In the last episode,

Benny gathers all of Beth's chess friends, including people who appear to be small-time players from Kentucky

How did Benny know of these people? It seems that they aren't important enough players especially

Beltick, who is out of the chess world and apparently wasn't all that good anyway, compared to the US and world-champion class Benny/Beth

I have not read the book, so my entire understanding is from the show. However, feel free to use the book to explain it.


1 Answer 1


Beltick, who is out of the chess world and apparently wasn't all that good anyway

I'd like to tackle this one first. In the movie, Beltick is ranked 2150, and it's already a big performance1. For instance, there is an total of 696 US players ELO rated between 2100 and 2200 (source: FIDE - International Chess Federation. To draw a comparison, there is a total of 1.696 players to make up the NFL's active rosters.

To link this first paragraph to the second and introduce it, let's quote Dylan Loeb McClain, who wrote the chess column for The New York Times for eight years:

I can attest to the scene's almost painful authenticity [when] Benny gestures around the hall and complains about the conditions, noting that the best players in the country are competing, and yet the venue is second rate, the chess boards and pieces are cheap plastic, and the few spectators seem bored at best.

Chess World is a very small world, and Benny is a top player. Chess players are like gamers or coders, as soon as they gather, they talk about their passion, because it all comes down to one thing: being from the inner circle that only insiders really know about and understand. They're surrounded by players, talking about moves, analyzing again and again, breaking each potential move into its possible outcomes. We're talking about passionate people.

I'm pretty sure he knows them from previous meetings/tournaments. If not, it's easy for him to give a couple of phone calls and have the players/friends network do the job.

Here are some screenshots from the serie I've been binge-watching once again this sunday :) and it shows how players can be close, not only physically, but also in mind and attitude.

Final episode - Benny and the players The Queen's Gambit - players The Queen's Gambit - players The Queen's Gambit - players

1. my first rating was 1609 and never topped 1800 because I didn't have enough time to train... and probably not enough skills :) Believe me, playing a 1800 can be a long and painful journey around the board. At this level, 200 difference is a huge gap.

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