Due to the resounding success of the new Netflix show: The Queen's Gambit, chess is suddenly very popular! In fact, chess boards are selling like hotcakes! Of course, we were naturally in love with all of the travel that Beth Harmon did on her journey to become a chess champion. If you haven't watched the limited Netflix series yet, what you are waiting for?
If you are not a born chess talent yourself, but still very much a fan of the series, a city trip to Berlin might be a better investment! The story is largely set in the United States with a number of international scenes set in Mexico, France, and Russia, but what you may not have known is that the series was almost completely filmed in Berlin.
We've collected a list of nine film locations from the series, so as soon as it is possible to travel safely again you will be able to find everything easily.
1. The Orphanage
The orphanage was the place where little Beth grew up and where she first learned how to play chess from the grumpy janitor. This charming hideaway, Schloss Schulzendorf, is located just outside Berlin in Schulzendorf (Dorfstraße 15C, 15732 Schulzendorf).
2. Ben Snyder's Department Store
This is our personal favorite. Just like in the series, this beautiful fashion house is also a clothing store, namely: HUMANA Secondhand & Vintage Kaufhaus (Frankfurter Tor 3). This is the perfect place to find beautiful vintage clothing and feast your eyes on the bizarre items that you can sometimes find here.
3. The Hotel in Cincinnati
Hotel Cincinnati is the first "fancy hotel" where Beth and her mother check-in for a chess tournament (the Cincinnati Open) and where Beth takes her first major cash prize. These scenes from episode 3 were shot in two different locations: the hall of the communal house in Spandau (Rathaus Spandau Carl-Schurz-Straße 2–6, Spandau) and the Meistersaal (Köthener Str. 38, 10963 Berlin).
4. Hotel Mariposa
Remember the nerve-racking scenes where Beth played at the US Open in Las Vegas? The Hotel Mariposa is actually the Palais am Messe-Funkturm (Hammarskjöldplatz, 14055 Berlin), a classic 1950s ballroom that can now be booked for events. The open space and the iconic staircase are super recognizable from the series!
5. The Aztec Palace Hotel
The Aztec Palace Hotel in Mexico City is where Beth has some really intense moments! These high-profile scenes were shot in the beautiful Friedrichstadt-Palast in the center of Berlin. In real life, this theater is home to a number of glamorous shows and spectacular performances by famous artists. A real must-see while in Berlin!
6. The Tournament in Paris
The intense scenes from the Paris tournament were also shot in Berlin. The photo below is inside the Bode Museum. The Bode first opened its doors in 1904 and is now part of the Staatliche Museen in Berlin. Nowadays you can admire beautiful Byzantine statues, sculptures, and a collection of special coins and medals here. This museum is also an absolute must when visiting Berlin!
7. The Tournament in Moscow
The Moscow Invitational is the final tournament where Beth plays against the very best chess players in Russia. This impressive hall where Beth goes head-to-head with her toughest competitors is called the Bärensaal and is located in the old town hall (Altes Stadthaus, Klosterstraße 47, 10179 Berlin) near Museum Island. This room is available to rent for events.
8. The Hotel in Moscow
During the tournament in Moscow, Beth's hotel where she stays is actually the facade of apartment buildings located on Karl-Marx-Allee. This street (full of old Soviet-era buildings) runs all the way from Alexanderplatz to Frankfurter Tor and used to be the main shopping street of East Berlin.
9. On the Street in Moscow
After Beth's victory in Russia, she returns to the park where a number of older men are playing chess. Here she is welcomed as the winner and can not resist playing a game. This amazing scene takes place in Der Rosengarten on Karl-Marx-Allee (Karl-Marx-Allee 103, 10243 Berlin) and is a wonderful place to soak up the sun, especially in summer.
Besides the film locations from The Queen's Gambit, there is of course much more to see in Berlin.
As soon as the pandemic allows, we will certainly be a tourist in Berlin and then let's party like Beth! (Okay, maybe not such a good idea after all).