A Chess Pioneer Sue, Saying She Was Modest In ‘The Queen’s Gambit’

In the final episode of the wildly popular Netflix series “The Queen’s Gambit,” an announcer gives chess play-by-play and commentary while the show’s fictional heroine, portrayed by Anya Taylor-Joy, competes in a climactic tournament in Moscow.

“The only unusual thing about him, really, is his gender, and even in Russia it’s not unique,” said the announcer, as if a woman was watching the match. “Nona is Gaprindashvili, but she is the women’s world champion and has never faced men.”

The series is fictional, but there is a real pioneer chess champion named Nona Gaprindashvili, first woman to be named grandmaster. Now 80 years old and living in Tbilisi, Georgia, she is saddened to learn that television shows have erased many of her successes against male opponents. (a 1968 headline in The New York Times, for example, reads, “Chess: Miss Gaprindashvili beat 7 men in a strong tournament.”)

So on Thursday, Gaprindashvili filed a lawsuit against Netflix in Federal District Court in Los Angeles, seeking millions of dollars in damages for the suit’s claims that “destroyed her achievements in front of many millions of viewers, her achievements”. undermining and humiliating”. Called for the removal of the line about not facing men.

“They were trying to do this fictional character who was igniting the path for other women, when in fact I had already blown the mark and inspired generations,” Ms Gaprindashvili recently told her lawyers. Said in a video interview conducted, speaking in Georgian, which was translated into English by his grandson. “That’s the irony.”

Netflix said it highly respected Ms Gaprindashvili but believed her claim was without merit. “Netflix only has the utmost respect for Ms Gaprindashvili and her illustrious career, but we believe this claim is unfounded and will vigorously defend the case,” the company said in a statement.

As the details of the 25-page complaint, Ms Gaprindashvili actually did, Play against multiple highly skilled men’s champions During his career, including before the episode in question took place. The suit claims that the line by which she “did not face men” caused a professional disadvantage to Gaprindashvili, who continues to compete in senior chess tournaments, and notes that “The Queen’s Gambit” was It was viewed in over 62 million homes in the first month after release..

“It was a humiliating experience,” Ms Gaprindashvili said during the one-hour interview, when she could not resist at times, enthusiastically recalling some of her most memorable chess matches and victories.

“It’s my whole life that has been passed over, like it’s not important,” she said.

The lawsuit alleges that Netflix shamelessly and deliberately lied about Gaprindashvili’s accomplishments for the cheap and cynical purpose of “elevating the drama,” by pretending that its fictional hero had managed to do what he did. No other woman, including Gaprindashvili, did.”

The complaint states that “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 an actual female trail blazer who had actually played a role in the world chess.” He had faced and defeated men on stage. Same era.”

“The Queen’s Gambit”, based on Walter Tevis’ 1983 novel, became what Netflix described as Its biggest limited scripted series to date. Chain Won Two Golden Globes Earlier This Year and have gathered 18 Emmy Awards and Nominations; plans to be adapted into a stage musical. And, as Ms Gaprindashvili has been doing through her game and example over the years, The series has inspired more women to take up chess while also Renewing concerns about sexism in sport.

The lawsuit states that the series saying that Ms Gaprindashvili had never encountered men was replaced by the book she was based on, and quotes this passage from the original novel: “Nona Gaprindashvili Which was not up to that level in this tournament, but a player who has met all these Russian Grandmasters many times before.”

The real Ms. Gaprindashvili began to play professionally at the age of 13, and later became women’s world champion And, as noted in the suit, the “first lady in history” was awarded the rank of grandmaster After a tournament in Lone Pine, Calif., in 1977. Tbilisi Chess Palace, filed suit, is dedicated to Ms Gaprindashvili.

“The fight took a year to get accepted,” Ms Gaprindashvili said in the interview. “Whenever they saw me as a small, small, young girl, they would ask me to line up next time to play, but not now. But I have always cemented my place.”

Ms Gaprindashvili said she is often asked about the show. Those discussions brought back memories of her own rise as a women’s chess champion. But she said she doesn’t understand why a fictional television show would “lie” about the life of a real person.

“Not many things can hurt me emotionally,” she said. “But it was surprising to me — and humiliating.”

That said, the lawsuit will now be another part of his legacy.

“It is already part of my legacy that female chess players are accepted and become grandmasters,” said Ms Gaprindashvili. “It’s also a big part of it. It’s a fight I’ve started, and it’s a fight I’m continuing.”

Alain Delaquérière contributed to the research.

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