The Queen's Gambit had one line about woman chess player Nona Gaprindashvili. She is now suing them

Originally published at: The Queen's Gambit had one line about woman chess player Nona Gaprindashvili. She is now suing them | Boing Boing


Well, um, that seems like an exceptionally poor choice on the part of the writers.


I mean, it’s fiction, so you’re under no obligation to tell Gaprindashvili’s story… so why would you mention it at all? Even if you wanted to show a “women’s champion who only battled other women” in your story, why not just make up a character for that one line? 99.99% of your audience has no idea who Gaprindashvili is anyway, that name doesn’t mean anything to them.


I agree… was the purpose to heighten tensions? To make the commentators seem more sexists? (Which for the average viewer would fail, because they wouldn’t know they were wrong.)

I think if they are going to do a nod to real people, they shouldn’t have made such a disparaging comment about real world achievements. If they wanted to do this to raise tensions, then use a fictional stand in.


The fact that the writers included it at all is weird, since only chess people would understand the reference. I watched the whole series, and really enjoyed it, and do not remember this line at all. Not that my faulty memory affects how that line makes Gaprindashvili feel. I’ll leave the question as to whether that feeling is worth $5M up to the lawyers.


It’s possibe that she is suing for the money, but it’s also a good way to set history straight. A lawsuit is news, so she can sue, get the headlines that she did beat male players, and then quietly drop the lawsuit before it costs too much.


No problem with her suing for cash money. You think Netflix is going to make the lie not have happened any other way?

Headlines and cash for her please!


IIRC the purpose was to show that the main character in the show was blazing a new trail by playing against men.

Not that the line wasn’t stupid, but that’s what I recall as having been the point.

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Really, what were the odds that she had NEVER played against a man? Basically zero. What a dumb line, even as a throwaway.

Obviously not lawsuitworthy, but pretty stupid by the writers.

Cash for her? If she wins this, then almost every movie ever “based on a true story” or with any historical reference is going to be footing a billion dollar settlement.




No, just the ones that make defamatory, provably false statements about living people. It doesn’t seem like a tough standard, and I think it’s a bar movies should clear even without the monetary motivation. (Though I’m sure it helps. As my dad used to say, they aren’t in business for their health.)


I don’t blame her for being peeved, it is certainly a demeaning inference even if it is fictional. Assuming this is happening in U.S. courts, with her being a “public figure”, it’ll be exceedingly difficult for her to prevail in her lawsuit. (IANAL and all that). A public figure will need to prove actual malice in making the defamatory statement.

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Almost every historical movie has made (arguably) defamatory, provably false statements about living people. A throwaway line shouldn’t be treated the same as a defamatory full-length article or documentary. And it won’t be, I don’t think she’ll get a foot in the door in this case.


Yeah I mean they could have even set this story in a fictional universe where Gaprindashvili never existed and let Beth Harmon act as the fictional stand-in for all women who struggled for recognition as chess champions.

This is like making a show following the story of a fictional Black athlete in the early 1950s and then throwing in a line like “Oh, there’s Jackie Robinson. He’s the 1949 Negro League MVP but has never faced white players.”


Which is fine - just don’t belittle a real person’s accomplishment by doing that. They should have used a fictional character.


Or how about the time that Radioactive Man traveled back in time to beat Jesse Owens in the 1936 Olympic Games.



It’s not like NetFlicks couldn’t have known better, and this sort of suit has been successful in the past, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they lost.

The bizarre true story behind the “this is a work of fiction” disclaimer..


Well, this should be interesting.

But it won’t.

“It’s not called “show friends” daaaahling”.