Chess and women

Drawing with real pictures of the female players in the first women’s chess tournament. London, 1897.

eChess has not traditionally been a gender equality contest, and the segregation of men and women dates back to the 16th century with the queen being introduced as part of the game. During the nineteenth century, women were forbidden from cafes and places to host chess tournaments.

The tournaments are currently absolute, not broken down by gender, although there are only women’s tournaments.

The first women’s chess clubs were organized in the Netherlands, England and France in the late nineteenth century.

The first women-only tournament in history was held on 23 June 1897 in London to celebrate the jubilee of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom.

Chess was a privilege reserved only for the nobility and the bourgeoisie; Proletarian and peasant women were completely excluded from athletic competition.

The Soviet Union particularly promoted women’s chess, especially after the Leningrad Championship in 1924.

The first Women’s World Championship was organized in 1927 by FIDE and Vera Menchiken was declared champion, the great reigning monarch of her time, winning the title in the first seven editions. She was the first woman to play the men’s tournament, defeating world champions Max Ewe, Capablanka and Rubenstein.

Women’s Chess Championship. Madrid, 1934. (Photo: Graphic World).

The next heroine was: Ludmila Rodenko, Elizaveta Bikova, Olga Rubtsova, Nona Gabriindashvili who held the title for 16 years, Maya Chipurdanides, Shi Jun, Susan Bulgar, Chu Chen, Antoinita Stefanova, Shu Yuhua, Alexandra Kostenyuk, Anna Oshinina, Yoshinina, Anna Oshinyuk. Maria Mozhichuk, Tan Chungye, Joo Wingon, the current hero.

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Soviet domination of women’s chess ended with the victory of Xie Jun at the 1991 tournament, along with the rise of the three Hungarian sisters Bulgar, Susan, Zsovia and Judit to the world elite.

Only one woman managed to rank among the ten best players in the world, Hungarian Judit Bulgar in 1996. She beat world champion Garry Kasparov in Moscow 2002.

Currently, there is only one woman in the list of the top 100 chess players. It is China Hui Yifan, which ranks 75th in the world ranking.

The First International Conference on Women and Sport, which brought together policymakers and decision-makers from the world of sport, both nationally and internationally, was held in Brighton in 1994.

The conference specifically discussed the issue of how to accelerate the process of change to correct the imbalances that women face when participating in sports, and the adopted declaration provides principles that should govern procedures aimed at increasing women’s participation in sports. At all levels, and in all functions and roles.

The Spanish Confederation (FADA) in 2016, and the Aragonese Confederation (FADA) in 2017 created the Committee for Women and Sport to work for equal opportunities in sport. The general objective of this equality plan is to promote equality relations from an environment of cooperation and participation of both sexes, and as main goals, increase female participation in competition and the organization of sport.

Chess remains a predominantly male sport, and although the Aragonese Chess Federation (FADA) has seen an increase in female licenses in recent years, these represent only 10% of the total.

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