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IN his prime, Bobby Fischer once famously boasted that he could give any woman in the world (even the women's world champion of the day, Nona Gaprindashvili) Knight odds. Nowadays, thanks to women drastically improving their play with most shunning segregated tournaments in an effort to strengthen their game, more females are invading the male bastion of chess.
The revolution started with the Polgar experiment when three Hungarian girls took the chess world by storm in the early eighties thanks to their parent's individualistic educational approach. Shunning female tournaments in their youth, all three - Susan, Sofia and Judit - achieved Grandmaster results in their teens and won international competitions ahead of male professionals twice their age. And, by the age of fourteen, the youngest, Judit, had broken every record in sight and was seriously considered at one stage as a heir(ess) to Kasparov's world title.
Its an example that's also worked for Elaine Rutherford, 16, Scotland's top girl player. The James Gillespie High School pupil has constantly battled in the strongest tournaments in an effort to improve her game. This year she became the first Scottish female to compete in the Scottish Championships; which was the strongest on record with now fewer than 3 GMs and 6 IMs. Now, she's started to reap the rewards of her efforts and is regarded as one of the toughest opponents on the circuit.
At the weekend in the Perth Congress held at Perth High School, she became the first Scottish female (and only the third British girl, behind Harriet Hunt and Ruth Sheldon) to win a Grand Prix Open tournament. Her unbeaten score of 4/5 (a traditional first round half-point bye, three wins and a draw with IM Steve Mannion) to come equal first in the tournament with GM Colin McNab.
Open - 1-2 GM C McNab (Dundee & Victoria) & E Rutherford (Edinburgh) 4/5; 3-5 IM S Mannion (Cathcart), J Montgomery (Glasgow Montrose) & K McDonald (Inverclyde) 3.5.
Major - 1 J Docherty (Kilmarnock) 4.5/5; 2-3 M Cavanagh (Bon Accord) & H Gourley (Kirriemuir) 4.
Minor - 1 W Clinton (Livingston) 5/5; 2-3 S Tweedie (Holy Cross) & K Campbell (Holy Cross) 4.5.
D Sime - E Rutherford, Perth Congress, (5), French Defence
1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 e6 3 c3 Nc6 4 d4 cxd4 5 cxd4 d5 6 e5 Qb6 7 Nc3 Bd7 8 Bd3 Nxd4 9 Nxd4 Qxd4 10 0-0 Qxe5 11 Re1 Qd6 12 Nb5 Qb8 13 Qf3 Bd6 14 Nxd6+ Qxd6 15 Bf4 Qe7 16 Qg3 f6 17 Qh3 Qf7 18 Rac1 e5 19 Bb5 Kd8 20 Qc3 Bxb5 21 Qa5+ b6 22 Qxb5 Qd7 23 Qb4 Ne7 24 Be3 d4 25 Red1 Nd5 26 Qa3 dxe3 27 Qb3 Rc8 28 Rxc8+ Kxc8 29 Rxd5 exf2+ 30 Kxf2 Qc7 31 Rd3 Kb8 32 Qd5 Rc8 33 Rc3 Qd8 34 Rxc8+ Qxc8 35 Qd3 h6 36 b4 Qc7 37 a3 Qe7 38 Kf3 Qb7+ 39 Ke3 Kc7 40 Qg6 Kd6 41 h4 Qc7 42 Qd3+ Ke7 43 Kd2 Qd6 0-1