The game of chess, once dubbed The King's Game, has historically been a male-dominated sport, but the chess world has undergone a major turnaround in the last decade with the advent of several women players heralded for their cleverness and skill. Judit Polgar, a pioneer in women's chess competition, is one important reason for the change.

Judit was born in Hungary on July 23, 1976, the youngest of three sisters. Zsuzsa, Zsofia, and Judit were raised under the tutelage of their father, Laszlo Polgar, who strove to prove that genius can be cultivated through hard work and discipline, He had decided, early on, that the medium for this training would be chess, and so all three Polgar daughters began studying chess by age four almost to the exclusion of anything else.

Laszlo Polgar's experiment in manufacturing genius was a controversial one; it actually provoked the opposition of the Hungarian government. Critics claimed that Laszlo Polgar used questionable methods to train his daughter, and armed government officials once arrived at the door of their home in an attempt to save them from what they saw as a potentially abusive situation.

Although Polgar's parenting philosophy raised eyebrows, his strict supervision of his children's education has resulted in a trio of geniuses. Zsuzsa is the women's champion and Zsofia is ranked seventh worldwide. But it is Judit whose wins have broken through the gender barrier; significant in a sport populated by chauvinists of both sexes.

Judit Polgar has consistently refused to take part in the separate women's events. This intractability, combined with her magnificent talent, has led many to believe that she is the first woman with a realistic chance of winning the world championship. Already she is the only woman to have competed consistently with the top 20 players in the world, winning games against the most esteemed competitors in chess, including Anatoly Karpov, Boris Spassky, and Viswanathan Anand.

Her rise started at the age of 9, when she won the unrated section of the New York Open, winning 7 games and drawing once. At age 11 she earned an International Master title - younger than Fischer or Kasparov. At age 13 she was the World under 14 Champion for boys and FIDE's highest rated woman.

And then she accomplished what seemed like the impossible; she knocked Bobby Fischer off his throne, becoming the youngest grandmaster ever at 15 years and 4 months (Bobby Fischer became Grandmaster, at 15 and 6 months, in 1958). In 1993 Polgar defeated former world champion Boris Spassky 5.5-4.5 in a 10-game exhibition match and took home $120,000. In 1998 she became the first woman in history to win the U.S. Open. 

Polgar is still going strong. In the last few years she reached the quarter-finals in the 1999 FIDE World Chess Championship in August, 1999, out of an original field of over 100 players from all over the world. She also won back to back tournaments in Bali, Indonesia and Malmo, Sweden in April-May, 2000; her win in Bali was again first a field that included former and present World Chess Champions and was, according to the commentators, the strongest performance yet by a woman.

Her aggressive style and fiercely competitive nature has earned Polgar much respect and admiration from both fans and fellow players. She plans each move of each piece by carefully analyzing her opponent's style, and orchestrating her moves in response to their strategy. Her flexibility is legendary.

Laszlo Polgar's experiment may have caused much controversy, but led to the much-delayed acknowledgement that women chess players are capable of competing on an international scale among men. In only 24 years, Judit has accomplished a lifetime of achievements, not the least of which are demolishing stereotypes and opening the field for the next generation of women players. One can only wonder where her pursuits will lead, and hope that Judit Polgar will be remembered as the player who made gender divisions in chess obsolete.


Sofia Polgar (Hungarian); born November 2, 1974) is a Hungarian, Israeli and Canadian chess player, teacher, and artist. She is a former chess prodigy. She holds the FIDE titles of International Master and Woman Grandmaster and is the middle sister of Grandmasters Susan and Judit Polgar. She lives in Israel and has worked as a chess teacher and artist.

Polgár was born into a Jewish family in Budapest. She and her two sisters were part of an educational experiment carried out by their father László Polgár, in an attempt to prove that children could make exceptional achievements if trained in specialist subjects from a very early age—László's thesis being that "geniuses are made, not born". He and his wife Klara educated their three daughters at home, with chess as the specialist subject. They also taught their daughters the international language Esperanto.

In the 1986 World under-14 championship she finished second to Joël Lautier and was declared world under-14 girls champion.

In 1989, at the age of 14, she stunned the chess world by her performance in a tournament in Rome, which became known as the "Sack of Rome". She won the tournament, which included several strong grandmasters, with a score of 8½ out of 9. Her performance rating according to New in Chess was 2879, one of the strongest performances in history.

Polgár finished second to Helgi Gretarsson at the World Junior Chess Championship 1994 in Matinhos, Brazil.

On February 7, 1999 Polgar married the Israeli Grandmaster Dr Yona Kosashvili and moved to Israel. They have two children, Alon and Yoav. Polgar's parents later joined them in Israel. The whole family subsequently immigrated to Toronto, Ontario, Canada, but around 2012 Polgar moved back to Israel and settled in Tel Aviv.

For a time, Polgar ranked as the sixth-strongest female player in the world. She played one FIDE-rated game in July 2005. Prior to that, her last FIDE-rated game was in September 2003. At one point she beat Viktor Korchnoi at a game of fast chess. Korchnoi said that this was "the very first and the very last" game she would win against him.



Susan Polgar (born April 19, 1969, as Polgár Zsuzsanna and often known as Zsuzsa Polgár) is a Hungarian-born American chess Grandmaster. She is famous for having been a child prodigy at chess, for being a pioneer for women in chess, and for being an advocate for chess in education. She is an Olympic and World chess champion, a chess teacher, coach, writer and promoter and the head of the Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence (SPICE) at Webster University as well as the head coach for the 2011 and 2012 National Championship college chess teams at Texas Tech University and the 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 National Championship teams at Webster University. The U.S. Collegiate championship has been contested each year since 2001 at the Final Four of College Chess, also known as the President's Cup. She is the oldest of the famous "Polgár sisters": Zsuzsa, Zsófia, and Judit. She was the first woman to earn the grandmaster title through tournament play, and is credited with breaking a number of gender barriers in chess.

On the July 1984 FIDE Rating List, at the age of 15, she became the top-ranked woman player in the world, and remained ranked in the top three for the next 23 years. She was also the first woman in history to break the gender barrier by qualifying for the 1986 "Men's" World Championship.[1] She was the Women's World Chess Champion from 1996 to 1999 (in Classical time control). She won the World Blitz and Rapid Championships in 1992. In October 2005, Polgar had an Elo rating of 2577, making her the second-ranked woman in the world at the time, after her sister Judit. Polgar went on to win ten Olympic medals (5 gold, 4 silver and 1 bronze) and four Women's World Championships. She has not played in official competition since 2006.

In 1997, Polgar founded the Polgar Chess Centre in Forest Hills, New York, to give chess training to children. The Polgar Chess Centre closed in 2009 following her relocation to Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. In 2002, she established the Susan Polar Foundation. Since then, her foundation has sponsored the National Invitational for Girls, National Open Championship for Boys and Girls, World Open Championship for Boys and Girls, All-Star Girl's Chess Team, NY City Mayor's Cup Invitational, Tri-State Scholastic Chess Challenge, SPICE Cup and a series of Get Smart Play Chess scholastic chess tournaments. She founded the SPICE Institute in Texas in 2007 and began coaching the Texas Tech Knight Raiders in 2007 as well. As of January 2009, she has been the Co-Chairperson of the Commission for Women's Chess for the World Chess Federation FIDE