Open main menu

Nona Gaprindashvili (Georgian: ნონა გაფრინდაშვილი; born 3 May 1941) is a Georgian chess player and the first woman to be awarded the FIDE title Grandmaster. She was the sixth women's world chess champion (1962–1978) and is the strongest female player of her generation[citation needed].

Nona Gaprindashvili
ნონა გაფრინდაშვილი
Nona Gaprindaschwili 1982 Kissingen.jpg
Nona Gaprindashvili at Bad Kissingen, 1982
CountrySoviet Union
Born (1941-05-03) 3 May 1941 (age 78)
Zugdidi, Georgian SSR, Soviet Union
TitleGrandmaster (1978)
Women's World Champion1962–78
Peak rating2495 (July 1987)


In 1961, aged 20, Gaprindashvili won the fourth women's Candidates Tournament, setting up a title match against world champion Elisaveta Bykova. She won the match easily, with a final score of 9-2 (+7−0=4), and went on to defend her title successfully four times: three times against Alla Kushnir (1965: 10–6; 1969: 12–7; 1972: 12–11) and once against fellow Georgian Nana Alexandria (1975: 9–4). She finally lost her crown in 1978 to another Georgian, 17-year-old Maia Chiburdanidze, by a score of 6½–8½ (+2−4=9).

Gaprindashvili played for the Soviet Union in the Women's Chess Olympiads of 1963, 1966, 1969, 1972, 1974, 1978, 1980, 1982, 1984, 1986, 1990, and for Georgia in 1992.[1] She was one of the contributing players of the USSR team that dominated the Women's Olympiads of the 1980s. She won as many as 25 medals, among which 11 team gold medals and 9 individual gold medals.[2] At the Olympiad of Dubai 1986 she won all the ten games she played.

She was a five-times winner of the Women's Soviet Championship: in 1964, 1973, 1981, 1983, and 1985.

During her career Gaprindashvili successfully competed in men's tournaments, winning (amongst others) the Hastings Challengers tournament in 1963/4 and tying for first place at Lone Pine International tournament in 1977.

In 1978 Gaprindashvili became the first woman to be awarded the Grandmaster title. She was awarded the title after scoring two grandmaster norms totaling 23 games, the last of which was winning Lone Pine 1977 against a field of 45 players, mostly grandmasters. Although the GM title normally required 24 games, by exceeding the GM 'norm' requirement in Lone Pine, FIDE found her results over 23 games equivalent to 24 games and made her the first woman Grandmaster.[3]

In 1975 she had a perfume named after her.

In 1995 Gaprindashvili won the Women's World Senior Championship for the first time. She won it also in 2009, 2014, 2015 and 2016 (the latter three in the 65+ division). She also won the European Women's Seniors Championship in 2011, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 (the latter four in the 65+ division).

In 2005, at age 64, Gaprindashvili won the BDO Chess Tournament held in Haarlem, the Netherlands with a score of 6½/10 points and a performance rating of 2510.[4]

Gaprindashvili was awarded the Order of Excellence in 2015 by President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili for "her outstanding contribution to the country and nation" and "representing Georgia at an international level".[5]

In honor of the 75th anniversary, Nona Gaprindashvili was awarded by the FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov with precious chess prize of Caissa.

In honor of the 75th anniversary, she was awarded by the FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov with precious chess prize of Caissa, executed in the shape of the imperious and unbeatable chess queen, the patroness of the fair skill of grandmaster chess. It was made by the Lobortas Classic Jewelry House.

In 2018 at the age of 77 Gaprindashvili won The World Senior Championships, she a became the winner of the "65+ World Senior Championship among women with 8.5/11.


  1. ^ OlimpBase: Women's Chess Olympiads, Nona Gaprindashvili
  2. ^ Only her compatriot Maia Chiburdanidze won more: 28 medals in 15 olympiads (15 individual and 13 team medals, of which 15 gold)
  3. ^ Pal Benko wrote in Chess Life & Review (January 1979):
    ...Of course (Nona) had earned the "woman grandmaster" title awarded by the International Chess Federation (FIDE), as have some two dozen other women. But she also earned the (men's) international master title, becoming the first woman ever to have done so (Vera Menchik was probably strong enough to have earned this title, but she died in 1943 (sic), long before the modern title system was adopted), and in Buenos Aires in November 1978 FIDE bestowed upon Nona Gaprindashvili the (men's) international grandmaster title. Not only is she the only woman ever to have received this title, she is the only woman ever to have deserved it.
    It is regrettable, therefore, that she did not actually earn the title in the regular way: FIDE requires that to earn the grandmaster title a player must achieve certain minimum scores in tournaments consisting of at least twenty-four games in aggregate (the description is highly oversimplified, but you get the idea), and Nona was two or three games short. Yet the FIDE Qualifications Commission voted to give her the title. In my opinion, this historic occasion should not have been allowed to carry even this slight tarnish.
  4. ^ Agterdenbos, Frits (2005-09-10). "Nona Gaprindashvili wins BDO Chess Tournament Haarlem". Chess News. Retrieved 2018-10-22.
  5. ^ "Order of Excellence to Nona Gaprindashvili". FIDE. Retrieved 29 December 2015.

External linksEdit

Preceded by
Elisaveta Bykova
Women's World Chess Champion
Succeeded by
Maia Chiburdanidze