10 Things You Might Not Know About The Queen’s Gambit

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10 Things You Might Not Know About The Queen’s Gambit
10 Things You Might Not Know About The Queen’s Gambit

credit: The Queen’s Gambit

The Queen’s Gambit is probably one of the most iconic Netflix series released during the pandemic. In seven episodes, it followed the story of Elizabeth Harmon, an orphaned girl as he learned and mastered the game of chess, competing with several players and grandmasters as she grew older. The series ended with Harmon beating the world champion. The series is a great success, with a lot of people trying chess even for the first time and getting hooked to it after the series was released. It was also commended for having high-quality chess.

Below, we will look into the details that were not very obvious when the show was watched for the first time. We have compiled a list of ten interesting trivia to fuel your knowledge of the game and the show more!

1. The title is based on a chess opening

An “opening” in chess refers to a set of moves done at the beginning of a game. The title of the show is inspired by the Queen’s Gambit – an opening where the player with the white pieces advances the pawn in the front of their queen two squares, black does the same, and white advances the pawn to the left of the first pawn to squares as well. This titular opening is also the opening used in the series’ last game.

2. The games are from playing games in real life

This ensured that the games looked authentic and of high quality. The games used in the show also had some involvement by the chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov who curated those games from the database and improved it. The most notable game was in the last episode, it is based on Vassily Ivanchuk vs. Patrick Wolff (Biel Interzonal, 1993) where the game played out the same until the 36th move by black.

10 Things You Might Not Know About The Queen’s Gambit

credit: The Queen’s Gambit

3. Garry Kasparov as Vasily Borgov

The chess grandmaster was invited to play as Harmon’s final enemy. His involvement could have had a strong impact on the audience, knowing that the protagonist was playing against a grandmaster, not just in the show but also in real life. He turned it down, and the role was instead given to the Polish actor Marcin Dorociński.

10 Things You Might Not Know About The Queen’s Gambit

credit: The Queen’s Gambit

4. The episode titles are chess concepts

The seven episodes are oddly titled with chess terms, starting with “Openings” in Episode 1 to “End Game” in Episode 7. Other terms include “Fork” which means a piece threatens multiple enemy pieces at the same time, “Doubled Pawns” meaning two pieces of the same color in the same column; and “Adjournment” when a game is saved and is to be resumed the next day.

5. Benny Watts and Ferb are played by the same person

Yes, Ferb from the animated series Phineas and Ferb. Both characters were played by the British actor Thomas Brodie-Sangster, who also played Newt in the Maze Runner franchise.

6. Beth Harmon staring at the ceiling in the last game

As said earlier, the final game was based on a match between Vassily Ivanchuk and Patrick Wolff, with Ivanchuk having the white pieces. In the last game, Harmon also had the white pieces and stared at the ceiling (consulting her chess “visions”), imitating the grandmaster’s mechanism.

7. Harmon’s chess hallucinations used the first board she saw

Throughout the show, Beth Harmon is under the influence of some drugs and sees a chessboard on the ceiling. She would use that false chessboard to study. The set used in the game never changed and represented the first time Harmon played chess, and it stuck.

8. The checkered pattern

Sometimes, Beth could be seen wearing a piece of clothing in a checkered pattern. It was used to evoke the feeling of a chessboard as if making the audience anticipate it.

9. Alma’s death

In one of the scenes, Alma is seen to be looking in a mirror similar to that of the subject of the drawing “All is Vanity.” In the drawing, the woman, her reflection in the mirror, and the mirror itself closely resembled a skull, which could have hinted at someone’s death.

10. Beth lost to the second-quickest possible checkmate

In her first-ever match with Mr. Shaibel, the janitor tried to trick Beth into losing early by executing the Scholar’s Mate – an attempt he succeeded in pulling off.

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