Throughout "The Queen's Gambit" (Netflix) we see games at an advanced stage (after the opening).

And while the characters are fictitious, the show being set in the 1960s (Beth adult), Benny Watts (US champion) is probably Bobby Fischer, and Vasily Borgov (World champion) Tigran Petrosian.

Were there any famous games (or part of) played within the show? (involving Fischer, Petrosian or any other famous player)

Note: Garry Kasparov and Bruce Pandolfini were the main chess advisors.

enter image description here

enter image description here

  • 1
    Why the downvote?
    – Déjà vu
    Nov 1, 2020 at 0:22
  • I haven't seen the show, but Vasily Borgov sounds like a Russian name to me, and Tigran Petrosian of course was Armenian. Maybe Borgov was supposed to be Vasily Smyslov, who was world champion in 1958?
    – bof
    Jul 12, 2021 at 22:39
  • I wish I could play that good as she is acting. :) "As for the games in the series, she learned the exact move sequences by heart five minutes before filming each of them." Wow! I wish I could do at least that much.
    – user28338
    Jul 21, 2021 at 15:36

3 Answers 3


Olimpiu G. Urcan has posted several twits about references of historical games and positions that appear in "The Queen's gambit": https://twitter.com/olimpiuurcan

For example:


Connoisseurs will quickly recognize a small tribute to Bobby Fischer in this very brief #TheQueensGambit scene: it's the conclusion of his crushing win over Bent Larsen from the 1958 Portorož Interzonal. Harmon's 29.d7 (instead of Fischer's 29.Bxf6) still wins, of course.


Beth Harmon's final game with Vasily Borgov, her Russian nemesis, is based on that spectacular draw between Ivanchuk and Wolff from the 1993 Biel Interzonal.


Agadmator made a video about the final game between Harmon and Borgov which I recommend you to watch. The first 37 moves of that game were identical to a game played between Ivanchuk and Wolff in 1993 Biel Interzonal.


A blitz game in the show, between Elisabeth Harmon and Benny Watts is copied from a famous Kasparov - Van Wely encounter in Wijk an Zee 2000.

Or rather, as Loek Van Wely explained himself on Facebook, did he got tricked when Kasparov used Harmon's game from 1968 in a devilish opening preparation ?

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.