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Sports Brownstein: Local chess phenom inspired by hit series The Queen's Gambit

01:50  25 november  2020
01:50  25 november  2020 Source:   montrealgazette.com

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The Queen ’ s Gambit is a seven-episode series , debuting October 23 on Netflix. The thing about Beth Harmon is that she's both the protagonist and antagonist in her own story. To what extent did you get inspired by earlier chess cinema such as The Luzhin Defense, Pawn Sacrifice, or Queen of

Which makes “ The Queen ’ s Gambit ,” a seven-episode limited series that premieres on Netflix Oct. 23, both familiar and unusual. A glamorous and wrenching view of chess , set in the 1950s and ’60s, it centers on the fictional character Beth Harmon (first Isla Johnston, then Anya Taylor-Joy), a child

You don’t have to know chess from Parcheesi to get hooked on the Netflix series The Queen’s Gambit.

a young man sitting at a table © Provided by The Gazette

Rachel Wang does know the difference. The 13-year-old Collège Jean-de-Brébeuf student is ranked second-best chess player in Canada among high school girls. But she can also hold her own among the best boys in the land.

The Queen’s Gambit — which has set the record for Netflix’s most watched scripted limited series and is named for one of the oldest of chess openings — is the fictional story of a young orphaned girl who, in spite of overwhelming odds and being haunted by personal demons, takes on all comers, mostly older men with pedigree, in the competitive chess world.

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In the new limited series The Queen ’ s Gambit , the only thing that's real is the chess . Suffice to say very few people watching understand chess at the level someone like Kasparaov does, but movies from Searching for Bobby Fischer to Queen of Katwe to Fresh have proven audiences want to know

The Queen ’ s Gambit follows chess prodigy Beth Harmon from orphanage through the upper echelons of competitive chess —all while she battles Tevis also noted Beth’s similarity to himself and said her experience in competitive chess was partially inspired by his own. Tevis reached the level of class

Though set half a century back, the sexism issues, among others dealing with mental health, are still very much at play today.

There have been some sterling chess films over the years: Searching for Bobby Fischer, The Luzhin Defence and Queen of Katwe — the latter focusing on a 10-year-old Ugandan girl. But The Queen’s Gambit has an allure all its own, thanks to its stylish, quirky and mercurial lead, played by relative unknown Anya Taylor-Joy.

“I can’t relate to the main character on some levels because I’m not an orphan and, fortunately, I’m not dependent on pills to deal with life, but I do think the series is great and so inspiring, particularly for girls,” says soft-spoken Longueuil native Wang, a budding pianist to boot. “I rarely watch TV, but this is one show I couldn’t miss because it deals with the chess world from a girl’s point of view.”

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Netflix has confirmed “ The Queen ’ s Gambit ” is its biggest scripted limited series in history The Scott Frank-created series starring Anya Taylor-Joy has also proven to be a hit overseas, cracking the IndieWire has prepped its own guide to chess sets and other gifts inspired by “ The Queen ’ s Gambit .”

“ The Queen ’ s Gambit ” hasn’t just been a big hit for Netflix. The new show — which Netflix announced on Monday had set a company record with 62 million Zynga’s Chess With Friends app has also seen a recent spike in downloads .Read original story As Netflix’s ‘ The Queen ’ s Gambit ’ Captures Fans

Wang started playing chess at age six, when her non-chess-playing mom, an engineer, enrolled her in classes. Even back then, Wang was not intimidated in taking on boys.

“I actually play more against males in tournaments because there really aren’t that many women playing competitive chess. I don’t want to sound like I’m boasting, but most of the time I do pretty well against the boys. When I do beat them, they often seem surprised, saying: ‘Oh, you’re good,’ ” she says with a laugh. “I have to admit it makes me feel good beating them.

“But what I really love most about the game are the many strategies you have to develop along the way. It keeps your brain sharp, thinking about all the moves you will have to make. It’s always a challenge.”

Wang is particularly impressed with the accuracy of how the game is depicted in The Queen’s Gambit, no doubt because of the fact that one of the series’ advisers is legendary grandmaster and ex-world champ Garry Kasparov.

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The Queen ’ s Gambit has been watched by 62M million households – making it Netflix’s biggest scripted limited series to date, the streaming giant said Monday. The series , which stars Anya Taylor-Joy as rising chess star Beth Harmon, launched on October 23, and is based on Walter Tevis’ novel.

Netflix has confirmed “ The Queen ’ s Gambit ” is its biggest scripted limited series in history, launching to a record-breaking 62 million households over its first 28 days of release, the streamer claims. The Scott Frank-created series starring Anya Taylor-Joy has also proven to be a hit overseas, cracking

“The board is set up properly and the moves that are made are accurate, which will appeal to serious players,” Wang says. “But even those who don’t know chess at all will still find the show and its characters so fascinating.”

Wang has no illusions about becoming a grandmaster.

“I see myself competing on higher levels. But unlike The Queen’s Gambit character, who kept entering tournaments for money to support herself, I’m not, fortunately, in the same position. I also have other options in life, but chess will always be my passion.”

Virginie Roux, the regional scholastic programming director for Quebec’s Chess’n Math Association, has no doubts that Wang — who studies and participates in tourneys with the group — will be a force for years to come.

“Rachel is one of the more talented players and students of the game we’ve seen,” says Roux, whose association owns the chess-specializing Boutique Stratégie on St-Denis St.

“The Queen’s Gambit has definitely been a big boost, sparking much interest in our lessons and sales. Because of the pandemic, though, we’ve had to reinvent ourselves and mount our whole program online, with 500 students now taking lessons. Sadly, in terms of in-person chess, we’re still on hold but are really looking forward to seeing our young players, like Rachel, in action again.”

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The pandemic has clearly curtailed Wang’s playing.

“I’m mostly playing online now. It’s OK, but, obviously, I’d prefer to play in person, to look into the eyes of my competition,” Wang says. “It’s that whole psychological aspect, where you get to see your opponent’s reaction on their face up close. Just like in all competitions.”

bbrownstein@postmedia.com

Twitter.com/billbrownstein

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This is interesting!