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Monday, 08 Mar 2021 06:20
Happy International Women’s Day!

"FIDE Commission for Women’s Chess would like to congratulate our inspirational women leaders, players, organisers, arbiters, trainers, and chess teachers in our global chess community for all their efforts in the journey for change on this 2021 women's day! 

As we are constantly looking for ways to strengthen our reach and enhance the position of women in chess for the benefit of all, we count on your help and support. Please, don’t hesitate to contact us at women@fide.com with your suggestions and ideas, or to discuss your projects. 

Eva Repkova, chair of the FIDE Women's Commission" 

The FIDE Council approved that 2022 will be declared the “Year of Woman in Chess”. This project outlines future women empowerment path within FIDE for increased lasting support and, as a result, boosting female participation in all areas of chess life. A detailed action plan has been developed,  that touches on different topics related to marketing, networking, and enhanced communication.

The FIDE Women's Commission went through some restructuring recently. Its former Secretary, the two-time Junior World Champion Ilaha Khadimova, was "transferred" to the Events Commission. Her replacement was Christelle Hafstad (pictured below) from England. With her experience in entrepreneurship, finance, and youth chess talent development, Christelle is keen to help promote and develop projects that will further increase the participation of women and girls in the organisation of chess activities and playing chess.

Another important addition is the former women’s World Champion Xu Yuhua, who was welcomed as a new member of the Women's Commission just a few days ago. Xu took her first steps in Chinese chess, only to switch to the European version a few years later. At the age of 16, still an unknown player without any FIDE rating, she qualified for the Interzonal tournament (1993). Her road to the champion crown was far from a smooth sail – Xu scored only 5 out of 11 in her debut Interzonal (Jakarta 1993) and then failed in Junior U18 and U20 championships.

However, as she shared later, all these setbacks only give her a push to work on chess even harder. Eventually, this grind paid-off: in 1998 Xu clinches the Asian Championship, two years later she won the World Cup (2000) and repeated her success two years later. Xu was a member of the Chinese women’s teams that won the gold medal at the FIDE Chess Olympiads in 2000, 2002, and 2004.

Although the late 90s and early 2000s were her best years, Xu Yuhua did not have much luck in the World Championships. In 2006 she had some doubts about even participating but the coach of the national team insisted on her playing. This tournament became the pinnacle of Xu’s chess career as she became the World Champion and earned the GM title. In 2010 Xu Yuhua retired from competitions but not from chess as she serves as Vice-President of the Chinese Chess Association.