Credit: Erwin Scheriau

Eva Moser

Eva Moser was the best Austrian female player in its modern chess history. She was awarded the title Woman Grandmaster (WGM) at the age of 21 as the first Austrian female player and one year later the title International Master (IM). She reached her peak rating 2471 in 2012, being ranked among top 25 best female players worldwide. Eva showed once again her extraordinary talent by winning both “Austrian Open Championship” in 2006 and “Austrian Women Championship” in 2010 and 2011.

Eva Moser was born on July 26, 1982 in Tamsweg, Austria. Her father taught her how to play chess at the age of six. Four years later, she decided to attend the optional subject “Chess” in school, after being persuaded by her school friend. Eventually, only after a few months Eva demonstrated her talent by becoming the best in the class. Following her chess teacher’s advice, she eventually joined the local chess club in Spittal.

Her early success included a gold medal at the Carinthian Girls Championship under 14. Many further accomplishments followed and in 1998 Eva could celebrate her breakthrough – she became European Girls Vice Champion U16 in Mureck. The same year Eva became fifth at the World Youth Championship U16 in Oropesa del Mar and achieved the same place a year later in category U18. To this day, no other Austrian player has surpassed this achievement either at the European nor at the World Championship in classical chess.

© Ailura/Wikipedia

After finishing her school, Eva moved to Graz. It was the so-called “capital city of chess” due to its variety of chess clubs and the fact that the Austrian Chess Federation was located in this city back then as well. She started her studies at the university in Business administration, which she successfully finished with a bachelor’s degree in 2009.

Eva’s most successful chess period was from the years 2000 to 2010, when she could celebrate several big accomplishments. Additionally to the ones mentioned above, in 2007 she finished eleventh at the European Women’s Championship, qualifying for the Women’s World Cup in 2008. At the Women’s Chess Olympiad in 2008, Eva scored a fantastic 8,5/10 at the first board.

Eva used to play for one of the strongest teams in German Women’s Bundesliga ‘Baden-Baden’, winning them several titles. In the season 2014/2015 she won all her six games and thus hugely contributed to the team’s dominance in the league and its overall victory.

Eva played at several European Women’s Chess Championships and also led the Austrian Women’s National Team at the European Women’s Team Championships and Chess Olympiads a couple of times.

“I was lucky to know Eva as an idol, mentor and a team mate, but above all, as a friend. She was kind, funny and creative – an extraordinary person who always did things in her own way, both on and off the chess board.“

Eva’s former colleague and friend from the Austrian Women’s National Team

Eva was well known for her creative and uncompromising playing style. She used to follow her imagination already in the early stage of the opening, which is also the name of her ChessBase DVD “Imagination instead of Theory” (originally in German: “Phantasie statt Theorie”). The aesthetic and creative aspect of chess was very important to her.

At the turn of the year 2013/2014 Eva played an outstanding tournament at the 4th Gutmann Memorial in Augsburg, Germany. She scored 7,5 out of 9 games with a performance of 2684, earning her first Grandmaster norm. In Augsburg she played one of her most memorable games against Arnaudov. The analysis is provided from the book „Eva Moser – Phantasie und Präzision auf dem Schachbrett“ by Joachim Beyer Verlag (by courtesy of the Schachversand Ullrich):

Game Arnaudov, Petar (2442) – Moser, Eva (2436)

Besides playing and teaching chess, she worked as a journalist for the Austrian chess magazine “Schach Aktiv”. Additionally, she enjoyed playing the card game “Tarock” as a hobby.

“I remember adoring Eva’s passion about anything, not exclusively chess-related. She had that special sparkle in her eyes when she was fascinated. She would find joy in a card game constellation, in joking with friends, in crazy stories as much as she admired beautiful combinations or unexpected endgame ideas.“

Eva’s former colleague and friend from the Austrian Women’s National Team

Eva Moser died on March 31, 2019 in Graz. In honour of Eva Moser, a chess historian Michael Ehn, an honorary president of the Austrian Chess Federation Kurt Jungwirth and a Grandmaster Markus Ragger published her biography in 2021 called “Eva Moser – Phantasie und Präzision auf dem Schachbrett” (“Eva Moser – Imagination and Accuracy at the Chessboard”). It’s been almost five years since Eva’s death and we would like not only to remember but also honour Eva as the great chess player and wonderful person she had been. She was and still is a great inspiration for many chess players, who are still looking up to her.

Memories from Eva’s close friends and colleagues

“At one of my first chess tournaments, my father took me to Eva Moser’s board and told me that she was the best female player in Austria. I was absolutely thrilled! From this moment  on she became my great role model. When I personally met her a year later, our friendship was very valuable to me. We wrote emails and postcards to each other and she used to tell me how she trained chess while being at school. A special thing about Eva was her cordiality towards everyone. She also influenced me a lot in terms of chess. My favourite sentence from her is: Imagination instead of theory.”

Eva’s former colleague and friend from the Austrian Women’s National Team

“Eva was incredibly kind and such an inspiring person. Her achievements in chess were and are still outstanding, it was wonderful having her as a role model and to look up to. 

I’ll always remember us tossing a balloon around while trying to memorise all world champions at 2am. It still breaks my heart that you’re no longer here, I miss you!”

Eva’s former colleague and friend from the Austrian Women’s National Team

“The first time I met the tiny little girl was at the Millennium Tournament in Vienna in 1996. Eva was 13 years old and her greatest pleasure was to beat the men at the chessboard. And she succeeded incredibly well with her creative and tactical style. This was demonstrated impressively in 2006, when she won the „National Championship of the Open Class“, leaving all male opponents behind. No woman in Austria before Eva or after Eva has ever achieved this.

„Girls need role models.“ Under this slogan, I invited Eva to spend a weekend at my place in 2007 and we organised a training camp for Austria’s strongest girls.

When I became the National Women’s Trainer at the end of 2016, Eva had been retired from active chess for over a year. She still followed the world of chess closely and loved writing for the Austrian magazine „Schach Aktiv“. We met once a year and she flirted a little with the idea of a Comeback. At our last meeting, she told me that she would like to write books for children. But eventually her world became too dark and she lost the battle against her illness.

I will always remember her as a great woman and a fantastic player.“

Former national coach of the Austrian Women’s National Team

“With Eva Moser, Austria had a world-class player that will always remain in Austrian and World chess history. I’m very happy that I had a chance to play chess with Eva and that we became friends. It makes me very sad that she’s no longer with us.

The tournament in Memory of Eva Moser is a very nice initiative and I hope that it’ll be organised yearly from now.”

National coach of the Austrian Women’s National Team