The miniseries Lady’s Game, recently released on Netflix, caused quite a stir. Based on the world of chess, this production brought together a wide range of viewers, from the novice to the confirmed player.
An almost perfect production …
If this new series has so much in common, it is mainly thanks to the faithful transcription of the chess world. The story centers on Beth Harmon, a young board game prodigy who wanted to become the greatest chess player in the world during the Cold War. In order to be trained for her role, the excellent Anya Taylor-Joy, like other actors, had to learn the basics of chess with the best of them. It is therefore thanks to the American Bruce Pandolfini, who specializes in this discipline, that the creators Allan Scott and Scott Frank were able to tell a bluffing story of realism.
Many experts in the chess world then decided to watch this series to give a professional opinion on its staging. The result is almost flawless. Dylan Loeb McClain, the New York Times discipline specialist who has covered many competitions, talks about a faithful staging that perfectly transcribes the moments of tension during the games, but also the rigor that this discipline requires. A lot of mistakes were then avoided, and even better, the miniseries is inspired by famous chess confrontations like the game at the Paris Opera or the finale in which Beth faces Russian master Wassily Borgov. Even so, the series couldn’t avoid falling into certain traps.
Still with gaps!
The production team ultimately failed to deliver a perfect score. In fact, as Dylan Loeb McClain notes, two major flaws show the tip of the nose despite efforts to offer the most faithful transcription possible.
The first problem identified by the New York Times expert is the speed of corners and parts. As explained at the beginning of the series, in a traditional game of chess, players have two hours to play forty moves. In order not to annoy the spectators, the queen’s game decided to speed up the confrontations, resulting in clashes lasting a few minutes with little time for players to move their pawns.
Another mistake by Dylan Loeb McClain, the dialogues during the games. In fact, in a real tournament it is forbidden to chat with your opponent except to claim a tie. Rule that doesn’t seem to apply on the series, though Beth doesn’t hesitate to destabilize her rivals. The certainly voluntary forgetting of this rule is understandable, in order to keep the viewer as attentive as possible and to give the series the necessary tension …