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Grandmaster with many interests

January 13, 2023

Elisabeth Pähtz, the German number one for almost 20 years, will add to the WR Chess Masters program in many ways. As host of a chess mini-camp from February 21 to 25, the 37-year-old will join former World Championship finalist Boris Gelfand in teaching young talents secrets of the royal game. She will also be commentating on the action in the WR Chess Masters alongside US Grandmaster Yasser Seirawan.

Elisabeth Pähtz
Elisabeth Pähtz during the Rapid and Blitz World Championships in Kazakhstan, where the German number one finished ninth in blitz. | Photo: Lennart Ootes

What could be better for one's chess than living under the same roof as a grandmaster? Elisabeth Pähtz learned the game under these excellent conditions. Her father, GM Thomas Pähtz, trained her as a child. He put his own chess career on hold to encourage and support Elisabeth and her highly talented brother Thomas and accompany them to competitions.

Elisabeth Pähtz
Elisabeth Pähtz, here at the Grand Swiss in Riga 2021, does not pursue chess with blinders on. | Photo: Lennart Ootes

"Without my father I wouldn't be a chess player," says Elisabeth Pähtz. She has now caught up with him in terms of titles. In December 2022, the World Chess Federation (FIDE) awarded her the grandmaster title, the highest there is in chess. Pähtz is the first German and the 40th woman ever to be allowed to call herself "GM".

Without my father I wouldn't be a chess player

Elisabeth Pähtz was 9 years old when she won the German U11 championship. At 14 she became the youngest German women's champion ever. And that was just the beginning: world youth champion in 2002, world junior champion in 2005. Among the countless victories that were to follow is her win at the European Women’s Rapid Chess Championship in 2018.

Singer and pianist

"Elli," as friends call her, is passionate about chess, but says she doesn't love the game as much as one might think. Her interests are too varied. Traveling is one of the favorite pastimes of the multilingual chess master, who is also an excellent singer and pianist.

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