Top 10 Female Chess Players In The World


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The game of chess is a versatile and inviting platform for people of all ages, genders, and overall demographics. Originally, the game was played by men in tournaments, thus earning them the titles of International Masters, Grandmasters, etc. However, as time progressed, the gameplay started inviting more female chess players into the lists.

The diversification was lifted not only to accommodate more female chess players but also to encourage the best female chess players to gain the required recognition. The FIDE ratings were modified to befit the female chess players and the chess rankings introduced exclusive ranks for women.

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Now, not only can you find incredible male chess masters but you can find the top women chess players among the list of Grandmasters too. Despite the WCM, WFM, WIM, and WGM categorization of these exclusive women’s chess titles, when you seek the details or guidance of the top female chess players, they are referred to as Grandmasters and International Masters too.

The best female chess players demand the same amount of honor in this respectable field of mind games. Today, let us take a look at the top women chess players who acquired the titles of Woman Candidate Master, Woman FIDE Master, Woman International Master, and Woman Grandmaster with their dedication to the game.

Top 10 Female Chess Players

There are several female chess players who have successfully risen through the ranks and identify with the Woman FIDE Master title and above. Here is a list of the top 10 female chess players who inspire other female chess enthusiasts to follow this lucrative career of professional chess playing and earn titles, medals, and a lot of money.

1. Judit Polgar

The highest-rated woman chess player, not to mention the strongest and best female chess player of all time is Hungarian Grandmaster Judit Polgar.

When she was only 15 years old, Judit became a Woman Grandmaster of chess back in 1991. She is the sole contender among female chess players to qualify for the World Championship Tournament, which she successfully conquered in 2005.

Judit’s Elo rating crossed the 2700 marker making her the only one among the top women chess players to achieve an Elo rating of 2735.

Judit played against at least 10 players who hold the record for World Champion in classic games or rapid games. She took part in many international chess tournaments including those held in Madrid, Siegman, Leo, Japfa, Hoogeveen, Najdorf memorial, U.S Open, and the Hasting’s tournament.

Judit retired from participating in professional chess events back in 2014 but her record wins and immense skills in the game make her the best among all the female chess players to date.

2. Hou Yifan

A Chinese chess prodigy, Hou Yifan is a chess Grandmaster in her own rights.

She is the youngest ever female chess player to win the title of chess Grandmaster after Humpy Konera who is also on this list.

Hou competed in the FIDE Women’s World Chess Championship and entered the Torino Chess Olympiad at the tender age of 12. She was titled China’s first youngest National Women’s Champion in 2007. Later that year she earned her title as Woman Grandmaster.

At the age of 16, Hou Yifan won the Women’s World Championship held in Turkey and was soon regarded as the youngest Woman chess champion in all of history. It sure makes her a worthy contender on this list of the top 10 female chess players.

3. Susan Polgar

Born in Hungary, this American best female chess player is regarded as a child prodigy.

Susan is a pioneer for teaching chess to women and encouraging them to participate in ore chess games and spread the Woman empowerment phenomenon in chess as well. She taught as the Head coach at two of the major universities, namely Texas Tech and at Webster University for the National Championship from 2011 to 2012 and 2013 to 2014.

She initiated the Susan Polgar Institute for chess under Webster’s University and is currently the Chief. At the age of 15, she was the highest-rated woman chess player, or should we say girl chess player. Her performance at the time put her on the FIDE rating list and she only continued to rise as one of the best female chess players for 23 years after that.

Susan pioneered breaking down the gender barrier in chess by qualifying for the Men’s World Championship. Soon she became the World Blitz Rapid Chess champion in 1992 and made her way into the list of the top 10 female chess players of all time.

4. Maia Chiburdanidze

The Georgian beauty, Maia Chiburdanidze is the 7th Women’s World Chess Champion. She is regarded as the exceptionally gifted best woman chess player to win the Chess Olympiads 9 times.

Her FIDE Elo rating of 2502 helped her become a Woman Grandmaster of chess in 1977. She won the Brasov Women’s International tournament at the age of 13 when he debuted on an international platform. Soon after she competed in the USSR Girl’s Championship and won the Women’s title for the game.

She achieved the title of Woman Grandmaster once again in 1984 and became a celebrated best female chess player of her time. She is still regarded as the highest-rated woman chess player.

5. Xie Jun

Xie was the Chinese chess Woman's Grandmaster and one of the best female chess players ever. She reigned as the Women’s World Chess Champion once from 1991-96 and then again from 1999 to 2001. It made her the second-highest-rated woman chess player with two reigns.

She became the second Grandmaster to hail from China and ended up marrying her mentor Wu Shaobin who is also a chess Grandmaster.

Xie started playing the royal game of chess when she was only 6 years old and soon after achieved the title of Girl’s Xiangji Champion when she was only 16 years old. For the most part of her life as the best female chess player, she continued to finish at the 2nd or 3rd position globally.

With a Ph.D. in psychology, Xie has used her innate talent to make her way into the top 10 female chess players that ever existed. In 2004, she became a FIDE Senior trainer and continues to guide female chess players who show equally admirable talent like hers.

6. Nona Gaprindashvili

We suppose she shouldn’t be so far down in the list, but the ELO ratings and championship records put Nona in the sixth position.

Nona Gaprindashvili was the first Woman Grandmaster who achieved this title back when women playing chess competitively wasn’t even that popular. Her talent and skills helped her become the Women’s World Chess Champion.

Nona went on to represent the Soviet Union 11 times in the chess Olympiads and later represented Georgia in 1992. She has amassed 25 medals with 9 Gold ones acquired individually and 11 that were won when she played team games. In the chess Olympiads held in Dubai, Nona won all 10 games.

Back in 1964 to 85, Nona became the Women’s Soviet Champion 5 times, which explains why she is one of the best female chess players of all time.

7. Antoaneta Stefanova

Antoaneta, among the treasured female chess players from Bulgaria, is very popularly regarded as the highest-rated woman chess player and the best woman chess player Grandmaster to date.

Her big achievements began when she was named the 10th Women’s Champion while she played a knockout tournament with 64 players. Soon after, she competed in the under-10 Girls section of the World Youth Chess Championships.

Antoaneta has played in 10 Chess Olympiads to represent Bulgaria and was the first Women’s World Rapid Chess Champion. She is a Woman Grandmaster ad is truly worthy of the title, which makes her one of the top women chess players worldwide.

8. Alexandra Konstantinovna Kosteniuk

Sister of Woman FIDE Master Oxana, Alexandra is one of Russia’s top female chess players who started her tutelage with her father when she was only 5 years old.

Alexandra was the European Women’s Champion in 2004 and she quickly followed that with a win in the 2005 Russian Women’s Championship. This feat was quickly pursued with the title of the First Chess960 Women’s world champion in 2006.

Alexandra is not only a Woman Grandmaster but she was among the first female chess players to acquire the Men’s Swiss championship in 2013.

9. Xu Yuhua

Xu hails from China and is the country’s third Women’s World Chess Champion.

She started her chess games at the Zhejiang chess club in league games. She holds a degree in law but she is actively seen in chess circles. Not for nothing is she one of the top 10 female chess players on an international level.

Xu competed in the Woman’s World Chess Championship in 2006 and defeated Alisa Galliamova. The winning game made her the 22nd Grandmaster to hail from China.

She became a Woman FIDE Master after competing in the FIDE Women Grand Prix, Woman International Master, and Woman Grandmaster fairly with her innate passion for chess.

10. Humpy Koneru

This list of the top 10 female chess players would be incomplete if we didn’t have at least one Indian star, don’t you think?

Humpy is a Grandmaster in chess hailing from India with achievements that are no laughing matter. She won the FIDE woman’s Grand Prix World Junior Girls Chess Championship but came second in the overall event. She then finished second again in the 2013 Grand Prix to challenge for the Woman FIDE Master.

She acquired the title of Grandmaster and became the third ever Woman Grandmaster with a career Elo rating of 2598. She was regarded as the highest-rated woman chess player in the 2015 World Chess Championship.

Soon after, Humpy pursued a higher Elo rating and became the second woman chess player to cross the 2600 marker, which is extraordinary since the requirement for Woman Grandmaster is 2500.

Humpy was credited with the title of the youngest female Grandmaster when she was 15 years old and she held on to the title from 2002 to 2008 till another youngest woman grandmaster surpassed her.

These top female chess players are an inspiration to the younger generation so more female chess players can hone their skills and partake in International events to win more titles for the community of women.

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