USCF Home Chess Life Online 2011 September Vera Menchik Becomes First Woman to Join World Chess Hall of Fame
|Vera Menchik Becomes First Woman to Join World Chess Hall of Fame|
|September 20, 2011|
Vera Menchik (1906-1944), World’s First Women’s Chess Champion became the first woman inducted into the World Chess Hall of Fame. The induction was held on September 8th, 2011 at the New World Chess Hall of Fame Museum located in Saint Louis, USA. This is an important recognition to women's in chess. For more information about this event, please contact:
The world’s first women’s chess champion, Vera Menchik was born in Russia in 1906, learned chess at age 9, and moved to England as a teenager in 1921. Over the course of her career, she competed for Russia, Czechoslovakia, and England. She became the first Women’s World Champion in 1927, and successfully defended her title six times over the next 17 years. She would lose only one game over the course of these seven championship tournaments.
Menchik defeated many men in tournament play, including Max Euwe and Samuel Reshevsky. They and other notable players she beat became members of what was known as the “Vera Menchik Club.” From 1929 onward, she was a fixture at Hastings Congress tournaments, as well as at other international competitions. One of her greatest successes was at Ramsgate 1929, when she tied for second with Akiba Rubenstein just a half-point behind Jose Raul Capablanca and ahead of her teacher Géza Maróczy. She won matches against Jacques Mieses in 1942 and Sonja Graf in 1934 and 1937. Menchik’s career was cut tragically short when she, her two sisters, and their mother were killed in a V-1 rocket bombing raid at their South London home in June 1944. The Women’s Olympiad trophy is known as the Vera Menchik Cup in her honor.
For a video of the World Chess Hall of Fame opening, see a previous CLO article. As Menchik was inducted in the World Chess Hall of Fame, GMs Boris Gulko and Andy Soltis were inducted into the US Chess Hall of Fame. See a new interview with Andy by Jim Eade of the US Chess Trust.