Soviet chess legend files $5million defamation suit against Netflix over ‘Queen’s Gambit’


A Soviet chess legend filed a $5million defamation lawsuit against Netflix for an episode of the Queen‘s Gambit that inaccurately states she never competed with men. 

Eighty-year-old Nona Gaprindashvili, from Georgia, is a pioneer of women’s chess and the first woman to be awarded the grandmaster title in chest. 

She said the way she was portrayed in an episode of the Netflix hit series was sexist and diminishing.  

The Queen’s Gambit follows the life of Beth Harmon, a gifted girl from the 1950s who grows up in a Kentucky Orphanage and goes on to become a chess legend.

The character, based on a 1983 novel and portrayed by renowned actress Anya Taylor-Joy, beats even the most impressive Russian players of the time. 

In the final episode of the series, Taylor’s character plays against a fictional Russian man by the name of Viktor Laev in Moscow. 

In the scene, the announcer says: ‘The only unusual thing about her [Taylor-Joy’s character], really, is her sex, and even that’s not unique in Russia,’ 

‘There’s Nona Gaprindashvili, but she’s the female world champion and has never faced men.’ 

Gaprindashvili argues in the lawsuit that by the year the episode is set in, 1968, she had already competed against 59 men throughout her career – beating 28 of them simultaneously. 

 The Queen’s Gambit follows the life of Beth Harmon, a gifted girl from the 1950s who grows up in a Kentucky Orphanage and goes on to become a chess legend

Eighty-year-old Nona Gaprindashvili, from Georgia is a pioneer of women's chess and the first woman to be awarded the grandmaster title in chest

Eighty-year-old Nona Gaprindashvili, from Georgia is a pioneer of women’s chess and the first woman to be awarded the grandmaster title in chest

The suit also contends that Taylor’s character is an Americanized and fictionalized version of the real-life female Georgian prodigy, and that Gaprindashvili is Georgian, not Russian. 

‘The allegation that Gaprindashvili ‘has never faced men’ is manifestly false, as well as being grossly sexist and belittling,’

‘She had competed against at least 59 male chess players (28 of them simultaneously in one game), including at least ten Grandmasters of that time, including Dragolyub Velimirovich, Svetozar Gligoric, Paul Keres, Bojan Kurajica, Boris Spassky, Viswanathan Anand and Mikhail Tal. The last three were also world champions during their careers.’

Throughout her career, Gaprindashvili won many championships and beat some of the best male chess players in the world. File picture,

Throughout her career, Gaprindashvili won many championships and beat some of the best male chess players in the world. File picture, 

The character, based on a 1983 novel and portrayed by renowned actress Anya Taylor-Joy, beats even the most impressive Russian players of the time

The character, based on a 1983 novel and portrayed by renowned actress Anya Taylor-Joy, beats even the most impressive Russian players of the time

Gaprindashvili claims she contacted Netflix after the show was released. She said she asked for a retraction and apology, but was dismissed by the company and her complain was called 'innocuous'

Gaprindashvili claims she contacted Netflix after the show was released. She said she asked for a retraction and apology, but was dismissed by the company and her complain was called ‘innocuous’

Addressing the lawsuit, Netflix released an statement saying that the claim had ‘no merit.’  

‘Netflix has only the utmost respect for Ms. Gaprindashvili and her illustrious career, but we believe this claim has no merit and will vigorously defend the case,’ the statement read. 

Netflix is accused of deliberately offering a wrong portrayal of Gaprindashvili for the sake of hyping up the storyline and drama in the story. 

‘Netflix brazenly and deliberately lied about Gaprindashvili’s achievements for the cheap and cynical purpose of ‘heightening the drama’ by making it appear that its fictional hero had managed to do what no other woman, including Gaprindashvili, had done’ 

‘Thus, in a story that was supposed to inspire women by showing a young woman competing with men at the highest levels of world chess, Netflix humiliated the one real woman trail blazer who had actually faced and defeated men on the world stage in the same era,’ the 25-pages long lawsuit read.  

Gaprindashvili claims she contacted Netflix after the show was released. She said she asked for a retraction and apology, but was dismissed by the company and her complain was called ‘innocuous.’

Throughout her career, Gaprindashvili won many championships and beat some of the best male chess players in the world. 

She started playing chess at the age of 13, much like Taylor-Joy’s character, and at age 20, became the female World Champion. 

Gaprindashvili has won 25 medals, including eleven team goal medals and nine individual ones. 

She still plays chess and has won several senior world championships.

Gaprindashvili has won 25 medals, including eleven team goal medals and nine individual ones. She still plays chess and has won several senior world championships. File picture

Gaprindashvili has won 25 medals, including eleven team goal medals and nine individual ones. She still plays chess and has won several senior world championships. File picture



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