Check This Out: Queen’s Gambit

What: The Queen’s Gambit

Where: Available on Netflix

Why: The Queen’s Gambit is a new seven part Netflix original miniseries about Beth Harmon, a fictional female chess master competing in the U.S. and international men’s professional chess leagues during the 1950s and 60s. It follows her rise to excellence, and touches on complex issues such as the prices of extraordinariness, coping with the death of loved ones, and the struggles of being a woman competing in a male-dominated field.

Beth faces many challenges throughout the show, beginning with the death of her mother in the very first scene and subsequent upbringing in a Kentucky orphanage. The story focuses on her ongoing struggles to cope with her trauma, and how it pushed her to extreme skill in the game of chess. Chess enthusiasts will enjoy all the references to the history of the game, and the center role it has in Beth’s story.

The show also offers poignant social commentary throughout, and does so in an authentic and thought-provoking manner. It constantly makes you pause and think about how you would feel in the various characters’ shoes. Additionally, for the majority of the series, Beth is a teenager, which makes her struggles particularly relatable.

Also featured strongly are delightfully accurate recreations of 1950s and 60s fashion and culture. Period-correct rock and roll is used extensively throughout the show, which makes for a very immersive and entertaining viewing experience.

Starring The Queen’s Gambit is a powerful and wholly entertaining television series, highly recommended to older high school students.