Elisabeta Polihroniade, 1935-2016

Elisabeta Polihroniade, 1935-2016

| 24 | Misc

The seven-time Romanian champion, woman grandmaster, international arbiter, organizer, author, journalist and TV and radio host Elisabeta Polihroniade died on Saturday at the age of 80.

It's quite a list of ”jobs“ in front of Polihroniade's name, which reveals a true love for the game of chess. She was a legend in Romanian chess, and spent her whole life dedicating herself to the royal game.

Polihroniade was born April 24, 1935 in Bucharest. She played her first tournament when she was 16: the Bucharest city championship.

Polihroniade in Rio de Janeiro, 1979. | Photo Wikipedia.

In 1960 she became a woman international master, and in 1982, a woman grandmaster. She won the women's championship in her country no fewer than seven times: in 1966, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1975, 1976 and 1977.

Obviously she also represented Romania at Olympiads: 10 times. Between 1969 and 1980 she played on first board.

At the 1980 Matla Olympiad, with Daniel Nuţu and Margaret Muresan. | Photo Wikipedia.

She collected nine medals in total: four silver and two bronze medals for her team and two gold medals and one silver for individual board performances. 

Polihroniade's performance at Olympiads. | Source: Olimpbase

Thousand of chess players must have met her at these Olympiads, and also in subsequent years when she attended them as an arbiter.

Romanian grandmaster Dorian Rogozenco kindly provided the following to

Elisabetha was by far the most well-known chess personality in Romania. In the seventies and eighties she had every Saturday a chess program on TV.

Those were the times when there were only two TV channels available in Romania, used mostly for communistic propaganda. Therefore a chess program on TV was something very special and watched with great interest.

It wouldn’t be wrong to affirm that 30-40 years ago practically every person in Romania knew about Elisabeta Polihroniade and automatically connected the game of chess with her name. And indeed, all her life she actively promoted chess in Romania.

She produced the Romanian chess magazine Gambit and organized the Romanian Schools Championships.

Starting from 2007 she was the driving force behind the organization of the strongest chess event in Romania – the Kings Tournament. She was planing to make the 10th edition of the Kings Tournament this year as an exclusive tournament again, with the participation of top GMs...

Polihroniade watching Carlsen vs Nakamura at one of her Kings Tournaments.

As a journalist, I met Elisabeta at these Kings Tournaments, and later on she would also attend the Gashimov Memorials. She always smiled, and she was kind to everyone who visited her tournaments.

Polihroniade, a honorary member of FIDE, died last Saturday of complications from pancreatic cancer as reported by Romanian media. Our thoughts are with her family. Her legacy will live in Romania and beyond.

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