The publishing house “Briedis” presents the album book “Chachas ir matas!” The timeless history of chess – the most impressive games, the most outstanding players”


The life of the world chess champions was rich and varied. The richly illustrated book tells the biographies of sixteen of the most prominent chess players and describes the games they played to reach the top. Party schemes, most important moves, infographics are presented.

There is no doubt that top-level players bring out their brightest and sometimes darkest traits when competing. Both sitting at the board and away from it, the chess players did not shy away from getting involved in political machinations, but they were also amazing in their creativity and camaraderie. In the history of chess, there are many players who have left a memorable mark.

Could Bobby Fischer defeat Boris Spassky in the Cold War ‘Match of the Century’? What role did coded yogurts, gurus and hypnotists play in the match between Anatoly Karpov and Viktor Korchnoi? Why was the scandalous “Moscow Winter” by Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov discontinued? Who is the best female chess player of all time? How did the duel between man and machine unfold in the chess arena?

If you want to know it all, take this journey of discovery.

The book was translated from English by Mindaugas Krankalis.


The books “Chess and Checkmate! The timeless history of chess – the most impressive games, the most outstanding players” cover

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Nona Gaprindashvili

She is an immortal chess player. […] It is reasonable to say that, following Gaprindashvili’s exceptional example, an unusual number of girls decided to immerse themselves in the sport of chess. Nona embodies victory, talent and dedication.

Nini Dachundaridze

Nona Gaprindashvili, born in Sakartvele, became a symbol of this country – she was awarded the state Order of Excellence – and inspired a new generation of chess players. Gaprindashvili is not inferior to Vera Menčik in terms of her achievements. She is the first woman to receive the previously reserved title of grandmaster. She was the women’s world champion for sixteen years (1961-1977). She still competes in chess.

The Gaprindashvili brothers, also chess players, were considered the best players in the entire region. When one of them fell ill, the girl took her brother’s place in a chess tournament. This is how Gaprindashvili’s career began. The girls had to accept that, playing with men, they had to fight much harder for each point than their colleagues.

Gaprindashvili later recalled: “Their honor was insulted even by a draw against a woman. Therefore, the battles continued until the sad end. […] Men would forget all lessons in chess etiquette when playing with me. They behaved in a way they would never have dared to do to a male rival. I will never forget one grandmaster. A true gentleman, his manners are impeccable. And that man fought against me for hours, even though the positions were completely equal. In the end, only the kings remained on the board.”

The girl began training with Vakhtang Karseladze, the founder of the Sakartvelo Women’s Chess School. Her talent was so bright that she became the national champion in 1956, still a teenager. in 1961 At the candidate tournament held in 2015, Gaprindashvili, after defeating three opponents, won the right to play with Jelizaveta Bykova in the final of the 1962 World Women’s Championship. The young twenty-one-year-old contender ruthlessly crushed the champion with a score of 9:2.

Gaprindashvili described the incredible outburst of joy that erupted in Sakartvele after her victory. “I returned home by train. As soon as he reached Sakartvel, he would stop for at least a couple of minutes even where he was not supposed to according to the schedule. At every station I was greeted by crowds and I waved to them from the platform. After reaching Tbilisi, real chaos began. There were so many people that my father, who rushed to meet me, lost his shoes in the traffic.”

Journalist Ekaterina Sinelščikova has said that the joy caused by Gaprindashvili’s victory did not fade away, but laid sustainable foundations for the development of chess sport: “XX century.

in her native Sakartvel in the 1960s

a real boom in women’s chess began. The girls started attending chess clubs and achieved excellent results.” The new champion began to dominate among female chess players in the same way as the other Menčiks – no rival could match her. Gaprindashvili defended the title four times: in 1965, 1969. and in 1972 fighting Ala Kušnir and in 1975 – with Nana Aleksander. Her era ended only in 1977, when seventeen-year-old Maja Chiburdanidze won the women’s championship final.

1963-1964 Gaprindashvili won the Challengers tournament in Hastings, took second place in the prestigious tournaments in Sandomierz (1976) and Dortmund (1978). In 1977, while participating in the Lon Paine tournament, she shared first place with several competitors. But much more important was the fact that Gaprindashvili fulfilled the requirements for receiving the title of Grandmaster. The following year, the longtime women’s world champion became the first female chess player to be awarded this title. Thus, Nona opened another door to the top of the chess world for women.

Going back a bit, it is worth mentioning the 1971 tournament in Gothenburg, where world women’s champion Gaprindashvili and world men’s champion Boris Spassky met at the board. Matches between the holders of these two titles are extremely rare. For a long time, it seemed that the duel of champions would end in a draw, but it ended badly for Gaprindashvili. She recalled: “I defended myself very well from his attack… However, overcome perhaps by fatigue, perhaps by disappointment, I made a terrible mistake. I lost.” Gaprindashvili barely won the draw. This is a great proof that she was a player of extremely high skill.

Gaprindashvili also competed against former world champion Mikhail Tal. The lightning chess matches between the two of them left a deep impression on the chess player: “Basically, Talis won these series of duels. I fought back, winning a few games, but the overall score was in his favor… I then stated that I would like to play with Tali when he was drunk. […] We once attended a party in England. After he drank, we sat down at the board. […]”

“It was incredible! Under the influence of alcohol, Talis played lightning chess in such a way that no one could have resisted him! I’ll never forget it… There’s nothing like the way he played back then!”

Gaprindashvili was famous for his enormous desire to win. American chess player and writer Jennifer Shahade wrote: “A young, talented Georgian joked to me that she would rather avoid a game with Nona. The girl was afraid that winning would make her angry.” Shahade shared another story – she heard it from the British grandmaster. He “made a mistake trying to compliment Nona. The Grandmaster mentioned that the fellow had named his newborn daughter in her honor. The reaction was the opposite of what one might expect. The offended chess player turned and walked away.” Perhaps the desire to win helped Gaprindashvili win many different titles. She took part in the Women’s Chess Olympiads twelve times, won eleven gold medals in the team competition and twelve in the individual competition. Gaprindashvili performed perfectly at the 1986 Olympic Games in Dubai, winning ten out of ten possible victories. in 1990 At the Olympics held in Novi Sad, Gaprindashvili played the only game in her career with Judita Polgar, achieving a great victory over the young opponent. In addition, she won the USSR Women’s Chess Championship five times.

In 1995, Gaprindashvili won the title of champion in the veteran age group. She won this title six more times. in 2014 the chess player became the champion in the age group of players over sixty-five years old. In 2016, Gaprindashvili celebrated an extraordinary anniversary – she turned seventy-five. On that occasion, FIDE presented the chess player with a statuette of Kaise. This piece from Lobortas Classic Jewelry House depicts the chess goddess as ruler. This is proof that Gaprindashvili has not lost the respect he has earned so far.

Relatively recently, a chess player of respectable age received not so pleasant attention. In The Empress’ Gambit, it is falsely stated that she has never competed in a male competition. Before the day depicted in the controversial scene, Gaprindashvili had played nearly sixty times against various male opponents. Therefore, according to the chess player, such a statement belittles her achievements. Gaprindashvili filed a lawsuit demanding compensation. She is reportedly asking for $3 million to $5 million in damages. The platform Netflix said it has the “deepest respect” for Gaprindashvili herself and her “extraordinary career”, but will defend herself “with all her might” in court.

Nona Gaprindashvili stated: “I haven’t finished my career as a chess player yet. When I receive invitations to tournaments, I am happy to participate in them, although I generally compete in the veteran age group. At my age, there is no point in fighting youth anymore. You can’t fool nature.” Maybe she’s right. On the other hand, Gaprindashvili, continuing the works started by Menčik, paved the way for her successor, Judita Polgar. 20th century in the last decade, this Hungarian chess player will establish herself among the elite of world players.

Long before Polgar’s career took off, Gaprindashvili said, “It’s clear that women are starting to play chess differently. Girls attack with reckless courage. They are not afraid of anything. They don’t care about someone’s past merits… Some girls play bolder, take more risks, and look deeper than guys their age.” You’ll soon see how prophetic these thoughts were.

A game of chess can last for hours. This time, Gaprindashvili is determined to play long. Pay attention to the glass and teacup standing next to the blackboard.

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The article is in Lithuanian

Tags: publishing house Briedis presents album book Chachas matas timeless history chess impressive games outstanding players


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