Georgian chess icon Nona Gaprindashvili has filed a defamation lawsuit against Netflix, saying she was incorrectly portrayed on the hit series. The Queen’s Gambit.
The case concerns a sequence in the final episode of the drama that says Gaprindashvili, now 80, had never played competitive chess with men.
The document says that by 1968, the year in which the episode takes place, he had faced at least 59 male players.
Netflix said the claim “had no merit.”
The company said it had “only the utmost respect” for Gaprindashvili and his “illustrious career” but would “vigorously defend the case.”
The Queen’s Gambit is based on the 1983 novel by Walter Tevis and centers on a fictional chess player named Beth Harmon, played by Anya Taylor-Joy. The series was launched last year, becoming what Netflix described as its “largest scripted limited series.”
In the final episode, a commentator mentions Gaprindashvili when describing Harmon: “The only thing unusual about her, actually, is her sex. And even that is not unique to Russia. There is Nona Gaprindashvili, but she is the women’s world champion and never he has faced men.. “
The 25-page case filed in United States District Court in Los Angeles on Thursday said: “Netflix blatantly and deliberately lied about Gaprindashvili’s accomplishments for the cheap and cynical purpose of ‘escalating the drama’ by making it appear that its fictional hero she had succeeded in doing what no other woman, including Gaprindashvili, had done. “
He added: “The accusation that Gaprindashvili ‘has never faced men’ is blatantly false, as well as being wildly sexist and demeaning.”
Born in 1941 in the Georgian city of Zugdidi, Gaprindashvili began playing chess at age 13, became a women’s world champion at age 20, and was the first woman to receive the title of grandmaster, according to the lawsuit.
“By 1968,” the suit says, Gaprindashvili “had competed against at least 59 male chess players (28 of them simultaneously in one game), including at least 10 grandmasters of that time.”
Gaprindashvili, who lives in Tbilisi and continues to compete in chess tournaments, is seeking compensation of US $ 5 million and the removal of the statement that he had never played against men. The lawsuit says the line of the book on which the series is based was changed.
The Queen’s Gambit was viewed in more than 62 million households in the first 28 days after its release, according to Netflix. It won two awards at this year’s Golden Globes and garnered 18 nominations at the Emmy Awards, which will take place this weekend.