LONDON: Georgian chess champion Nona Gaprindashvili filed a defamation lawsuit on Thursday against Netflix, accusing the streaming giant of incorrectly portraying her in the hit series “The Queen’s Gambit.”
Gaprindashvili, 80, said Netflix’s claim in the series that she “never faced men” is “grossly sexist and belittling.”
The lawsuit refers to a specific line in the series finale which compares the main character, Elizabeth Harmon, to Gaprindashvili. The series makes a notable distinction between the fictional character and Gaprindashvili, which is that the latter never faced men during her chess tournaments.
In the finale, a character narrates: “Elizabeth Harmon’s not at all an important player by their standards. The only unusual thing about her, 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 began playing chess at 13, became the female world champion at 20 and was the first woman to be awarded the title of grandmaster, the highest title a chess player can attain.
Contrary to Netflix’s portrayal, Gaprindashvili did indeed face men, 59 of them, including 28 in one simultaneous match when the series was supposedly set in 1968.
“They were trying to do this fictional character who was blazing the trail for other women, when in reality I had already blazed the trail and inspired generations,” Gaprindashvili said in an interview with the New York Times. “That’s the irony.”
Another notable item in the lawsuit relates to Gaprindashvili’s nationality. While the series portrayed her as Russian, she in fact is Georgian and was born in Zugdidi, Georgia.
Netflix responded to Gaprindashvili and said it “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.”