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Real-Life Chess Queen Is Suing Netflix Over Her Portrayal In 'The Queen's Gambit'

·2 min read
Real-Life Chess Queen Is Suing Netflix Over Her Portrayal In 'The Queen's Gambit'

Anya Taylor-Joy - who stunned us all as a young chess extraordinaire in hit Netflix series The Queen's Gambit - has been thanked for bringing 'sexy back to chess' at the Emmy Awards 2021.

On winning Outstanding Limited Series, the show's executive producer William Horberg told Taylor-Joy: 'You inspired a whole generation of girls and young women to realise that patriarchy has no defence against our queens.'

The show certainly brought more women to the game, and although we all love the series and Taylor-Joy for her portrayal of a powerful young woman steaming through a male-dominated space – and looking incredibly stylish as she does it – not everyone feels the series has been honest.

Photo credit: Rich Fury - Getty Images
Photo credit: Rich Fury - Getty Images

Last week it emerged a Soviet chess champion who was name-checked in the finale feels she was falsely portrayed and is now suing Netflix.

Nona Gaprindashvili, now 80, was a world-class player and the first woman to be awarded the title of international grandmaster by the International Chess Federation in 1978.

Gaprindashvili believes she was the one to inspire generations of girls, but that her history was erased in The Queen's Gambit.

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

The champion actually faced dozens of men throughout her career – 59, according to the lawsuit.

Gaprindashvili is suing Netflix for $5m, claiming the assertion is 'grossly sexist and belittling'.

Photo credit: Stanley Sherman - Getty Images
Photo credit: Stanley Sherman - Getty Images

She told the New York Times in an interview: 'They were trying to do this fictional character who was blazing the trail for other women, when in reality I had already blazed the trail and inspired generations. That's the irony.'

Netflix told the Times it 'has only the utmost respect for Ms Gaprindashvili and her illustrious career, but we believe this claim has no merit and will vigorously defend the case.'

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