The Queen’s Gambit includes more than 300 games, some of which are only visible in the foreground or in the background. To ensure that each match and each tournament does not completely match the next, production designer Uli Hanish has developed unique color palettes to distinguish one region from another. Stephen Meisler, a cinematographer, varied his views. The sounds made by the figures on the board change, as do the rhythms, from allegro to adagio.
No traditional match is played out completely from start to finish. (Several sequences of speed chess approach.) Typically, the camera makes only a few moves. Beginner spectators rely on athletes or whispers among the spectators or gestures of the characters ̵1; drum fingers, blinking eyes, pursed lips – to understand the dynamics and stakes.
For Beth, abandoned first by her parents and then by a foster family, the Tower of Stakes. Only during the game does she feel purpose and belonging. In the next episode, Beth overhears some Russian champions discussing her. “She’s like us,” says the grandmaster. “Losing is not an option for her.” (This was the dialogue suggested by Kasparov.)
Beth struggles with her addiction, believing that tranquilizers improve her game. The accuracy of chess scenes may be faltering here – could anyone play great chess while doping drugs? “I can’t tell you that I’ve ever heard of a chess player playing at Valium,” said Jennifer Shahade, a two-time United States champion.
Pandolfini’s answer: “It’s fun.”
Whether a woman could ever play it well, on or off tranquilizers, has been a source of debate since the novel’s release. A One Times reviewer asked if women needed “extreme aggression.” Another doubted that women lacked “physical endurance.” These views did not end in 1983.
At the chess camp, Shahade recalled, a visiting teacher told the girls that women lacked IQ. Shahade considers the lack of wonderful female players to be more social: women do not see how other women play, so they do not take up the game themselves.