8 Things We Can All Learn From “The Queen’s Gambit”


My restricted data of chess and much more restricted want to enterprise out of my Netflix consolation zone meant that I spent nearly a month after The Queen’s Gambit launch in October largely ignoring it, as an alternative opting to scroll previous its regular spot within the ‘Top 10 in the U.S. Today’ part on my approach to queue up The Workplace reruns for the thousandth time. So once I lastly began the sequence, I used to be each stunned and completely embarrassed I hadn’t began watching sooner. Sure, The Queen’s Gambit is about chess—the sequence follows Elizabeth “Beth” Harmon from her days studying chess from a janitor within the basement of Methuen House orphanage all over her meteoric rise to the highest of the male-dominated chess scene of the 1960s—but it surely’s not nearly chess.

The Queen’s Gambit depicts a younger girl rising up, chasing down massive goals, and overcoming obstacles—and also you don’t have to be a grandmaster to understand any of these issues! Listed here are just some of the relevant reminders and life classes this sequence crams into seven episodes.


Warning: spoilers for The Queen’s Gambit forward.


1. Don’t write somebody—or one thing—off too early

Beth’s chess profession appears stacked in opposition to her from the start due to her gender. The primary time she watches chess on the orphanage, she is advised that women don’t play. Later, after she is adopted, her mom tries to discourage her from the sport suggesting dance class or lady’s membership as an alternative. At her first chess match, she is advised there isn’t a devoted girls’s part and to play as a newbie. Even on the peak of her profession, she is putting down accusations that she is “too glamorous to be a serious chess player.”

As a viewer, it’s irritating and exhausting to observe Beth must show herself many times. The frustration solely grows when you think about that—regardless of the present being based mostly on a fictional e-book and set 60 years in the past—comparable scenes nonetheless play out on a really actual scale on a regular basis.

Take it from the lady who admitted to stereotyping this very present simply paragraphs in the past: It’s straightforward to make snap judgements and stereotypes. What’s exhausting is taking the time and vitality to problem your individual views and hold an open thoughts. However hey! If it results in discovering your subsequent Netflix binge, I’d say it’s fairly worthwhile.


2. Don’t fear about becoming right into a mould

From her stern poker face all the best way to her brown sneakers with brown laces, Beth’s character isn’t the everyday feminine heroine. Whereas her highschool classmates are hiding between library cabinets kissing boys, Beth is scouring the identical cabinets for chess books. Whereas the women at social membership sing alongside to each phrase of the track on TV, Beth doesn’t comprehend it effectively sufficient to hitch in.

Regardless of the various methods she is perhaps described—orphan, prodigy, chess participant, ‘60s teen—Beth doesn’t actually match the picture you may need in your head for any of them completely. The Queen’s Gambit shatters drained cliches and gender stereotypes in favor of a posh and untraditional lead, however that’s precisely what makes it so memorable. By combating the urge to suit a sure label, you can provide your self the identical likelihood.


3. Begin earlier than you might be prepared

Beth is an actual life instance of studying on the job, even exhibiting as much as her first match earlier than she is aware of how it’s structured or how one can use a chess clock. Whereas analysis and preparation are vital, there’s undoubtedly one thing to be stated concerning the energy of taking motion even whenever you really feel unprepared.

Subsequent time you might be ready for the “perfect” second to do one thing you’ve at all times wished to do, pull a Beth and begin earlier than you might be 100 % prepared. You would possibly simply shock your self.


4. Have faith in your self—even when others don’t

Ever heard the phrase ‘If your dreams don’t scare you they’re not sufficiently big?’ Enter Beth telling the incredulous staff at her first match that she needs to play the very best participant there. However regardless of any ridicule, Beth let her recreation communicate for itself. She was the literal illustration of being so good it was unimaginable to disregard her.

Beth’s relentless quest for enchancment is depicted in each episode. She visualizes matches whereas falling asleep on the orphanage, reads chess books in her free time, and units up a mini chess board on an airplane tray desk to observe on the best way to a match. As her profession progresses, Beth even takes a Russian course to arrange her for the celebrated abroad tournaments she’s intent on competing in. Discuss confidence!

Beth’s earliest buddy from the orphanage, Jolene, has the identical drive. Although she had an unconventional childhood, she (spoiler alert!) grows as much as work as a paralegal. And whereas she tells Beth her firm solely wished to rent a Black feminine paralegal to “keep up with the times,” she remained undeterred within the pursuit of her objective to attend legislation faculty, be a “radical,” and alter the world.

Each Beth and Jolene present simply how far confidence in your self and your skills can take you. Subsequent time you wish to rely your self out early, keep your course, deal with your self with kindness, and take that subsequent step ahead.


5. Prioritize your well being

Beth struggles with habit all through the sequence, first changing into hooked on the tranquilizer drugs given to her within the orphanage and later changing into reliant on alcohol and medicine to get in the suitable mindset to compete. Even with chess, Beth’s depth blurs the road between mastery and obsession, telling one reporter that chess is “an entire world of just 64 squares. I feel safe in it. I can control it, I can dominate it. And it’s predictable.”

Whereas having goal and keenness provides a lot worth to life, your bodily and psychological well being shouldn’t endure in consequence. Take care of your self to keep away from burnout, give your self grace, and know how one can ask for assist whenever you want it.


6. Be open to constructive criticism

From permitting herself to be tutored by her male friends to taking a name to debate technique in the course of the adjournment of one of many greatest matches of her profession, Beth is receptive to suggestions and training. Her recreation improves in consequence.

It may be actually exhausting to not take suggestions personally, however when somebody you belief presents you ideas for enchancment, be open to the recommendation and see how implementing it would positively affect you.


7. Cease digging

Probably the most poignant moments of the sequence comes within the remaining episode when Jolene reunites with Beth. Beth is in a darkish place, utilizing drugs, consuming closely, and neglecting her typical diligence with chess observe. The ladies have a heart-to-heart with Jolene telling Beth it appears like she’s on the backside of a gap that she dug herself. “My advice?” Jolene says, “Stop digging.”

We actually could be our personal worst enemy. After we are undermining our personal success, neglecting our well being, and giving up on what issues to us, generally the very best treatment actually is to cease digging.


8. You don’t want to grasp one thing to take pleasure in it

It looks as if it’s solely proper to finish this piece by saying that The Queen’s Gambit actually opened my eyes to the truth that understanding one thing and appreciating it aren’t mutually unique. So despite the fact that I’ll in all probability by no means be capable to arrange a chess board with out Googling it, I actually loved immersing myself in a brand new topic and including a number of new chess phrases to my lexicon. Because it seems, perhaps the ASMR of chessmen hitting a board to the regular tick-tick-tick of a chess clock was precisely the soothing divergence 2020 known as for. Who would’ve thought?