The series is based on Walter Teefe’s 1983 book of the same name and tells of Beth Harmon (played by Anya Taylor-Joy) who, as a young woman, caused a stir in the predominantly male world of chess in the 1960s. In the series, a comparison is made between the character Taylor-Joy and the person Gaprindashvili. During one of Harmon’s matches, the Soviet chess champion is said to have been the women’s world champion and – like Harmon – never played against men.
In response, the 80-year-old chess player said that this was simply not true. “The claim that Gabrindashvili never played against men is blatantly false, as well as sexist and degrading,” reads the chess star’s 25-page indictment. In 1968, the year the verdict was handed down, Gabrindashvili had, according to her claim, “already played against no less than 59 male chess players, 28 of them simultaneously in the same game. This also includes at least ten One of the great masters of that time and three (former) world champions.”
According to the indictment, Netflix “blatantly and deliberately” lied about Gaprindashvili’s performance, simply to create more drama and highlight Harmon’s fictional performance. “So Netflix made fun of a real pioneer who actually played against guys and also beat them at the time.”
Netflix, for its part, says it is “extremely respectful” of Gabrindashvili and her career, but at the same time believes the charges are pointless and will do everything she can to fight it.