Movies & Series

What Netflix series The Queen’s Gambit means for the real chess star

Netflix series The Queen’s Gambit a female chess prodigy receives rave reviews and achieves a record audience rating. Anna-Maja Kazarian (20) from Wassenaar is a Dutch chess wonder and recognizes a lot in the series.

The Queen’s Gabmit is based on the 1983 book of the same name by Walte Tevis. In the series we see the young chess champion Beth Harmon who tries to secure a place in the chess world in the 1950s. No fewer than 62 million households have streamed the first season of the series in the past four weeks. This makes the story about a chess miracle the most watched Netflix miniseries ever.

Since she was six, the now 20-year-old Kazarian has been devoted to the chessboard. In 2015 she obtained the title of Fidemeester voor Vrouwen (WFM) and in 2017 the title Woman International Master (WIM). Kazarian is a chess talent, just like the main actress from the series.

Surrounded by men

Her grandfather taught her all kinds of games, including chess, during the holidays in her native Georgia. “I loved chess. Once back in the Netherlands I ended up at chess club SC Sneek. ” There, the young chesswoman was mainly surrounded by boys. “Fortunately, more and more women are playing chess, but we are few. In open tournaments everyone plays chess against each other. Young, old, man, woman. At least 90 percent is male there. ”

According to Kazarian, many girls have talent, but they stop at a young age. “After a number of years, girls change interests and drop out. I’ve seen very strong players retire. Chess is difficult to combine with parties or going out, for example. ” Why? “You have to learn and study and be constantly engaged in the game. In that case, distraction is not good. ” Kazarian dreams of becoming a grandmaster and will do everything he can to achieve more titles.

Twenty-year-old Anna-Maja Kazarian in St. Louis United States.
Anna-Maja Kazarian in St. Louis United States. Photo: Maja Lomsadze

Recognition in the series

The young chess talent found the The Queen’s Gambit “Awesome!”. “It reflects reality. The tension and pressure for the lead actress and the way people look at her. I have also experienced that. She competes against the world top and is underestimated because she is a girl. I recognize a lot in that. ”

“The sport of chess comes out very nicely in the series,” says Kazarian. “The emotion after a lost game and the process of a chess player.” Kazarian herself has little criticism of the series. “The only thing I could think of is that Beth can compete with the world top pretty quickly. The lead actress in the series is also out of the race for a few years and then quickly picks up the thread again. If I didn’t play for five years myself, I wouldn’t be able to compete with the world top right away. It is not impossible, but it is difficult. ”

“It’s a beautiful game”

The chess talent is happy with the arrival of the Netflix series and hopes that it will have a positive influence on the sport of thought. “In this series you can see how beautiful chess is. The Queen’s Gambit is exciting and motivating. I had already heard that the number of searches on Google for chess lessons has doubled, haha. ” According to Kazarian, chess is good for a person in many ways. “It’s a great game.”

The games played in the series are based on real chess games “by very good grandmasters”. Queen’s Gambet is a term for the opening of a game of chess. According to Kazarian, you have several openings and she sometimes has the Queen’s Gambet played. “But it is not my favorite,” she laughs.

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