Georgia’s five-time World Chess Champion Nona Gaprindashvili turned 81 today, with messages of congratulation offered by the country’s Prime Minister and chess enthusiasts to the first woman to be awarded the International Chess Federation’s title of Grandmaster.
In his message to Gaprindashvili, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili said she was “consistently making us proud with her excellent performance and impressive victories.”
It is with enormous love and special respect that I wish a happy birthday to the legendary Nona Gaprindashvili, the world’s greatest female chess player,” Garibashvili said.
The Georgian Ministry of Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs and the Georgian Chess Federation have also sent birthday wishes to Gaprindashvili.
Born in the western Georgian city of Zugdidi in 1941, Gaprindashvili went on to win World Championships in 1962, 1965, 1969, 1972 and 1975, in addition to 11 Chess Olympiad tournaments between 1963-1992. She was recognised with the Grandmaster title in 1978.
She was officially recognised as the greatest Georgian female sportsperson of the 20th Century in 1999, and has served as the Honorary President of Georgia's National Olympic Committee since 1996.
Gaprindashvili has been active in competitions over the recent years, winning the World Senior Chess Championship for players aged above 65 in Bucharest, Romania in 2019.
Her achievements have been recognised in Georgia with public honours, including the naming of Tbilisi's Chess Palace venue after her in 2001, and the state title of the Order of Excellence of Georgia, bestowed on her in 2015.