Queen's Gambit Anya Taylor-Joy

When life knocks Beth down, she keeps on trudging through.

Guest writer Paige Host reviews The Queen’s Gambit: cinematography, perspective, and inspiration.  Get out your chess board.

I’m not very ‘into’ television. My partner and I try to limit screen time as much as we can, especially during remote working. We thoroughly enjoy board games, cards, reading, and cooking but we do enjoy a good flick or series every now and again. Steven had a big project at work and welcomed background noise, so we started on a hunt for a show to have on as I read, and he worked. We found “The Queen’s Gambit,” turned it on and the background noise quickly became forefront. Based on a novel of the same name, it tells the story of a young female chess prodigy.  We cruised through the series; it was Steven’s and my version of ‘binging’ and we got through it in two weeks.

The art form behind the series is remarkable. The cinematography is impeccably well done, tantalizing your senses throughout every scene. There are moments in the show when your heart sinks to your stomach and in every episode, you think you know where it is going, ‘another cliché ending,’ but no… not one person knows what will happen next.

When the show comes to an end, you want to keep watching.

In the beginning, the filming reminded me of a movie we watched at the beginning of quarantine in early March 2020.  The movie was called “Swallow”; it made you think, be still, wonder. “The Queen’s Gambit” does the same thing, but in a much more enjoyable and enthralling way. I don’t recommend “Swallow” by the way.

If you’re a movie buff or just someone who appreciates recognizing actors, there are two people to watch for. There is Sam from Love Actually and Dudley from Harry Potter. Not to mention a slew of other lesser-known actors who are all on the rise to stardom (in my humble opinion).

More stars on Queen's Gambit

‘Sam’ from Love Actually         ‘Dudley’ from Harry Potter


A surprising result of the show is an increase in chess sales. One toy company reports that sales of chess sets increased over 1,000% since the same time last year.

Queen's Gambit

Many opinion writers are covering “The Queen’s Gambit,” as well. I was interested by a NYT Magazine piece that went into the blunders Beth endures, being the “underdog who triumphs over adversity” – her substance abuse, and the environment she is growing up in:

“This story is so vanishingly rare in the real world that it comes across as utopian in fiction. “The Queen’s Gambit” is a fantasy, and one we rarely see depicted – the fantasy of a functioning meritocracy for women, in which they are free to do what they want.”

Moreover, the NYT author explains that “in literature and film, the male genius is lionized; the female genius is institutionalized” and this series is needed now more than ever; it is a “meritocratic, gender-agnostic fiction” that gives many women hope for what could be.

All in all, I was in love with this show and have recommended it to many family members and friends. I am currently watching it for a second time because my parents were so intrigued by my review. They are completely hooked and I have to say it’s even better the second time around. I strongly encourage you to find “The Queen’s Gambit” on Netflix and sit back and relax. And after watching, if you are interested in taking up chess here are two handmade chess sets on Etsy and some other options.

Queen's Gambit wood chess board

This chess set is made from natural olive wood, as are the pieces. It is 6″ x 6″ and is $75.98.  Please allow up to two weeks for delivery.

Queen's Gambit inlaid chess board

This handmade chess set from Etsy is 16″ x 16″ x 3″ with folding drawers on each side. It comes with 32 wooden pieces.  This particular set has sold, but there are many more similar boards available. Prices vary from $50.00 – $200.00.




Queen’s Gambit Image Credits: Netflix