Anya Taylor-Joy explodes the caricature of the misanthrope chess player into a million artfully placed pieces in Netflix’s hit miniseries The Queen’s Gambit, bringing novelist Walter Tevis’ chess prodigy Beth Harmon to full, complicated life. She did it while embracing the game of chess itself, with all of its difficulty and tension. She learned to move the pieces and her body the way a professional player does, something akin to learning a new language. As Beth, Taylor-Joy is a hyper-competitive chess genius whose dedication to the game makes the audience fall in love with it too. It wouldn’t surprise me if her stellar portrayal does more to promote chess worldwide than all the real-world champions. Anyone who can do that can do anything.
Kasparov, a former world chess champion, was a consultant on The Queen’s Gambit