The Caplin Menchik Memorial

by ChessBase
6/27/2022 – Vera Menchik (1906-44) was the first women's world chess champion, as well as the longest reigning champion, gaining the title at aged 21 and defending it multiple times until her untimely death. The European Chess Federation is staging a high-level ladies norm tournament that will end on the 78th anniversary of Menchik’s death, when she was struck down by a German V1 rocket in Clapham. The event takes place in th MindSports Centre, Dalling Rd, London W6 0JD, from Saturday 18th to Sunday 26th June 2022.

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Although born in Russia to a Czech father and English mother, Vera Menchik lived in England from the age of 15 and became the strongest female player of the era whilst living in Hastings and London. The last major tournament to recognise Vera’s achievements was a 22-player norm tournament which took place in Maidstone in 1994 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of her death. Harriet Hunt will be the only player to have participated in both events, having scored a WIM norm in the original 1994 tournament.

With the cooperation of the Czech Chess Federation and the Czech Embassy, the ECF’s Director of Women’s Chess Agnieszka Milewska and Director of International Chess Malcolm Pein are staging a high-level ladies norm tournament that will end on the 78th anniversary of Menchik’s death, caused by a German V1 rocket which landed near her home in Clapham.

It is also our intention to create a memorial to Vera in Streatham cemetery, near to where she was cremated, to ensure a lasting memorial to the first Women’s World Chess Champion.

Vera Menchik - A Synopsis

  • Vera Frantsevna Menchik (1906 – 44) was the first Women’s World Chess Champion. £ In 1915 Vera was taught chess by her father. The family moved to England in 1921, when Vera was 15. In that year she won the British girls' championship.
  • In 1923 she began participating in men's international tournaments.
  • In 1926 Vera won the British Girls' Open Championship.
  • In 1927 she won the London Ladies championship with a perfect 5-0 score.
  • FIDE established the first world championship for women in July, 1927, which Vera won at the age of 21 in London winning ten games and drawing just one.
  • Vera defended her title six times in every championship held during her lifetime: Hamburg 1930, Prague 1931, Folkestone 1933, Warsaw 1935, Stockholm 1937 & Buenos Aires 1939.

The tournament is taking place thanks to the generous support of our sponsors Caplin Systems, who also support the Hastings Congress. The tournament has also received financial support from the English Chess Federation, The Chess Trust, and the Friends of Chess.

Tournament Information

Tournament: The Caplin Menchik Memorial
Dates: Saturday 18th to Sunday 26th June 2022 (games start 14:00 BST)
Venue: MindSports Centre, Dalling Road, London W6 0JD
Format: Ten-player all-play-all, one game per day, WIM & WGM norm opportunities
Arbiter: IA Shohreh Bayat
Invited Players: WGM Katarzyna Toma (ENG)
IM Harriet Hunt (ENG)
WIM Lan Yao (ENG)
Anna Marie Koubova (CZE)
Kamila Hrischenko (UKR)
WCM Zoe Varney (ENG)
IM Joanna Dworakowska (POL)
GM Keti Arakhamia Grant (SCO)
WIM Lara Shulze (GER)
WIM Teja Vidic (SLO)

The ceremonial first move which opens the tournament will be made by Martin Hošek from the Czech Embassy and John Ashworth, the Chief Executive of Caplin Systems.

For further information please contact Agnieszka via the email address below.
Agnieszka Milewska
Director of Women’s Chess
director.womenschess@englishchess.org.uk


Caplin Systems is a software development company specialising in trading technology for banks. Based in London, it employs 75 people and serves clients all around the world. It is proud to be involved with the Vera Menchik Memorial to underline its commitment to supporting diversity and STEM initiatives


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