Though Maya Chiburdanidze has been Women's World Champion since 1978 and will defend her championship against Irina Levitina later this year in a match she will be favored to win, the highest-ranked female in the world today is an attractive 22-year-old Swede by the name of Pia Cramling. She was the winner of the 1984 Chess Oscar for the best performance by a female player in 1983 with 116 chess journalists from 37 countries participating in the voting.
Early in 1982 Pia declined to participate in the current women's championship cycle, preferring not to offer the Soviet women a premature challenge. She has continued to improve and it seems probable that in the next cycle she will break the Russian hegemony of women's chess, which has persisted since Ludmila Rudenko won the eighth Women's World Championship in 1949-50 in Moscow.
That she continues her impressive play this year is evidenced by today's column, which features her defeating two of America's leading grandmasters, Leonid Shamkovich and Lev Alburt (first board on the US Olympic team in 1980), in a recent tournament in Reykjavik, Iceland. Though both of her victims twisted and squirmed, young Pia was inexorable and unfaltering in her pursuit of victory.
King's Indian Defense Shamkovich Cramling 1. P-QB4 P-KN3 2. P-Q4 B-N2 3. N-QB3 P-Q3 4. P-K4 N-KB3 5. N-KB3 O-O 6. P-KR3 P-B3 7. B-N5 P-KR3 8. B-K3 P-K4 9. P-Q5 PxP 10. BPxP N-R3 11. B-Q3 N-K1 12. Q-Q2 K-R2 13. O-O P-B4 14. PxP PxP 15. N-K1 N-B4 16. B-B2 N-B3 17. P-B3 P-QR4 18. P-KN4 N-N1 19. N-N2 K-R1 20. Q-K1 B-B3 21. R-Q1 P-N3 22. K-R1 R-R2 23. P-R3 R(R)-KB2 24. N-K2 P-R5 25. N-N3 B-R5 26. NXB QxN 27. K-N2 N-K2 28. N-R5 QxQ 29. R(B)xQ PxP 30. BPxP B-N2 31. BxN NPxB 32. B-K4 R-B7 ch 33. K-N3 B-R3! 34. R-QN1 B-Q6! 35. B-N2 BxR 36. RxB R-Q7 37. P-N4 P-B5 38. P-N5 P-B6 39. R-QB1 R-Q6 ch 40. K-R2 R-B7 41. K-N1 R(B)-Q7 42. Resigns
Alekhine's Defense Cramling Alburt 1. P-K4 N-KB3 2. P-K5 N-Q4 3. P-Q4 P-Q3 4. N-KB3 P-KN3 5. B-QB4 PxP 6. PxP P-QB3 7. N-B3 B-K3 8. N-KN5 B-N2 9. P-B4 N-Q2 10. BxN PXB 11. B-K3 N-N3 12. NxB PxN 13. B-Q4 N-B5 14. P-N3 N-R6 15. O-O R-QB1 16. R-B2 Q-R4 17. Q-Q3 P-QN4 18. R-QB1 P-N5 19. N-K2 N-N4 20. P-B3 PxP 21. P-QR4 NxB 22. NxN K-Q2 23. P-R4 R-B4 24. R(2)-B2 KR-QB1 25. K-B2 Q-N5 26. K-K2 BxP 27. PxB Q-N1 28. K-B2 QxKP 29. R-K1 R-B1 ch 30. N-B3 Q-R7 31. Q-Q4 R-QB2 32. RxP RxR 33. QxR QxRP ch 34. K-N1 RxN 35. PxR P-Q5 36. Q-Q2 Q-N6 ch 37. K-B1 QxP ch 38. Q-B2 Q-R6 ch 39. K-K2 P-K4 40. Q-B3 Q-R7 ch 41. K-Q3 Q-QN7 42. Q-Q5 ch K-K1 43. Q-R8 ch K-B2 44. R-B1 ch Resigns