the queens gambit

Checkmate! ‘The Queen's Gambit' Sets a New Record at Netflix

The 7 episode series was viewed in 62-million households in the first 28 days.

PHIL BRAY/NETFLIX

It seems a lot of you are fans of chess. At or at least watching a story about a young chess prodigy and her compelling tale. Netflix just announced that “The Queen’s Gambit” was viewed in a record-setting 62-million households, making it the biggest limited scripted series ever for the streamer. It’s also the number one streaming series in 63 countries.

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THE QUEEN'S GAMBIT (L to R) ISLA JOHNSTON as BETH (ORPHANAGE) and BILL CAMP as MR. SHAIBEL in episode 101 of THE QUEEN'S GAMBIT Cr. PHIL BRAY/NETFLIX © 2020

“The Queen’s Gambit” tells the story of Beth Harmon (Anya Taylor-Joy)  as she discovers an astonishing talent for chess. Throughout her life we see her struggle with loss and abandonment, addiction, and success against the odds. 

The series is based on a novel of the same name, which is now on The New York Times bestseller list - 37 years after its release. It was written by Walter Tevis in 1983 and speaks to the importance of perseverance, family, finding and staying true to yourself.

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THE QUEEN'S GAMBIT (L to R) ANYA TAYLOR-JOY as BETH HARMON in episode 103 of THE QUEEN'S GAMBIT Cr. PHIL BRAY/NETFLIX © 2020

The success of “The Queen’s Gambit” is translating off screen as well. Netflix says Google search queries for “how to play chess” have hit a nine-year peak. And sales of chess boards are up as well. The International Chess Federation reports significantly higher interest in next year’s World Championship compared to previous years.

The series is directed and written by two-time Academy Award nominee Scott Frank (“Godless”) and executive produced by Frank, William Horberg (“Talented Mr. Ripley”)  and Allan Scott (“Don’t Look Now”) who also co-created it. 

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THE QUEEN'S GAMBIT (L to R) ANYA TAYLOR-JOY as BETH HARMON in episode 107 of THE QUEEN'S GAMBIT Cr. PHIL BRAY/NETFLIX © 2020

So what makes this story about chess so compelling, even earning a prestigious 100% on Rotten Tomatoes? Chess is a fascinating game filled with strategy, and drama. But the real draw for this show is Taylor-Joy and her brilliant performance of a woman struggling with addiction, haunted by personal demons, and an obsession with the game. The writers are clearly 3 moves ahead in each episode, giving the viewer a constant longing for the next move.

“The Queen’s Gambit” is streaming now on Netflix. It stars Anya Taylor-Joy, Marielle Heller, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Moses Ingram, Harry Melling and Bill Camp.

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