‘The Queen’s Gambit’ Is Expected to Take Home Several Emmy Awards, but Netflix Is Being Sued for the Show

The Queen’s Gambit is expected to be the darling of the 73rd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards. With a slew of wins at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards, fans think the show’s cast and production team will take home several more at the TV world’s main event. Not everything is coming up roses for The Queen’s Gambit, though. Controversy is now brewing. Nona Gaprindashvili, the first woman to be awarded the title of Grandmaster, is suing Netflix for defamation. She is seeking $5 million in damages.

The first female chess Grandmaster, Nona Gaprindashvili, is suing Netflix over ‘The Queen’s Gambit’

While The Queen’s Gambit cast and crew wait to see how many statues they’ll take home at the Emmy Awards, Netflix is dealing with a lawsuit over the limited series. Gaprindashvili, the first female Grandmaster, filed a suit against the streaming giant claiming defamation over a line in the show’s final episode.

 Nona Gaprindashvili (right) plays a game of giant chess against Ake Wall in 1968
Nona Gaprindashvili and Ake Wall | Bettmann/Getty Images

Gaprindashvili filed the lawsuit on Sept. 16, 2021, in Federal District Court in Los Angeles. According to the New York Times, the filing states that the Netflix Original claimed Gaprindashvili never competed against a man. Gaprindashvili was named in the episode. Netflix used an extra who looked similar to Gaprindashvili during the scene, as well. Gaprindashvili asserts that she competed against many men during her career. A 1968 headline from the same publication verifies her statement. Several photos also depict her competing against men.

The lawsuit comes as fans and experts expect the blockbuster Netflix original to take home several Primetime Emmys

The lawsuit certainly isn’t good news for the streaming giant, but experts still expect the limited series to pick up several big wins at the 73rd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards. The show received 18 Emmy nominations in total and already took home nine statues at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards, held on Sept. 14, 2021.

At the Primetime Emmy Awards, The Queen’s Gambit is nominated in several major categories, including Outstanding Limited or Anthology Series and Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie. The Academy also nominated the series in outstanding supporting actor and actress categories. The show picked up nods in music and writing categories, too. Fans and experts expect several statues to go home with members of the cast and production team.

Is ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ a true story?

While Gaprindashvili is a real grandmaster, the story depicted in The Queen’s Gambit isn’t hers. The main character of the show and The Queen’s Gambit story is fictional. Netflix adapted the show from a 1983 novel by Walter Tevis. The novel, also titled The Queen’s Gambit, was a fictionalized coming of age story. Beth Harmon was not a real chess prodigy.

Vasily Borgov and Beth Harmon face off in episode 7 of 'The Queen's Gambit'
Vasily Borgov and Beth Harmon in ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ | PHIL BRAY/NETFLIX © 2020

According to Esquire, real chess Grandmasters inspired Tevis to create the character. The playing style of Bobby Fischer, Boris Spassky, and Anatoly Karpov served as the main inspirations. The novel wasn’t entirely fantasy, though. Many of the games described in the book and later depicted in the Netflix original were real matches. Several of the matches were played at major chess competitions.

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