CFC Tournament!


The ECC is officially hosting another donation-only CFC tournament!

Please check our link above to the “Etobicoke Spring Open” or click it below:

Women’s World Chess Championship

ChesspicThe World Chess Championship is a tournament in which two chess players battle it out to determine who will be the world champion. There are two kinds: the unrestricted and the Women’s. The unrestricted version allows any players to join, wheres the Women’s one only women can participate. The Women’s World Championship started with the formation of the The Fédération Internationale des Échecso, better known as FIDE, the head organizers.

Not long after FIDE formed they introduced a team tournament and a women’s tournament. A few years later, in 1927, these tournaments morphed into the Chess Olympiad and the Women’s World Championship. Unlike the unrestricted World Championship that was controlled by another organization, the Women’s Chess Championship was organized by FIDE since its conception. The Women’s Chess Championship was held in London of that same year and consisted of a 12-player round robin tournament.

This first ever Women’s tournament was won by Vera Francevna Menchik. Vera Francevna Menchik was in born in Moscow, Russian to a Czechoslovakian father and an English mother. She learned to play chess at the age of 9. In 1921 she moved with her family to England where she joined the Hastings Chess Club to further enhance her chess skills. After winning many tournaments she was considered the strongest female player in England.

Menchik manged to keep the title for 17 years. Beating every contenders during the nine Championships that occurred during her time, with the 1939 match being her last one. During the Second World War, FIDE halted all chess events and, in 1946, FIDE gained control of all the events related to the unrestricted World Championship after the death of Alexander Alekhine. Unfortunately, also during this time, in 1944 in London, Menchik’s house was hit during a German air raid, killing her and several of her family members.

After the Second World War ended, in 1949, the Women’s Champions started again, along with the other chess events, and hosted a new winner: Luidmila Rudenko.

For the next Championship in 1952, the first ever Candidates Tournament was held for the Women’s Championhsip. It was held in Moscow and was won by Elizaveta Bikova, who went on to win the Championship in 1953, defeating Rudenko.

Although the second Candidates Tournament, held in 1955, continued as the first, the Championship that followed deviated from the previous ones. This took place with a triangle match between the three best players: the champion, Bikova; the Candidate winner, Rubtsova; and the Candidate runner-up, Ruedenko. Ultimately, Rubtsova reigned supreme and took the title from Bikova. However, the next Championship in 1958 didn’t see a Candidates Tournament and Bikova was able to win her title back. Bikova was then able to defend her title during next round in 1959 when she defeated Kira Zvorykina, the winner of the third Candidates Tournament.

Elizaveta Bikova was born in 1913 in Bogolyubovo, Vladimir Oblast, Russian Empire. In 1925, she and her family moved to Moscow were she learned to play chess at the age of 12. After her Championship wins, she was later awarded Women Grandmaster in 1976. She passed away in 1989 and was inducted into the Chess Hall of Fame in 2013.

Bikova’s loss during the 1962 Championship marked the end of the Russian domination in chess. Now it was the Georgirans’ turn to hold the title of World Champion.

The first Georgian to emerge in the World Championship was during the fourth Candidates Tournament, held in Vrnjacka Banja in 1961 and was won by Nona Gaprindashvili. She went on to utterly destroy Bikova in the 1962 Championship and obtain the title. Gaprindashvili continued to defended her title in a battle against Alla Kushnin that spanned over three championships in 1965, 1969, and 1972. With Gaprindashvili’s last win against Nana Alexandira of Georgia in 1975.

During this time (1970-1972), FIDE introduced an Interzonal Tournament followed by a series of Candidate Matches for qualifying to play against the World Champion. Alexandira won the first ever women’s Interzonal in 1971, but was no match to Kushnin who defeated Alexandira during the Candidate Matches. But Kushinin was no match to Gaprindashvili, losing in the 1972 Championship.

Gaprindashvili’s wining streak ended in the 1978 Championship, but the title of World Champion continued to be hands of Georgians. In 1978, at only 17 years old, Maia Chiburdanidze defeated Gaprindashvili and, similar to Gaprindashvili, Chiburdanidze was able to defend her title for five world championships, between 1978-1988. Unfortunately, this is where the Georgian reign ends as a new country emerged for a shaky but steady hold on the tile that would last to the present day: China.

Xie Jun was born in Baoding, Hebei, China on October 30, 1970. She was a strong Chinese chess player and was, therefore, chosen by the Chinese Government to switch to an international, or western-style, of chess. Xie Jun won the Interzonal in 1990 and tied with Alisa Marc at the Candidates Tournament but later beat Marc in a tie-breaker match. Jun went on to beat Chiburdanidze in the tile match and became World Champion.

During the 1992 Candidates Tournament, FIDE required the top two players to meet in a final match to determine who would face the World Champion. The winner was Susan Polgar and in second was Nona Ioseliani. Although Polgar’s rating was 100 points higher than Ioseliani, they had several tied games that led FIDE to award the winner through a lottery, resulting in Ioseliani winning. Unfortunately, Ioseliani lost horribly to Xie Jun during the 1993 Championship.

Polgar manged to get a second chance when she tied with Chiburdandze in the 1994 Candidates Tournament and eventually beat her in a tie-breaker match in 1995. Polgar then went on to face and beat Xie Jun in the 1996 Championship match.

In 1997, FIDE introduced a World Champion Knockout Tournament to decide on the opponent to face the World Champion. Alis Galliamova came in first and Xie Jun placed in second. However, the final match of the Knockout Tournament would be held in China, and Galliamove refused to play in that country. Therefore, the position was awarded to Jun who went on to face Polgar in the title match.

But the problems weren’t finished, as Polgar had just given birth and requested time off before returning to defend her title. Unfortunately, FIDE didn’t agree with her demands and decided to make the title match between Jun and Galliamova. It was held at a split venue in Kazan and Shengyang, and resulted with Jun regaining her title of Champion. She then went on to defended her title in the next match in 2000.

From this point on, the title has gone to various nations including Ukraine, Russia, and Hungry. But known more than to China, who has been the most prominent since they entered the chess world. As chess progresses, its exciting to see where the Women’s World Championship will venture and the fascinating games that will follow.

Tactics and some blindfold puzzles

The answers to all puzzles will be at the end of the post.

White to move and win in 7 moves.  This puzzle is a 2741 rated puzzle with a 3.8% pass rate.

For those of you who are brave enough, I challenge you (when you think you have the solution for the puzzle) to look at the different lines that I have provided (in the answers) and try to visualize them in your head to see either why white is winning or losing.  This is a tougher blindfold exercise than the puzzles below.


Here are some easy blindfold puzzles to improve your visualization

  1.  With a knight on b1, how many moves will it take to get to f6?
  2.  With a bishop on a3, would the move Bg8 be legal?
  3.  With a knight on b1, could the knight make it to f3 within 3 moves?
  4. Find the fastest checkmate: Black: Kg8 White: Kg1, Qb7, Bb2 (White to move)
  5.  Find the fastest checkmate: Black: Kc2 White: Ke2, Qa3, Nd1 (White to move)
  6.  How many moves would it take for a knight to go from b2 to e6?




Answers to blindfolded puzzles:

  1. 3 moves (Nb1, Nc3, Nd5 or Ne4, Nf6)
  2. No, a3 is a dark square and g8 is a light square.  (A bishop can never change the colour square that it is on)
  3. Yes, in 2 moves (Nb1, Nd2, Nf3)
  4. Qg7#
  5. Qb2#
  6. 3 moves (Nb2, Nd3, Nc5, Ne6)


Answer to Tactics Puzzle:

The correct solution is Rg6, Qf8, Qf6, Rc8, Nh3, fxg6, Ng5+, Kg8, Qxg6+, Qg7, Qxe6+, Kh8, Qxc8+ and white is winning.

Here are some sample lines if you are stumped about a certain sequence.

  1. Rg6, fxg6, hxg6+, Kg8, Nxe6, Qd7, Qxh6, Qxe6, Qh7+, Kf8, g7+, Ke7, g8=Q+, Qf7, and either queen taking on f7 will be mate.
  2. Rg6, fxg6, hxg6+, Kg8, Nxe6, Qd7, Qxh6, Qxe6, Qh7+, Kf8, g7+, Ke8, g8=Q+, Qxg8, Qxg8 and white is winning.
  3. Rg6, fxg6, hxg6+, Kh8, Nxe6, Qd7, Qxh6+, Kg8 (or Qh7 and Qxh7#), Qf8#
  4. Rg6, Qf8, Qf6, fxg6, Qxf8 is winning for white
  5. Rg6, Qf8, Qf6, Rc8, Nh3, fxg6, Qxg6+ (this is a mistake), Kh8, Ng5, Qg7, Nxe6, Qxg6+, hxg6 and black is winning here
  6. Rg6, Qf8, Qf6, Rc8, Nh3, fxg6, hxg6+, Kg8, Qxe6+, Kg7, Qxd5, Qf5 and black is winning here

Thanks for your time

-Riley Khan