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Court Says Georgian Chess Master's Lawsuit Against Netflix Over 'The Queen's Gambit' Can Proceed

Nana Gaprindashvili in Moscow in 1983.

TBILISI -- The Soviet-era Georgian chess master Nona Gaprindashvili has welcomed a Californian court's decision in a defamation lawsuit related to Netflix's hit miniseries The Queen's Gambit.

In a statement issued on January 28, Gaprindashvili thanked her supporters after the court denied a motion by Netflix to dismiss a defamation lawsuit against the streaming giant that she filed last year.

"Speaking in chess language, the opening phase is won.... The fight goes on until the final victory," Gaprindashvili's statement said.

California's Central District Court ruled on January 27 that Gaprindashvili's $5 million lawsuit against Netflix in September over the fictional television series The Queen’s Gambit cannot be dismissed.

The final episode of the miniseries, which premiered in 2020, includes a line from an announcer who describes Gaprindashvili as “the female world champion" and as a player who "has never faced men.”

Gaprindashvili insists that the dialogue in the episode is “false” and “sexist and belittling” and is directly tied to Gaprindashvili, as her name is mentioned in the final scene and "the camera pans onto an actor sitting in the audience, watching the game, who is obviously meant to be Gaprindashvili."

The lawsuit states that by 1968, the year in which the episode in question is set, Gaprindashvili had competed against at least 59 male chess players, at least 10 of whom were grandmasters at the time.

Gaprindashvili, 80, played for the Soviet Union in the Women's Chess Olympiads from the early 1960s until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, winning 11 team gold medals and nine individual gold medals.

She also successfully competed in several men's tournaments, and her performance at the Lone Pine tournament in 1977 made her the first woman to perform at a high enough level to earn the title of International Grandmaster in 1978.