Since debuting on Netflix in October, The Queen’s Gambit has become the streaming service’s number one show, and its most watched limited scripted series ever. It’s been responsible for a surge in chess set purchases, and new memberships in online chess programs.
Based on Walter Tevis’s 1983 novel of the same title, The Queen’s Gambit is a coming of age story about Beth Harmon, a chess prodigy who moves from the obscurity of a 1950s Kentucky orphanage to the global stage of international chess tournaments and a rise through the ranks of grandmasters.
The title refers to one of chess’s oldest known openings, and the series is peppered with captivating chess terminology (the Sicilian defense; the Marshall attack; the Caro-Kann, to name a few) and biographical details of famed and sometimes troubled grandmasters like Paul Morphy, Jose Raul Capablanca, and Alexander Alekhine that will have viewers curious to read up.
If you’re inspired to brush up your chess game, or at least to read up on the cutthroat and intense world of chess grandmasters, take a look at these books and ebooks, all available with your library card either through our e-book services or our contactless Library To Go curbside service.
And if you’ll never be a chess grandmaster, you can at least dream—or take this quiz to find out which grandmaster’s playing style and temperament best matches your own.