My Favorite Game Of. Number 9. Vera Menchik.

My Favorite Game Of. Number 9. Vera Menchik.

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In number 8 of this little series, it was suggested that I might post a favorite game by a woman player. By a coincidence, I had been looking at this week's game just a few day before. Spooky!!

The wonderful Vera Menchik. A full article goes outside of what I am trying to do with these little posts, but there is plenty of material around if you want to look.

Her life was a complex one - she represented 3 different countries and had 3 different names, but I will limit myself to a few comments on Vera Menchik the chess player.

She joined the Hastings club in 1923, and received some lessons from Drewitt and her opponent in this famous photo, the great Geza Maroczy.


Within 6 years she was playing in international tournaments.

She was the first Women's World Champion, at  the age of 21, I think. Although she did badly in big  elite level tournaments abroad, she was the first woman to play in such events, and, until the emergence of Judit Polgar, the last. Her domestic results - particularly in the period 1929-1932 - put her firmly in the top group of British chess, alongside the likes of Yates, Thomas, Mitchell and Sultan Khan.


England at the 1939 Olympiad. A photo I will come back to in a future article that I have been meaning to get to for an eternity.

Historically, she was a very important figure. In terms of women's chess, Alekhine described her as being in a 'superclass' of her own. 

Style wise, she played quiet positional chess - partly, I think, due to her own reticent personality, and partly due to Maroczy's influence. Against the best players that did her no great favours - time and again she would play the opening passively and get squashed. Studying her games I get the impression that had she played more positively, and with more confidence, she could have achieved more - but, she was who she was, and lived in her own time and circumstances, with her own personality and ambitions.

I must confess that I have a great affection for her. Having played against a couple of national women's champions, I am sure that I would have taken much greater pleasure from meeting, and losing to, Vera Menchik, than I did from those games.

She died at the age of just 38.

The last photo of her that I can think of, taken during a match with the remarkable Jaques Mieses in 1942. A significant photo! Britain's only adult world champion, and Britain's first official Grandmaster, I think. ( Neither of them born in Britain!)


nullThe game!! 

It was played the day after she had lost, quite unnecessarily, to Kashdan, when this photo was taken. 


A few days later she destroyed Sultan Khan with Black.

Her opponent - the wonderful Max Euwe - was on his climb to the World Championship. He plays a piece sacrifice that was a hot theoretical debate at the time, forcing Menchik to come out and fight. And what a fight it is!

As usual, any- polite- comments, suggestions for the series, favorite games by the players concerned, etc are very much welcomed.

Enjoy the game!