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Friday, July 1, 2016

The Mysterious Miss Fatima

     Miss Fatima was an Indian-British female master who won the British Women's Chess Championship at Hastings in 1933 by a three-point margin, scoring +10 -0 =3 and finishing ahead of four ex-champions. Earlier, she took 12th place at London 1932 (Edith Michell won).  She was a friend of maharaja Sir Umar Hayat Khan. The British Men's Champion in 1929, 1932, and 1933 was Mir Sultan Khan, also a servant of Sir Umar Hayat Khan
     A Wkikpedia article lists her date of birth as being 1914 and the date of her death as unknown. However, a newspaper article about her winning the British Ladies Championship that appeared in the Western Morning News in August 1933 says she was 21, making her date of birth in 1912. According to the article, at the time Miss Fatima had been described as being in her teens, but in an interview she admitted to 21 years and one month. She appears to have been coached by Vera Menchik. 
     The article described her as a young Indian woman with faultless features and dressed in Eastern style. At the time she had been living in near London or five years England in the household of Sir Umar Hayat Khan and spoke very little English. She said she learned to play chess only two years prior to winning the Ladies Championship and was expecting to return to India shortly after the the tournament. 
     Miss Fatima was interviewed about Sultan Khan in the Bandung Limited television production which you can view on Youtube HERE

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