The Queen’s Gambit Brings a New Light to Chess

Courtesy of

Keira Ordonez, Staff Reporter

The Queen’s Gambit is a Netflix original limited series based on the book The Queen’s Gambit by Walter Travis. The show’s main protagonist Beth Harmen (Anya-Taylor joy) is an orphan who discovers she is a chess prodigy at a young age and the story of her progressing into the top players in the world while dealing with an alcohol and drug addiction. The show is set during the mid-1960s in Kentucky as well as all the locations Beth travels to for her tournaments with a few being New York, Paris, and Mexico.


Chess has always been one of those games that has never been very mainstream. Many have talked about it first turning away from this show due to the fact that it is centered around chess, but this series uncovers many layers to the game that many did not know existed. From the main character studying different chess games to flying around the world for very intense matches, the series had everyone on their toes for the next play of a game.


One of the best things about this show is the accuracy in wardrobe and its iconic fashion moments that move along with the series as well as the main character Beth is known to be very glamorous. The costume designer on the set, Gabriele Binder, did an amazing job at showing how Beth used clothing to protect herself as being one of the only female, top chess player because the chess world was so full of sexism. Beth’s wardrobe is full of neutral colors and very true 60s clothes with skirts, polos, jackets, and hats. Towards the end, when she starts spiraling further into her addiction, we see her wearing brighter colors and having intense makeup on to show her distress. Her style evolution during the show from the clothes she used to wear at the orphanage to the elegant expensive ones she wears as a chess player shows her development through the series.


One of the downsides to this series is the lack of diversity among the cast. The only person of color in the show is Beth’s best friend from the orphanage Joleane (Moses Ingram) who was always there to help out Beth from the moment she stepped into the orphanage and later shows up at the end of the series to tell Beth that the person who taught her chess Mr. Sheibell (Bill Camp) has passed away. Jolene being the only person of color in the show and showing up when Beth is having a hard time with her addiction feeds into the guardian angel stigma seen many times in Hollywood that when the person of color comes in to save someone picturing them most of the time to have non-human abilities. It was very disappointing to lovers of the show to only have one person of color and for them to be portrayed in this light. But it was still nice to see how their relationship still held its meaning and bond after not seeing each other for a very long time.