Vera Menchik

A Biography of the First Women’s World Chess Champion, with 350 Games

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About the Book

Not only was Vera Menchik the first woman in the history of chess to compete on an equal basis with the top male players, she absolutely dominated women’s chess during the last 17 years of her life. Hers was a fascinating career as an independent professional in an era where this was rare for women in any endeavor.
In this book her games are brought to life utilizing her own annotations, as well as the notes of her contemporaries including Capablanca, Alekhine, Fine and others. All of her known games, as well as samples of her writings on the subject of chess are included. Beyond the technical aspect of her games, a brief biography and eulogies by her friends and colleagues reveal her life as a player and as a human being. Included are her comparisons of Russia where she was born and England where she resided as an adult, her philosophy of life, as well as her perspectives on chess in England and during World War II. Above all, a view is provided of the life of the chess professional during the golden age of Lasker, Capablanca, Alekhine, and Euwe.

About the Author(s)

Robert B. Tanner is a full time professional chess teacher and tournament director. In addition to having served as a FIDE Zonal President and USCF Secretary he has directed six U.S. Women’s Chess Championships as well as nearly 75 other national and international tournaments. He lives in Phoenix, Arizona.

Bibliographic Details

Robert B. Tanner
Format: library binding (7 x 10)
Pages: 328
Bibliographic Info: 21 photos, appendices, bibliography, indexes
Copyright Date: 2016
pISBN: 978-0-7864-9602-0
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2498-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi
List of Illustrations ix
Abbreviations Used x
Part I. Vera Menchik
1. Introduction 3
2. Prologue 6
3. A Biographical Sketch 9
4. Eulogies
Julius du Mont 25
Margaret Hilton Brown 25
Gideon Ståhlberg 26
Thomas Olsen 26
Part II. Her Games, Events and Crosstables
The Apprentice: The Early Events, 1923–1928
Scarborough 1923 31
Hastings 1923-1924 31
Hastings 1924-1925 33
Edith Price vs. Menchik, Match 1, 1925 33
Edith Price vs. Menchik, Match 2, 1925 35
Stratford on Avon 1925 36
Hastings 1925-1926 37
London Girls’ Championship, 1926 38
Hastings 1926-1927 38
London Girls’ Championship, 1927 39
Tunbridge Wells, 1927 39
Hastings 1927-1928 40
Cheltenham 1928 42
Master Level Events: 1928–1944
Scarborough 1928 43
Tenby 1928 (21st B.C.F. Congress—Major Open) 47
Hastings 1928-1929 48
Kent Congress at Ramsgate 1929 48
Paris 1929 53
Carlsbad 1929 58
Barcelona 1929 69
Hastings 1929-1930 77
Hastings Chess Club Championship 1930 80
Hastings Invitational 1930 81
Canterbury 1930 82
Scarborough 1930 84
Hastings 1930-1931 89
Antwerp 1931 93
Worcester 1931 (24th B.C.F. Congress—Major Open) 94
Hastings 1931-1932 96
London 1932 (International) 102
Cambridge 1932 110
London 1932 (25th B.C.F. Congress—Major Open) 113
Hastings 1932-1933 115
Mnichovo Hradiště 1933 119
Hastings 1933-1934 123
Groningen 1934 127
Sonja Graf vs. Menchik Match 1934 127
Amsterdam 1934 128
Maribor 1934 129
Semily 1934 132
Hastings 1934-1935 133
Moscow 1935 138
Margate 1935 151
Yarmouth 1935 (28th B.C.F. Congress—Major Open) 157
Margate 1936 159
Poděbrady, Czechoslovakia, 1936 162
Nottingham 1936 171
Hastings 1936-1937 172
London 1937 177
Menchik vs. Eugene Znosko-Borovsky 1937 178
Margate 1937 178
Bournemouth 1938 183
Łódź 1938 183
Margate 1938 190
Britain vs. Holland Match 1938 196
Brighton 1938 (31st B.C.F. Championship) 197
Plymouth 1938 (Jubilee Congress) 197
Margate 1939 199
Montevideo 1939 (Millington Drake International Tournament) 203
London 1939 (Hampstead Invitation Tournament) 205
London Easter Congress 1940 206
London National Chess Center Championships 1940 207
Menchik vs. Jacques Mieses 1942 208
Sidcup 1942 (Kent County Congress) 213
West London Summer Tournament 1943 216
West London C.C. Championship 1944 217
Women’s World Chess Championships
London 1927 222
Hamburg 1930 223
Prague 1931 224
Folkstone 1933 228
Warsaw 1935 231
Menchik vs. Sonja Graf 1937 231
Stockholm 1937 235
Buenos Aires 1939 238
Supplemental Games 247
Epilogue 253
Part III. The Writings of Vera Menchik
1. “The Max Lange Attack” (October 1932) 259
2. “Studies in Pawn Play” (January 1933) 261
3. “How to Meet an Attack” (January 1935) 265
4. “A Strong Center” (July 1935) 269
5. A Political Dialog between Menchik and B.H. Wood 274
Part IV. Appendices, Notes, Bibliography, Indices
Appendices
1: The “Vera Menchik Club” 279
2: Women’s World Chess Champions 280
3: Matisons Problem 281
4: Tournament and Match Results 283
5: County and British Team Match Results 285
6: Simultaneous Exhibition Results 287
7: Results by Opponent 288
8: Key Players and Persons in Menchik’s Life 294
9: Obituary of Rufus H.S. Stevenson 297
10: The V-1 Flying Bomb 299
Notes 300
Bibliography 302
Indices
Index to Opponents by game number 305
Index to ECO Openings by game number 307
Index to Traditional Name Openings by game number 309
General Index to page numbers 311

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “The first serious scholarly work in English [on Menchik]…an excellent game collection, containing far more games than any previous collection”—Mind’s Eye Press
  • “The first serious biography of Menchik in English”—Chess Life
  • “Impressive research work…highly interesting read of one of the interesting lady chess players of all time…. This is a fantastic made McFarland read!”—Chessbooks.nl
  • “The best publisher for historical and biographical books is clearly McFarland. The quality of their product is unmatched…. In this book, thanks to the relentless dedication of the author in collecting books in different languages, and translating them, we have 350 games played by Vera Menchik. Just for this incredible collection of games, the book is a must-have!… This book is a great example for other chess publishers, because the quality and clarity of the material makes it unique.”—Georgia Chess News
  • “Fills a major gap in chess literature in the English language…recommended…a rich source of model games to teach positional chess to novice and intermediate chess players…highly recommended”—Gainesville Chess Training