Born: April 23, 1963 | Federation: Sweden | Rating: 2493
Pia Cramling entered the chess elite in the early 1980s after her magnificent performance on the first board in the 1982 and 1984 Olympiads and sharing the 6th place at the U21 European championship. At the 1984 super-tournament in Biel, Pia not only stood up to all the male players, but she even managed to defeat Viktor Korchnoi in 30 moves (and him being one of the world's strongest grandmasters at that time). After the tournament, Cramling's rating surpassed 2400 and she became the first in the women's rating list, overtaking even the world champion Maia Chiburdanidze. In 1983, she was the first Western chess player to be nominated for a female chess Oscar.
At the 1986 candidates' tournament, Cramling failed to meet the analysts' optimistic forecasts – she was overtaken by Akhmylovskaya, Levitina and Alexandria. Disappointed by this misfortune, the grandmaster from Stockholm chose to concentrate on playing against men and by 1992 she has fulfilled all the criteria for the title of male grandmaster – she became the fifth woman to earn this male title.
At the start of the 1990s, alarmed by the separation of the male chess world, FIDE took great efforts to ensure that the female candidates' tournament would bring together all the strongest players. The right to a match against Xie Jun was contested by Zsuzsa Polgar, Maia Chiburdanidze, Alisa Galliamova, Nana Ioseliani and Ketevan Arakhamia – only Judit Polgar did not show up. In this "race", the Swede was third, behind Polgar and the great Maia. In the next candidates' tournament, in 1997, Pia resulted mid-table.
Shortly afterwards, the chess world changed as knockout world championships burst onto the scene. Cramling continued to play at men's level, defeating strong grandmasters like Ivan Sokolov, Lajos Portisch, Vlastimil Hort, Boris Spassky, Vasily Smyslov and Viorel Bologan and playing for her national team at men's Olympiads. She also continued to compete successfully in the greatest women's competitions: she won the European championship in 2003 and 2010 and qualified for the semi-finals of the world championship in 2008 and 2015.
The world championships in Sochi (2015) and Tehran (2017) proved that Pia remains a dangerous opponent for any chess player. Cramling played in three Women vs Veterans matches; she has a total result of +4 against celebrated chess players of the older generation. In the European Club Cup for Women, Cramling earned the team gold medal in 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2016 playing for team Cercle d'Echecs Monte Carlo.