Chess and TV drama: Netflix's The Queen's Gambit

Course Dates: 06/08/22
Time: 14:30 - 17:30
Location: Keeley Street
The chess in the Netflix small screen serial, “The Queen’s Gambit” and Walter Tevis’s novel, which Netflix adapted.
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Full fee £39.00 Senior fee £31.00 Concession £17.00

Course Code: UBD50

Sat, day, 06 Aug - 06 Aug '22

Duration: 1 session

Or call to enrol:020 7831 7831

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What is the course about?

The chess in the Netflix small screen serial, “The Queen’s Gambit” and Walter Tevis’s novel, which Netflix adapted.

What will we cover?

Each of the games displayed in the TV serial, a identification of the original game from which they were borrowed, what changes were made to the games for their televisual adaption (if any) and an exploration of why they may have been changed.

An exploration of how realistic the portrayal of amateur and professional chess and the portrayal of Beth Harmon’s development as a chess player was in the series and in the novel.

An introduction to the way that the Cold War affected chess and how well this was portrayed by Netflix.

The care which Netflix took to give a realistic portrayal of chess, and who its advisers were from the world of chess.

A comparison with the chess worlds portrayed in other literary and filmed fiction.

Aspects of history, culture (e.g. fashion, music) and sub-cultures (e.g. drug culture), US politics (e.g. female emancipation, civil rights and race relations in the USA in the 1960s), US understanding of Russian and Soviet culture in the era of the Cold War, will be dealt with sensitively where they are relevant to the Beth Harmon Bildungsroman.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

Appreciate in what ways the portrayal of the world of chess was accurate in the TV serial and in what ways it could have been improved.
Understand where the novel and the serial fit into the long history of fictional portrayals of chess.
Appreciate the effect that the Cold War had on the world of chess and its place in American society and how the arrival of Bobby Fischer, who became chess World Champion in 1972, had on Western society and on the Soviet Union, and how this served as a background for the novel and its Netflix serialisation.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

It is expected that all participants will have seen the Netflix production.

An understanding of chess would be helpful for the parts in which the chess portrayed is forensically examined, however the presentation will be such that even non-players will be able to understand the broad points being made. All other aspects dealt with will be open to all.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

The course will be taught using a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation. No homework will be set.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

No other costs will be incurred and no other equipment will be required. A copy of Tevis’s novel could be brought along for textual comparison, but this will not be required.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

Please see our website for full details of all upcoming chess courses.

Paul McKeown

Paul McKeown is a strong chess player, who has been recognised by FIDE (Fédération Internationale des Échecs), with the award of the title of FIDE Instructor for his portfolio of work teaching chess to children and adults. Paul is the manager of Richmond Junior Chess Club, with a membership of more than 100 enthusiastic young players, with a record of regularly winning national team championships for players from Under 9 to Under 18.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.