Torturing Geniuses

Beth, the protagonist of the TV show The Queen’s Gambit, is not someone you’d want as a friend. She takes money from her childhood mentor—the old janitor who taught her chess—and never pays him back, visits him or thanks him for launching her career. She treats the young men who help her improve—a group that eventually coalesces into a supportive entourage—in a similarly instrumental way. She is so focused on winning tournaments that she can barely spare a word of caution when her adoptive mother is falling into a fatal alcoholic spiral. When she loses, she is petulant and childish, unlike her opponents, who are graceful and kind. She is cruel and manipulative when—as an adult—she plays against a talented Russian child, softening to him only after she has beaten him… More here.

Brilliant article.

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