Georgia’s chess legend Gaprindashvili receives signed T-shirt from acclaimed footballer Messi on 80th anniversary

Nona Gaprindashvili, who turned 80 on May 3, is a long-time supporter of FC Barcelona. Photo: The Georgian Chess Federation/Facebook, 17 Jun 2021 - 17:21, Tbilisi,Georgia

“Happy Birthday, Nona!” - the world-known Argentinian football player Lionel Messi has sent a signed T-shirt to Georgia's chess legend and five-time world champion Nona Gaprindashvili on her 80th anniversary. 

I did not expect this present… This present will take a special place in my museum”, Gaprindashvili said. 

Born in the western Georgian city of Zugdidi in 1941, Gaprindashvili has won world championships in 1962, 1965, 1969, 1972 and 1975. She has also won 11 chess Olympiad tournaments between 1963-1992. Photo: The Georgian Chess Federation/Facebook

Gaprindashvili was officially recognised as the greatest Georgian female sportsperson of the 20th Century in 1999 and has served as honorary president of Georgia's National Olympic Committee since 1996.

Her achievements have been recognised in Georgia with public honours, including naming Tbilisi's Chess Palace after her in 2001 and granting the former player the Order of Excellence of Georgia in 2015.

Back in 2019 Gaprindashvili won the World Senior Chess Championship in the above 65 year age category in Bucharest, Romania.