Chess is a game that has been traditionally played by men but slowly women started becoming famous for winning chess championships. In this article, we introduce you to the top five female chess players in the world. If you want to up your game and become a champion yourself be sure to check out Chessable, the premier platform for learning chess.
1. Judit Polgar
Judit has never won a women’s championship but is arguably the strongest woman playing chess in the US. She made it to the top 10 list in the US several times. In 2005 she finished 8th in the World Championship. Her chess career started before she was born when her parents decided that she will grow up to be a chess player. Her older sister has already won chess tournaments so Judit’s parents decided to raise her in the same way.
She won her first international chess championship when she was only 9. She was only 12 when for the first time in Hungary a woman’s team won a tournament. At the age of 15, she became the youngest chess grandmaster ever, beating Bobby Fischer’s record. She has also authored two children’s books about chess.
2. Maya Chiburdanidze
Maya was born in Kutasi, Georgia in 1961. She won her first girl’s chess championship in USSR in 1975, becoming an international master in 1978 and an international grandmaster in 1984. She was able to defend her title 4 times until she was beaten by Xie Jun of China in 1991.
Maya like most other women’s chess champions is unimpressed with women’s chess and she prefers to play with men. She was fist in tournaments in New Delhi in 1984, Banja Luka in 1985, Belgrade in 1992, Bienna in 1993, and Lippstadt in 1995.
3. Susan Polgar
Susan is one of Judit’s sisters and she was recognized as a child prodigy at an early age. She was the first woman to earn the grandmaster through winning tournaments and the first woman to qualify for the World Championship cycle though she couldn’t compete because of her gender.
Unlike Judit, who did not want to compete in Women’s World Championship, Susan won her first title in 1996 and went on to win the championship another four times. In 1996 Polgar left chess to raise her two sons until her comeback in 2003 when the US Chess Federation named her Grandmaster of the Year. Susan became the first woman to win the US Open Blitz Championship event and played against seven grandmasters.
4. Xie Jun
Xie Jun hails from China. She was raised in Beijing where she became the Girls’ Champion of Beijing at the early age of six. She joined the international chess scene at the urging of the Chinese authorities in 1984. In 1991 she got the woman’s world title by defeating Susan Polgar. She held that title throughout the ’90s, losing it several times.
Xie became very famous in China and was able to bring much popularity to chess among schools all over the country. In 2019 she was appointed the President of the Chinese Chess Association.
5. Vera Menchik
Vera Menchik was the first female chess superstar. She won the first-ever woman’s chess championship back in 1927 and defended that title six times. She was born in Moscow in 1906 and in 1921 she moved with her sister to England.
Vera didn’t speak any English at first but finally got the courage to join the chess club becoming the star there very quickly. She became the longest-reigning female chess champion in history, having held her title for 17 years.
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