Wisconsin’s newest Woman International Master


In December 2023, Wisconsin resident Aradh Kaur earned the Woman International Master (WIM) title. Wisconsin Public Radio reported that Kaur was the first WIM from Wisconsin. But that is not true. Marilyn Simmons, née Koput, was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1948 and was a WIM.

Kaur’s title

WIM Aradh Kaur
WIM Aradh Kaur

Aradh Kaur played in the North American Youth Chess Championship “Mexico City 2023.” She competed in the Female Under 18 section, restricted to females born 2005 and later. By finishing first in that section, she automatically earned the Woman International Master (WIM) title.

Last Round Game

Kaur’s last round game, in round 9, featured a simple but effective plan. Can you find the culminating move of that plan?

First WIM in Wisconsin

Several news stories claimed that Kaur was the first female in Wisconsin to be awarded the WIM title. For example, a Wisconsin Public Radio (WPR) story stated, “Aradh Kaur, 16, is the first female in Wisconsin to be awarded the Women International Master chess title.”

This WPR sentence has two errors. First, the correct name of the title is “Woman International Master” as stated in the regulations of FIDE, the International Chess Federation. FIDE awards the WIM title.

United States Women's Chess Champions 1937-2020

Second, the first WIM from Wisconsin was Marilyn Simmons. Born Marilyn Koput in Milwaukee, her last name was Braun when she and Eva Aronson tied for first in the 1972 U.S. Women’s Chess Championship. As I wrote in United States Women’s Chess Champions, 1937-2020, “By winning the U.S. Women’s Championship in a zonal year, Braun earned the Woman International Master title.”

Marilyn’s last name was Simmons when she died in 2018 in Brookfield, a Milwaukee suburb. Here is a link to her obituary.

WIM Alexey Root, PhD

Alexey Root is a Woman International Master and the 1989 U.S. Women's chess champion. Her peak US Chess rating was 2260. She has a PhD in education from UCLA. You can find her books on chess on Amazon.com.

About the players

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