Top 6 Best Women's Checkers Players of All Time
Checkers, also called draughts, is one of the world’s oldest games. Its greatest competitors require superb patience, strategy, memory recall, impulse control, concentration, focus, confidence, non-verbal communication skills, analytical skills, and sound judgment. Listed below are the best women’s checkers players of all time.
Who are the best women’s checkers players of all time?
- Zoja Golubeva
- Elena Mikhailovskaya
- Tamara Tansykkuzhina
- Elena Altsjoel
- Olga Levina
- Darya Tkachenko
1. Zoja Golubeva
- First Winner of Mind Sports International Draughts Tournament
- Two-Time Women’s European Champion
- 16-Time Women’s World Champion
Minsk-born Zoja Golubeva is a Soviet, Belarussian, and Latvian checkers player and one of the greatest in the sport’s long history. After training in the Soviet Union during the early ‘80s, she won her first Women’s World Championship in 1986. Between then and her final showing in 2017, Golubeva won a total of 16 World Championship titles, her longest streak lasting from 1994 to 2000. In addition, she won two Women’s European Championships in 2010 and 2012 and was the first winner of the World Mind Sports International Draughts Tournament. Thanks to her over three decades of success, Zoja Golubeva remains the highest-ranking woman in the history of international checkers.
2. Elena Mikhailovskaya
- First Female World Champion in International Draughts
- Four-Time Soviet Union Champion
- Five-Time Women’s World Champion
Elena Mikhailovskaya is undoubtedly the first great women’s checkers player. After years of playing in 1960s Russia, she became champion of the Soviet Union in Russian checkers. After four years of maintaining that national title (1969-1972), she became the first female World champion in international draughts. From 1973 to 1977, she won this title a total of five times. After retiring from active play, she began coaching and served as president of the Moscow Draughts Federation. Ten years after her death, the MDF proclaimed 2005 the Year of Elena Mikahilovskaya because her mark on Russian checkers remains eternal.
3. Tamara Tansykkuzhina
- Two-Time Women’s Draughts European Champion
- Seven-Time Women’s World Champion
- Considered one of Russia’s 20 Best Players of All Time
Bashkortostan-born Tamara Tansykkuzhina is one of the greatest Russian women’s chess players of all time. In 2000, she entered the international stage by winning the Women’s Draughts European Championship. The next year, she won the Women’s World Championship. Over the next twenty years, she won another European championship title, and six further wins at the Women’s World Championship. In total, Tansykkuzhina has won sixteen international titles and is the current reigning Women’s Draughts World Champion. Thanks to her historic success, Tamara Tansyukkuzhina is easily considered one of the greatest competitors in the history of women’s checkers.
4. Elena Altsjoel
- Two-Time USSR Women’s Champion
- Five-Time Women’s World Champion
- Won Four Consecutive Women’s World Championships
Elena Altsjoel is one of the greatest competitors in the history of women’s checkers. Along with Zoja Golubeva, she began training in her youth under renowned checkers champion Michael Kats. In 1978, she won her first national title as Women’s Champion of the USSR. In 1979, she won several regional championships before setting her eyes on the international stage. In 1980, Altsjoel won the Women’s World Championship. After an unsuccessful run in 1981, she began a consecutive streak of Women’s World Championship titles, reigning from 1982 to 1985. Four years later, Elena Altsjoel retired as one of the most successful women in checkers.
5. Olga Levina
- Won First World Title at 19
- Four-Time Women’s World Champion
- Given Title of International Grandmaster
Russian native Olga Levina is a renowned name in Russian checkers for a reason. In 10th grade, she reached Master’s level, the highest variant possible at the national level. From there, she went international. In 1981, at only 19 years old, she won her first Women’s World Championship. Over the next decade, she won three further World Championships (1987, 1989, 1993). Her 1989 Championship was particularly impressive as she won every single game at that level. After leaving the Soviet Union for Israel, she competed for her last international title and retired. Thanks to a phenomenal career and at such a young age, Olga Levina left a permanent mark on the history of women’s checkers.
6. Darya Tkachenko
- Women’s International Grandmaster
- Two-Time European Champion
- Four-Time Women’s World Champion
Darya Tkachenko is a legend in Eastern European checkers. Rising to the Master’s level in the early 2000s, she began competing internationally and, in 2004, she won her first Women’s European Championship. The next year, she won her first Women’s World Championship as well. Over the next six years, she also won a Turkish world championship, another women’s European championship, and three further Women’s World Championships (2006, 2008, 2011). Thanks to her thunderous career, Darya Tkachenko was awarded the title of Women’s International Grandmaster (GMIF) and will be remembered as one of the greatest competitors in the history of women’s checkers.
Who is the best women’s checkers player of all time?
The greatest women’s checkers player of all time is undoubtedly Zoja Golubeva, the legendary player from Soviet Russia, Belarus, and ultimately Latvia. Between her first international success in 1986 and her retirement in 2018, she won a landmark sixteen world championship titles, two European Championship titles, and an inaugural win at the International Draughts tournament for Mind Sports. Thanks to three decades of truly unparalleled wins, Zoja Golubeva is the greatest woman to compete in women’s checkers.
What women’s checkers player has won the most Women’s Draughts World Championships?
The women’s checkers player to have won the most Women’s World Championships in checkers is Zoja Golubeva. In her inaugural match in Minsk in 1986, she won her first World Championship. After a narrow defeat to Olga Levina in 1987, Golubeva regained the title. In 1988, Levina again won it back by an even narrower margin. For the next decade, with the exception of 1993, she won nine further Women’s World Championships, ending her reign in 2017. In total, she won sixteen world titles.
What women’s checkers player had the longest run as world champion?
The women’s checkers player with the longest run as world champion is Zoja Golubeva. Except for interventions by Olga Levina in 1987, 1989, and 1993, Golubeva owned the international women’s checkers circuit for almost a decade. Starting with her win in 1994, she began a record-breaking consecutive streak of six World Championships. In 2001, Tamara Tansykkuzhina broke this streak, but she periodically won five further world titles. After her last win in 2017, Zoja Golubeva retired with the greatest track record of all time.