End of Queen’s Gambit | Meaning of Chess, Explained

Warning: major spoilers ahead for the end of The Queen’s Bet. Ask anyone with a Netflix connection, and they’ll tell you that the sexiest and most exciting TV show of the year is about competitive chess, though it’s unclear if that’s down to the gorgeous sets from the 60s, to the incredible cast, the fact that chess has always been low key has always been so exciting, or the trend of 2020 to turn the world upside down again and again. Anyway, the one thing we all agree on is that The Queen’s Bet deserves every bit of his perfect Rotten Tomatoes score, every day he’s been on Netflix’s top 10, and every trophy he’s sure to win at the next awkwardly semi-virtual awards show.

Beyond star Anya Taylor-Joy’s piercing looks and chic outfits, the key to the miniseries’ enduring success undoubtedly comes from its poignant ending: the final episode sees Taylor-Joy’s character, Beth Harmon , reflect on her past missteps and mistakes, and then pull herself together to achieve her goal of becoming the best chess player in the world. Here’s the deeper meaning behind that inspiring ending and what comes next for Beth.

How does Beth beat Borgov?

In the penultimate episode, Beth faces off against Vasily Borgov (played by Marcin Dorocinski) for the second time, a Russian grandmaster whom she considers her greatest competitor and the last person standing in her way. to be crowned the world’s No. 1 player. That time, in Paris, she has a wild night with her new French friend, Cleo, causing her to show up late and hungover to her match, and quickly loses to Borgov. She returns home in despair, cutting all of her remaining friends from her life and slipping into another long-term bender.

In the final episode, however, Beth’s childhood friend Jolene reappears to remind her of how many people support her and demonstrate how Beth’s addiction to tranquilizer pills impairs her abilities, rather than enhancing them, as Beth does. apparently believes since she learned to play. in chess as a child, and while taking pills, he was able to visualize entire chess games on the ceiling of any room. At the climax of the series, Beth arrives at the Moscow Invitational clear-headed and with all of her friends ready to help at any time, allowing her to finally beat Borgov.

As if that wasn’t a symmetrical enough full-circle moment, Beth also begins the final match with the chess move known as “The Queen’s Gambit”, in which a player sacrifices a pawn in order to quickly take the lead. board control. You know, like how Beth had to overcome the losses of her birth and her adoptive mothers, her difficult childhood and her drug addiction to be the best, you know.

Does Beth stay in Moscow after beating Borgov?

After finally achieving her lifelong dream of taking down the Russian Grandmasters, what’s next for Beth? Why, a triumphant the devil wears Prada-esque moment, of course. As she’s driven back to Moscow airport, Beth demands to get out of the car, leaving behind the unforgiving and highly regulated world of competitive chess (at least for now) to instead take a walk in a park in which a group of old men set up long rows of chessboards. After the men harass her with their congratulations on her victory, she settles in for a match.

queen bet ending anya taylor joy

(Image credit: Netflix)

There’s more symmetry here, of course: Beth’s chess background in The Queen’s Bet begins and ends with her playing against an old man on a crummy chessboard – first against the janitor, Mr. Shaibel, in the basement of his orphanage, and later against these random Russian men in a Moscow park . The moment also provides an additional emotional coda to the show: after working so resolutely towards the victory she finally won the day before, Beth can finally take a moment for herself, take a slow walk through a park and play a game. casual chess game that will neither make nor destroy his career.

You wouldn’t be blamed for shedding a tear or 20 at the highlight, since Taylor-Joy couldn’t help it either. “Every time we finished that streak, I would burst into tears, because I was so happy for her,” she said. Recount Refinery29. “She found that feeling of contentment. Where she wasn’t hurting or fighting something so intensely.”

As to whether ditching her ride to the airport means Beth is staying in Russia to continue competing with grandmasters and grandfathers (she has to take advantage of those Russian lessons somehow. another!), even the woman behind the chess champion isn’t sure. “Let her stay in Russia, let her go back [to America]that she and Jolene are traveling together for a while, whatever – now that Beth feels more comfortable and feels like she has a home in her, I just hope she’s happy” , Taylor-Joy told the outlet.

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