England Womens Chess Team

Chandler’s Ford players in the official English Chess Federation England online women’s team! Also in this article, the Queen’s Gambit TV series, and the film Queen of Katwe.

The England Women team on Lichess

The England Women ECF team on lichess.org

There is an online lichess.org team exclusively for women, open to women and girls of all abilities. It is well subscribed, and there are currently 253 members. Chandler’s Ford Chess Club’s own Rose Saunders and Maha Chandar are two of them.

See the English Chess Federation article about the team: England Women’s Team – English Chess Online

The captain of the English Women club on lichess.org is Jovanka Houska (‘ButterflyQueen’). The club is the official English Chess Federation women’s team on lichess.org. The team is open to women and girls of all abilities. Click on the button below to go to the team on lichess.org.

Jovanka Houska at the London Chess Classic 2012
Jovanka Houska is the captain of the England Women Club on lichess.org. Pictured at the London Chess Classic 2012 (Kev Lamb)

English Rose takes on Libya

Chandler’s Ford Chess Club player Rose Saunders plays for the England Women ECF team on lichess.org. And she’s won games for the England team! Rose tells her story:

Now I have joined the women’s team, I’m getting more out of playing chess. I have played  two matches. The first against Libya. There were five teams on our side and we played nine games. We won all our games. I played two and won both. Another day I played against Seventy one players from different women’s teams from all over the world. I played thirteen games. Won two and drew two. I was placed Forty first. The games were each three minutes. So fast, but I liked it and enjoyed the experience. I will certainly play again with the women’s team.

Rose Saunders
Rose Saunders in chess match
Rose Saunders plays Rob Strachan in the Chandlers Ford C vs D team match 1st October 2019

Chandler’s Ford’s Maha Chandar regularly plays for the England Women team , most recently on 3rd January.

3rd January 2021: Maha Chandar of Chandler’s Ford Chess Club plays in the England Women team

The Queen’s Gambit

The media sensation of 2020 on Netflix – The Queen’s Gambit – tells the story of a fictional female chess prodigy, Beth Harmon, as she becomes a chess champion. The 7-episode series is based on the novel by Walter Tevis, The title refers to the Queen’s Gambit chess opening. See the official series trailer on YouTube: The Queen’s Gambit | Official Trailer | Netflix – YouTube.


The Queen of Katwe

This 2016 film of a female chess player is based on a real story – that of Ugandan girl Phiona Mutesi, who triumphs from adversity in the Kampala slum area Katwe. See IMDb website article about the film, and also the Disney Official Trailer on YouTube


Female chess players are heavily outnumbered by their male counterparts in chess. Female players number about 15% in FIDE (see: statistics – Is it true that Chess is generally more played by men? – Chess Stack Exchange). Hopefully the increased interest in chess due to The Queen’s Gambit and the depiction of female leads in TV and film media about chess, as well as the experiences of our own club’s Maha and Rose, will encourage more girls and women to play chess.

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