Nazi Paikidze

International Master
Baltimore, MD
Chess Highlights: 
Nazi Paikidze finished in second at the 2017 U.S. Women’s Chess Championship, and held the title of Champion in 2016. At the age of 9, Paikidze won her first international tournament at the 2003 European Youth Chess Championship. In 2009, at the age of 16, she was ranked 35th among the world’s top FIDE-rated women. Since 2003, she has won 12 medals in the European Youth Chess Championships, World Youth Chess Championships, and World Junior Chess Championships combined.

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 Woman Grandmaster title in 2010 and her International Master title in 2012. Nazi transferred to the USCF in November 2016 after moving to the U.S. and is currently living in Las Vegas, Nevada. In 2016, she started teaching lessons on'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 intended 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 States Chess Federation and other prominent members in the chess community such as Nigel Short and Garry Kasparov.