In the 6th and 7th episode of The Queen's Gambit, Beth plays the Moscow Invitational, an important chess tournament (that is fictional) in Russia. Some of the best players from around the world play against the top Soviet chess grandmasters.

The series depicts a city that follows the tournament with quite a lot of passion, so a large number of people gather on the outside of the building where the championship is taking place. For this, people will listen to the matches through the radio (or by even having someone sneak out and tell them the movements that were just performed).

As Beth keeps playing and winning, more and more people gather around her and ask for autographs, showing that she is becoming a celebrity among the Muscovites.

How likely is that this could really happen with in Moscow by 1967 with a chess player from the United States of America?

  • 2
    Getting famous (or known) is something that would probably happened. Gathering not so much as those [gatherings] were higly regulated and if not organised by the party it would probably be driven away by militia. Nov 12 '20 at 10:54
  • 2
    @SZCZERZOKŁY exactly, that was my impression when seeing it. Allowing Soviet people to cheer an American seemed quite unrealistic to me, but I don't have enough background to know how likely was that to happen.
    – fedorqui
    Nov 12 '20 at 10:55
  • 2
    Having a little taste in "propaganda of success" I doubt people would know that "not russian" are winning. Even among soviet countries there were high pressure of making Russians win everything. See Kozakiewicz in 1980 Olimpics where the Russian booed polish pole vaulter for winning. Nov 12 '20 at 11:06
  • 1
    If it were any European venue, I would say it was imminently plausible, as the most comparable real-world situation was Fischer vs. Spassky in 1972, which was a global media sensation. Though sadly I can't seem to find anything that details what the Russian media itself had to say about the matter (the match itself was in Iceland). And Fischer was a much more eccentric and political person than Beth, with constant and ever-changing demands on prize money and rules, as well as making major criticisms of Russian players in general. Nov 15 '20 at 6:51

You must log in to answer this question.

Browse other questions tagged .