Getting late to the party with this one – just binged the mini-series almost completely in one day.
I enjoyed it thoroughly, but a number of things threw me a little bit out of the story, and I’m wondering if it’s just a simple matter of suspension of disbelief and dramatic license.
One of the biggest things I didn’t understand was her difficulty in securing the funds to go to Moscow. Now this is all set during the middle of the Cold War, and you have this American chess phenom – and not only that, a female phenom in the male-dominated chess world – and the only people interested in paying her way to Moscow to play the champion GM is a group of evangelical Christians? Huh? This is also a dramatic world where chess is popular enough to have a giant magazine for sale at the pharmacy next to LIFE magazine and the popular periodicals of the day. I know there’s a throw-away line about her pissing off the USCF, but I don’t see how the national chess organization or the US government squanders their best opportunities to show up the Russkies by making her pay her own way.
Then they giver her this … overseer/handler … who doesn’t seem to care that she walks away from his oversight at the end. Like just drives away, as if he’d be allowed to do that.
Also, I understand this is a bit of a fairy tale and dramatic conventions and shortcuts must be taken, but are most tournaments of this single elimination style? All the world championships I know of are usually gruelling sets of many matches. I’m not sure how the regional and national tournaments are, but I did find that somewhat distracting that everything came down to one game, and it sucks a little at that level if you drew black. I know, I know – it’s dramatic this way, but it would be a bit more dramatic for me and with more verismilitude if at least one of the matches went to a tense series of back-and-forths.