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

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

“impressive research work…highly interesting read of one of the interesting lady chess players of all time…. This is a fantastic made McFarland read!”—Chessbook Reviews; “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.