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Chess is a game that is often linked with men. Most of the well-known chess players are male, but this does not mean that women’s presence in the game isn’t bigger and better than ever. It is often quite unusual to encounter women who play chess socially for some reason. However certain countries have more women in the game than others. In FIDE’s top 100 female players today, there are merely two players from Great Britain. Many European countries have just one or two players in the top 100 yet countries such as Russia and China dominate. Russia boasts an impressive 18 players in the top 100, China has a pretty decent 11 – including the top 2 players.

At eurowomen2003.com we are going to look at the European Individual Chess Championships, and in particular, the Women’s chess Championship that was held in Silivri in 2003. We are going to be looking at the women who dominated and took those top spots.

Women’s European Chess Championships

The European Individual Chess Championships

Established in 2000, this is a chess tournament that is predominantly organised by the European Chess Union. It is an annual event that determines the European champions – the absolute champion and women’s champion. It also is there to establish players who will qualify for the FIDE top 100 and the Women’s World Championships.

This isn’t a competition that has been without controversy however. There have been several problems that have surrounded the competition since its birth.
Firstly, it was found out that participants and guests were made to stay in the official hotel. However, the room rates were much higher than other guests. This caused a lot of complaints.

There was also an issue with the FIDE times being used in the competition, which are significantly faster than the standard times. This led to complaints of undue stress, sleepless nights and poor quality of game play.

However, the benefit of taking part is that it really gives the women of Europe a chance to get into that well-respected FIDE top 100 and take part in the World Championships. It is a chance for them to get their names known in the world chess circuit.

The Women’s European Chess Championships 2003

The Women’s European Chess Championships 2003 was held in Silivri, Turkey between May 29th to June 15th. It was host to 113 top European women and had an impressive 11 rounds. The tournament was a big success and saw some very interesting results, with some of the more dominant names and countries taking a back seat.

The winner was a Swedish player called Pia Cramling. This was the first time the Swedes had won this tournament, and this has only ever been repeated one other time when the same player won 7 years later in 2010. The runner up was Lithuanian Viktorija Cmilyte. It was the very first time she placed in the tournament, but went on to be a consistent player, earning runner-up spot in 2008 and 2010, then winning the tournament outright in 2011. Third place went to the Russian player Tatiana Kosintseva who won runner up place in the 2012 and 2014 tournaments and first place in 2007 and 2009.

The Top Women

There is never really much interest shown in the top female chess players for some unknown reason. We are now going to look a bit more into the women who dominated the women’s European Chess Championships in 2003:

  1. Pia Ann Rosa-Della Cramling was born in April 1963. This top Swedish chess player became the third female to earn the sought-after title of Grandmaster through conventional tournament play. Since the 1980s, she has been considered to be one of the strongest female players in the world. She has taken top spot in the FIDE world rankings an impressive 3 times – January 1984, July 1984 and January 1985. Although she has never won the Women’s World Championships she has come in third and fourth at times.
  2. Second placed Viktorija Cmilyte-Nielsen was born in August 1983 and was not even 20 years old when she came runner up in the competition. She is a Lithuanian Grand Master and politician. She has been crowned European Champion in 2011 and Lithuanian Champion twice. Viktorija started playing at just 6 years old and has always been coached by her father. As well as her success in the Women’s European Championships, she was also crowned European Women’s Rapid Chess Champion in 2007. She was awarded the Grandmaster title in 2010.
  3. Third placed Tatiana Anatolyevna Kosintseva is a Russian Chess Grandmaster who achieved her title on 2009. She was born in April 1986 and was just 17 years old when you took bronze in 2003. Tatiana is two-time European champion and three-time Russian women’s champion. As well as this, she was also a member of the gold medal winning Russian team in the Women’s Chess Olympiads in 2010 and 2012, as well as the Women’s European Team Chess Championships in 2007, 2009 and 2011.

The Future of the Tournament.

The tournament is still held annually and seems to have different countries with various amounts of success. Undoubtedly Ukraine and Russia are countries that have a strong chance of success as they have won the tournament 8 times between them in the last 12 years. Having said that, Georgia is a country on the rise, stomping through the ranks and winning the last tournament.

There are some very strong women to look out for in Europe and hopefully they’ll soon be taken as seriously as men in the game.