List of female chess players

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This article lists female chess players that received official FIDE titles or are otherwise renowned.

History of women playing chess[edit]

From the Middle Ages through the 18th century, chess was a popular social pastime for both men and women of the upper classes. Mary, Queen of Scots, and Queen Elizabeth I played, and Thomas Jefferson wrote several times about Benjamin Franklin's playing chess in Paris with socially important women, including the Duchess of Bourbon, who was "a chess player of about his force".[1] Chess games between men and women were a common theme of European art[2][3] and literature in the fourteenth through 18th centuries.[4]

By the 19th century, however, the chess world had become dominated by male chess players. During the 20th century female players made significant progress in breaking male dominance on the game, but although a few female players (such as Vera Menchik) could compete successfully with men, no female player managed to defeat the best male players of the world.[5] The sole exception, in the late 20th century, was Judit Polgar. She is the only female player to compete in a male World Chess Championship, in the 2005 edition. She is also the only female player to have defeated the reigning world number one in a game, when she beat Garry Kasparov in 2002.[6][7] For perspective, the current female world number one, Hou Yifan, is rated 166 points below the male world number one, Magnus Carlsen. Yifan is also the only female player among the world's top hundred players.[8]

Nonetheless, by the mid-1980s a number of women were competing regularly in events with men. In 1991, Susan Polgar became the first woman to earn the Grandmaster title on the same basis as the men, by earning Grandmaster norms. The country of Georgia produced some of the best women chess players of the later 20th century, including the first female International Grandmaster Nona Gaprindashvili, who was awarded a special title in 1978.

Grandmasters[edit]

There are currently 35 female players who hold the Grandmaster title:[9][10]

Name Country Birth Date Date Age Earned Women's World Champion Peak rating Notes
Nona Gaprindashvili  Georgia 1941-05-03 1978 37 special 1962–1978 2495 First female grandmaster
Maia Chiburdanidze  Georgia 1961-01-17 1984[11] 23 special 1978–1991 2560
Susan Polgar  Hungary
 United States
1969-04-19 1991 22 norms 1996–1999 2577 First to be awarded the title traditionally
Judit Polgár  Hungary 1976-07-23 1991 15 norms 2735 Youngest grandmaster ever at the time
Pia Cramling  Sweden 1963-04-23 1992 29 norms 2550
Xie Jun  China 1970-10-30 1994 23 special[a] 1991–1996, 1999–2001 2574
Zhu Chen  China
 Qatar
1976-03-16 2001 25 norms 2001–2004 2548
Humpy Koneru  India 1987-03-31 2002 15 norms 2623
Antoaneta Stefanova  Bulgaria 1979-04-19 2002 23 norms 2004–2006 2560
Alexandra Kosteniuk  Russia 1984-03-23 2004 20 EWC 2008–2010 2557
Peng Zhaoqin  China
 Netherlands
1968-05-08 2004 36 EWC 2472
Hoang Thanh Trang  Vietnam
 Hungary
1980-04-25 2007 27 norms 2511
Kateryna Lahno  Ukraine
 Russia
1989-12-27 2007 17 norms 2557
Xu Yuhua  China 1976-10-29 2007 30 WCC 2006–2008 2517
Marie Sebag  France 1986-10-15 2008 21 norms 2537
Zhao Xue  China 1985-04-06 2008 23 norms 2579
Hou Yifan  China 1994-02-27 2008 14 norms 2010–2012, 2013–2015, 2016–2017 2686 Youngest ever female grandmaster
Nana Dzagnidze  Georgia 1987-01-01 2008 21 norms 2573
Monika Soćko  Poland 1978-03-24 2008 30 norms 2505
Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant  Georgia
 Scotland
1968-07-19 2009 40 norms 2506
Tatiana Kosintseva  Russia 1986-04-11 2009 23 norms 2581
Natalia Zhukova  Ukraine 1979-06-05 2010 30 norms 2499
Elina Danielian  Armenia 1978-08-16 2010 32 norms - 2521
Viktorija Čmilytė  Lithuania 1983-08-06 2010 26 norms - 2536
Nadezhda Kosintseva  Russia 1985-01-14 2011 26 norms 2576
Harika Dronavalli  India 1991-01-12 2011 20 norms 2528
Anna Muzychuk  Ukraine
 Slovenia
1990-02-28 2012 22 norms 2606
Anna Ushenina  Ukraine 1985-08-30 2012 27 WCC 2012–2013 2502
Valentina Gunina  Russia 1989-02-04 2013 24 norms 2548
Irina Krush  United States 1983-12-24 2013 29 norms 2502
Bela Khotenashvili  Georgia 1988-06-01 2013 25 norms 2531
Ju Wenjun  China 1991-01-31 2014 23 norms 2582
Mariya Muzychuk  Ukraine 1992-09-21 2015 22 WCC 2015–2016 2563
Lei Tingjie  China 1997-03-13 2017 19 norms 2504
Tan Zhongyi  China 1991-05-29 2017 25 WCC 2017– 2518

There is also a Woman Grandmaster (WGM) title, but the requirements for achieving it are significantly lower. As of 2017, no woman has ever been the world champion, and only seven are currently among the top 500 players.[13] As of 2017 the top 12 to 14 women hold the Grandmaster title. In September 2005, Susan Polgar's younger sister GM Judit Polgár of Hungary, then rated #8 in the world by the international chess organization FIDE, became the first woman to play for the World Championship title.[14]

International Masters[edit]

As of October 2017, the FIDE database lists 105 women who hold the International Master title,[15] without including deceased players.

A[edit]

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V[edit]

W[edit]

X[edit]

  • Xie Jun (1970) People's Republic of China - Women's World champion, GM 1994
  • Xu Yuhua (1976) People's Republic of China - Women's World champion, GM 2007

Y[edit]

Z[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "It was in the summer that I received the 'male' International Grandmaster title. I do not remember exactly when, but I think that the notification came just before my trip to [the 1994 Donner Memorial in] Amsterdam. In the early days, there was the rule that the World Championship title for women counted as one 'male' GM norm over nine games. I had gained the title twice and had scored 'male' GM norms in Monaco and Amsterdam as well. Later, I understood that the rules had been changed and that winning the World Championship twice would automatically lead to a GM title. I am not sure whether I was awarded the GM title under the old or the new rules, but it certainly gave me great satisfaction."[12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Chess « Thomas Jefferson's Monticello". Monticello.org. Retrieved 2013-10-21. 
  2. ^ "Paris, France: Musée national du Moyen Age: stained glass". Cambridge2000.com. 2004-04-04. Retrieved 2013-10-21. 
  3. ^ http://www.wga.hu/art/m/man/chess_pl.jpg
  4. ^ [1] Archived September 18, 2005, at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ See Vera Menchik and sources within
  6. ^ "Sweet revenge for Kasparov's opponent". The Guardian. 11 September 2002. Retrieved 8 June 2017. 
  7. ^ For the game score, see chessgames
  8. ^ "Standard top 100 players, June 2017". FIDE. June 2017. Retrieved 8 June 2017. 
  9. ^ List of female GMs on FIDE.com
  10. ^ "Women Grandmasters in Chess (GM's, not WGM's)". Michaelbluejay.com. Retrieved 2015-04-01. 
  11. ^ http://ratings.fide.com/card.phtml?event=13600036
  12. ^ Xie Jun (1998). Chess Champion from China: The Life and Games of Xie Jun. London: Gambit Publications. p. 133. ISBN 1-901983-06-4. 
  13. ^ http://ratings.fide.com/card.phtml?event=4128125
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2005-08-31. [dead link]
  15. ^ List of female IMs on FIDE.com

External links[edit]