Joanna Dworakowska 1978-2024

Three-time Polish Women’s Champion IM Joanna Dworakowska, among the nation’s strongest women for more than two decades, has passed away at the age of 45.

Dworakowska is one of Poland’s strongest women players ever, with a peak rating of 2445, a record she achieved in 2002. In January that year she was ranked among the world’s 25 highest-rated women, reaching 23rd on the list.

Her death was confirmed by the Polish Chess Federation on Sunday. Dworakowska had for the last 18 months suffered from ovarian cancer, her family shared to

The sad news was met with shock in Poland, with GM Michal Krasenkow posting on Facebook: “Terrible news for the Polish chess community and an absolutely inconceivable one.”

Polish GM Kacper Piorun wrote on X/Twitter: “Huge loss for Polish Chess. Rest in peace.”

“So sorry to hear this news. What a great player. RIP” WGM Jennifer Shahade shared in her condolences.

Another tribute came from GM Peter Wells.

Dworakowska won a host of medals in events both domestic and international. At home she became Polish Women’s Champion three times, in 1997, 1998, and 2001. Among her most prestigious achievements was her silver medal from the 1997 World Girls U20 Junior Championship.

As part of a golden trio of Polish female players born in 1978 (with GM Monika Socko and WGM Marta Michna), she was at the core of the national women’s team that experienced success in the Chess Olympiad. The highlight of her six appearances was taking team bronze in Bled in 2002. She also claimed individual bronze at the 2009 Women’s World Team Championship, and played on board four as Poland won the 2005 European Women’s Team Championship and took silver in 2007. Two years later she took individual silver at the same event.

Among her biggest scalps was this crushing win against GM Grzegorz Gajewski in 2009.

Speaking to, Krasenkow said the death is a shock to the Polish chess community. He last saw Dworakowska at a reunion in December.

“Joanna was an aggressive player, dangerous for everyone, but at the same time a nice and friendly person. She left professional chess quite early, taking a job in another area, but never quit chess completely and even took part in classical events from time to time.”

In 2022, Dworakowska returned to play her first tournament after an eight-year break. That was a success as she won the 1st Caplin Menchik Memorial in London in great fashion, scoring 7/9.

In a message provided by the family to, her brother Lukasz said Joanna, known as Joasia and Asia, liked hiking, skiing and reading. She always went against the stream.

“She was unusual and unconventional, bringing a fresh perspective. She thrived in long discussions. She derived joy from discovering something together and achieving understanding.”

“Chess was her love and passion, an integral part of her life, her lifestyle, her whole world. She had many friendships through chess. Her chess friends devotedly supported her through her illness until the end,” her brother said.

We extend our condolences to all Joanna’s friends and family. May she rest in peace.

Joanna Dworakowska. Photo: Grażyna Natur
Joanna Dworakowska. Photo: Grażyna Natur.

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