought. It makes you strategize and there are many possibilities that can happen within a single move. There was a period where I would find people to play and for a short time I had several of my friends playing with me. The last time I can remember playing was in my early years at college. I haven’t played for many years now, but perhaps I will get back into it.
One thing I noticed after the show was released was an increase of interest in the game. I work at a university and I came across several students who were learning to play or picking it back up themselves. They had all seen the show. Both the show and the book create an interest in the game or make you want to play. I think this is because it delves into stratagem but also makes each game interesting in its own way. It makes the board seem like an entire world where anything is possible. A field where individual triumph or defeat is possible. Tevis was a player himself and the Author’s Note at the start of the book expresses his appreciation to the players who helped him ensure the games within the book were strategically sound exchanges.
I have also talked with several others who have watched the series who have no interest in the game of chess whatsoever. They still enjoyed the show because the story isn’t only about chess. It is about the interesting character of Beth Harmon who faces many struggles outside of chess as well. Thus, I consider this a story that many people will enjoy because of these universal elements. Whether you decide to watch it or read it, I hope you enjoy this story as well.
Happy reading….or binge-watching.