Elaine Rutherford wins World Title

Hastings, January 2000

report by John Henderson

EDINBURGH’S Elaine Rutherford, 16, is celebrating becoming the Woman’s World Amateur Champion after lifting the title on tiebreak at the world-famous Hastings tournament. In a close competition in the 5th World Amateur Championship, where the top placed female takes the woman’s title, three players, Elaine Rutherford (pictured left with Garry Kasparov by JBH - only one of these players has an official FIDE world title!), Rasa Norinkeviciute (Lithuania) and Lucy Broomfield (England) all finished equal first with a score of 5.5/9.

Elaine took the title on tiebreak score thanks to a strong showing in the early rounds, including a win against top seed Ian Watson. She now becomes the first Scottish player to lift a world title since Paul Motwani’s World Under 17 championship win in 1978.

The World Chess Federation, FIDE, inaugurated the World Amateur title in 1995 to celebrate the centenary of Hastings, one of the world’s longest running international tournaments. And, from the start, it immediately took the imagination of non-internationally rated players.

Now, such is the popularity of the event, other countries have shown an interest in running it, and indeed next year’s World Amateur will be hosted by Spain.

The tournament is restricted to players who have no FIDE title, nor a published FIDE rating, nor have had such a rating since 1993. The winner of the World Amateur title, an international Open event, automatically receives a FIDE Master title with the Woman’s World Amateur champion likewise becoming a Woman FIDE Master.

This latest success for Elaine Rutherford rounds off a fantastic chess year for the James Gillespie High School pupil. In 1999 she became the first Scottish female to play in the Scottish Championship, which with three GMs and six IMs, was the strongest ever.

This was followed with her becoming the first Scottish female to win a national Grand Prix Open when she tied for first place with GM Colin McNab at the Perth Congress.

Her potential over the board received further recognition when she was specially selected by the world champion Garry Kasparov to take part in a Masterclass he held in October at Oakham School in Rutland.

E Rutherford – N Dennis World Amateur (8) Grand Prix Attack 1 e4 c5 2 Nc3 Nc6 3 f4 g6 4 Nf3 Bg7 5 Bb5 Nd4 6 0–0 Nxb5 7 Nxb5 a6 8 Nc3 d6 9 d3 Bg4 10 h3 Bxf3 11 Qxf3 e6 12 f5 Qe7 13 fxe6 fxe6 14 Bg5 Qd7 15 Na4 Qc7 16 Nb6 Rb8 17 Nc4 Nh6 18 Bxh6 Bxh6 19 Qf6 Kd7 20 Qf7+ Kc6 21 Qxe6 Rbf8 22 Ne5+ Kb6 23 Nd7+ Ka7 24 Nxf8 Rxf8 25 Rxf8 Bxf8 26 Rf1 Bh6 27 Rf7 Qa5 28 Qb3 Qe1+ 29 Kh2 Qb4 30 Qxb4 cxb4 31 Rxh7 1–0