‘The Queen’s Gambit’: Is Beth Harmon a Real Person?

by Jeremy Spirogis
Anya Taylor-Joy attends the premiere of Focus Features

A champion chess participant could not look like perfect fodder for a Netflix present. Kids from the 1980s battling alien monsters? Sure. Follow a bunch of feminine inmates in jail? Absolutely. But a present a couple of drug-addled chess prodigy? Who would watch that?

Lots of people, because it seems. Since it premiered in late October, The Queen’s Gambit has been the streamer’s newest sensation, showing at or close to the highest of its “most watched” rankings. The present’s reputation has prompted many individuals to ask if its central character, Beth Harmon, is an actual individual. The reply is, sure and no. 

What is ‘The Queen’s Gambit?’

Anya Taylor-Joy attends the premiere of Focus Features' "Emma." at DGA Theater on February 18, 2020 in Los Angeles, California.
Anya Taylor-Joy performs Beth in Netflix collection The Queen’s Gambit. | Rodin Eckenroth/WireImage

RELATED: Is ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ Based on a True Story?

In chess, the queen’s gambit is a gap transfer in a sport that’s thought of dangerous. The goal is to quickly sacrifice a pawn to realize management of the middle of the board. Part of what has made the TV present such successful is the viewer doesn’t must know what which means to understand the present. 

It’s not even vital to grasp a lot about chess in any respect, as a result of the true goal of the present is to get viewers caught up within the drama of Beth Harmon, who rises above shedding her mom in a automobile crash and turns into a  prodigy on the sport. Beth astounds everybody round her together with her ability, besting much more seasoned gamers, though she has a harder time rising above the drug habit she additionally types at an early age. 

The Queen’s Gambit has been very effectively acquired, with the present scoring 100 p.c on Rotten Tomatoes. The Critical Consensus on the location reads, “Its strikes aren’t all the time good, however between Anya Taylor-Joy’s magnetic efficiency, extremely realized interval particulars, and emotionally clever writing, The Queen’s Gambit is an absolute win. “

Who was Beth Harmon?

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Turns out that Beth Harmon is a fictional creation who was impressed by an actual individual. According to Elle, the film relies on a 1983 novel by the identical title.

But a chess professional infers that Beth may be primarily based on legendary chess participant Bobby Fischer, a reclusive prodigy who minimize such a mysterious determine that he impressed the 1993 film Searching for Bobby Fischer, starring Max Pomeranc, Joe Mantegna, Joan Allen, Ben Kingsley, and Laurence Fishburne.

The chess professional wrote: “Fischer himself had been very dismissive of female players, saying in a 1963 interview that they were ‘terrible’ and that a likely reason was that ‘they are not so smart.’ Making Beth recall a female Fischer may have been a sneaky, and wonderful, way to send up that assessment.” 

However, the creator of the novel, William Tevis, wrote that Beth was largely primarily based on his personal life. He too performed chess at a younger age and was given heavy drug remedies in a hospital as a result of a coronary heart situation.

So artwork imitated life, however it appears to have imitated multiple. Several completely different events, together with the late Heath Ledger, had tries to convey Tevis’ story to life over time, however the items by no means fell into place till not too long ago. 

Who made ‘The Queen’s Gambit?’

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One of the first artistic forces on the present is writer-director Scott Frank. He’s not a family title, however he’s well-known in film circles, having written or co-written the screenplays to such acclaimed films as Get Shorty, Out of Sight, Minority Report and Logan. His directorial efforts embody The Lookout and A Walk Among the Tombstones. 

The present has additionally raised the profile of Taylor-Joy, whose star has been on the rise for a while. Her different credit this 12 months alone together with the acclaimed Jane Austen adaptation Emma, and the very long-awaited New Mutants

The actress minimize to the guts of Beth Harmon’s attraction when she instructed The Observer, “Anything you bring an intensity to has the power to be sexy or cool. I think chess is very cool, personally. Its something people are willing to dedicate so much work and passion about, I find that very sexy and cool.”

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