IM Nazi Paikidze
Paikidze was born in Irkutsk, Russia and has been playing chess since she was four years old. Even at an early age, it was clear Paikidze would soon become a powerhouse player. Raised in Tbilisi, Georgia, Paikidze quickly collected prolific wins at the highest levels of international youth chess play. By the time she was 16, Paikidze had won four European Youth Chess Championships and medaled in the World Youth Chess Championship an astounding six times, including two gold-medal finishes.
In 2006, Paikidze moved with her family to Moscow, Russia, which allowed her to participate in Russian tournaments. While she continued to represent Georgia in international events, she seized the initiative to combat some of Russia’s best, winning both the Moscow Women’s Championship and the Moscow’s Open Women Tournament, and finishing fourth in the Russian Women’s Chess Championship. With continuous strong play, Nazi achieved her Women’s Grandmaster title in 2010 and her International Master in 2012.
Nazi transferred to the USCF last November after recently moving to the U.S., where she now currently studies Information Systems at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. She is a major asset to the traditionally powerhouse UMBC chess program, one of the Final Four schools of collegiate chess to compete in the 2015 President’s Cup. In 2016, she started teaching lessons on ChessUniversity.com's Prodigy Program chess course.
Nazi Paikidze has a strong stance in activism in women’s rights in chess tournaments, and announced in October 2016 that she intends to boycott the Women's World Chess Championship 2017 in Tehran, Iran due to its hijab dress code. She has been quoted saying, “I will not wear a hijab and support women’s oppression, even if it means missing one of the most important competitions of my career.” She has received over 15,000 signatures on a petition regarding this regulation, including support from the United Stated Chess Federation and other prominent members in the chess community such as Nigel Short and Garry Kasparov.