Elisabeth Paehtz announces her resignation from the German National Team

by ChessBase
5/31/2019 – For years Elisabeth Paehtz (born January 8, 1985) has been the clear number one chess player among German women. Since 1998 the World Youth Champion U18-Girls and World Junior Girls Champion 2005 has been playing for the German National Women's team, but in a press release from May 29 she announced her decision to quit, citing the "unequal treatment of women" compared to men in German chess and in the German Chess Federation. One day later the German Chess Federation replied. | Photo: Lars OA Hedlund

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Paehtz pulls no punches

IM Elisabeth Paehtz is Germany's top female player by a wide margin and #21 in the world at an Elo of 2470. She is currently co-hosting live commentary on the World Championship Candidates tournament in Kazan. Her departure from the national team is a large blow to the country's chances in international team competition.

By country ranking, Germany is number nine globally, with only two other International Masters and no female players with the Grandmaster title.

Press release of Elisabeth Paehtz

May 29, 2019

I hereby resign from the national team with immediate effect. For more than 20 years I have successfully represented the German Chess Federation (DSB) at international competitions and individual tournaments.  Since 2012 I have won seven individual and two team gold medals for my country — unfortunately without gaining the impression that this would change the basic attitude of the association towards women's chess. There have never been and there probably will never be first class tournaments for women in Germany like the men play in Baden-Baden or Dortmund.

Paehtz portraitLast year, my last attempt to explain my position and my dissatisfaction with the unequal treatment of women to the presidium of the German Chess Federation (DSB) failed.

In Germany, chess is all about Elo-ratings. Medals, apparently, do not play a role. In recent years Jana Schneider, Fiona Sieber, Annmarie Mütsch and myself have won the most chess medals for Germany. If, however, the DSB always uses only the absolute world ranking list as criterion, such successes remain not only unappreciated, but, above all, they also do not have an impact on the development of talents and the reputation of chess in the concert of other sports.

I would like to express my thanks for the cooperation and wish the German Chess Federation much success for the future.

Elisabeth Pähtz

The next day, May 30, 2019, the German Chess Federation reacted with a statement from Andreas Jagodzinsky, official speaker for competitive sports within the federation:

Statement of the German Chess Federation

May 30, 2019

The German Chess Federation notes the resignation of our long-time top player Elisabeth Paehtz from the national team with great regret. Elisabeth was and is the flagship of German women's chess. With her numerous successes at home and abroad she has earned lasting merits.

The German Chess Federation has always supported Elisabeth to the best of its ability, albeit perhaps not always to the extent she would have wished. It is not in the power of the German Chess Federation to organize a "first-class tournament" for her. The tournaments in Baden-Baden/Karlsruhe and Dortmund, which she cites for comparison, are not events organized by the German Chess Federation. In this context it should perhaps not go unmentioned that the German Chess Federation among other things supported the women's chess festivals in Erfurt. Currently, the fourth German Women Masters is played in Magdeburg, and thanks to the support of our sponsor UKA this tournament has a generous prize fund. We consider the accusation that the German Chess Federation has a negative basic attitude towards women's chess to be unfounded.

After Elisabeth had already told us at the end of last year that she would not be available for the national team this year, we were surprised by the timing of her resignation — after all, she was a guest at the summit in Magdeburg yesterday. Not least because of this we also find the kind of communication with the German Chess Federation via an external website unusual.

We wish Elisabeth continued success for her chess career and all the best.

Andreas Jagodzinsky (Speaker for competitive sports in the German Chess Federation)

Translation from German: Johannes Fischer

Statement on the website of the Geman Chess Federation (German)...


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