The best sports show on TV right now is about chess

Checkmate goes to Netflix!

The Queens Gambit / Netflix

When I first started watching The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. How on earth were they going to make chess of all things interesting? I was intrigued.

As it happens, I needn’t have worried. Initially I only wanted to test the waters with one episode… but I was hooked immediately. The only reason I paused my watching after two, was that it was way past my bedtime by then – so no spoilers in the comments please!

The Queen’s Gambit a limited series about a female chess prodigy in the 1950s and 1960s, has taken the streaming and chess worlds by storm. As an aside, I love the strong, realistic female characters that the show has portrayed so far, as well as some scenes showing what women go through which can still be taboo to be shown on screen even in this day and age.

Actress Anya Taylor-Joy – also know for her starring roles in The Witch and Peaky Blinders – is perfectly cast as gifted chess prodigy named Elizabeth ‘Beth’ Harmon who becomes one of the best chess players in the world, as is her younger counterpart Isla Johnston.

The cast also includes Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Jacob Fortune-Lloyd, Harry Melling, Chloe Pirrie and Bill Camp.

Contrary to many on screen offerings which involve chess, one thing that has impressed viewers who are knowledgeable about the sport, is its serious treatment of chess which has garnered the respect and admiration of grandmasters and champions. And, yes director Scott Frank manages to make the chess scenes really exciting.

Although Beth’s journey isn’t a true story – it is based on a novel by Walter Tevis, originally published in 1983 – the show pulls back the curtain on what life was like in the ’50s and ’60s, including the fashion of the time. More than that, it shows that if you really want to achieve something – and have the talent for it – it is possible to succeed against all odds.

Brb – off to learn me some chess.

Are you watching The Queen’s Gambit right now?

Let us know in the comments or send an email to – but no spoilers please!