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Vera Menchik
Number of games in database: 280
Years covered: 1927 to 1943
Overall record: +80 -130 =70 (41.1%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games
      Based on games in the database; may be incomplete.

With the White pieces:
 Queen's Gambit Declined (14) 
    D30 D37 D35
 Queen's Pawn Game (13) 
    D02 D00 A46
 Slav (11) 
    D13 D15 D14 D18 D11
 English (10) 
    A15 A14 A13 A12
 Orthodox Defense (10) 
    D63 D52 D55 D68 D51
 Semi-Slav (9) 
    D43 D46 D45 D48
With the Black pieces:
 French Defense (33) 
    C14 C13 C11 C00 C02
 Orthodox Defense (24) 
    D51 D63 D52 D68 D54
 French (15) 
    C13 C11 C00
 Queen's Gambit Declined (13) 
    D37 D30 D35 D31
 Queen's Pawn Game (12) 
    D02 D04 D00 D05 A46
 Classical French (12) 
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Menchik vs Graf-Stevenson, 1937 1-0
   Menchik vs G A Thomas, 1932 1-0
   F Lazard vs Menchik, 1929 0-1
   Menchik vs E E Book, 1938 1-0
   Sultan Khan vs Menchik, 1931 0-1
   Menchik vs Colle, 1929 1-0
   Euwe vs Menchik, 1930 0-1
   Menchik vs G A Thomas, 1936 1-0
   A Lougheed-Freedman vs Menchik, 1939 0-1
   Menchik vs J Aguilera Bernabe, 1929 1-0

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Hastings 1929/30 (1929)
   Margate (1936)
   Hastings 1930/31 (1930)
   Margate (1937)
   London (1932)
   Hastings 1933/34 (1933)
   Margate (1935)
   Margate (1938)
   Podebrady (1936)
   Karlsbad (1929)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   1939 World (women) chess championship by gauer
   Ramsgate 1929 team tournament by crawfb5
   1937 World (women) chess champ [Semmering match] by gauer
   Hastings 1929/30 by suenteus po 147
   Hastings 1930/31 by suenteus po 147

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(born Feb-16-1906, died Jun-27-1944, 38 years old) Russia (citizen of United Kingdom)
[what is this?]
Vera Francevna Menchik was born to English and Czech parents, in Moscow. She learned the game at nine and, after her family settled in England in 1921, she began taking lessons from Geza Maroczy. Her positional style and endgame expertise netted her victories against several notable male players, among them Max Euwe, Samuel Reshevsky and Mir Sultan Khan. Albert Becker quipped that these and the other men she defeated were members of the "Menchik Club."

Vera Menchik was Women's World Champion from 1927 until 1944, when a German air raid destroyed her London residence, killing her, her mother and her sister.

An audiovisual documentary, prepared by User: jessicafischerqueen, can be found here:

Wikipedia article: Vera Menchik

 page 1 of 12; games 1-25 of 280  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. Menchik vs Koltanowski 0-121 1927 Hastings2728E60 King's Indian Defense
2. G A Thomas vs Menchik 1-032 1928 ScarboroughC11 French
3. G Wright vs Menchik 0-137 1928 GBR-ch opB06 Robatsch
4. R P Michell vs Menchik 0-148 1928 ScarboroughD63 Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox Defense
5. Baratz vs Menchik 0-126 1928 HastingsA01 Nimzovich-Larsen Attack
6. S F Smith vs Menchik  0-128 1928 Cheltenham MajorC11 French
7. H Saunders vs Menchik  1-043 1928 ScarboroughA46 Queen's Pawn Game
8. Menchik vs F Schubert 1-040 1928 ScarboroughD35 Queen's Gambit Declined
9. Noteboom vs Menchik 1-024 1928 Hastings IID63 Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox Defense
10. Menchik vs Yates 1-046 1928 ScarboroughE60 King's Indian Defense
11. Bogoljubov vs Menchik 1-045 1929 KarlsbadD30 Queen's Gambit Declined
12. Menchik vs J Cukierman  ½-½12 1929 ParisD51 Queen's Gambit Declined
13. Menchik vs M Monticelli  0-123 1929 BarcelonaD46 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
14. Menchik vs A Becker 1-040 1929 KarlsbadD45 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
15. G A Thomas vs Menchik 1-019 1929 KarlsbadD60 Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox Defense
16. Menchik vs R P Michell 1-031 1929 Ramsgate schevA09 Reti Opening
17. Duchamp vs Menchik ½-½37 1929 ParisD10 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
18. Gilg vs Menchik  ½-½27 1929 KarlsbadE60 King's Indian Defense
19. Yates vs Menchik  ½-½25 1929 Ramsgate schevA48 King's Indian
20. Menchik vs Colle ½-½40 1929 BarcelonaD07 Queen's Gambit Declined, Chigorin Defense
21. Menchik vs Saemisch 1-055 1929 KarlsbadA96 Dutch, Classical Variation
22. Menchik vs Yates  1-069 1929 Hastings 1929/30D55 Queen's Gambit Declined
23. Menchik vs G A Thomas 1-042 1929 Ramsgate schevD77 Neo-Grunfeld, 6.O-O
24. F Lazard vs Menchik 0-135 1929 ParisA02 Bird's Opening
25. R Rey Ardid vs Menchik 0-134 1929 BarcelonaD30 Queen's Gambit Declined
 page 1 of 12; games 1-25 of 280  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Menchik wins | Menchik loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: < sevenseaman: ... <Penguincw> Why compare. To me Vera looked a women's version of Tal - all chess, at once. >

Well, Vera Menchik dominated the first few Women World Championships and also defeated a couple of men including the 5th World Champion, Max Euwe (see Euwe vs Menchik, 1930 and Menchik vs Euwe, 1931 for the games. Judit Polgar, on the other hand defeated who many regard as the best player in history of chess, Garry Kasparov (see Judit Polgar vs Kasparov, 2002 for the game). Plus, Judit Polgar was the first woman to ever compete in a Men's World Championship game (FIDE World Championship Tournament (2005)). So it's interesting to see if some how these two ladies can square off against one another.

Nov-28-11  TheFocus: Judit could have given Vera Rook odds easily.

From an earlier post of mine:
<In a record of Menchik's tournaments that I have found so far, she finished with a plus score in 29 tournaments, an even score in 6, and a minus score in 28, with two cross-tables not found yet so these totals are not complete. Her overall record has a minus score. She was a definite team player, completing in club matches at least 50 times, with a score of 33 wins, 17 draws and only 8 losses, with 2 game results not known.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <TheFocus> No doubt Judit Polgar would have beaten Menchik easily. Menchik's wins over top masters were sensations. Polgar's are expected.

But rook odds seems to be pushing it a bit much. It's hard to figure Menchik's exact strength. Chessmetrics gives her a peak rating of 2535, which seems ridiculously high; I'd say 2350 is more realistic. With Polgar around 2750, we're talking a 400-point difference.

Would you feel confident giving rook odds to a player 400-points below you?

Now, I realize that, due to the way ratings are calculated the 400-point gap in the Polgar-Menchik range probably represents a greater difference in playing strength then at lower levels. On the other hand, a 2350 player would have a certain level of playing strength and defensive ability, implying technique in exploiting such a large material advantage.

But then, if Fischer thought he could give Nona G. a knight, who really knows?

Premium Chessgames Member
  sevenseaman: <Penguincw> I too dig your curiosity. But comparisons across eras tend to be stilted. Tal was a roaring lion of his time but if he were to be transposed into the contemporary chess scene with the same tools, he would be easily outplayed. Evolution is our 'Catch 22'.

We have no way of quantifying how he would have evolved and how dominant would he have stayed. It will remain a conjecture.

Vera and Judit have both achieved spectacular success against top guns of their respective times and both fell short of total domination.

Still they do lend to legitimate hero worship. Judit too would be in the game's folklore if not already.

The nature of human preferences is such that once we select an idol we tend to gloss over many a flaw there. We do not even wish to catch our own flaws in the preference. Who is ever happy to be proved wrong?

Feb-16-12  brankat: <Phony Benoni> <But then, if Fischer thought he could give Nona G. a knight, who really knows?>

Fischer was wrong more than once about various issues.

In regards to women, and not just women, B.Fischer often showed his arrogant side.

It is probably pointless to compare Judit and Vera. But regardless of differences in the talent level, playing strength and 70 years age gap, a Rook odds is more than just "pushing it a bit".

You, and I would beat J.Polgar with such odds.

Btw, it's too bad that Bobby and Nona never met OTB :-)

Feb-16-12  brankat: R.I.P. Ms Menchik.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: R.I.P. Menchik.
Feb-16-12  TheFocus: Happy Birthday Vera.

Thanks for the good times.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Karpova: C.N. 7711

After research by Olimpiu G. Urcan, Leonard Barden: <I contacted the Streatham Park Crematorium, which confirmed that Vera Menchik Stevenson, her mother and her sister were cremated on 4 July 1944 and that their ashes were scattered at a garden of remembrance, whose reference location is known. Whether that is precise enough for a memorial to be considered is arguable. Their house in Gauden Road, London was destroyed, and the policy of English Heritage, even if it could be interested, is to put plaques only where the original building still stands.>


Jul-22-12  Archswindler: <Phony Benoni: It's hard to figure Menchik's exact strength. Chessmetrics gives her a peak rating of 2535, which seems ridiculously high; I'd say 2350 is more realistic.>

According to chessmetrics, at her peak she was ranked 52nd in the world. Obviously there were fewer strong players back then, but it seems reasonable to assume she was of at least IM strength.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Karpova: The Women's Worldchampionship at Hamburg 1930 began with a sensation: Henschel from Germany beat her. In the 2nd round, she managed only a draw against Kalmar-Wolf from Austria. But then everything went back to normal and she won all her remaining six games in this double-round robin tournament.

Final Standings:

1. Menchik 6.5
2. Kalmar-Wolf 5.5
3. Henschel 4.5
4. Beeskow 2.0
5. Stevenson 1.5

Source: Page 241 of the 1930 '(Neue) Wiener Schachzeitung

Premium Chessgames Member
  Karpova: Simul Tour through the Netherlands in April 1934 with an overall result of: +245 =86 -57

She also won a 5-player tournament in Groningen ahead of Wolthuis.

From page 189 of the 1934 'Neue Wiener Schachzeitung'

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: A lot of men lost to this chick.
Nov-20-12  Parbrahman: And that's the truth (vera).
Dec-31-12  IndigoViolet: This site records the V1 attack that killed the Menchik family and eight others:

Another useful resource, for the Blitz:

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sneaky: I propose that from now on, February 16th is known as Vera Menchik day.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Karpova: IM Minev in 'Inside Chess', 1994/18 presents an autobiographical article <My successes on the chess field>, Vera wrote in 1928 and which was first published on pages 160-162 of August 1928 'Shakhmaty':

It features a picture, short biography, tournament results and some annotations.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: I watched Jessica's YouTube on Menchik, I hadn't realised quite how good she was considering all things. Barden mentioned she was killed in the Blitz: but not that her whole family had been killed. Tragic end.
Premium Chessgames Member
  norami: Her name means, loosely, "Truly Male-female"
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: R.I.P. Vera Menchik. Too bad she didn't live to see 1950. She probably could've became the first woman to receive the GM title.
Feb-16-14  thegoodanarchist: Women's hair styles back then were kinda weird.
Feb-16-14  Karposian: <thegoodanarchist> Perhaps people back then would consider women's hair styles of today to be kinda weird..?
Feb-16-14  thegoodanarchist: <Karposian: <thegoodanarchist> Perhaps people back then would consider women's hair styles of today to be kinda weird..?>

Probably not. They're all dead. ;)

Feb-16-14  HeMateMe: She was 'da Bomb! (No pun intended.)
Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: Vera Menchik gives a short accopunt of her early years to the press in 1927:

CHESS VICTOR. World's First Woman Champion. ...Miss Vera Menchik told a Press representative that she played her first game Moscow when she was only nine. She has lived at Hastings for six years. Her mother is English, and her father is Czecho-Slovakian, and she spent the earliest years of her life Russia. Papa plays chess well, and taught me much, but he is not a champion, said Miss Menchik.

My first big chess played at the open tournaments at Hastings. In this tournament I was confident of doing well. I was in Russia the time of the revolution, and I was then very young, but I do not want to say much about it. Like many more we had unpleasant times. Papa owned a mill there; he no longer has it. Once I played chess every day, but lately I have not been so constant to the game. At Hastings her instructor was <Maroczy>, the Hungarian master. Miss Menchik is short, homely girl, and unbobbed. She speaks broken English.

Source: <Aberdeen Journal - Saturday 30 July 1927 p.7.>

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