World Chess Hall of Fame

Vera Menchik, World’s First Women’s Chess Champion

(1906-1944)
World – Inducted 2011

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.

Wilhelm (William) Steinitz (May 17, 1836 – Aug. 12, 1900)
Country: Austria-Hungary, Kingdom of Bohemia, United States
World Chess Champion: 1886 – 1894

Inducted Into World Chess Hall of Fame (2001)

José Raúl Capablanca (Nov. 19, 1888 – Mar. 8, 1942)
Country: Cuba
World Chess Champion: 1921 to 1927

Robert (Bobby) James Fischer 03-09-1943-01-17-2008
Country: United States
World Chess Champion: 1972 – 1975

Emanuel Lasker (Dec. 24, 1868 – Jan. 11, 1941)
Country: Germany
World Chess Champion: 1894 -1921

Paul Charles Morphy (Jun. 6, 1837 – Jul. 10, 1884)
Country: United States

Inducted Into World Chess Hall of Fame (2003)

Mikhail Botvinnik (Aug. 17, 1911 – (May 5, 1995)
Country: Soviet Union (RSFSR)
World Chess Champion: 1948 – 1957; 1958 – 1960; 1961 – 1963

Tigran Petrosian (Jun. 17, 1929 – Aug. 13, 1984)
Country: Soviet Union (Armenian SSR)
World Chess Champion: 1963 – 1969

Vasily Smyslov (Mar. 24, 1921 – Mar. 27, 2010)
Country: Soviet Union (RSFSR)
World Chess Champion: 1957 – 1958

Boris Spassky (Born Jan. 30, 1937)
Country: Soviet Union (RSFSR)
World Chess Champion: 1969 – 1972

Mikhail Tal (Nov. 9, 1936 – Jun. 28, 1992)
Country: Soviet Union (Latvian SSR)
World Chess Champion: 1960 – 1961

Inducted Into World Chess Hall of Fame 2004

Alexander Alekhine (Oct. 31, 1892 – Mar. 24, 1946)
Country: France, Russia
World Chess Champion: 1927 – 1935; 1937 – 1946

Machgielis (Max) Euwe (May 20, 1901 – Nov. 26, 1981)
Country: Netherlands
World Chess Champion: 1935 – 1937

Anatoly Karpov (Born May 23, 1951)
Country: Soviet Union (RSFSR)
World Chess Champion: 1975 – 1985
FIDE World Chess Champion: 1993 – 1999

Inducted Into World Chess Hall of Fame 2005

Garry Kasparov (Born April 13, 1963)
Country: Soviet Union (Azerbaijan SSR), Russia
World Chess Champion: 1985 – 1993