“There are two sides to the coin: the gift, and what it costs.” This is the lesson that the janitor tells her. The janitor, Mr Shaibel, spends his free time in the basement of the orphanage he works in playing chess. A young girl, Beth, takes an interest, and eventually, he begins to teach her. This is, in all likelihood, the closest relationship either of them has ever had. Him, a reserved man content to do his work and play chess, and her an orphan who never knew her father and whose mother suffered from severe mental health issues.
This is the beginning of The Queen’s Gambit, the new adaptation of Walter Tevis 1983 book of the same name, brought to the screen by Scott Frank for Netflix. The story chronicles the rise of a prodigy, a true genius at the game of chess. It follows her life through the 1960s as she combats sexism but also the isolation of genius and dangers and draws of alcoholism.