Monday, November 26, 2012

Women's World Chess Championship

While the Women's World Chess Championship has never been given the same level of attention that the overall World Chess Championship has -- perhaps, in part, because women are allowed to compete with men for the overall title -- it is still a prestigious title with a long history. Ever since Vera Menchik first won the title in 1927, the best female players in the world have striven to become champion. Unlike in the World Chess Championship, former champions do not typically earn the right to automatically advance to the finals to face a challenger; instead, they must work their way through the entire field in the same manner as other contenders.
In recent years, the situation has changed somewhat, as some of the best female players have chosen not to seek out the Women's World Chess Championship. The best example of this is Judit Polgar, who despite being clearly the best female player in the history of chess has chosen not to compete for the title, instead focusing her efforts on the overall World Championship. However, most top female players still compete for the Women's World Chess Championship, making the championship tournament the strongest female-only chess event held anywhere in the world.
List of Women's World Chess Champions
  • 1927-1944: Vera Menchik (Russia/Czechoslovakia/England)
  • 1950-1953: Lyudmila Rudenko (USSR)
  • 1953-1956: Elisabeth Bykova (USSR)
  • 1956-1958: Olga Rubtsova (USSR)
  • 1958-1962: Elisabeth Bykova (USSR)
  • 1962-1978: Nona Gaprindashvili (USSR)
  • 1978-1991: Maya Chiburdanidze (USSR)
  • 1991-1996: Xie Jun (China)
  • 1996-1999: Susan Polgar (Hungary/USA)
  • 1999-2001: Xie Jun (China)
  • 2001-2004: Zhu Chen (China)
  • 2004-2006: Antoaneta Stefanova (Bulgaria)
  • 2006-2008: Xu Yuhua (China)
  • 2008-2010: Alexandra Kosteniuk (Russia)
  • 2010- : Hou Yifan (China)

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