Trailblazer Nona Gabrindashvili sues Netflix over ‘Queen’s gambit’: NPR


Georgian chess champion Nonna Gabrindashvili plays at the International Chess Conference in London on December 30, 1964. She is suing Netflix for defamation and invasion of privacy for her series. Queen’s gambit.

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Georgian chess champion Nonna Gabrindashvili plays at the International Chess Conference in London on December 30, 1964. She is suing Netflix for defamation and invasion of privacy for her series. Queen’s gambit.

Stanley Sherman / Getty Images

Queen’s gambit On Netflix, it captured tens of millions of viewers last year, resulting in a National run on chess sets And create an instant code to get out of it the hero of the story.

And that’s not all she did, according to one of the real-life heroes. Georgian chess legend Nonna Gabrindashvili – who made history as the world’s first Grand Prix – claims that the show downplayed her career and damaged her reputation with one sentence.

Gaprindashvili is now suing Netflix for defamation and breach of privacy, According to a 25-page complaint He was filed in federal district court in California on Thursday. The case centers on a scene at the end of the last episode of the show.

In it, intelligent heroine Beth Harmon faces off against a Russian president at the Moscow International (both characters are fictional). a Commentator’s Notes She is not considered an important player by her male competitors:

“The only thing unusual about her is her gender. And even that’s not unique in Russia. There’s Nonna Gabrindashvili, but she’s the world champion and she’s never faced men,” he says, while the camera briefly passes over a female member of the audience watching a chess match.

The real Gabrindashvili, now 80, and her legal team call this line “clearly wrong… blatantly sexist and understated.” They wrote in the complaint that by 1968, the year this episode was running, she had competed against no fewer than 59 male players—including 28 of them at once in a single match.

They also noted that Gabrindashvili is Georgian, not Russian – a misrepresentation they claim has been exacerbated by the fact that Georgians suffered “under Russian domination” during and after the Soviet period.

The complaint accuses Netflix of underestimating Gaprindashvili’s accomplishments to deliver a more dramatic story and rejecting its earlier allegations of defamation without issuing a public apology or retraction.

She is seeking damages of at least $5 million, arguing that the false statement caused “personal humiliation, distress, and pain, as well as damage to her earnings and earnings, and her continued ability to engage in her professional life in the world of chess.”

“We think it’s a very bad thing of them to do,” Alexander Rufus Isaacs, one of Gabrindashvili’s attorneys, told NPR in a phone interview. This whole program, Queen’s gambit, to show that women can succeed, and how their heroine overcame prejudice. But in doing so, they destroyed the real person who was really the pioneer.”

Gabrindashvili declined to comment through her attorney in Georgia.

Netflix said in a written statement that it believes its case has no legal basis. “Mrs Gaprindashvili has nothing but high regard for her illustrious career, but we believe this claim has no merit and we will vigorously defend the case,” a Netflix spokesperson wrote.

Who is Nonna Gabrindashvili?

Gaprindashvili has made a career breaking barriers in the male-dominated world of chess.

She was born in 1941 in the Republic of Georgia (“where chess is a big deal,” says Rufus Isaacs”) and began playing professionally at the age of 13. She became the women’s world champion at the age of 20 and held that title until 1978.

Over the decades, she has won 25 medals at the Chess Olympiad, held positions in the Georgian Parliament and was awarded the Georgia Medal of Excellence. The complaint states that the Chess Palace in Tbilisi is for her. It continues to participate in the adult tournaments, winning the world title among players 65 and over until 2019.

Gabrindashvili began competing against (and defeating) men in 1962, and has spoken and written about her difficulties in countering the stereotype that female chess players are inferior to men.

“I got over a great deal of prejudice,” Rufus Isaacs said. “The male players of the 1960s weren’t the most advanced group of guys, and they took it very personally when a little girl was competing against them. Nonna found that many of them… would go to great lengths to avoid the embarrassment they saw as being beaten up by before a woman.”

Gabrindashvili was famous for her aggressive style. The complaint refers to a legendary tournament in which she and her opponent agreed to a draw only when “there was almost nothing on the board”. The Soviet Chess Federation later declared the match the best chess game of the year, and the complaint says it caused such psychological losses to Gabrindashvili’s opponent that he did not participate in tournaments for the next year.

The case and its allegations

Gabrindashvili’s accomplishments made headlines during the 20th century, the complaint says, and many social media users and news organizations have objected to Netflix framing her career after Queen’s gambit It came out last October.

Gabrindashvili had reached out to Netflix to raise her concerns through a previous legal team, according to Rufus Isaacs. He said Netflix dismissed the line in question as “harmless,” rather than offering an acknowledgment or remedy.

The TV series is based on the 1983 novel by Walter Teves, which references Gaprindashvili but says she has “meet all these old Russians many times before.”

Rufus Isaacs said Netflix should have kept the original version of the novel or used a fictional name.

A company spokesperson did not respond to an email seeking comment on certain aspects of the complaint.

Netflix . said 62 million families The seven-episode series aired within a month of its release. It went on to become the first series in history to top the Nielsen streaming ratings for three consecutive weeks and earned 18 Emmys on Sunday.

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