With a settlement agreement on the defamation lawsuit stemming from their popular miniseries The Queen’s Gambit, Netflix has ended the trial proceedings that Nona Gaprindashvili began almost a year ago. The former chess champion claimed Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit inaccurately represented her legacy, according to The New York Times, and her lawyers filed papers in federal court seeking to settle the $5 million lawsuit under unspecified terms.
The fictional series character Beth Harmon is referred to as the first woman to play against male chess champions in the series’ concluding episode, even mentioning Gaprindashvili while omitting the fact that the Georgian grandmaster did play against elite male competition several times, including before the events depicted in the series.
Gaprindashvili took that personally to quote another excellent champion subject of a 2020 Netflix hit. Gaprindashvili referred to the incident as “an insulting experience” that took away from the achievements that The Queen’s Gambit sought to emphasize. While Netflix still has comparable pending cases relating to some of its “based on a true story” dramas, Gaprindashvili’s attorney Alexander Rufus-Isaacs merely expressed his satisfaction at seeing the matter fully resolved.
Gaprindashvili was born in the former Soviet Union’s Georgian territory and grew up to become a notable player in women’s competition. She first gained notoriety in chess by competing against men in 1963. She received the Grandmaster title for the first time in 1978. The contentious phrase is omitted in a 1968 chess match against fictitious Soviet player Vasily Borgov in the movie The Queen’s Gambit, starring Anya Taylor-Joy as Beth Harmon.
It’s good to see that things have been made right with the former Grandmaster since Borgov’s creation was heavily influenced by Russian chess legend Boris Spassky. In contrast, Harmon was more of a synthesis of several women with distinguished careers in the game, including Gaprindashvili. Let’s say that The Queen’s Gambit was a complete phenomenon at the beginning of the pandemic, quickly becoming one of Netflix’s most popular series and reviving interest in chess, particularly among gamers on streaming services like Twitch.
The Queen’s Gambit lawsuit has been resolved. However, Netflix still faces a fresh case for alleged defamation in Inventing Anna and the Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich documentary, which follows the career of the disgraced and convicted sex offender.