The name 'Elaine' originates from Old French with the meaning 'bright shining light', and this is particularly appropriate in the case of Edinburgh's 16-year-old Women's World Amateur Chess Champion, Elaine Rutherford, whose delightfully unassuming nature has not changed even after achieving enormous academic and chess success so quickly.
Elaine, the eldest of six children in the remarkable Rutherford family, really is an inspiration to a great many people, including her brother, four sisters, and fellow-pupils at James Gillespie High School. Through the magic combination of talent and hard work, Elaine has consistently progressed very well since playing in her first-ever tournament almost ten years ago. Three years later, she was representing her country in a Scotland vs. England match, and since then Elaine has played 163 games for Scotland at nice locations in Austria, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Menorca, Slovakia, Spain, and France (six times!).
When Elaine captured her world crown at Hastings earlier this month, she also became a Woman F.I.D.E. Master, thereby adding another fine title to her impressive list which already included multiple previous victories in Scottish Girls competitions, as well as wins in Under-11 and Under-15 national events. Elaine rounded off the last millennium in tremendous style by becoming the first-ever Scottish female to compete at the top level in the Scottish Championship. She gained invaluable experience at that super-strong July 1999 tournament in Edinburgh, and went on just three months later to win a Grand Prix Open in Perth with GM Dr Colin McNab.
Also last October, Elaine had the honour of attending an extra-special Masterclass given by the world's top-rated player, Garry Kasparov, at Oakham School in Rutland. So much excitement since Elaine's first chess event at the age of seven!
Time-warping back to Sunday 15 December 1996, I was at the Rutherford home enjoying discussing chess with another brilliant seven-year-old at that time. Kathleen Rutherford thought up some very smart tactics when we talked about ideas in the Four Knights Opening. Her 'game' is given on the site in G11.6, with suitable imaginary names for the 'players'. The words on my mind ARE: ELAINE RUTHERFORD IS A HERO, but since our hero is female, perhaps I should have SAID FOR HER, A REAL TRUE HEROINE! (which comprises exactly the same 26 letters as the first set of bold letters!).
I'll conclude this section now with many congratulations to Elaine, Kathleen, and indeed all the Rutherford family.