Netflix will be dealing with another chess legend, but this time under not-so-glamorous circumstances. According to Variety, the streamer’s next opponent is Russian chess champion Nona Gaprindashvili, who’s taking the company to court in a defamation lawsuit. She sued Netflix because its hit show, The Queen’s Gambit, claimed she “never faced men” in a chess competition. The limited series follows Beth Harmon, an orphaned chess prodigy who struggles with substance abuse on her way to the top of the chess world. Gaprindashvili’s argument states that the line was “grossly sexist and belittling” because a fictional character is making historical strides that she faced in real life. She also noted that by 1968, she had already faced 59 male competitors, which would make the original line in the show untrue. Netflix argued that it could make that claim in the show because it was a work of fiction, however, U.S. District Judge Virginia A. Phillips disagreed. She stated that fictional works, such as television shows, “are not immune from defamation suits if they disparage real people.”
While the limited series has concluded, Beth Harmon’s story will live on, this time on Broadway. The stage rights to Walter Tevis’s novel The Queen’s Gambit were purchased by the production company Level Forward in early 2021. Hopefully, the musical lyrics will stick with cold, hard facts as Beth sings about bishops and knights.