Nona Gaprindashvili

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Nona Gaprindashvili
Nona in 1982
Full nameNona Gaprindashvili
ნონა გაფრინდაშვილი
CountryUSSR; Georgia
Women's World Champion1962–1978
FIDE rating2360 (January 2010)
The Soviet women's team at the 1986 Chess Olympiad in Dubai. L>R: Akhmilovskaya, Gaprindaschwili and Alexandria.

Nona Gaprindashvili (Georgian: ნონა გაფრინდაშვილი; born 3 May 1941) is a Georgian chess player. She was the strongest female player of the 1960s and 70s, and became the sixth Women's World Chess Champion (1962–1978). She was the first woman to achieve the Grandmaster title.

In 1961, aged 20, Gaprindashvili 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).

Gaprindashvili played for 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.[1] She won as many as 25 medals, among which 11 team gold medals and 9 individual gold medals [2] At the Dubai Olympiad 1986 she won all the ten games she played.

She was a five-times 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, California in 1977.

In 1978 Gaprindashvili became the first woman to be awarded the Grandmaster title. She was awarded the title partly as a result of winning Lone Pine 1977 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.

Pal Benko wrote in Chess Life & Review (January 1979):

"...Of course (Nona) had earned the "woman grandmaster" title awarded by the International Chess Federation (FIDE), as have some two dozen other women... in Buenos Aires in November 1978 FIDE bestowed upon Nona Gaprindashvili the (men's) international grandmaster title. Not only is she the only woman ever to have received this title, she is the only woman ever to have deserved it.
"It is regrettable, therefore, that she did not actually earn the title in the regular way: FIDE requires that to earn the grandmaster title a player must achieve certain minimum scores in tournaments consisting of at least twenty-four games in aggregate (the description is highly oversimplified, but you get the idea), and Nona was two or three games short. Yet the FIDE Qualifications Commission voted to give her the title. In my opinion, this historic occasion should not have been allowed to carry even this slight tarnish".

Nona was the first President of the National Olympic Committee of Georgia.[3] In 2009 she won in Condino, Italy the World Senior Championship for women.

Preceded by
Elisabeth Bykova
Women's World Chess Champion
Succeeded by
Maia Chiburdanidze

References[change | change source]

  1. OlimpBase: Women's Chess Olympiads, Nona Gaprindashvili
  2. Only her compatriot Maia Chiburdanidze won more: 28 medals in 15 olympiads (15 individual and 13 team medals, of which 15 were gold).
  3. Georgian women chess phenomenon. Bank of Georgia.