Netflix's New Mini Series The Queen's Gambit Synopsis Plus Ending Explained

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AIKhaleej Today

A new coming-of-age TV series The Queen’s Gambit starring Anna Taylor-Joy is a Netflix hit. The miniseries that consists of seven episodes tells you a story that revolves around an orphanage, prodigy chess girl, Beth Harmon in the late 1950s. 

Beth is sent to an orphanage for girls at Metheun Home after Beth and her mother, Alice Harmon, engages in a car accident in an apparent suicide that takes her mother’s life.

It starts when Alice is having a big fight with Beth’s father, Paul, who already lives with his new family. She comes to Paul’s house to discuss Beth’s life and asks him for help, but he refuses and chooses to ignore them. 

During her frustration, she speeds up her car driving to an oncoming truck at a bridge intended to kill herself along with her only daughter. Beth, who was 9 years old, miraculously survives the accident. 

It, however, comes with a small price to pay as she has to cope with the emotional issue in her entire life. 

At Metheun Home, she meets Jolene, (Moses Ingram) and Mr. Shaibel (Bill Camp). Jolene becomes Beth’s best friend and often helps help her while she’s at the orphanage run by Helen Deardorff (Christiane Seidel). 

Mr. Shaible is a janitor who teaches Beth chess. She meets him in the basement when he is playing chess alone. She asks him if she could play with him but he refuses as he thinks “girls do not play chess.”

But then she tells him how each piece of the game moves that he later realizes that it might be a good idea to let her sit in front of him while playing against him. 

At the orphanage, all kids are given tranquilizer pills that result in Beth’s addiction. Jolene advised Beth to take the pills at night as the aftereffect would feel much better. 

Mr. Shaible sees potential in Beth and decides to teach her lots of things about chess. After taking the pills, young Beth, Isla Johnston, sees a chessboard with all of its pieces that she uses to train herself during nights. 

One day, the janitor invites his friend from a chess club Mr. Ganz, (Jonjo O’Neil) to play with her and see how good she is at playing the game. She defeats him in the first round. 

Mr. Ganz asks Beth if she has a team to play with. She answers it “no.” She tells him that she plays only in the basement and in her head on the ceiling. He gives him a doll as a present. Beth thanks him and offers him a new game. 

This time she plays against two men, Mr. Shaible and Mr. Ganz at the same time and manages to defeat them. She plays without even seeing the opponent face. 

She turns her face to the wall and only listens to what the opponent says then answers what the moves next and wins. 

Becoming a teenager, Beth is adopted by a childless couple Alma Wheatley and Allston Wheatley. Her husband shows an unfriendly face to her, but Beth tries to be nice to them. 

After some time, her husband leaves her with Beth alone. Beth doesn’t know what she would do with her future, living with Alma who is addicted to drugs and whiskey. 

When Beth is asked to get the pills to a drug store, she sees that there’s an open tournament in a magazine. She thinks she can participate and win the money.

Although she wants to do that, she doesn’t have money to register to begin with. Then she asks Mr. Shaible through a letter if he can lend her some money. He does lend her some money with which Beth wins her first chess tournament. 

Her adoptive mother seems to be surprised that Beth wins a chess game, and she starts to help her to participate in the next chess tournaments following her everywhere she goes for a match. 

Beth meets plenty of formidable chess grandmasters during her career as a chess player. She overcomes her opponents with the help of her friends Harry and Ben who once were her enemies. 

They think Beth can be the person that can beat the Russian world’s chess champion, Vasily Borgov (Marcin Dorocinski). 

She was defeated in the first match held in Mexico. She also faces another loss in Paris in 1967 because she was drunk the night before the match and came late while having a hangover, so she lost the game. 

Beth’s Desperate Situation

A huge blow hits Beth when she finds that her adoptive mother dies on bed because of hepatitis. She doesn’t come to Beth’s tournament and gets her worried and when Bet heads to their room she has already died. 

She reaches out to her absent dad, Paul, but he seems like he doesn’t really care about it. He doesn’t even ask how his wife died, and that what makes her feel so disappointed in him. She hungs up the phone and cries. 

Another moment of her life that gives her a hard time is when her friend from the orphanage, Jolene, who she considers as her family, comes to tell the news about Mr. Shaible’s passing. 

He was like a father figure for Beth when she was at the orphanage house. She came to the basement where she used to play chess with him. She sees there are a lot of papers about her from the newspaper and magazines. 

Mr. Shaible has been following her story through newspapers. She breaks down when she sees the pictures of herself with him that Mr. Ganz took a long time ago. 

The Rematch 

Beth faces Borgov again in Moscow, Russia to win the world’s champion title in 1968. The game was so intense, but when reaching the final part the game is adjourned for a while as requested by Borgov. 

When she is in a desperate situation she meets her crush, Townes (Jacob Fortune-Lloyd). He works as a journalist and is standing among the crowd outside the building in which the match is held. 

Townes gives her surprise by letting her know that her old friends including Harry, Benny, and some other friends have been following her match with the Russian. 

They have been thinking to find a way to win the match by making some moves according to the adjourned situation. They give her advice on what to move next, but it doesn’t go as planned before so Beth has to improvise her move herself. 

So tries to concentrate and she’s finally able to see a chessboard on the ceiling. Borgov actually offered a draw to her something that he rarely does, but Beth decides to continue instead. 

Beth finally overcomes him after making her final move, and she almost couldn’t believe what she’s done. Borgov smiles at her and says “the game is yours” while giving his queen to her. 

Is The Queen’s Gambit Based on a True Story? 

It’s an adaptation of a fictional novel of the same title from an American novelist Walter Tevis. The author was also a chess player himself. He asked many chess master’s advice to get an accurate picture of what he was about to write in his novel. 

What’s The Queen’s Gambit? 

The Queen’s Gambit is known as a three-move game-opener in which a player is willing to sacrifice the Queen’s pawn in order to obtain some advantages later in chess.

The Ending Scene

After beating Vasily Borgov, Beth Harmon is about to go back home while heading to the airport, she suddenly asks the driver to stop and walks out of the car. She takes a walk on the street full of old chess players.

One of the players recognizes her and congratulates her for her winning. She sits down there and plays with one of them. That moment reminds her of when she meets the person who taught her chess, Mr. Shaible. 

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