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Home / Entertainment / Queen’s Gambit: Netflix show invites chess expert Bruce Pandolfini

Queen’s Gambit: Netflix show invites chess expert Bruce Pandolfini



The prolific teacher and fictional chess authority proposed more than 300 different hypothetical games, so the actions of the new Netflix series proceeded organically.

Just like in any other advanced game of wits and bravery, chess has its own reason. Although there may be many unresolved areas in long-term matches between players, there is a quick way to find a dummy.

For chess enthusiast Bruce Pandolfini, this is one of the key ways to ensure that the on-screen performers in the new Netflix series “Queen’s Camby” will not immediately break the fantasy.

“Perhaps the most important thing is how they grab and move the pieces. So you really want them to look natural, and we put a lot of effort into it,”

; Pandolfini said. “It’s like watching someone holding a baseball bat. If they grab it in the middle, you know they don’t like baseball. If you can, you want to try the flow and fluency of capturing it.”

Pandolfini is not good at fictional chess genius images. He has consulted on many other film and television projects, including “Looking for Bobby Fischer” described by Ben Kingsley. He has also written books on the complexity of chess strategy, from general guides to more in-depth studies of openings and endgames.

Even for a series like “The Queen’s Gambit”, it uses the continuous existence of the board as the basis of Beth Harmon’s story, rather than the superficial influence, nor does it work together to try to interpret the advantages of the main characters in the game. on. Pandolfini worked with Anya Taylor-Joy and other actors, focusing on patterns that did not distract from the other physical and mental needs of their respective roles.

Pandolfini said: “We will use mnemonics and other visual cues to help them understand things and remember it more easily.” “We try to do the operations in order, usually in three orders, to connect them to the action. And make it look more natural. If they have to stop and think about it, it might be a bit unprofessional, especially at certain times. Therefore, we have almost no visual aids on the board and no way to remember things. Whenever possible, we will try to make them feel more comfortable.”

A special challenge presented by “Queen’s Gambit” is the order of performance, involving international standards, timing, and chess changes other than one-on-one matches. In a virtual road trip game, there is a scene where Beth and Benny (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) recite to and fro. In fact, this is closer to reciting a tedious monologue.

Queen (L to R) ANA TAYLOR-JOY (ANA TAYLOR-JOY) as BETH HARMON in the 106th episode of

Anya Taylor Joy in “Queen’s Camby”

Phil Bray/Netflix

The scene that happens when a couple arrives at their destination is more difficult to “fake”. For the late-night speed chess game and Beth’s free game for everyone at the same time (“simulation” for short), more preparation is required. Director Scott Frank made the breathing in these scenes enough to breathe and hover as the action unfolded. Therefore, actors not only have to edit other people’s shots, but also have to anticipate more actions in advance.

For some more complex scenarios, we did make longer preparations. We sent them some movies so that they can watch excellent players playing the same action. The other thing is that we can send them the actions so that they can be on their phone, and you can follow a series of actions on the phone, so they can view them at any time,” Pandolfini said.

Of course, these actions do not just appear from the ether. The novel “The Queen’s Gambit” by Walter Tevis, which is adapted from the collection of novels, does not reflect Beth’s walk with Kentucky or the Soviet superman Vasily Borgov (Vasily Borgov). The complete start of any game, one by one eliminated. Pandolfini helps to ensure that these sectors, whether they occupy a central position or those seen in any number of large game shots, follow a natural and reasonable evolution.

“We want to keep the logic so that the final position is indeed connected to the earlier patterns. Initially, I created 92 positions or games that match the script. We call that the Bible. In the end, we have as many as 350 different positions. “Pandolfini said. “Of course, most of them are not filmed. Many of them are just used outside the camera to create an atmosphere. Therefore, there is a lot of work to be done to make everyone feel like they are in a real chess environment. 350 games The game, this is the most game of chess in any drama or movie. I was engaged in “searching for Bobby Fischer” and we had about 100 players at the time.”

Pandolfini met with Tevis in 1983 before the novel was published, when he was a consultant at Random House. He said that based on reading the unpublished manuscripts, he provided some advice to Tevez (a skilled chess player himself), but many of them did not have the final version. Finally, Pandofini (the person who mentioned Tevez in the book) said that the main idea that influenced the novel was his allusion to the title.

For the screen version of the story, Pandolfini wanted to make sure that the play did not sacrifice chess logistics, as he saw in some examples in the novel.

“Some actions are meaningless. It’s hard to imagine what the conditions are. First of all, it is fictitious, not based on concrete things.” Pandolfini said. “This will say’The bishop moves to King Knight No. 4′. Okay, what does that mean? There are countless decisions in chess. Then one page, you will “turn to Knight 6″. Connecting these moves is not easy. Therefore, I do have to work very hard, and it has never entered the novel. But it’s much easier here.”

Now, nearly 40 years later, he is making a story in a TV series. Pandolfini hopes to provide compelling attacks and surprises for this adaptation, which is in line with the high-level games and players clearly reflected in the script. The strategy is not contradictory.

JACOB FORTUNE-LLOYD of Queens (L to R) as TOWNES, ANYA TAYLOR-JOY as Beth HARMON, in

Jacob Fortune-Lloyd and Anya Taylor-Joy in “Queen’s Gambit”

Phil Bray/Netflix

“In some cases, openings are mentioned. The game shown must reflect these vacancies. I think there are Levenfish variations, Najdorf Sicilians, and dragons. I think Ruy Lopez is mentioned. Some of them must also be translated into Spanish. And Russian. These terms are roughly synonymous, but there are some differences. Therefore, the game must match the script as closely as possible,” Pandolfini said. “But I do have some leeway to move in more interesting directions, because some of them may be visually boring. Therefore, we have to think about things that are more interesting in terms of location.”

In addition to paying special attention to playing chess, Pandolfini was able to offer his own opinions from his second experience as a commentator, writer and consultant.

“I know how it used to be. I was a tournament player when I was a kid. I remember the American scene, how short the time was compared to European and Spanish-speaking countries and competitions. Everyone in the audience was very knowledgeable. In many cases, people sitting together are very good players, but in the US Championship, this is not necessarily the case.” Pandolfini said. “If you were a state champion in Kentucky, it would be a big deal. But it doesn’t make any sense compared to what’s happening around the world. It’s as extraordinary as Bobby Fischer. He is from Where did it come out.”

In the end, Pandolfini’s contribution still depends on those who ultimately compete while the show is in progress. He praised Taylor-Joy for not only the ability to handle mobile logistics, but also the ability to mold himself into controlling opponents.

“They are talking about the board, not the players, but even the best players in the world have to take into account the nuances, body expressions and movements. Your opponent does not want to reveal any information, and you must be completely immobile without appearing Too unnatural.” Pandolfini said. “I think Anya is great. She doesn’t want to prepare a lot of actions in advance. She will do it before the scene and then do that. Anya really likes it, she immediately picked it up very sensitively. She looks like a real top international Chess player, but it’s not easy. And I think she really likes doing this. You can feel it in every aspect.”

And his praise is not limited to just one Beth Harmon.

Pandolfini said: “I also have to owe the credit to Johnsonston Island, who played the young bass.” “She is a real child prodigy! She doesn’t know how to play chess. She soon knows. She looks like Like a great chess genius. She is just a talented young girl. If she insists on acting, I think her career is very promising.”

“Queen’s Gambi” can now be played on Netflix.

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