Nona Gaprindashvili

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Nona Gaprindashvili
ნონა გაფრინდაშვილი
Nona Gaprindaschwili 1982 Kissingen.jpg
Nona Gaprindashvili at Bad Kissingen, 1982
CountrySoviet Union
Born (1941-05-03) 3 May 1941 (age 79)
Zugdidi, Georgian SSR, Soviet Union
TitleGrandmaster (1978)
Women's World Champion1962–78
Peak rating2495 (July 1987)

Nona Gaprindashvili (Georgian: ნონა გაფრინდაშვილი; born 3 May 1941) is a Georgian chess player, and the first woman to be awarded the FIDE title Grandmaster, which occurred in 1978. She was the fifth women's world chess champion (1962–1978).


In 1961, aged 20, Gaprindashvili won the fourth women's Candidates Tournament, setting up a title match against world champion Elisaveta Bykova. She won the match easily, with a final score of 9-2 (+7−0=4), and went on to defend her title successfully four times: three times against Alla Kushnir (1965: 10–6; 1969: 12–7; 1972: 12–11) and once against fellow Georgian Nana Alexandria (1975: 9–4). She finally lost her crown in 1978 to another Georgian, 17-year-old Maia Chiburdanidze, by a score of 6½–8½ (+2−4=9).

Gaprindashvili played for the Soviet Union in the Women's Chess Olympiads of 1963, 1966, 1969, 1972, 1974, 1978, 1980, 1982, 1984, 1986, 1990, and for Georgia in 1992.[1] She was one of the contributing players of the USSR team that dominated the Women's Olympiads of the 1980s. She won as many as 25 medals, among which 11 team gold medals and 9 individual gold medals.[2] At the Olympiad of Dubai 1986 she won all the ten games she played.

She was a five-times winner of the Women's Soviet Championship: in 1964, 1973, 1981, 1983, and 1985.

During her career Gaprindashvili successfully competed in men's tournaments, winning (amongst others) the Hastings Challengers tournament in 1963/4 and tying for first place at Lone Pine International tournament in 1977.

In 1978 Gaprindashvili became the first woman to be awarded the Grandmaster title by FIDE. She was granted the title after scoring two grandmaster norms totaling 23 games, the last of which was winning Lone Pine 1977 against a field of 45 players, mostly grandmasters. Although the GM title normally required 24 games, by exceeding the GM 'norm' requirement in Lone Pine, FIDE found her results over 23 games equivalent to 24 games and made her the first woman Grandmaster.[3]

In 1995 Gaprindashvili won the Women's World Senior Championship for the first time.[4] She is the only female World Chess Champion to obtain the World Senior title as well. She won the Senior title also in 2009, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018 and 2019 (in the 65+ division since 2014). She also won the European Women's Seniors Championship in 2011, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 (in the 65+ division since 2014).

In 2005, at age 64, Gaprindashvili won the BDO Chess Tournament held in Haarlem, the Netherlands with a score of 6½/10 points and a performance rating of 2510.[5]

In 2021, Gaprindashvili appeared in the documentary Glory to the Queen along side Nana Alexandria, Maia Chiburdanidze and Nana Ioseliani.[6]


Gaprindashvili was awarded the Order of Excellence in 2015 by President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili for "her outstanding contribution to the country and nation" and "representing Georgia at an international level".[7]

To honor her 75th birthday, on May 3rd, 2016, her star was opened near the Chess Palace. Also in 2016, FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov gave her a representation of Caïssa, in the shape of a chess queen, made by the Lobortas Classic Jewelry House.[8]

"Nona" is a perfume named after her. The bottle is shaped like a chess queen.[9]

Tbilisi's chess palace is dedicated to Gaprindashvili.[10]

Gaprindashvili was very briefly mentioned in the Netflix series The Queen’s Gambit, in which it was incorrectly stated that she never played competitive chess against men. Gaprindashvili characterized this departure from reality as "dishonouring ... misinformation."[11]


  1. ^ "OlimpBase :: Women's Chess Olympiads :: Nona Gaprindashvili".
  2. ^ Only her compatriot Maia Chiburdanidze won more: 28 medals in 15 olympiads (15 individual and 13 team medals, of which 15 gold)
  3. ^ Benko, Pal (January 1979). "Chiburdanidze vs. Gaprindashiili. Match of the Century". Chess Life & Review. p. 15. Of course she had earned the "woman grandmaster" title awarded by the International Chess Federation (FIDE), as have some two dozen other women. But she also earned the (men's) international master title, becoming the first woman ever to have done so (Vera Menchik was probably strong enough to have earned this title, but she died in 1943 [sic], long before the modern title system was adopted), and in Buenos Aires in November 1978 FIDE bestowed upon Nona Gaprindashvili the (men's) international grandmaster title. Not only is she the only woman ever to have received this title, she is the only woman ever to have deserved it.
    It is regrettable, therefore, that she did not actually earn the title in the regular way: FIDE requires that to earn the grandmaster title a player must achieve certain minimum scores in tournaments consisting of at least twenty-four games in aggregate (the description is highly oversimplified, but you get the idea), and Nona was two or three games short. Yet the FIDE Qualifications Commission voted to give her the title. In my opinion, this historic occasion should not have been allowed to carry even this slight tarnish.
  4. ^ Crowther, Mark (1995-11-26). "The Week in Chess 59". The Week in Chess. Retrieved 2020-07-29.
  5. ^ Agterdenbos, Frits (2005-09-10). "Nona Gaprindashvili wins BDO Chess Tournament Haarlem". Chess News. Retrieved 2018-10-22.
  6. ^ Skhirtladze, Tatia; Khazaradze, Anna, Glory to the Queen (Documentary), Nona Gaprindashvili, Maia Chiburdanidze, Nana Alexandria, Nana Ioseliani, Berg Hammer Film, Amour Fou Vienna, Playground Produkcija, retrieved 2021-02-03
  7. ^ "Order of Excellence to Nona Gaprindashvili". FIDE. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
  8. ^ "Nona Gaprindashvili Earns the World Chess Champion Title Once Again". Georgia Today on the Web.
  9. ^ "Nona - Нона Iberia - Иверия perfume - a fragrance for women 1978".
  10. ^ "Tbilisi Chess Palace and Alpine Club".
  11. ^ Fatima Hudoon (27 November 2020). "The real-life Queen's Gambit: how Georgia's Nona Gaprindashvili conquered the chess world". The Calvert Journal. Retrieved December 25, 2020.

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Preceded by
Elisaveta Bykova
Women's World Chess Champion
Succeeded by
Maia Chiburdanidze