What was the most powerful moment of Queen’s Gambit for you? What was that one moment that made you realize that Queen’s Gambit is a show you are referring to others? What was the moment which was tailormade for you making the show more relatable than it already was?
The first episode itself was full of key points that makes you addicted to the story. When Beth played the first game with Mr. Shaibel, I was hoping that Mr Shaibel would play the 4-move checkmate. This is the most popular move against a beginner as every new chess player fall for it exactly once in their lifetime. I didn’t know it was called ‘Scholar’s Mate‘ and this new piece of information enticed me. When Elizabeth started seeing chess pieces on the ceiling, I knew its going to be a trippy series i.e. a series you don’t want to ruin by watching it in a sober state. While initially I was disappointed that they didn’t show the chess matches properly, I knew from referrals that this series is not just about chess. It’s as much about Elizabeth Harmon’s journey to become Chess World Champion as it is about self reflection. While I was already addicted, the below moment hit me the hardest:
During the winters of 2010 (or maybe 2009. It was almost a decade ago and I was a teetotaler), I had a similar chess moment after which I completely stopped playing chess. It wasn’t a case where I was a chess prodigy or something, but it was still a game I enjoyed till 2010. One of the major reasons why I enjoyed chess was that while the elder kids would beat me in table tennis, I would return the favour via chess. Chess was a game where age didn’t matter or so I thought. This one summer a friend’s grandfather came to visit her and soon we would play chess with him everyday. It took the whole summer but eventually he taught us how to beat him. Time flied by, I moved cities, changed schools, ranked in top-6 in the new districts chess open and was shortlisted to play in a simultaneous exhibition with none other than the reigning world champion Mr. Viswanathan Anand (it was 2010). I started with King’s Indian Defense and was obliterated. The match didn’t complete due to time-constraints and because the photoshoot was done, but I knew, in that moment, that I am never playing chess in a professional capacity again. I didn’t love chess enough to play like how the world champion played.
The series was highly enjoyable because I was already aware of major openings, famous chess players (Capablanca, Morphy, etc) and the Russian domination of the chess world. Thankfully I have been binging Agadmator’s Youtube channel before Queen’ Gambit was released and he definitely expanded my chess knowledge enough to talk about chess when I am with friends. But I do NOT love chess. I like it as a hobby but I do NOT love it.
And that brings us to my key takeaway from the series. You don’t have to be completely immersed in something to enjoy it. According to this Forbe’s article, 53 percent of Americans are currently unhappy at work. The percentage of people who actually love their work would definitely be far less than the happy workers’ 47%. A job for most is a means of making ends meet. It may or may not be enjoyable, but that job allows people to enjoy their hobbies. But then those people would probably never make it as big as Elizabeth Harmon made it in Queen’s Gambit. Find what you love, then find a way of monetizing it and then wait for Netflix to make a documentary on you.