is the Netflix series realistic?

“The Queen's Gambit” a.k.a “The Queen's Gambit”, on Netflix, has boosted global interest in chess with its glamorous side. But is it realistic? Response from the Grand Master Marie Sebag.

The Lady's Game, released at the end of October 2020, is already a cult series. Its achievement, its ability to fascinate us with the game of chess (a challenge), the actress Anya Taylor-Joy … Here are the ingredients of a success that we did not expect. At aufeminin, we were really thrilled by this series. Even though the male gauze which she shows us somewhat worn (depression scene in sexy nightie, heroine who sensually fiddles with the parts of her game …). However, the bet is successful: The Lady's Game makes people love chess, to the point that at Christmas 2020, the French have torn the game away. But before we get down to it, novices that we are, we asked ourselves the question of the realism of the series. Marie Sebag, French chess grandmaster, comes back to it for us.

No, the champions do not wear a skirt during competitions

To the series The lady's game, we reproach a form of eroticization of the game of chess, in particular via the outfits of the heroine, Beth. Who, even in -20 degrees and in the middle of Russia, wears the skirt without pantyhose. The successful series is inspired by the journey of 60s champion Bobby Fischer and his legendary tournaments, and here is one thing Beth and him have in common: Bobby Fischer was also very dressed. As mentioned in Figaro, the former chess champion attached particular importance to his outfits during competitions. So, do chess championships require their participants to wear three star outfits? According to Marie Sebag, no. "There is no regulation on this subject, explains the 34-year-old international champion. Afterwards, for very big tournaments, it is better not to arrive in shorts. Personally, and unlike Beth, I avoid putting on a dress when I go to a game of chess. Better to be comfortable for such long tournaments. " We prepare our best joggers.

Do we really forget to go to the bathroom when we play?

The series shows it clearly: a game of chess can be endless. And, for both scriptwriting and rhythmic reasons, the series does not show any interruption during the interminable championships. Admittedly, the postponements, which were made at the time but which no longer exist today, are shown on the screen, but the hours pass and we see Beth squirming, supporting her head which becomes heavy, as if no breaks or downtime were not allowed during games. Marie Sebag reassures us: it is quite possible to take a break during a game, which will last 4 or 5 hours maximum. "While the other player is thinking, you can get up, eat, stretch … There are no restrictions on that, comments on the one who was European champion under 12, 14 and 16. However, during some games of chess, Beth is seen to strike up a discussion with her opponent. However, we are not allowed to do that during a championship. " Too bad, we are not here to make friends.

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Staring games in the middle of a tournament, are they so common?

Who would have believed it: the parts of lady game are exciting and you don't have to be an expert to feel the tension. Notably thanks to the intense staring games between Beth and her opponents. Marie Sebag explains to us that they are part of the strategy of some players. "There are those who do, because it allows you to see what the other is feeling. It is a way of judging whether the opponent feels in a good position or if, on the contrary, he or she is not comfortable with the turn of the game. In fact, watching makes it possible to impress and above all, to define if the adversary is in confidence or not ", she explains, ensuring to do it according to the turn of the game she is playing. "Sometimes my eyes are on the set. But sometimes, depending on whether I'm good or not, I look at my opponent to see how he feels too. From that point of view, the show is pretty realistic." We say mat!

Marie Sebag is an international grandmaster and the first French player to obtain this title. She offers, on her youtube channel, videos to progress in chess and even replay the parts of Beth Harmon in The Lady's game. A work to discover here: