Since its release on Oct. 23, Netflix’s limited series “The Queen’s Gambit” has reignited interest in the game of chess. The New York Times reported, “Over the last year, sales of chess sets in the United States rose by around 25 percent, only slightly faster than the toy industry overall…but in the weeks since ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ premiered sales have grown 125 percent.”
The series, named after a chess opening, is based on the 1983 novel of the same name by Walter Tevis. Set in the 1960s, Netflix’s installment follows orphan and chess prodigy Elizabeth “Beth” Harmon on her journey to become the greatest player in the world. Although I had some knowledge of chess (shoutout to my fourth grade teacher Mrs. Pickerel!), the series delves into nuances of the game I’d never strongly grasped, including an array of opening, middle, and end game strategies.
While I haven’t read Tevis’ novel, I recommend Netflix’s adaptation if you’re looking for something to watch during the pandemic.
Interested in learning more about chess? Whether you’re as skilled as Garry Kasparov or can’t tell a pawn from a knight, Falvey Library has multiple resources on the history and strategies of the game. Check out a few below (most are accessible in e-book format). Contactless pickup is available for books, DVDs, and other circulating items from the Library’s online catalog.
- A history of chess: from Chaturanga to the present day by I︠U︡ Averbakh (2012)
- A history of chess by H.J.R. Murray (1962)
- Chess Results, 1971-1974: a comprehensive record with 966 tournament crosstables and 148 match scores, with sources by Gino Di Felice (2014)
- Benjamin Franklin and chess in early America by Ralph K. Hagedorn (2016)
- A cultural history of chess-players by John Sharples (2017)
- Chess in the Middle Ages and early modern age a fundamental thought paradigm of the premodern world by Daniel E. O’Sullivan (2012)
- Power play: the literature and politics of chess in the Late Middle Ages by Jenny Adams (2006)
- The history of chess, together with short plain and plain instructions, by which any one may easily play at it without the help of a teacher by Robert Lambe (1765)
- Knack chess for everyone: a step-by-step guide to rules, moves & winning strategies by Al Lawrence (2010)
- The complete chess course: from beginning to winning chess! by Fred Reinfeld (2016)
- Philosophy looks at chess by Benjamin Hale (2008)
- Thought and choice in chess by Adriaan D. DeGroot (2008)
- The opening game in chess by Luděk Pachman (1982)
- Winning chess combinations by Hans Bouwmeester (1977)
- An easy introduction to the game of chess by
- Chess endings for the practical player by
- Complete book of chess stratagems by Fred Reinfeld (1972)