International Women's Chess Festival in Erfurt

by Elisabeth Pähtz
6/6/2014 – "They are prettier, they dress better and have a much stronger fighting spirit," said GM Thomas Pähtz, when asked why he was organizing this big chess festival for women in eastern Germany in late August. For some reason he missed "photogenic". Thomas, a well-known chess trainer, is the father of the top German female, Elisabeth, who sent us this pre-tournament report.

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First International Women's Chess Festival in Dresden

By IM Elisabeth Pähtz

The reasons given by my dad, who is a the main organizer, for staging the biggest and strongest female event ever on German territory, was: "Women dress better, they are prettier, and they have a much stronger fighting spirit on the 64 squares of chess."

The Women Grandmaster Tournament will be run for a third time now. The first one was held in August 2010, with an Elo average of about 2250; the second one was in December 2012 with an average about 2330; and this year from 24th to 31th August we will hold the third edition, with an average about 2430. It will be the strongest ever closed women's tournament organized in Germany.

One of the top seeds in the International: IM Lela Javakhishvili of Georgia, rated 2475

GM Monika Socko, Poland, rated 2463. Monika is married to
GM Bartosz Socko and has three children: Weronika, Julia and Szymon.

IM Lilit Mkrtchyan, Armenia, rated 2456, plays for Bad Königshofen

IM Ketino Kachiani-Gersinska, originally Georgian, is rated 2349 and plays for Baden-Baden

The last two editions were held without me – mainly because the rating average was too low and for some other political reasons. My family decided to organize the third edition themselves, and moreover extend this tournament into a chess festival consisting of three events: the First International Women Open German Championship (where we are still hoping for more participants), a junior female event and the Women Grandmaster Tournament.

Locals: Alina Zahn, rated 1950 and IM Elisabeth Pähtz, are both originally from this part of Germany

The idea of the junior tournament came to my dad, GM Thomas Pähtz. In former German Democratic Republic times he used to play in many junior tournaments, and they were more popular than nowdays, when closed international girls' tournaments are very rare anywhere in the world.

Fifteen-year-old Ezgi Nezihe Menzi, rated 1951, is originally from Turkey, where in 2012 she scored the highest marks in her middle school exams and was nominated cleverest student in her country.

Josefine Heinemann, 16, rated 1988, is from Magdeburg, Germany

Fourteen-year-old Fiona Sieber, rated 1927, is from Göttingen

It is well known that women are discriminated – in jobs, politics and sports worldwide. With this chess festival we want to improve the state of women chess, and are also very happy that the Women Comission in FIDE ("WOM") is supporting us financially.

With this event our best and most talented junior players under 23, as well as international girls, will have the unique opportunity to be at the center of media attention for one full week, thanks to full cover life transmission (all three tournaments will be covered) and up-to-date reports on our webpage.

The spiritus rector of the Chess Festival: GM Thomas Pähtz

My dad concentrates very much on presenting chess to the public, and we will stage a live chess match (Lebendschachausführung) by the Ströbecker Schachensemble in the city center of Erfurt, in front of our most popular Shopping Galery "Anger 1". The women participants of the invitational tournaments will also take part in a blitz chess event inside the Gallery.

All of this of course wouldn't be possible without our main and small sponsors. Therefore I would like to name the Radisson Blu Hotel in Erfurt, which also sponsored the first two editions of the Women Grandmaster tournament. Another main sponsor is one of the most popular banks of this region "Sparkasse Mittelthüringen". Also faithfull to our sport is the "Deutsche Bahn AG", which already staged a fantastic event 2012 in Potsdam and will support and cover the Girls Junior event this year. Last but not least the German Chess Federation's main Sponsor UKA with the CEO Gernot Gauglitz and the Regional Baden Chess Federation BSV as well as the German Chess Federation itself. ChessBase and Chess Evolution are providing a number of prizes for the festival.

Tournament details

  • Date: 25-31 August 2014
  • Participants: Any female player with a valid FIDE ID
  • Tournament: nine round Swiss event, FIDE rated
  • Time controls: 90 min for all move + 30 sec per move, starting from move one
  • Entry Fee: 45 Euros, 30 Euros for players born in 1995 or later
  • Prize fund: 66% of all money received in entry fees will be distributed as prizes

The venue

The four-star Radisson BLU Hotel, Erfurt, is located very close to the historical city center.
Erfurt's main train station is only a kilometer away, the airport can be reached easily (8 km).

Where to book the hotel and how to get there

Elisabeth Pähtz (or Paehtz) is a German WGM and men's IM, currently rated 2452, making her the strongest female player in the country. Elisabeth (or Elli, or Lizzy) was trained in chess from early childhood by her father GM Thomas Pähtz.

At the age of nine years she won her first German Championship in the under-11 age group. In 1999 she became Germany's women's chess champion. In 2002 she ähtz became the Youth World Champion of the under-18 age group, and in 2004 the U20 Junior World Champion.

As one of the greatest German new-generation talents Pähtz was the subject of a large media interest when growing up. Among other things it was reported that she was likely to fail high school mathematics. Her own explanation for this however, is that she is an intuitive player and so does not have to be a universal genius.

She holds the FIDE titles of International Master (IM) and Woman Grandmaster (WGM). [Source: Wikipedia]

All photos by Klaus Steffan for the official tournament page (below)


The games will be broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 12 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.

Elli (or Lizzy) is a German WGM and men's IM, currently rated 2473, making her the strongest female player in the country. She was trained in chess from early childhood by her father GM Thomas Pähtz. In 2002 Pähtz became the Youth World Champion in the under-18 age group, and in 2004 the U20 Junior World Champion.


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