PC Gamer recently interviewed former world chess champion Garry Kasparov as part of the launch of his new site, Kasparovchess. Among his many other hits, Kasparov recently reviewed Netflix's successful hit The Queen's Gambit: a series that stands out for the quality of its chess presentation, with high-level performances and adaptations of historical games. Perhaps a good deal of the credit can be earned for this, but, as we have discovered, it could have played an even bigger role.
PC Gamer: What Success Means the Queen's Gambit Can I explain it to you?
Garry Kasparov: What has happened recently after the phenomenal success of The Queen & # 39; s Gambit, just shows that the passion for chess is still there. Unlike other games, chess has survived for 1,500 years or so. And the game always conformed to the demands of modern times. We live in a time when the unique values of chess have been rediscovered, so we couldn’t have a better time to launch Kasparovchess.
And thanks to Queen’s Gambit, some of the negative aspects related to the potential impact of chess, the negative impact on mental stability related to Fischer and other stories, have also been eliminated thanks to Beth Harmon’s success story. . And I think now there are people looking for chess as a potential tool to help with educational reform. So, bottom line is that we're really looking forward to it.
You were a consultant to the show and one of the things I admired about it was that a lot of chess shows have problems with real chess – there’s a lot in mind that can be hard to show visually and be exciting. But that was true for the competitive game and tournament experience, only faster for obvious reasons. Was that your influence?
Exactly. This is exactly what I did. And I’m very proud that it was a success, but (the director) Scott Frank actually only realized he could do something very different. The book was written in 1983, there were a few attempts to show it on the screen, and they all failed. And Scott himself was the one who tried it (a movie) many years ago, and he told me that he realized that, you know, a couple of hours, that wouldn’t be good: it’s not enough . To get proper chess, you need more time to develop characters and yes, it was probably coincidental that he managed to convince Netflix to make the series (laughs).
So when did you get involved and what was the offer?
When I first met (Scott Frank), (author) Bruce Pandolfini organized the meeting at a New York restaurant and suggested that I play the role of Vasily Borgov: what would be more natural for me than acting like the world Soviet champion? It was a tempting proposal … I even suggested to my wife that we could do it together, maybe she could play Borgov’s wife (laughs), but we couldn’t spend so much time in one place. From two to three months in a shooting scenario, it was simply impossible.
So I set out to do the consulting role. And I said there are two things I can do: one is that I guarantee the chess will be authentic, because Scott wanted to show real chess. He acknowledged that many chess films suffer from this lack of authenticity. So I wanted to prove it, and I also said that the important thing is to try to reconstruct the authenticity of the Soviet chess scene, because the last game, the climax of the series, takes place in Moscow and before, until all in all, Beth Harmon meets Borgov.
I made a lot of suggestions and additions, such as adding the following KGB agents (Borgov), there are a few dialogues, just to make sure it was authentic. Also, I really enjoyed seeing how the actors Anya (Taylor-Joy) and Marcin (Dorociński), how they moved and looked like real actors. Marcin told me he spent hours staring at me playing chess just to make sure every move on the board was delivered with authenticity.
Were there any errors across the network?
There were some mistakes! There’s a demonstration board in the last game where they only pushed one line, so if you look closely at the pieces that were in the wrong position. The white bishop and queen only moved, as is well known, from their locations: D3 and E3 to C3 and D3. Someone discovered that some of Benny’s bookshelf books were actually from the 70s, and it all happened in the 60s.
But the best, actually, best comment was from one of my friends who was watching very carefully trying to find a mistake there (laughs). He said: “Aha, it's the 1967-1968 press conference … And there's a portrait of (former Soviet leader Leonid) Brezhnev, but he's a much older Brezhnev! "
They got you mate.
(laughs) They got me!
PC Gamer spoke with Garry Kasparov about the launch of his new chess site, Kasparovchess.com. Come back soon for more information on our chat.