In chess the penultimate mistake wins!

by ChessBase
12/12/2022 – Since a couple of weeks Elisabeth Pähtz is a full chess grandmaster. She has been among the strongest German female chess players since early youth. In 2002, she became the World Youth Champion of the girls' under-18 age group, and in 2005, the World Junior Girls Champion. She won the 2018 European Women's Championship in rapid chess. Now Elli has published her autobiography. Interview by Lilli Hahn in the ECU Magazine.

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Who wouldn't know Elisabeth? She is a German chess player, International Master and Woman Grandmaster. She has been one of the strongest female chess players for decades, and currently rated 2464 ranks 23rd in the world.

Elisabeth also works as a streamer and commentator. She now authored her autobiography "Wer den vorletzten Fehler macht, gewinnt" ("Whoever makes the penultimate mistake, will win"). Lilli Hahn made this short interview about her new book, plans and how she likes being a professional chess player.

Lilli: Elisabeth, you recently published your chess book "Wer den vorletzten Fehler macht, gewinnt". Could you tell us, what type of (chess) book it is, and what content readers can expect?

Elisabeth: It is an autobiography and features different periods of my life. I speak about the meaning of mistakes and what they teach us. I mention difficulties like having a parent as your coach and trainer, and also I am trying to encourage young women to fight for their rights and equality.

Lilli: How long have you been working on the book?

Elisabeth: It took me about half a year, with some great help of the editing company as well as my parents.

Lilli: In your book, you refer to US-football, where female players nowadays earn the same amount of money as their male counterparts. What is the situation in chess right now?

Elisabeth: In my country, the situation has improved a lot but worldwide we still can't speak about equality. There are so many men tournaments that are not organized for women, for example the Chess Grand Tour or the Fischerrandom World Chess Championship. A lot of my colleges of the top 20 aren't too satisfied by the implementation of the "Fide Year of Women in Chess" because we can't really feel much improvement compared to previous years.

Lilli: Are there any plans to translate the book into other languages?

Elisabeth: For now, it is not planned, unless it becomes a bestseller, then maybe... Besides I focus on the difficult passages of being a woman in a male dominated sport, which many other female top players can tell you a thing or two about.

Lilli: In the chess world, you take on many different roles – you are one of the world's top players, have worked as a commentator, a coach, and now also an author. What are your ambitions in chess in the upcoming years?

Elisabeth: I really hope that our young German female chess generation keeps growing, as one of my unfulfilled dreams had always been to fight for a medal at the European Team Championship or at the Chess Olympiad. Apart from that I didn't give up on becoming a mother one day.

Lilli: What do you like most about your life as a professional chess player?

Elisabeth: The deep friendships which develop over the years and which don't know any political barriers.


Elisabeth Pähtz (or Paehtz – rhymes with "Gates") is a German grandmaster, currently rated 2464 (Best Elo: 2513), making her the strongest female player in the country. Elisabeth (or Elli, or Lizzy) has been a friend of ChessBase since her early childhood. She has produced a number of Fritztrainers, and written articles for the news page.


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