"I’ll tell you who I am," says Mary McNamara. "I’m the girl who lost to Beth in the first round at the local tournament and then gave her a Kotex pad in the ladies room. Yup, I’m Kotex girl. Yup, I’m Kotex girl. Actually, the character has a name, Annette Packer (Eloise Webb), and she shows up again a few episodes later to deliver a short but pivotal speech about how important it was to have been beaten by Beth because it proved that girls could do great things. It’s the 1960s — as evidenced by Beth’s Cleopatra eyeliner and kicky hat — the same decade when real-life child prodigy turned troubled but brilliant grandmaster Bobby Fischer was giving the United States one more weapon in its Cold War arsenal by beating Russians on his way to the world championship. In 2020, the message about the value of seeing a woman win in a man’s world may seem a bit obvious (and given the whiteness of virtually everyone involved, limited) — but to its everlasting credit, The Queen’s Gambit is not about that. Aside from a few sexist comments from a few minor characters, the series examines a personal journey toward greatness in which the lead character happens to be female. Still, it’s tough not to wonder how many lives would have been different if there had been a Beth Harmon, actual or fictional, at the time of Fischer’s rise. Including mine."