The Queen’s Gambit - Walter Tevis

Walter Tevis, an American author, wrote many novels, and three of them were later adapted into major films. Those films include “The Hustler,” “The Color of Money” and “The Man Who Fell to Earth.” In 1983, he published the novel, The Queen's Gambit, which Netflix recently turned into a miniseries. The first episode was released on Oct. 23. 

The story is about a 13-year-old chess prodigy named Beth Harmon, from Lexington, Kentucky. The miniseries currently stands in the number one ranked spot on Netflix.

Tevis was born in San Francisco, California in 1928. Although he was born in California, Tevis was one of the 26 graduates in the class of 1945 from Model Laboratory School, located in Richmond, on Eastern Kentucky University’s campus. 

“Walter Tevis was a World War II veteran. Then he went to the University of Kentucky to study English literature for his bachelor’s degree, and later for his masters,” said Erick Collings, director of communications at Model Laboratory School. “He started publishing short stories. Then he went on to teach classes all across Kentucky, and he also would go back and forth between odd jobs, such as construction and other handy work.” 

Tevis spent a lot of his down time in pool halls and later turned to chess as a hobby, which could possibly be considered the influence behind The Queen’s Gambit. 

According to a  Nov. 4 article in Forbes, “one of Netflix’s most solid releases of the year, both in terms of viewership, given how many days it’s been the top viewed offering on the service, but also in terms of reviews, as it boasts a perfect 100 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, though even more impressive, a 97 percent audience score.” The article notes the Netflix show has a score of 8.9/10 on IMDB, which is enough to put it in the top 50 rated TV shows on the site. 

Collings said the series was fantastic, and “the storyline itself is amazing, as well as the character development (is) incredible.” 

Omer Bakoush, senior business marketing major, said that the series made him feel as if it were a true story, and that he was convinced the whole time that it was. 

Tevis was diagnosed with lung cancer and passed away on Aug. 9, 1984, a year after The Queen’s Gambit was published. He is buried in Richmond.

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