Paula Kalmar-Wolf (née Klein) was born in Agram, Austria-Hungary (today Zagreb, Croatia).(1) Her earlier life is clouded in mystery. She moved to Vienna, but it is not known when.(1) She got married to Kalmar, and gave birth to at least one child.(1) In 1925, she married Heinrich Wolf. (1) She was a modiste by profession and had a small studio in Vienna.(1) Suffering from diabetes, Paula Kalmar-Wolf died in 1931 at the age of 51 in Vienna.(1)
Acquaintance with Chess
Johann Schöpfleuthner taught Paula Kalmar the rules of chess at the end of 1913, when she was already more than 30 years of age.(1) She went on to study chess with Jean Dufresne 's Kleinem Lehrbuch des Schachspiels, and became a member of the Vienna Amateur Chess Club.(1) Her teachers were Richard Reti and, especially after the First World War, her later husband Wolf. (1)
Already in 1921, Paula Kalmar suggested a Women's tournament in Vienna.(1) In 1922, she shared 2nd place behind Josephine Pohlner in the Vienna Chess Congress Women's tournament.(2) In addition, she won the 1922 Austrian Women's Championship.(3) At the Innsbruck Chess Congress Hauptturnier 1922, Paula Kalmar was the sole female participant and came in 4th.(4) In the Hauptturnier of the 8th Bavarian Chess Congress in 1923, she was again the sole female participant and came in 3rd.(3) She won the Women's tournament of the Austrian Chess Association in 1925 (perhaps 1924/25).(5) In 1926, Kalmar-Wolf won the Austrian Women's Amateur Championship.(6)
Women's World Chess Championship Contender
Kalmar-Wolf finished clear 3rd with 7.0/11 (behind Vera Menchik and Katarina Beskow) at London (1927). She came in 2nd behind Menchik with 5.5/8 at Hamburg (1930), and again 2nd with 4.0/8 at Prague (1931) behind Menchik.(7)
(1) Michael Ehn, Die erste österreichische Schachmeisterin:
Paula Kalmar-Wolf. In Karoline Spalt, http://www.frau-schach.at/paula-kal...
(2) Österreichische Schachrundschau, November/December 1922, issue 10/12, p. 78. Provided in "ANNO / Österreichische Nationalbibliothek"
(3) Neue Wiener Schachzeitung, December 1923, pp. 191-192. Provided in "ANNO / Österreichische Nationalbibliothek"
(4) Paula Kalmar, Die Frau im Schachleben, Neue Wiener Schachzeitung, March 1923, pp. 21-23. Reprinted from Neue Freie Presse, 23 February 1923. Provided in "ANNO / Österreichische Nationalbibliothek"
(5) Wiener Schachzeitung, January 1925, pp. 11-12. Provided in "ANNO / Österreichische Nationalbibliothek"
(6) Wiener Schachzeitung, July 1926, pp. 204-205. Provided in "ANNO / Österreichische Nationalbibliothek"