When Jennifer Shahade heard that Netflix was adapting Walter Teviss 1983 novel The Queens Gambit as a miniseries, she wasnt particularly worried that the miniseries would be as technically accurate as Teviss book. The two-time U.S. womens chess champion serves as the U.S. Chess Federations womens program director, and she knew the series would help draw females to the male-dominated sport either way.
Im not super sensitive [about accuracy]like, Oh, my God, are they going to do it wrong? Shahade told Vanity Fair this week. With chess, I think the more exposure, the better. It always tends to be presented in a very positive lightas a symbol of intellectualism and the power of the mind.
But when Shahade discovered that Garry Kasparov, one of the greatest chess players in history, and Bruce Pandolfini, the celebrated chess coach who advised Tevis on the novel, were consulting on the series, she knew it would be realistic. After seeing the drama, which stars Anya Taylor-Joy as chess prodigy Beth Harmon, Shahade confirmed, They just completely nailed the chess accuracy.
Ahead, Shahadewho has written two books about women in chess, Chess Bitch: Women in the Ultimate Intellectual Sport and Play Like a Girl!answers our most pressing questions about how The Queens Gambit compares to the real world.
Vanity Fair: What are some of the benefits to playing chess, especially for young women?
Jennifer Shahade: Chess is an equalizer when you play. Youre not as aware of traditional boundaries and hierarchies. I think thats one of my favorite things about it. I remember as a kid, sometimes Id play against littler kids, and sometimes I would play against grown-ups, [but] it was like we were all on the same playing field. And I think thats such a valuable skill for peopleto not be intimidated and also to not feel better than anyone else.
With the rise in social media use and mental health issues with teen girls, I also think that the idea that you can kind of completely lose yourself in chess [is beneficial]. Youre certainly not going to be worried about any social media accounts at that point because youre totally absorbed in the game.
Whats your own backstory with chess?
I learned the moves when I was maybe six, and I started getting more serious about it in third or fourth grade. I dropped out for a little while, which happens to a lot of girls in junior high school. I got back into it in high school because Im from a chess familymy father is a [FIDE] master and my brother is an international master. A lot of girls love it when theyre little kidseight or nine is our peak age for girls at the U.S. Chess Federation. Anywhere from six to 10, thats where we really have a high number of the girls. And then around age 12 or 13, you see a massive drop-off.
Why is that?
The thing about chess, which the series does show well, is that its actually really social. In order to play at a high level, usually the friendships in that network are really important. So if youre a girl and you dont have other girls who are playing at your same age range and level and city, it can start to be less interesting. You might just gravitate toward another sport where you have 10 friends.
Its easier for boys to stick with it because there are a lot more boys that play. So thats why Im so excited about the series: I think it will probably interest more girls, especially at that potential drop-off age.
Did you have any female role models in the chess world when you were young?
When I was getting really serious about chess, it was at the heyday of the Polgr sisters, and particularly Judit Polgr, who was the strongest female player in history. She had a super-aggressive style and I just loved to pore over her games, and I even copied some of her openings.
Beths style [in The Queens Gambit] is interesting because, on one hand, she plays openings that are a little bit more positional and strategic, but she is also very aggressive.
What do you mean when you say aggressive?
Aggressive doesnt mean only goodit means that you are more proficient at the middle stage of the game. In chess, theres basically two ways to win: one way is to checkmate your opponents king in the middle game, when most of the pieces are on the board. It means you arrange your pieces in this harmony to overpower your opponents game. Way number two is that you get to the end game, when most of the pieces get traded off the board, and you use one of your pawns to make another queen. You use that queen to checkmate. More aggressive players tend to do more of the earlier one and less of the other one. Judit Polgr also had flaming red hair, so that was another corollary with the series.
See the original post:
- Chess Corner: Sitting on the 7th rank - Muskogee Daily Phoenix - June 11th, 2021
- Joe Burrow is so competitive he's trash talking teammates about...chess - Bengals Wire - June 11th, 2021
- PhosAgro Renews Strategic Partnership Agreements with FIDE and the Russian Chess Federation - PRNewswire - June 11th, 2021
- Long Island brothers create website to bring chess lovers together virtually - News 12 Bronx - June 11th, 2021
- Nuclear powers must stop playing nuclear chess and atomic roulette - The Mail & Guardian - Mail and Guardian - June 11th, 2021
- Joe Burrow has Been Talking Crap About Chess to a Key Offensive Target - Sportscasting - June 11th, 2021
- Aamir Khan will face the chess with chess champion Viswanathan Anand - asume tech - June 11th, 2021
- 2021 Scholar-Chessplayer Award Winners Announced | US Chess.org - uschess.org - uschess.org - June 11th, 2021
- 2021 Executive Board Election Ballot Mailing | US Chess.org - uschess.org - June 11th, 2021
- East vs. West: Battle of the rising stars! - ChessKid.com - chesskid.com - chesskid.com - June 11th, 2021
- New tables give you the opportunity to play chess/checkers at two EC parks - WQOW TV News 18 - May 30th, 2021
- A Chess Game: Everyone will win or lose after the NATO summit | Daily Sabah - Daily Sabah - May 30th, 2021
- Xiong Wins May 25 Titled Tuesday - Chess.com - May 30th, 2021
- Grandmaster Judit Polgar to Appear in US Chess Women Girls Club - uschess.org - May 30th, 2021
- Cummings, a chess man in a gambler's world | Comment | The Sunday Times - The Times - May 30th, 2021
- The inspiring journey behind 10-year-old chess masters success - Yahoo News - May 30th, 2021
- Chess event promotes solidarity between Jews and Arabs - The Jerusalem Post - May 30th, 2021
- Taylor Jenkins and Quin Snyder are in a NBA playoffs 'chess match' that's years in the making | Giannotto - Commercial Appeal - May 30th, 2021
- Mind games: Two intellectuals and chess on a football pitch - The Indian Express - May 30th, 2021
- Theatre review: Chess the Musical - InDaily - May 30th, 2021
- 10-Year-Old Chess Prodigy Who Overcame Homelessness Named National Chess Master - NewsOne - May 18th, 2021
- Top chess player in the world visits Indianapolis - WTHR - May 18th, 2021
- 10-year-old boy who once lived in a homeless shelter achieves remarkable title: chess master - USA TODAY - May 18th, 2021
- Ventura sweeps National Youth and Schools Online Chess Tourney - PhilBoxing.com - May 18th, 2021
- Chess master, former law enforcement officer to give seminar on surviving police interaction - - Champion - May 18th, 2021
- First Ever Chess-Focused Sports Agency Launched - World Chess - May 18th, 2021
- More than a game: How Cook County is using chess to prepare inmates for life on the outside - Daily Herald - May 18th, 2021
- The Queens Gambit Star Anya Taylor-Joy: Its Not About Chess, Its About Loneliness And The Price Of Genius Contenders TV - Deadline - May 18th, 2021
- Chess Market Is Expected To Expand At An Impressive Rate By 2027 KSU | The Sentinel Newspaper - KSU | The Sentinel Newspaper - May 18th, 2021
- Announcing The Botez Bullet Invitational On May 5 - Chess.com - May 5th, 2021
- New In Chess Classic: Carlsen Strikes - Chess.com - May 5th, 2021
- Jazz Cartier on His Chess Docuseries With Diddy, Skincare Line, and Next LP - Complex - May 5th, 2021
- Cover Stories with Chess Life #36: Taylor Kingston - uschess.org - May 5th, 2021
- Meet Tani Adewumi: The 10-year-old Nigerian refugee who became a national chess master | NewsChannel 3-12 - KEYT - May 5th, 2021
- Learn Chess Online With This Lesson Bundle, Which Is Currently 92% Off - Forbes - May 5th, 2021
- Are the Rams trying to play chess with NFL Draft pick Tutu Atwell? - With the First Pick - May 5th, 2021
- The Chess Match Ahead in the East - Japers' Rink - May 5th, 2021
- Mother tongue and chess is there a connection? - Chessbase News - May 5th, 2021
- Great Moments in Chess: Kasparov Seizes the Crown - chess24 - May 5th, 2021
- 'A sport for the mind': New chess team a big hit at MHS - Yahoo News - May 5th, 2021
- All India Chess Federation launches initiative to help chess community fight COVID-19 - Firstpost - May 5th, 2021
- It's your move: Pittsburgh police invite the public to play chess in Market Square - TribLIVE - April 21st, 2021
- Pittsburgh Police To Join Street Chess Players During The Summer - WTRF - April 21st, 2021
- Aagaard on the Candidates - Round 9 | US Chess.org - uschess.org - April 21st, 2021
- The game of Chess - The Times of India Blog - April 21st, 2021
- What America Taught The World About Chess - Chess.com - April 21st, 2021
- The real story of women in chess - The Independent - April 21st, 2021
- Cops in Paraguay discover 20k worth of high purity cocaine bound for Ireland inside chess set... - The Irish Sun - April 21st, 2021
- Mike Tyson heads to Arnold Schwarzeneggers mansion for game of chess and golf along with UFC icon Henry C... - The Sun - April 21st, 2021
- Classic games like chess and Sudoku are now easier to play on iPhones and iPads - TechRadar - April 5th, 2021
- Clash Mini: Everything we know about Supercell's upcoming auto chess game - Pocket Gamer - April 5th, 2021
- Bucs decision to bring back Godwin and Barrett was a chess game - Bucs Nation - April 5th, 2021
- Artemiev Swindles Nakamura To Win Another Titled Tuesday - Chess.com - March 9th, 2021
- Chess lovers practice the art of the checkmate - KNBN NewsCenter1 - Newscenter1.tv - March 9th, 2021
- Play Chess With Agadmator, Nemo, Cramling, Canty, And More - Chess.com - March 9th, 2021
- Turkish chess group head works to inspire young girls - Anadolu Agency - March 9th, 2021
- Chess Player Koneru Humpy Is The BBC Indian Sportswoman Of The Year - Femina - March 9th, 2021
- He loves the chess aspect: is Rooney made to measure as a manager? - The Guardian - March 9th, 2021
- Battle of the Minds: 4 legends compete in chess and poker - chess24 - March 9th, 2021
- Wednesday Workout: Leveling Up Through the US Chess Rapids - uschess.org - March 9th, 2021
- John Leguizamo on Critical Thinking [VIDEO] | US Chess.org - uschess.org - February 20th, 2021
- Teaching the right moves across the board - The Hindu - February 20th, 2021
- How this 25-year-old makes six figures a year playing chess on Twitch - CNBC - February 20th, 2021
- Maharashtra Chess Association back as a governing body after 4 years - The Bridge - February 20th, 2021
- Chess and Artificial Intelligence (1) - Chessbase News - February 17th, 2021
- Rockford Chess Club Gets Revived Thanks to ' The Queen's Gambit' - q985online.com - February 17th, 2021
- Aaron Chess, District 1 council candidate, wants to bring hope back to the district - CIProud.com - February 17th, 2021
- Check out these chess tips before you hear check mate - KELOLAND.com - February 17th, 2021
- Knight's Retreat Review - Chess but not! - TheXboxHub - February 17th, 2021
- Smashing Stereotypes - Marissa Saroca to play The Arbiter in CHESS THE MUSICAL | News - Aussie Theatre - February 17th, 2021
- Garry Kasparov at IMPROVATE Cybersecurity Conference is talking about Chess, IA and The Queen's Gambit - Yahoo Finance - February 17th, 2021
- Become a chess expert with these discounted grandmaster taught training bundles | TheHill - The Hill - February 15th, 2021
- When The Prison Banned Board Games, We Played Chess In Our Minds - The Marshall Project - February 15th, 2021
- Recruiting Chess Match: Huskies Have Missouri TE on Their Board - Sports Illustrated - February 15th, 2021
- xQc Is Going to Use His Expensive New PC to Play Chess and Browser Games - EssentiallySports - February 15th, 2021
- Our Collective Chess Match: What Our Editors Are Reading - Sojourners - February 15th, 2021
- Advanced chess with John Gallagher | Calendar | scarsdalenews.com - scarsdalenews.com - February 15th, 2021
- Across the MMA Universe: Kamaru Usman on UFC 258 'Chess Match' - Bleacher Report - February 15th, 2021
- More than 140 inmates will participate in virtual Chess Tournament - Dominican Today - February 15th, 2021
- Young Canadian chess stars lead drive to popularize the royal game on Twitch - Ottawa Citizen - February 15th, 2021