Sunday, April 24, 2011

Blast from the Past: Anna Hahn, 2003 U.S. Women's Chess Champion

2003 U.S. Chess Champion Alexander Shabalov and
2003 U.S. Women's Chess Champion Anna Hahn
(photo from Chessbase article below)
There was downright consternation in certain circles in the U.S. chess scene when Anna Hahn (formerly she was known as Anna Kahn) won the U.S. Women's Chess Championship in 2003.  You see, she wasn't supposed to do that - play and actually win!Under the rules at the time, her title provided her an automatic birth on the U.S. Women's Chess Olympiad team that would be played in 2004, and certain people didn't want that to happen, possibly because they believed that Hahn was not a strong player and would bring down the team's chances of winning a medal.  And that was the big goal - to win a medal for the first time.  One of the best female players in the world at that time, GM Susan Polgar, was on the U.S. team (although it was all "unofficial" at that time as the team had not yet been announced), and a member of Garry Kasparov's "team" was providing intensive training to the women "unofficially" selected to the "training team" as they called it.  And so, the USCF hurriedly scheduled another "championship," holding two in one year!  Hahn lost her title to another player, who was promptly named to the "official" women's Olympiad team as the "reigning" U.S. Women's Chess Champion. 

Hahn was treated disgracefully.  Chess politics really really sucks.  Hahn left chess and went on to a successful career in, I believe, the investment banking industry.  Perhaps it really is true what the pundits say about those who play chess for a living.

Chessbase wrote an article about Hahn's victory in 2003.

A Jim Perry interview with Hahn after her 2003 title win. 

The dirt from Mig Greengard's Chess Ninja

I've blogged about Anna Hahn

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