USA's Top Daily Chess News Blog, Informative, Fun, and Positive

hosted by Chess Queen™ & 12th Women's World Chess Champion Alexandra Kosteniuk


Monday, July 20, 2009

Mrs. W. J. Baird - Top Female Chess Composer

Thanks to my Google alerts I came across
today's article by Lubomir Kavalek in the Washington Post.

Practically answering my question that I raised in a recent
post about a female chess composer GM Kavalek at the beginning of the article writes:

"W. J. Baird (1859 - 1924) was the most prolific chess composer among women, not only in her native England but in the world. She created more than 2,000 problems in her lifetime. Her work "700 Chess Problems," published in 1902, took her 14 years to complete. In one of the problems (on the diagram), white mates in two moves (Solution next week)."

The full article of Lubomir Kavalek in the Washington Post can be found

I made a little research on-line (you can find almost everything on the web these days) and found a few very interesting articles about Mrs. W. J. Baird.

Edith Helen Baird (1859-1924), born Winter Wood, was the most famous female chess composer. She published her problems using the name "Mrs W. J. Baird." She composed over 2,000 problems.

She published two notable books of her compositions - in 1902 the King's printer, Henry Sotheran, published her Seven Hundred Chess Problems,

to be followed in 1907 by The Twentieth Century Retractor.

The first book can be found in the google books

Edith had one child, Lilian, who, like all her Winter-Wood ancestors, seemed to imbibe chess with her mother's milk.

She was publishing problems before she was 10 years old. Frederick Gittins' description of her in his book The Chess Bouquet (1897) can hardly be bettered.

"Of Miss Lilian Baird we can only say that she is one of the marvels of the chess world. A child of thirteen, with long sunny golden hair falling back from a fine and lofty forehead, thoughtful eyes, and all the shy grace of childhood, she has already, in some mysterious intuitive way, learned the secret of problem-composing, and, absolutely unaided, has produced upwards of seventy compositions which have excited the admiration of the most critical judges. Some of the first composers of the day have dedicated problems to her honour, editors of chess columns are continually asking her to contribute, and people have asked her for her autograph - one of the surest evidences of fame. Like a wise mother, however, Mrs Baird seeks to keep her back rather than to press her forward, so she is now being kept mainly to her lessons and those natural pleasures of childhood to which even the most gifted boy or girl turns with joy. Like her mother, she writes verses quite charmingly and draws beautifully; but, with all her gifts, she remains a child and the happiest and mist industrious of schoolgirls. A childhood of such exceptional promise, and so wisely and affectionately guided and tended, can scarcely fail to lead up to a womanhood of rare fruition". The full article can be found

More about Edith E. Helen Winter-Wood Baird can be found
here in English or here in German.

Posted by: Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women's World Chess Champion

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home