Vera Menchik

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Vera Menchik 1933.jpg
Vera Menchik, 1933
Association CzechoslovakiaCzechoslovakia Czechoslovakia England
Born February 16, 1906
Moscow , Russian Empire
Died London June 27, 1944
world champion 1927 to 1944
Best Elo rating 2535 (May 1929) ( historical rating )

Vera Menchik ( Czech Věra Menčíková , Russian Вера Францевна Менчик / Vera Frantsevna Mentschik , married Vera Menchik-Stephenson *, 16th February 1906 in Moscow ; † 27. June 1944 in London ) was a Czech-British chess player and the first world chess champion in history .


The daughter of a Czech and an Englishwoman settled in Hastings (England) in 1921 , where she was supported by Géza Maróczy . In 1927 she won the first ever women's chess world championship with 10.5 out of 11 points. She was then invited to major international tournaments, for example in Karlsbad in 1929. At first she was not taken seriously in the male-dominated chess scene. The Austrian master Albert Becker is said to have mockingly suggested the "Vera Menchik Club" for all those who lose to them. He promptly became the first member himself. Later this club had such famous members as Max Euwe , Mir Sultan Khan and Jacques Mieses .

She achieved her greatest success in Ramsgate in 1929, where she was tied for second place with Akiba Rubinstein , only half a point behind José Raúl Capablanca . In May 1929, its highest historical rating was 2535, which would have been number 52 in the world rankings. The official Elo evaluation was only introduced in 1970.

She defended the title of world champion several times, including in 1937 against the German Sonja Graf , and kept it until her death in 1944. On October 19, 1937, she married Rufus Henry Streatfeild Stevenson, the subscription manager of British Chess Magazine and later functionary of British Chess Federation . He was the widower of Agnes Stevenson , nee Lawson, a former competitor of Menchik for the title of world chess champion. Agnes Stevenson died in an accident in 1935.

Vera Menchik died in the Second World War in a German V1 wing bomb attack on June 27, 1944 at around 12:20 am in her apartment on Gauden Road in London; Her mother Olga and sister Olga Rubery as well as eight other people were also killed. The bodies of the Menchik family were cremated on July 4th.

In honor of Menchik, the World Chess Federation FIDE has awarded the Vera Menchik Cup to the winning team of the women's chess Olympiad , which takes place every two years, since 1957 .


In the chess world there were always confusions with her less successful sister Olga. For example, “substantial” prize money was mistakenly paid to Olga Menchik. In 1928 Vera Menchik applied to the World Chess Federation to change her name to Vera Bolchik . The request was granted.

Game example

  a b c d e f G H  
8th Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg 8th
7th Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess bdt45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg 7th
6th Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess rlt45.svg Chess --t45.svg 6th
5 Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess nlt45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg 5
4th Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess pdt45.svg Chess blt45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess kdt45.svg 4th
3 Chess pdt45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess ndt45.svg Chess klt45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg 3
2 Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess plt45.svg 2
1 Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg 1
  a b c d e f G H  
End position after 56th Kd3

In the following game Menchik defeated the eventual world champion Euwe with the white pieces in the 1931/32 tournament in Hastings .

Menchik – Euwe 1-0
Hastings, December 29, 1931
Slav Defense , D18
1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 dxc4 5. a4 Bf5 6. e3 Sa6 7. Bxc4 Nb4 8. 0–0 e6 9. Ne5 Bd6 10. De2 c5 11. Bb5 + Ke7 12. e4 Bg6 13.Nxg6 + hxg6 14.e5 cxd4 15.Rd1 Bc7 16. exf6 + gxf6 17.g3 a6 18. Be3 Bb6 19. Bc4 Kf8 20. Ne4 Kg7 21. Rac1 Th5 22. Bf4 e5 23. g4 Rh8 24. Bg3 De7 25. Nd2 The8 26. De4 Qd7 27.Nf3 Qc6 28. Qxc6 Nxc6 29. Bd5 Tac8 30. Be4 Rc7 31. Ne1 Tec8 32.Nd3 Ne7 33.Rxc7 Rxc7 34. Kf1 (overlooks the tactical stroke 34.Nxe5!) Rc4 35. Bxb7 Rxa4 36. Rc1 g5 37. f3 Ra2 38. Be1 a5 39. Bd2 f5 40. gxf5 a4 41. Ke1 a3 42. b4 Kf6 43.Ba6 g4 44.Bc4 Rxd2 45. Kxd2 gxf3 46. Nc5 Kxf5 47. Bxf7 Bd8 48.Be6 + Kf6 49. Bg4 Nd5 50. Bxf3 Nxb4 51. Be4 Be7 52. Nd3 Sa2 53. Rc6 + Kg5 54. Rg6 + Kh4 55. Nxe5 Nc3 56. Kd3 1: 0

Results at world championships

Vera Menchik had held a special position in women's chess since 1925 , which she underlined by winning the first women's chess championship in 1927. Vera Menchik holds a record, unique in the history of chess, of 78 points from 81 games (+76 = 4 −1 ) in world championship tournaments and 89.5 points from 97 games (+85 = 9 −3) in world championship fights. It is remarkable that Menchik had to give up more points in the duel against Sonja Graf in 1937 than in the seven tournaments combined. Menchik won the four tournaments in 1931 in Prague, 1933 in Folkestone, 1935 in Warsaw and 1937 in Stockholm by winning all games. In her time she was by far the strongest player in the world.

Vera Menchik Women's World Cup results
year place shape Attendees place Result
1927 London Round tournament 12th 1st place +10 = 1 −0
1930 Hamburg double-rounded 5 1st place +6 = 1 −1
1931 Prague double-rounded 5 1st place +8 = 0 −0
1933 Folkestone double-rounded 7th 1st place +12 = 0 −0
1935 Warsaw Round tournament 10 1st place +9 = 0 −0
1937 Semmering Battle against Sonja Graf 2 victory +9 = 5 −2
1937 Stockholm Monrad system 26th 1st place +14 = 0 −0
1939 Buenos Aires Round tournament 20th 1st place +17 = 2 −0


  • Robert B. Tanner: Vera Menchik: A Biography of the First Women's World Chess Champion, with 350 Games . McFarland, Jefferson 2016, ISBN 978-0-7864-9602-0 (English).

Web links

Commons : Vera Menchik  - Collection of Images

Individual evidence

  1. On the 100th birthday of Vera Menchik In: February 16, 2006, accessed August 17, 2019.
  2. ^ The game Menchik - Becker
  3. ^ British Chess Magazine, November 1937, p. 551. Reprint and photo of the two women in Edward Winters Chess Notes , April 19, 2010. Retrieved December 14, 2012.
  4. V1 & V2 logs SW4 and 9 Brixton and Clapham . Retrieved August 26, 2014.
  5. Information on , June 30, 2012. Accessed December 12, 2012.
  6. ^ A b Rolf Voland: Chess - serious and cheerful. Verlag Tribüne Berlin 1986, 4th edition, pp. 126–129.
  7. News. Wiener Schach-Zeitung / Neue Wiener Schach-Zeitung , year 1928, p. 67 (online at ANNO ).Template: ANNO / Maintenance / sze