In the last list of the top Grandmasters in each country series, we went over the best American Chess players. Now in this article, we’re going through the ten best female Chess players in the world, starting with the tenth highest FIDE rated Women Grandmaster to the number one rated player.
Last Updated: April 29th, 2022
10. Alexandra Kosteniuk
Full name: Alexandra Kosteniuk
Title: Grandmaster – 2004
International Master – 2000
Woman Grandmaster – 1998
Woman International Master – 1997
World Ranking: 610
Classical (Std): 2518
Kosteniuk’s father taught her how to play chess at the age of five. She received her degree in 2003 from the Russian State Academy of Physical Education in Moscow as a certified professional chess trainer.
Alexandra has dominated the youth chess scene since she was just 10 years old, when she won both the European and World Under-12 Championships. She also became the Russian rapid chess champion at the age of 12.
In 2001, she reached the final of the World Women’s Chess Championship at the age of 17, but was beaten by Zhu Chen. Kosteniuk won the Dresden tournament in Europe to become European women’s champion.
She was granted the grandmaster title in November 2004, making her the tenth woman to receive the GM title from the World Chess Federation. She had previously earned Woman Grandmaster and International Master titles in 1998 and 2000, respectively.
9. Nana Dzagnidze
Full name: Nana Dzagnidze
Title: Grandmaster – 2008
International Master – 2004
International Master – 2004
Woman International Master – 2001
Woman FIDE Master – 1999
World Ranking: 569
Classical (Std): 2524
Nana Dzagnidze was designated a Grandmaster in 2008. She holds the title of Woman Grandmaster as well. She was European U12 champion for females in 1999.
In 2000, she took 2nd place in the World U14 championship for girls. She won the World U16 title for women in 2001. She was European U20 champion for girls in 2002.
She also won the World U20 title in 2003. In July 2010, she won the fourth leg of the Women’s Grand Prix series, which was part of the 2011 World Chess Championship cycle.
She won seven games and drew four in a eleven-round round-robin tournament.
In 2017, she won both the European Women’s Individual Championship in Riga and the Women’s World Blitz Chess Championship in Riyadh.
She is the best female player of the year in 2017 and received the honorary FIDE award. On December 31, 2018, during the final ceremony of the 2018 World Rapid & Blitz Chess Championship in Saint Petersburg, the Chess Award of Caissa was solemnly handed to her.
8. Tan Zhongyi
Full name: Tan Zhongyi
Title: Grandmaster – 2017
Woman Grandmaster – 2009
World Ranking: 564
Classical (Std): 2525
Tan Zhongyi was a world champion in the under-10 category in 2000 and 2001, as well as an under-12 titleholder in 2002. In 2015, Tan won the Chinese Women Championship and the the China Chess Queens.
Zhongyi became the 16th Women’s World Chess Champion on March 3, 2017. To win the Women’s World Championship (2017).
Tan overcame Anna Muzychuk in rapid tiebreakers. Because she won the event, she was immediately promoted to Grandmaster, she qualified for the title by merely making it to the finals, which is equivalent to a GM norm. Her last norm was at Tradewise Gibraltar in 2014 and Tradewisle Gibraltar in 2016.
7. Anna Muzychuk
Full name: Anna Muzychuk
Title: Grandmaster – 2012
International Master – 2007
Woman Grandmaster – 2004
Woman International Master – 2002
Woman FIDE Master – 2001
World Ranking: 516
Classical (Std): 2533
At the age of two, her parents taught her to play chess. She first competed at the age of five and won the under-10 girls championship of Lviv Oblast in the same year.
In 2001, she was promoted to Woman FIDE Master and Woman International Master in 2002. In 2003, she became the Ukrainian Women’s Champion. She was the winner of the Ukrainian Championship for Under-20 girls in 2004.
In 2007, Katerina was named International Master and Grandmaster in 2012. She was the Women’s World Rapid Champion in Doha in December 2016, and two days later she defended her Women’s Blitz World Championship title. In March 2017, she came second in the Women’s World Chess Championship 2017 in Tehran.
6. Mariya Muzychuk
Full name: Mariya Muzychuk
Title: Grandmaster – 2015
International Master – 2008
Woman Grandmaster – 2007
Woman International Master – 2005
World Ranking: 496
Classical (Std): 2536
At the age of three, Mariya Muzychuk’s parents taught her chess and she knew all of the chess pieces. At the age of six, Muzychuk took part in her first chess tournament.
Anna Muzychuk is Mariya’s older sister and a prominent chess player. In addition to chess, both sisters plays table tennis.
At the 2002 European Youth Chess Championship in Peniscola, Spain, Muzychuk won the under-10 girls’ section. She was ranked as the fifth best under-20 female player in the world in November 2010.
In the 2010 Women’s World Chess Championship, she advanced to the top 16 but lost to Dronavalli Harika in an Armageddon Playoff after a tie in the regular match. In 2012 and 2013, Shevchenkonate also won the Ukrainian Women’s Chess Championship. In 2014, she triumphed in the Gibraltar Masters tournament, where she also achieved a grandmaster norm.
5. Kateryna Lagno
Full name: Kateryna Lagno
Title: Grandmaster – 2007
Woman Grandmaster – 2003
Woman International Master – 2001
Woman FIDE Master – 2000
World Ranking: 433
Lagno was born in Lviv and grew up in Kramatorsk, which is a chess-friendly industrial city. She is half Russian and half Ukrainian. Lagno married Robert Fontaine, a grandmaster and TV reporter from France, on February 25, 2009. They had a son together, but they divorced several years later. Lagno is now wed to Russian chess grandmaster Alexander Grischuk.
Kateryna Lagno, from a 13-year-old chess prodigy from Kramatorsk, Ukraine, is one of the most outstanding female chess players today. She shattered the previous record set by Judit Polgar at the age of 12 years, four months and two days when she earned her WGM norms.
4. Ju Wenjun
Full name: Wenjun Ju
Title: Grandmaster – 2014
Woman Grandmaster – 2009
World Ranking: 386
Ju Wenjun won the China Championship in 2010. She qualified for the FIDE Knock-out Women’s World Championship in 2012. She was 5th in the Women Grand Prix Geneva in 2013 and earned her first points in the women’s Grand Prix series.
In March 2017, Ju Wenjun was the fifth woman to achieve the 2600 mark as she became World Women’s Chess Champion. Between 2018 and 2020, Ju Wenjun won three consecutive Women’s World Championships.
3. Koneru Humpy
Full name: Humpy Koneru
Title: Grandmaster (GM) 2002
Woman Grandmaster (WGM) 2001
World Ranking: 273
Koneru Humpy was born in Gudivada, Andhra Pradesh, to Koneru Ashok, a strong chess player in his own right. She was 5 years old at the time and her father introduced her to the game. In May 2002, she became the youngest woman ever to be awarded IM status by winning the Elekes Memorial Grandmaster tournament in Budapest.
Her parents named her “Hampi” after the Sanskrit term for champion (champion). Her father modified the spelling to Humpy, to make it sound more Russian-like. She married Dasari Anvesh in August 2014. She is currently employed by ONGC Ltd. In 2017, she gave birth to a daughter named Ahana.
2. Aleksandra Goryachkina
Full name: Aleksandra Goryachkina
Title: Grandmaster – 2018
Woman Grandmaster – 2012
Woman International Master – 2011
Woman FIDE Master – 2009
World Ranking: 228
Classical (Std): 2602
One of the best Russian Chess players, Aleksandra Goryachkina works as an assistant librarian at her father’s chess school in Salekhard and gives masterclasses outside of competing. She has previously taught online via Discord. She has only ever taught through personal experience, but she continues to post on the site in order to enhance her English abilities.
Goryachkina is a huge fan of cosmetology and classical music. Goryachkina’s father is a chess trainer and an FIDE instructor, as well as her mother, who is a Russian Candidate for Master of Sports. Her younger sister, Oksana, is 12 years younger and also plays chess.
1. Hou Yifan
Full name: Hou Yifan
Title: Grandmaster – 2009
Woman Grandmaster -2007
World Ranking: 83
Classical (Std): 2658
One of the best Chinese Chess players of all time, Hou Yifan has tried to keep her chess career and personal life separate. In 2012, she enrolled in Peking University, where she studied International Relations, despite the objections of her coach. She took a full course load and was involved in many extra-curricular activities. She was given a Rhodes Scholarship and completed Master of Public Policy at St Hilda’s College.
Hou’s scattered attention puts her at a disadvantage compared to the world’s best male chess players, who devote their lives to the game.
These players acknowledge Hou for what she has accomplished despite her lack of preparation and her other interests. Vladimir Kramnik remarked, “If she wants to keep being the world’s finest female player, if she wishes to realize her objectives, she must devote all of her attention to chess.”
Hou is also aware of this, but for whatever reason, she believes chess should be treated as a pastime rather than a profession. “I want to be the best at everything,” she remarked in 2018, “but you also need to have a life.”
In 2020, Hou became the youngest ever professor at Shenzhen University, where she is a professor of physical education and chess in its Sports Training Program.
That concludes the list of the best female Chess players. If you like list posts like this, you may also be interested in seeing the ten best Indian Chess players or the best Canadian Chess players.