Back during my Halcyon days when I was not half bad at chess my favorite opening with white was Pawn to King four. This is the old fashioned chess notation which is now known as e4. Now I learn the most popular opening is pawn to queen 4 (d4). Black’s usual response is d5 followed by white’s move to c4. This is what is known as the Queen’s Gambit. Black’s play is either Queen’s Gambit accepted or declined. Thought you would want to know.
Fun chess fact: In the 1927 match for the world championship between Alekhine and Capablanca the Queen’s Gambit declined was played 32 of the 34 games.
I just finished watching the series The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix, which just might be the best show on TV right now. I highly recommend it. Not only does it showcase the world of chess during the cold war years, it is a fascinating character study of its protagonist Elizabeth Harmon. She is a child prodigy raised in an orphanage, adopted by an eccentric mother and is a brilliant chess player driven to win. She also has a built-in self-destructive streak that she struggles mightily with. The actor who portrays Elizabeth Harmon, Anya Taylor-Joy is remarkable.
As I was watching the credits roll by after the last episode, I happened to notice the author of the novel the series was based on was Walter Tevis. Snap! I realized at that moment that I had actually read that book years ago. 1987 in fact. Tevis is quite a good writer who seems to like to write books about games. Several of his of his other books were turned into movies. Some quite notable and one an American Classic: The Hustler (1961) with Paul Newman and Jackie Gleason. The Color of Money (1986) also with Paul Newman. And one of my all-time favorites, The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976) with David Bowie. Not surprisingly, Tevis was raised in Kentucky and attended the University of Kentucky where he obtained a degree in English Literature. A nice little epiphany for me.