Checkmate: Chess Champ Settles With Netflix For Undisclosed Sum In ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ Libel Lawsuit

According to a filing Tuesday, plaintiff Nona Gaprindashvili and defendant Netflix have agreed to end the libel dispute over the studio’s “The Queen’s Gambit.” The stipulated dismissal comes after the district court sided with the plaintiff in denying Netflix’s motion to dismiss and Netflix’s subsequent appeal.

The lawsuit dates back to last September when Gaprindashvili accused Netflix of making defamatory statements about him in the Netflix miniseries. The complaint came after she allegedly tried, unsuccessfully, to get Netflix to remove disputed dialogue: a chess commentator’s remark that “”[t]this is Nona Gaprindashvili, but she’s the women’s world champion and has never faced men,” a line uttered during a fictional confrontation between the fictional female protagonist and a Russian competitor.

Gaprindashvili’s civil suit, filed in Los Angeles, Calif., argued that this was both untrue and damaging to her reputation as a chess pioneer who had actually played against men. The amended complaint set out claims for invasion of privacy and defamation per se and sought damages in excess of $5 million.

Netflix argued for the lawsuit to be dismissed, saying the series was a fictional work that a reasonable viewer would not interpret as conveying objective fact, alongside “substantial truth” and free speech defenses.

Last January, the district court ruled that Gaprindashvili’s defamation claim could be pursued against Netflix, finding that she had made a prima facie showing of the required elements.

The production studio appealed the decision the following month. However, before the factums on the merits were filed, the parties engaged in mediation and settled the dispute for an undisclosed sum and with unknown terms.

Gaprindashvili is represented by Rufus-Isaacs Acland & Grantham LLP and Netflix by King & Spalding LLP.

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