2020, among the many difficulties, will also be remembered as the year in which Netflix was able to create interest around itself with quality products and, in a certain sense, innovative, such as the beautiful series adaptation of the novel of the same name. The chess queen. The show was a success with audiences and critics, deservedly.
In addition to an interesting and very sui generis plot (dealing with a competitive world little explored before such as that of chess), in fact, the strength of the series is that of having trusted an Anya Taylor-Joy never so centered as in The Queen of chess, which has added its own twist to a must-see product. On our pages, we have already covered some insights about the series, such as our focus on Anya Taylor-Joy. Today, however, we will try to answer a question that many have asked themselves: what inspired the story of Beth Harmon from The Queen of Chess? Is there a “true story” from which the novel and series drew inspiration?
Let’s start with order: the novel from which the TV show was born, was written in 1983 by the American author Walter Tevis, inserting some strongly autobiographical themes, such as his own passion for the game of chess (of which he can boast a modest, but long-lived amateur career) and, above all, addiction and alcoholism. Can we therefore say that the protagonist Beth is, in a certain sense, none other than Tevis’ alter-ego? Not exactly.
The writer, in fact, to create the character of the protagonist of his penultimate novel (before his tragic death) was based on the figure of the famous American chess player Bobby Fischer: Beth’s playing style is largely taken from that of Fischer and moreover, the same chess player became world champion after defeating a Russian in the middle of the Cold War.
It is important to remember, to clarify, that what makes the story at least plausible is precisely the fact that it is set in a historical period like that of the Cold War, where the tension and confrontation between the United States and Russia was not only political, but it flowed into every branch of society, culture, and even sport. The fact that the United States must excel against Russia even in a game like that of chess is exactly the reason that brings the character of Beth Harmon to the center of a narrative that moves in double thread, between hopes of victory and fear of having a woman in a position of “power”. So, although the story is by no means “true”, everything that revolves around the world of The Queen’s Gambit turns the story into something “historical” in its own way.
And while we leave you to our review of The Queen of Chess, the ball passes to you: did you know the probable inspirations of The Queen’s Gambit series? What do you think of its setting? Let us know with a comment in the dedicated space!