As a world-class chess champion in The Queen’s Gambit, Anya Taylor-Joy not only brought Netflix its most successful worldwide series premiere with more than 62 million viewers in 92 countries as well as several awards as best actress, but she also set off a chess-playing boom. Her sophisticated attacks on the chess board leave grandmasters perplexed. The authenthicity of the chess duels results from advice given by the former world chess champion Garry Kasparov, who selected chess sequences from matches by grandmasters.
For the trickier games, the young actress was coached by New York-based chess consultant Bruce Pandolfini, who had advised novelist Walter Tevis in 1983, to whom he also sug- gested The Queen’s Gambit as the title for his novel. “Even though it’s such a mental game, I think what we’ve done with the show is to choreograph all the chess sequences with a different understanding”, says Anya Taylor-Joy, who had already played to her strenghts in chess as artificial human in the science-fiction thriller Morgan. The big challenge in chess is not simply taking tactical account of the opponent’s possible reactions, but also closely considering the consequences of one’s own actions. Each move is irreversible, and if it’s imprudent, it will sooner or later lead to checkmate.
Sustainable thinking and behavior is also necessary for climate protection. “I think it’s important in a commercial world to be as envi- ronmentally conscious as you possibly can be”, emphasizes Taylor-Joy, “because at the end of the day the earth is the only thing we have. So if we’re not taking care of our home, you’re not going to have a home anymore.” The daughter of two conservationists, who was born in Florida and raised in Argentina and London, decided as an eight-year-old to become a vegetarian. “I don’t touch meat or fish”, adds the actress. “I was vegan for a long time. I got into it because it’s the most ecologically conscious choice you can make as a consumer.”
Photos: © Courtesy of Netflix