Friday, May 30, 2008

Meet the women grandmasters

By Frank “Boy” Pestaño

THEY’RE all weak, all women.

They’re stupid compared to men.

They shouldn’t play chess, you know. They’re like beginners. They lose every single game against a man. There isn’t a woman player in the world I can’t give knight-odds to and still beat.”—Bobby Fischer

Maybe Bobby was right. There are about 1,109 grandmasters in the world right now and only 11 are women or about one percent. I featured women chess before and I am still puzzled why they are very weak in chess. It is surely not lack of intelligence but could be a combination of factors like fewer players, social pressures or biological differences which is most likely.

Judit Polgar, born July 23, 1976, is from Hungary. She is by far the strongest female chess player in history. In 1991, she achieved the title of grandmaster at the age of 15 years and 4 months. She was, at that time, the youngest person to do so. Polgár is ranked No. 21 in the world in the April 2008 Fide rating list with an Elo rating of 2709, the only woman on Fide’s Top 100 Players list, and has been ranked as high as number eight.

Nona Gaprindashvili, born May 3, 1941, is a Georgian chess player, the sixth woman world chess champion (1962–1978), and first female Grandmaster.

Born in Zugdidi, Georgia (then part of the Soviet Union), she was the strongest female player of her generation. In 1978 Gaprindashvili became the first woman to be awarded the Grandmaster title.

Maia Chiburdanide, Jan. 17, 1961 is a Georgian chess grandmaster, and the seventh (and youngest) women’s world chess champion. Her Elo rating in the April 2008 list was 2489, making her the 15th highest-rated female player in the world. She was awarded the grandmaster title in 1984.

Susan Polgar was the first woman to earn the title of grandmaster in regular competition. She was the women’s world chess champion from 1996 to 1999.

In October 2005, Polgar had an Elo rating of 2577, making her the second-ranked female player in the world at the time, after her sister Judit Polgár.

Pia Cramling, born on April 23, 1963, is a Swedish chess player and is currently (as of April 2008) ranked the No. 4 woman in the world by Fide.

Since the early 1980s, she has been one of the strongest female players in the world. She regularly plays in the Swedish (Men’s) team in the World Chess Olympiads.

Humpy Koneru, born March 31, 1987, is from India. Her October 2007 Fide Elo rating was 2606, placing her at No. 2 in the world for women (behind Judit Polgar), breaking the record of 2577 set by Susan Polgar for the second-highest ranked female player in chess history and becoming the second female player ever, after Judit Polgar, to breach the 2600 Elo mark

Alexandra Kosteniuk, born April 23, 1984, is from Russia with a Fide rating of 2515. She is one of the most beautiful among women chess players and has been promoting chess as a fashion model.

Antoaneta Stefanova, born April 19, 1979 is from Bulgaria, and is a former Women’s World Chess Champion. Her Fide rating of 2538 in the April 2008 list makes her sixth in the world among active female players.

For the past 10 years, Chinese women have dominated the game and there are now three Chinese grandmasters—Xie Jun, who became a world champion in 1991; Zhu Chen, who became a GM in 2001 and Zhaoqin Peng in 2004 who is now a Dutch citizen.

CEPCA. Our monthly contest for May will be on June 1 as it is the only available date. Venue is at Deep Blue SM City and it will start at 2 p.m.

As my internet connection in the house is out of order, there will be no chess puzzle for this week. It will be resumed next Friday.

Last week’s winner is Rizaldy Cortezano. Key move is Rc2 and 27 got it right.

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