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Saturday, November 21, 2020

The Queen's Gambit

The Queen’s Gambit | Official Trailer | Netflix

We started watching this mini-series this evening. It's pretty great. 
The Queen's Gambit is a fictional story that follows the life of an orphan chess prodigy, Beth Harmon, during her quest to become the world's greatest chess player while struggling with emotional problems and drug and alcohol dependency. - Wikipedia
There have been a few female chess champions, but not many. I don't know what makes this show so great, might just be because it is well told tale. There is always an undercurrent of tension, you get the feeling that something very bad could happen at any time. Nothing ever does (or least not yet, other than the opening incident, which is bad enough), but the potential is always there, or maybe I'm just paranoid. Or maybe I've watched too many thrillers that have same undercurrent of tension and then bad things do happen.

The film uses an imaginary chess board projected on the ceiling with the chess pieces hanging upside down to represent what is going on in the girl's mind. I have built models in my mind of some of the data structures I needed for computer programs I've written. Most data structures can be easily drawn on paper, they aren't too complicated, but you start shifting things around and it can quickly get very complicated. Individual actions can be easily drawn out on paper, but after a certain point you become familiar enough with what needs to be done that it's quicker and easier to do it in your head than to draw out all of the various actions on paper.

I've played a few games of chess but I never got the bug to pursue it. It's a lot of work for not much reward. If you're good, you can claim to be good, but that and a dollar will get you a cup of coffee at McDonald's. There is good money if you are really good, but that's kind of like being a professional athlete. There are a few people who make a bundle of money, but there are legions of people who were almost good enough. You have to be obsessed to pursue success fighting those kind of odds. I'm not that obsessed. That might be why I went into computer programming.

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