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.