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Nona Gaprindashvili – A Chess Legend

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 Nona Gaprindashvili – A Chess Legend

Nona Gaprindashvili of Georgia (former USSR) celebrated her 79th birthday last week on 3rd May 2020.  

It is a well know fact that Mikhail Botvinnik is called the Patriarch of Russian chess.  In my opinion Nona Gaprindashvili can be considered the Matriarch of Georgian chess!  Her success at the chess board inspired thousands of Georgians to take up the sport.  Georgia is today considered to be one of the top ten nation in chess.

Nona Gaprindashvili at Bad Kissingen, 1982. Photo credit https://kids.kiddle.co/.
Nona Gaprindashvili at Bad Kissingen, 1982. Photo credit https://kids.kiddle.co/.

She was the strongest female player of the 1960s and 1970s and became the sixth Women’s World Chess Champion (1962-1978). Nona was also the first woman to achieve the Grandmaster title.

Gaprindashvili at the age of 20 in 1961 won the fourth women’s Candidates Tournament, setting up a title match against Russian World Champion Elisabeth Bykova. She won the match easily, with a final score of 9−2 (+7−0=4), and went on to defend her title successfully four times. 

She finally lost her crown in 1978 to another Georgian, Maia Chiburdanidze, by a score of 6½–8½ (+2−4=9).

Three World Chess Championships from left Nona Gaprindashvili, Susan Polgar, Maia Chiburdanidze pose at the 2018 Chess Olympiad in Batumi, Georgia. Photo credit Kim Bhari.
Three World Chess Championships from left Nona Gaprindashvili, Susan Polgar, Maia Chiburdanidze pose at the 2018 Chess Olympiad in Batumi, Georgia. Photo credit Kim Bhari.

Gaprindashvili played for the Soviet Union in the women’s chess Olympiads of 1963, 1966, 1969, 1972, 1974, 1978, 1980, 1982, 1984, 1986, 1990, and for Georgia in 1992. 

Elisaveta Bykova v Nona Gaprindashvili

Nona Gaprindashvili and Maia Chiburdanidze checking out the live games during the 2018 Batumi Olympiad. Photo credit Kim Bhari.
Nona Gaprindashvili and Maia Chiburdanidze checking out the live games during the 2018 Batumi Olympiad. Photo credit Kim Bhari.

Dubai Olympiad

She won as many as 25 medals, among which 11 team gold medals and nine individual gold medals. At the Dubai Olympiad 1986, she won all the ten games she played.

She was a five-time winner of the Soviet Women’s Chess Championship: in 1964, 1973, 1981, 1983, and 1985. 

During her career Gaprindashvili successfully competed in men’s tournaments, tying for first place at Lone Pine Tournament in California in 1977.

Gaprindashvili in 1978 became the first woman to receive the Grandmaster title. This was as a result of winning  1977 Lone Pine Tournament against a field of 45 players, mostly Grandmasters. Although she did not meet the technical requirements for the GM Title, this result was so spectacular that FIDE found it sufficient.

Nona Gaprindashvili v Rudolf Servaty

World Senior Chess Championship +65

Nona Gaprindashvili continues to play chess and has won the World Senior Chess Championship +65 a record 7 times!

Her last title was in the 2019 edition at the young age of 79!

Chess Evolution

Well known chess author Tibor Karolyi has published a book with some of Gaprindashvili’s games.  The book published by Chess Evolution also has excerpts of an interview with her and some historic photos.

Cover of the book 'Nona Gaprindashvili' by Tibor Karolyi.
Cover of the book ‘Nona Gaprindashvili’ by Tibor Karolyi.
Sample page of the book 'Nona Gaprindashvili' by Tibor Karolyi.
Sample page of the book ‘Nona Gaprindashvili’ by Tibor Karolyi.
Sample page of the book 'Nona Gaprindashvili' by Tibor Karolyi.
Sample page of the book ‘Nona Gaprindashvili’ by Tibor Karolyi.

Interesting facts about Georgia

Georgia is a country in East Europe, located on the coast of the Black Sea.

Georgia has a population of 4.6 million people.

Tibilisi is the capital with 1.1 million inhabitants.

Georgians call their country Sakartvelo.

The national flag is white with 5 red crosses.

National flag of Georgia.
National flag of Georgia.

 

Joseph Stalin (born Ioseb Besarionis dzе Djugashvili) was born in Gori, in eastern Georgia.  He was the USSR leader from 1924 to 1953.

Joseph Stalin the leader of the USSR from 1924 to 1953 who was born in the town of Gori in eastern Georgia. Photo credit www.kids.kiddle.co.
Joseph Stalin the leader of the USSR from 1924 to 1953 who was born in the town of Gori in eastern Georgia. Photo credit www.kids.kiddle.co.

Other Links

Interview with Nona Gaprindashvili.

Ju Wenjun wins Women’s World Chess Championship Crown.