Tuesday, May 17

Queen’s game: the complaint of a chess legend against Netflix deemed admissible

A Los Angeles judge has ruled admissible the lawsuit filed against Netflix by Nona Gaprindashvili, a Soviet chess legend who accuses the platform of having sexistly denigrated her in her hit series The Queen’s Game.

She held that a work of fiction was not immune from lawsuits for defamation if it harmed real people.

The Georgian champion, now 80, is claiming $5 million from Netflix in damages.

In the series, a character claims that she “has never faced men” in competition, unlike the series’ fictional heroine, American Beth Harmon (played by Anya Taylor-Joy). This allegation concerning Nona Gaprindachvili “is manifestly false, as well as grossly sexist and denigrating”, specifies the complaint filed last September by the champion.

The document recalls that the Georgian, who in 1978 became the first female chess grandmaster in history, had already faced dozens of leading male players in 1968, the year in which the series is supposed to take place.

Netflix promotes freedom of expression

Netflix had assured that it did not want to offend the champion and indicated in a press release that it had “the greatest respect for Ms. Gaprindashvili and her illustrious career”. The platform, however, at the time deemed this complaint to be without “any basis”, arguing that it is a work of fiction protected by the American Constitution and its first amendment which guarantees freedom of expression.

When it aired, The Queen’s Gambit broke records with 62 million views worldwide in the space of four weeks and won eleven Emmy Awards.

For information, Nona Gaprindachvili was born in 1941 in Zugdidi, in western Georgia. She had been playing chess since she was 13 and had won the women’s world championship at 20. She had successfully defended her title four times, before losing her crown in 1978 to another 17-year-old Georgian, Maia Chibourdanidze.


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