- Vera Menchik
Infobox chess player
playername = Vera Menchik
birthname = Věra Menčíková
country = RUS
datebirth = birth date|1906|2|16
datedeath = death date and age|1944|6|27|1906|2|16
womensworldchampion = 1927–1944
The daughter of a Czech father and British mother, Vera Menchik was born in
Moscowbut, in the aftermath of World War Iand the Russian Revolution, moved with her family to Englandin 1921. Her father taught her chess when she was nine and, in the year of her arrival in England at the age of fifteen, she won the British girls' championship. The following year, she became a pupil of Géza Maróczy, considered one of the top chess masters of the early decades of the 20th century.
She won the first Women's World Championship in 1927 and successfully defended her title 6 times in every other championship in her lifetime, and only lost one game, while winning 78 and drawing 4 games.
* In 1927, she represented Russia in 1st WWCh in
London(+10 –0 =1).
* In 1930, she represented Czechoslovakia in 2nd WWCh in
Hamburg(+6 –1 =1).
* In 1931, she represented Czechoslovakia at 3rd WWCh in
Prague(+8 –0 =0).
* In 1933, she represented Czechoslovakia in 4th WWCh in
Folkestone(+14 –0 =0).
* In 1935, she represented Czechoslovakia in 5th WWCh in
Warsaw(+9 –0 =0).
* In 1937, she represented Czechoslovakia in 6th WWCh in
Stockholm(+14 –0 =0).
* In 1939, she represented England in 7th WWCh in
Buenos Aires(+17 –0 =2).
She won two matches against
Sonja Graffor the Women’s World Champion title; (+3 –1 =0) at Rotterdam 1934, and (+9 –2 =5) at Semmering 1937. Starting in 1929, she participated in a number of Hastings Congress tournaments and when, the same year, she entered the tournament in Carlsbad, Viennese master Albert Becker ridiculed her entry by proposing that any player whom Menchik defeated in tournament play should be granted membership into the "Vera Menchik club". In the aftermath of the tournament, Becker, himself, became the "club"'s first member. [ [http://www.chesshistory.com/winter/winter01.html Chess Notes] Winter, Edward, entry number 3433. Excerpt from Sunnucks, Anne (1976). "Encyclopaedia of Chess"] In addition to Becker, the "Vera Menchik club" eventually included Abraham Baratz, Jacques Mieses, Frederick Yates, Friedrich Sämisch, Max Euwe, Mir Sultan Khan, Samuel Reshevsky, Frederic Lazard, George Alan Thomas, Conel Hugh O'Donel Alexander, Philip Stuart Milner-Barry, Harry Golombek, Karel Opočenský, Edgar Colle, William Winter, Brian Reilly, Lajos Steinerand Eero Böök.
In 1937, at the age of 31, Vera Menchik married Rufus Henry Streatfeild Stevenson (1878–1943), twenty-eight years her senior, who was subscriptions editor of "
British Chess Magazine" and later honorary secretary of the British Chess Federationmember of West london chess club
Vera Menchik's younger sister Olga was also a tournament chess player. In 1944, as Britain was nearing its sixth year in
World War II, and 38-year-old Vera, who was widowed the previous year, still holding the title of women's world champion, her two sisters and their mother were killed in a V-1 rocket bombing raidwhich destroyed their home at 47 Gauden Road in the Claphamarea of South London.
The trophy for the winning team in the Women's
Chess Olympiadis known as the "Vera Menchik Cup".
Notable chess games
* [http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1258249 Frederic Lazard vs Vera Menchik, Paris 1929, Bird Opening: From Gambit (A02), 0-1] A nice combination in an open position leaves Lazard without a Bishop
* [http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1258409 Mir Sultan Khan vs Vera Menchik, Hastings 1931, Queen's Gambit Declined (D35), 0-1] A sharp game with attacks on both sides of the board. At the end, Menchik is able to queen her advanced Pawn.
* [http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1266513 Vera Menchik vs George Alan Thomas, Poděbrady 1936, Queen's Gambit Declined Slav (D11), 1-0] The chess queen queens another passed pawn in a Rook ending.
* [http://www.geocities.com/siliconvalley/lab/7378/menchik.htm Vera Menchik by Bill Wall]
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