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Gisela Kahn Gresser
Number of games in database: 39
Years covered: 1946 to 1975
Last FIDE rating: 2090
Overall record: +9 -26 =4 (28.2%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games.

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C55 Two Knights Defense (2 games)
B06 Robatsch (2 games)
D52 Queen's Gambit Declined (2 games)
C64 Ruy Lopez, Classical (2 games)
B32 Sicilian (2 games)

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(born Feb-08-1906, died Dec-04-2000, 94 years old) United States of America

[what is this?]
Gisela Kahn Gresser was born in Detroit, Michigan. FIDE awarded her the WIM title in 1950. She played in five Women's Candidates' tournaments (for the Women's World Chess Championship) and three Women's Chess Olympiads. She won the U.S. Women's Championship nine times: in 1944 (scoring 8-0), 1948 (with Mona May Karff), 1955 (with Nancy Roos), 1957 (with Sonja Graf-Stevenson), 1962, 1965, 1966 (with Lisa Lane), 1967, and 1969 (at age 63). In April 1963, with a rating of 2211, she became the first woman in the United States to achieve the title of National Master (Chess Life, April 1963, p. 89). She died in Manhattan on December 4, 2000.

Wikipedia article: Gisela Kahn Gresser

 page 1 of 2; games 1-25 of 39  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. J C Rather vs G Gresser 0-1101946New York Marshall corrC34 King's Gambit Accepted
2. G Gresser vs R Hermanowa  1-0341949Moscow, WCH Woman RUSB92 Sicilian, Najdorf, Opocensky Variation
3. G Gresser vs L Rudenko 1-0411949Moscow, WCH Woman RUSC64 Ruy Lopez, Classical
4. C Benini vs G Gresser  0-1521949Moscow, WCH Woman RUSD52 Queen's Gambit Declined
5. G Gresser vs N Hruskova-Belska  1-0521949Moscow, WCH Woman RUSC10 French
6. O Rubtsova vs G Gresser  1-0431950Moscow, WCH Woman RUSA28 English
7. T Dunst vs G Gresser 1-0131950New YorkA00 Uncommon Opening
8. C Chaude de Silans vs G Gresser  1-0361950Moscow, WCH Woman RUSA52 Budapest Gambit
9. G Gresser vs E Bykova 0-1531950Moscow, WCH Woman RUSC55 Two Knights Defense
10. G Gresser vs M T Mora Iturralde  0-1571950Moscow, WCH Woman RUSB83 Sicilian
11. G Gresser vs V Borisenko-Belova 0-1461950Moscow, WCH Woman RUSC24 Bishop's Opening
12. G Gresser vs J Langos  1-0361950Moscow, WCH Woman RUSC55 Two Knights Defense
13. I Larsen vs G Gresser  1-0621950Moscow, WCH Woman RUSD52 Queen's Gambit Declined
14. G Gresser vs F Heemskerk 0-1691950Moscow, WCH Woman RUSB10 Caro-Kann
15. Keller-Hermann vs G Gresser  1-0591950Moscow, WCH Woman RUSD57 Queen's Gambit Declined, Lasker Defense
16. M Karff vs G Gresser  1-0411950Moscow, WCH Woman RUSD37 Queen's Gambit Declined
17. E Tranmer vs G Gresser  1-0481950Moscow, WCH Woman RUSC77 Ruy Lopez
18. Larry Evans vs G Gresser  1-049195051st US OpenC99 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin,
19. Lombardy vs G Gresser 1-0481956Manhattan CC-ch sf-D 5657E58 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3, Main line with 8...Bxc3
20. G Gresser vs O Rubtsova  ½-½411959Candidates Tournament (Women)B88 Sicilian, Fischer-Sozin Attack
21. G Gresser vs E Ladanyike-Karakas  ½-½261959Candidates Tournament (Women)A03 Bird's Opening
22. G Gresser vs L Lane 1-0281961Vrnjacka Banja ct (Women)B32 Sicilian
23. G Gresser vs C Chaude de Silans  0-1401961Vrnjacka Banja ct (Women)B06 Robatsch
24. E Ladanyike-Karakas vs G Gresser  ½-½351963Split ol (Women)C53 Giuoco Piano
25. G Hulgana vs G Gresser  1-02419632nd olw finalC50 Giuoco Piano
 page 1 of 2; games 1-25 of 39  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Gresser wins | Gresser loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
Apr-02-04  morphyvsfischer: I think this is the first woman GM.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: Gisela Khan Gresser
Born 8th February 1906 in Detroit
A WIM in 1950 she was Women's World Championship Challenger in 1949-50.
Premium Chessgames Member
  tpstar: <Benzol> Khan or Kahn?
Premium Chessgames Member
  vonKrolock: < tpstar: <Benzol> Khan or Kahn?> All the available sources gives the form KAHN - the results presenting the other spelling are related to Sultan Khan.

***en passant presents a very detailed Gresser's bio

Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: <tpstar> <vonKrolock> <Khan or Kahn> Sorry guys that should have been Kahn.
A fingerslip on the keyboard.
Jan-04-05  Lawrence: After reading <Arnold Denker>'s obituary in the "N.Y.Times" I saw that they let you access the Dec. 2000 obituary of <Gisela Kahn Gresser>.

Many kibitzers ask about the possibility of learning to play chess well when you only start as an adult. According to the obituary, she learned at the age of 33 and was 9 times U.S. Women's champion.

Feb-08-06  BIDMONFA: Gisela Kahn Gresser

GRESSER, Gisela Kahn

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: presents a very detailed Gresser's bio
Jul-20-07  Petrosianic: Interesting. It says she was the first woman in the United States to get a master title. I would have thought that was Sonja Graf.

Unfortunately, histories of the US Women's Championship are hard to find. I've got several crosstables of tournaments that Gresser competed in, but none of the 9 that she won. Her rating was still over 2000 in the early 70's, but slipped to low 1900's/high 1800's by the middle of the decade.

Premium Chessgames Member
  stoy: I remember her in the Marshall Chess Club in the mid 1960's. I lost a tournament game to her. She was a good person.
Feb-08-09  brankat: <Petrosianic> Sonja Graf was a Women's WC Challenger already in 1937 and '39, so most likely she'd had a Master title already, probably in 1936 after her victory in Semmering. She moved to the States only after the WWII, and was awarded the WIM in 1950 when the title was introduced.
Feb-08-09  brankat: In Mrs.Kahn-Gresser's Bio it states: "..died Dec - 00.." I assume it is 2000?

R.I.P. Gisela.

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: Here are two pictures of the younger Ms. Gresser:
Feb-08-12  brankat: Happy Birthday Ms.Gresser!
Aug-22-13  Caissanist: Does anyone know when, exactly, Gresser achieved a master rating? I had thought that no American woman did so until Diane Savereide, around 1980. There are several obituaries of her that state she was the first to make master, but none state when exactly she did so. This seems strange.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Caissanist>: There is some discussion of this at Lisa Lane as well.

Like yourself, I have believed Savereide was the first (Rachel Crotto also became a master, but I've no idea when), though this is but a dim recollection.

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <Caissanist> Good question. I believe that at one time I searched through the <Chess Life> CD-ROMs and the bound volumes I have (I have 1961 through 1965 or something like that) trying to find where she had a master's rating. I definitely found lists where she was rated 2100-something, but as I recall could not find a list where she was rated 2200 or above.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: I have solved the mystery! <Chess Life>, April 1963, p. 89:

<Mrs. Gresser First Woman Master

Page 93 of this issue of CHESS LIFE is of some historical interest: for the first time the name of a woman appears on a list of USCF Masters! This honor goes to U.S. Women's Champion Gisela K. Gresser of New York City, whose strong play in the Marshall and Manhattan championships lifted her rating to 2211.

For many years Mrs. Gresser has been rated the number one woman player in the country; her victory a year ago in the Women's Championship was the fifth time that she has won the national title.>

Aug-29-13  Caissanist: <FSR> thanks much for taking the time to dig that out. Glad to see you (or somebody) updated her bio as well.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: Happy birthday, Gisela Gresser.
Feb-20-17  wrap99: First Female Master Question: I am pretty sure it was Diane Saveride.

I wonder if the reason is that it was a title not achieved merely by breaking 2200 but doing so for, for example, a certain number of games or successive months.

By the way, Master used to really mean something; even Expert was a pretty big deal -- I believe in the 1970s there were low Masters in the CA state championship.

I might as well get this off my chest:

Many years ago I was talking to Bill Goichberg, a major organizer who expressed that fear of losing rating points in his opinion made people reluctant to play in tournaments.

I strongly disagreed: I think people wanted ratings to both mean something in terms of indicating playing strength so that a player understood how strong he actually was and also as a fair predictor of the outcome of games.

I think bridge has a system where if one simply plays enough one can become a Life Master -- this title doesn't seem very valuable to me.

I understand that some players were "sandbagging" to get into lower sections to win money but how big of a problem was that really when you take into account the expense of travel/lodging and the fairly modest prizes of chess tourneys? I know for sure it happened but I think it was ultimately self-correcting; a sandbagger would win and move up and then to move down again would have to spend time and money on this.

So I think rating floors and whatever else has contributed to rating inflation was a terrible mistake. After years of play, I broke through a barrier that had once seemed unattainable but I am kidding myself if I think this means I actually had learned much about chess.

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