The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix is a fictional TV miniseries about a girl in an orphanage in postwar America who, somehow, develops herself into a Bobby Fischer-like chess prodigy.
From a nature-nurture perspective, the premise sounds implausible.
The one great woman chess player, Judit Polgar (a solid world top ten player for a number of years), didn’t emerge self-made from an orphanage like the heroine in this TV show. Instead, she was the successful product of a nurture experiment by her parents to raise their daughters to be outstanding chess players (Judit was the youngest and best), rather like the Williams sisters in tennis and Tiger Woods in golf. Here is Scott Alexander’s review of her dad’s advice book Raise a Genius!
The Polgar sisters are interesting evidence supporting the Social Constructionist viewpoint. I suspect girls are more influenced by societal expectations than boys are. Judit Polgar is a pretty normal woman (she’s married to a surgeon and has two children). I suspect if she’d been raised by a different family, she wouldn’t have become a professional chess player.
In contrast, Bobby Fischer always did only what Bobby Fischer wanted to do. Short of abolishing the game and hiding all evidence it ever existed, I don’t know how you could have stopped Fischer from being a chess fanatic.