SHE is the real-life Beth Harmon — a child chess prodigy who battled male competitors to become an international master.
And Anna Rudolf is reaping rewards from The Queen’s Gambit, the Netflix hit about Harmon going from drug-addicted orphan to becoming a champion.
The 32-year-old says new-found interest in the board game has increased her online following from 200 earlier this year to 50,000.
And now that her chess channel is a full-time job, she has even launched a tournament called the Beth Harmon Invitational. ‘I love that they chose a female player as the protagonist and best player in the world,’ said Anna, who was born in Hungary and was taught to play at the age of four.
‘Chess is still kind of a man’s world. The older I got, the less and less girls I’d see. Girls would tend to lose interest around 15 or 16.
‘I don’t know why but I do see the drawbacks of chess.’
Like Beth, played by actress Anya Taylor-Joy, Anna says she often struggled being a woman in the male-dominated game.
‘Oftentimes, there wouldn’t even be a female toilet,’ she said. And at one tournament she was accused of hiding a chess computer in her lip balm case.
But despite the hurdles she earned the titles of International Master and Woman Grandmaster in 2007 and a year later she began playing for Hungary.
Now retired from competition, she lives in Ireland, where she streams games on Twitch and is an international commentator.
Fittingly, one of her biggest joys in lockdown has been coaching a woman to win a major contest. She said: ‘She’d never had a lesson, she just knew how pieces moved.’