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Trauma, Addiction, & Chess: A Review of The Queen's Gambit

You’ve likely heard of The Queen’s Gambit and it’s even more likely that you’ve seen it, but if you haven’t yet, you should check out this new and might I add, trendy, Netflix mini-series. 

The Queen’s Gambit tells the story of Beth Harmon, a young orphaned girl, in her quest to become the world’s greatest chess player. 

Now you might be asking yourself, how interesting would a TV show about chess be? Well let me tell you, The Queen’s Gambit is about more than just chess. Exploring themes of mental health and addiction, grief, trauma, and sexism, the series showcases the complexities of the human condition and of the game of chess itself. 

The show is gritty, eye-opening, and yet a realistic depiction of life. It doesn’t seek to paint a “perfect” picture, instead, it illustrates the implications of trauma and what can be at stake when we are in pursuit of our dreams. The series often kept me on the edge of my seat and although I couldn’t believe my eyes at times, I also couldn’t help but relate to the main character and the experiences she endures and even overcomes.  

Due to its critical acclaim, The Queen’s Gambit has been shining a light on real-life female chess players — giving them a platform to be seen and to call out the sexism that exists within the world of chess. Take a look at this recent news article from the CBC: This chess master says it's 'pretty cool' The Queen's Gambit is encouraging young girls to take to the board 

If you are looking for a new show that tackles relevant issues with suspense and drama, try The Queen’s Gambit. It will truly have you wanting to be the next grandmaster (or let’s be real, at least have you download a chess game on your phone). 

*Trigger Warning: There are themes of self-harm, substance use, and suicide within the series, please be advised when watching.