Anya Taylor-Joy Admits Her Chess Skills Have Gotten a Bit Rusty Since ‘The Queen’s Gambit’

Anya Taylor-Joy has been acting on the big screen for many years. She has played characters including Thomasin in The Witch and Gina in Peaky Blinders. However, she is probably best known for her role as Beth Harmon in the Netflix miniseries The Queen’s Gambit. The series revolves around a young chess prodigy who soon becomes an international celebrity for her skills. Taylor-Joy learned how to play chess for her role in the series, but recently she has admitted that her skills have been getting a bit rusty.

Anya Taylor-Joy in a black shirt with long blonde hair covering one eye.
Anya Taylor-Joy | Jacopo Raule/Getty Images

‘The Queen’s Gambit’ revolves around chess

Beth learns to play chess from a janitor named Mr. Shaibol, who works at the orphanage where she spends her childhood. After she is adopted, Beth begins to partake in competitive chess competitions. Eventually, she defeats Grandmaster Vasily Borgov in Russia.

Chess fans have praised the series for its accurate depiction of competitive chess and the actors’ knowledge of the game. The series brought on professional chess masters Bruce Pandolfini and Garry Kasparov to consult with the cast and crew. “The actors always knew exactly where every piece was supposed to go,” Pandolfini stated. Taylor-Joy took her role as Beth quite seriously.

Anya Taylor-Joy learned to play chess for her role as Beth Harmon

Taylor-Joy has stated in previous interviews how close she felt with her character Beth, despite not having much chess experience beforehand. She learned how to play chess for the series; however, she had an interesting strategy for memorizing where to put each piece while filming her scenes. Taylor-Joy had to move her pieces so fast and precisely, she “memorized the moves like choreography before each scene.”

Taylor-Joy hasn’t played chess much recently

Taylor-Joy has, without a doubt, been keeping busy since filming The Queen’s Gambit. The Emmy nominated actor has won both a SAG and Golden Globe Award, according to People. She also recently finished filming for the sixth and final season of Peaky Blinders. Taylor-Joy joined the cast for season 5 of the series, playing Michael Gray’s clever and conniving wife.

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With everything going on in Taylor-Joy’s life, it’s no wonder that she hasn’t had much time for chess lately. In an interview with People, she stated that she hopes to make time for this hobby again. “I am really looking forward to getting back into chess at some point because I just feel kind of bad about myself right now. I have not played for a while,” she admitted.

“Whilst we were filming, I was pretty good,” she said. “We were playing a lot in between takes. Since then, you just get really good or you attempt to get really good at whatever it is that your job requires of you.” Maybe Taylor-Joy’s job doesn’t require chess knowledge anymore, but it seems that honing her skills is still an important part of her life.

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