With the fifth World Champion Nona Gaprindashvili I became acquainted during the team competitions in the Tashkent (Uzbekistan), where she played for the team "Burevestnik" on the girls board. It was hardly to presuppose at this moment that literally a couple of months later she will win brilliantly the Candidates' tournament in Yugoslavia. Although it was clear for me even then that I see a future soviet chess star.
Just in the Tashkent there was a funny episode: playing against a young chess player from the Turkmenia Nona blinded a Queen for a Knight (!) and with a huge efforts she managed to tear out a victory. At the next day she was very disappointed at her mistake but later found a way out of the situation using a rest day for visiting the Georgian circus to raise the courage.
In Yugoslavia people felt keenly for Milunka Lazarevic and even took away a park bench where Nona usually got a rest before the game but even this attempt of a psychological influence had no success. Nona gained a spectacular victory over her main competitor and became a candidate for the World Champion title.
The World Championship match between E.Bykova and N.Gaprindashvili in essence was a play in one gate - such a huge was a preponderance of the young candidate. Only in a game the World Champion had better chances but it was a special cause for this. Just this day in Moscow played a football team "Dinamo" from Tbilisi and the Georgian - a passionate fun of her favorite team - didn't get out from the press-center till the end of the match and then easily made a draw. The result was a stunning one +7-0=4 and a laurel wreath moved to the native land in Georgia. Usually in opposite the laurel wreath is bringing from Georgia to celebrate the World Champion. For the emotional and excitable Transcaucasian inhabitants the Nona's victory was something defy description. A young girl at once became an idol of the whole republic. Her portraits were hanged out on the shop show-cases. I was an eye-witness of such a fact: Nona walked the Rustavely avenue (the main city's street) and the trolleybus moved simultaneously with her in order that the passengers could better see their hero. Once a famous Georgian architect tried to get the tickets on a prestigious movie from a cinema's director but got a refuse. But when he said that Nona is in his company the director said: "If you will bring Nona I will turn out all spectators and make a special show for you!" The main what Nona has made for Georgia is that she gave cause for creating a peculiar women chess boom. As on a yeast appeared young chess talents who became later the well-known chess players. Nona turned out to be an original flag the future chess stars stood under. Nevertheless Gaprindashvili made her best not only for the native land. She created in women chess a new style which didn't exist before - she fought in another chess usually called men's ones. This was a play of an exceptionally brave man, who is not afraid of the complications, sharp openings, puzzling combinations. Ought to be noted that the character of the fifth World Champion was created in the childhood. Nona was a single girl in a family where except her were five brothers. So, from youth Nona was keen on boyish plays and above all the football. When adults noticed that the talented girl has the aptitudes for chess she began to study in the Tbilisi Pioneers Palace with an excellent coach Vakhtang Karseladze who unfortunately early passed away. Then for many years with Nona worked Mikhail Shishov.
Soon became a decade of a stubborn struggle with a second chess player of the World Alla Kushnir. The chess lovers of Georgia wanted very much the match took place in the Champion's native land but the first duel was held in Riga and Nona won confidently (+7-3=3). A new meeting was possibly the most interesting since it consisted of 2 stages - first in Tbilisi and second in Moscow. The leaders of the south republic insisted very much that the Champion should play in the homeland but they didn't take into consideration a specific of the native walls in chess. As a rule the use of them is none but the harm could be a lot! Just so it was in Tbilisi: Nona felt nervous very much especially during the firsts games. As a result after 4 rounds the candidate was ahead with 2.5-1.5. In Georgia then happened something unimaginable. Nobody believed that Nona could win the match. My friend a famous Georgian journalist Givi Gamrekeli told me that during his performance on a chess soiree in the Tbilisi university he was swamped with notes from the auditorium with the only question: how will finish the match Gaprindashvili - Kushnir? He answered: "Don't worry, Nona will win certainly!" In reply rang out a thunderous laughter. Nona by herself told that an old Georgian approached to her at the street and as a token of a contempt started to speak Russian: " I always knew that you plays bad but why you feigned so!" However the World Champion took herself in hand already at home and before the leaving for Moscow went ahead. The Moscow half of the match turned out to be a mere formality (+6-2=5). The third match between the same rivals became the most stubborn although the World Champion controlled the situation all the time. Suffice it to note a fact that the candidate needed to win three last games to gain the World Champion title. She managed to gain the victory only in one game and the final score was 8.5-7.5 (+5-4=7) in Gaprindashvili's favor.
The last winning match Nona played with her compatriot Nana Alexandria. To this match a perfumery in Georgia released a perfume "Nona" and "Nana". The victory turned out to be not very hard 8.5-3.5 (+8-3=1). It seemed that Nona will not have any problems in future. But in the Champion's homeland grew one more talent - Maia Chiburdanidze. This chess player was quite twenty years younger than Nona. And possibly just the difference in age was a decisive factor in their duel in 1978. At the very finish the World Champion didn't manage with nerves and yielded 6.5-8.5 (+4-2=9).
Nona was the first who was conferred the rank of the Grandmaster in chess between women and further also between men! The level of her creativity was so high that once when she defeated a German R.Servati at the Dortmund tournament in some mass-media was changed the sex to her rival!! They supposed that such could be defeated only a woman. By the way this meeting Nona leaded in the old masters' style sacrificing two Rooks!
After her victory in the Hastings in 1965 over W. Hartston the TV-journalists were delighted so much that asked the Englishman to resign on more time specially for a television broadcast!
The main is that despite of the fact that she in her life went through fire and water of glory Nona Terentievna remained a very plain, kind and modest person. Just so we all know her and love for that. In days of anniversary all numerous admirers of her talent including the author of these lines wish to the 5th World Champion happiness, health and Georgian longevity!
We give the examples of Nona Gaprindashvili's creativity.