Soviet chess champion sues Netflix for “sexist” Queen’s Gambit | Netflix

Soviet chess champion Nona Gaprindashvili sues Netflix for $ 5million over line from her hit series The Queen’s Gambit which claimed she had “never played with men”, calling the claim “grossly sexist. and demeaning “.

The lawsuit, filed Thursday in Federal District Court in Los Angeles, attempts to set the record straight in the fictional tale of Beth Harmon, played by Anya Taylor-Joy, who is traveling to Moscow for a series of matches of chess against Soviet champions.

Harmon is portrayed as a complex character in the throes of struggles with drug addiction. But his Soviet opponents, including one loosely based on champion Boris Spassky, are more two-dimensional.

In the series finale, a character says, “Elizabeth Harmon is not an important player at all by their standards. The only thing unusual about her, really, is her gender. And even this is not unique to Russia. There is Nona Gaprindashvili, but she is the female world champion and she has never faced men.

Anya Taylor-Joy in a scene from The Queen’s Gambit. Photograph: Phil Bray / AP

Gaprindashvili, who is now 80 and lives in Tbilisi, Georgia, faced off against the men. Dozens in fact. According to the lawsuit, she had faced 59 men, including 28 in a simultaneous match, as well as 10 Grandmasters by the time the television series was filmed in 1968.

“They were trying to make this fictional character who was leading the way for other women, when in reality I had already led the way and inspired generations,” Gaprindashvili said in an interview with The New York Times. “It’s irony.”

Damages are being sought for what the lawsuit claims to be a “devastating lie, undermining and degrading its achievements in front of an audience of millions of people.”

The costume also noted that the film portrays her as Russian, despite being Georgian and born in Zugdidi, Georgia.

Gaprindashvili started playing chess as a teenager and won her first of five women’s chess world championship titles at the age of 21. She won the almost universally male Hastings Challengers tournament of 1963-64 and defeated all of the British Masters in the first tournament of the following year. . She was the first woman to receive the title of FIDE International Grand Master in 1978.

“It’s been my whole life that’s been crossed out, like it doesn’t matter,” she told The New York Times.

In a statement released by the newspaper, Netflix said it “has the utmost respect for Ms. Gaprindashvili and her illustrious career, but we believe this claim has no basis and will vigorously defend the case.”

The Netflix show is an adaptation of the 1983 novel by Walter Tevis. It was a smash hit, with more than 62 million homes connected within one month of its release, Netflix said. That made it “our biggest limited scripted series to date,” the streaming service wrote.

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