Netflix’s ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ Shows Off the ‘Ruthless’ Side of Chess (VIDEO)

Anya Taylor Joy The Queen's Gambit Beth Harmon
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Phil Bray/Netflix

At a Kentucky orphanage in the late 1950s, a young girl develops two unlikely addictions: pills and chess. Based on the novel by Walter Tevis (who penned The Hustler and The Color of Money), Netflix’s limited series The Queen’s Gambit charts the rise of gifted outcast Beth Harmon (Anya Taylor-Joy) through the game’s competitive, male-dominated ranks.

“There’s a ruthless side to [chess],” says executive producer William Horberg (Searching for Bobby Fischer). “People think of it as a genteel, intellectual sport, but it’s more like a boxing match — and she’s a Cassius Clay character.” 

While high-pressure tournaments take stylish young adult Beth around the country — and to Mexico, France, and the Soviet Union — a majority of the limited series was filmed in Berlin to capture the Cold War vibes of 1950s and ’60s films. Her journey reveals not only the dark side of genius (as you can see in the trailer below), but also how the once-stoic Beth ultimately finds her sense of self and triumphs. We promise you’ll be cheering. Says Horberg, “Sometimes, we just see the look on her opponent’s face when he knows he’s going to get crushed.”

The Queen’s Gambit, Series Premiere, Friday, October 23, Netflix