If you haven’t noticed, everyone’s been talking about, reading about, or actively playing chess—and it’s all to do with The Queen’s Gambit. Netflix’s adaptation of the book by Walter Tevis follows Beth Harmon, an orphan who learns how to play chess in the 1950s. From there, we watch her meteoric rise to chess infamy as she tackles some of the best players, including the Soviet champion. It’s a thrilling tale of a woman, ahead of her time, who wouldn’t let social conventions or other people’s expectations stop her from dominating in the one thing she loved. But Beth also struggles with addiction, grief, and her inability to connect with others, adding complicated layers to her brilliance.
If you’ve already powered through the entire series, you might be looking for more stories of sharp and inventive women who will inspire and entertain you. Well, fear not! Here are eight reads that are sure to engage your imagination and remind you of everyone’s new chess queen.
And if the show inspired you to improve your own chess skills, check out Pandolfini’s Ultimate Guide to Chess by Bruce Pandolfini, a chess strategist for The Queen’s Gambit and America’s foremost chess coach!