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Sonja Graf

Sonja Graf was a German chess master who also lived in Argentina and the United States. She was the Women's World Sub-Champion, two-time winner of the U.S. Women's Chess Championship and author of two books which describe her life in chess as well as the sufferings of her abusive childhood.

Born in Munich, Sonja Graf was the daughter of Josef Graf and Susanna Zimmermann, both Volga Germans from the Samara region, who had moved to Munich in September 1906. She later wrote that despite the suffering she endured at the hands of her father, who was originally a priest in Russia, but moved to Munich to pursue life as a painter, she was grateful that he taught her the game of chess when she was still a child.

During the early decades of the 20th century, female chess players were a rarity and Sonia Graf basked in the popularity and attention her sudden fame brought her as much as she exploited the freedom and independence of her new itinerant lifestyle. In 1934, she played against the era's other woman champion, Vera Menchik, in an unofficial Amsterdam match and, subsequently, in an official 1937 world championship match in Semmering, Austria. She lost both matches , but was invited, along with Menchik, to participate in what would normally have been an exclusive male tournament held that year in Prague. Again, she did not win against any of the champions, and her best result was a draw with the Estonian master Paul Keres.

Related websites

Campeonato Mundo femenino (List of Women's World Champions)

List of chess players who found refuge in Argentina following the outbreak of World War II in September 1939

Sonja Graf


"Childhood of Sonja 'Susann' Graf - the solutions to (nearly) all open questions"

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Sonja Graf

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