Three years ago when Scott Frank (Godless) first approached us about adapting The Queen’s Gambit – Walter Tevis’ 1983 book about a young chess prodigy – we felt it was a compelling tale. Beth is an underdog who faces addiction, loss and abandonment. Her success – against the odds- speaks to the importance of perseverance, family, and finding, and staying true to, yourself.
However, I don’t think any of us could have predicted that The Queen’s Gambit – and the extraordinary Anya Taylor-Joy – would become the global phenomena they are today, or our biggest limited scripted series ever. Since launching on Netflix in October:
- The Queen’s Gambit novel is now on The New York Times bestseller list – 37 years after its release.
- Google search queries for chess have doubled while searches for “how to play chess” have hit a nine-year peak.
- Inquiries for ‘chess sets’ on eBay are up 250% and Goliath Games says its chess sales have increased over 170%.
- The number of new players has increased five fold on Chess.com.
The conversation around the show has also led to significantly higher interest in next year’s World Championship, according to the International Chess Federation.
On Netflix, a record-setting 62 million households chose to watch The Queen’s Gambit in its first 28 days. Its global reach has been extraordinary – from Russia and Hong Kong, to France, Taiwan and Australia. In fact, the show made the Top 10 in 92 countries and ranked No. 1 in 63 countries, including the UK, Argentina, Israel, and South Africa.
It’s a true testament to Scott’s skill as a writer and filmmaker that he was able to bring the drama and detail of the many chess matches to life on camera – generating rave reviews and a rare 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. Scott also had tremendous help from the series’ talented crafts team. Costume designer Gabriele Binder’s exquisite use of checkerboard patterns in Beth’s wardrobe, composer Carlos Rafael Rivera’s suspenseful score, editor Michelle Tesoro’s gripping montages, production designer Uli Hanisch’s vibrant choices that pop off the screen in every scene, and cinematographer Steven Meizler, whose work transformed every match into heart-pounding drama.