Judit Polgár

Hungarian chess player

Judit Polgár (born 23 July 1976) is a Hungarian chess grandmaster. She is by far the strongest female chess player in history,[1]p312 yet she has never played in the Women's World Chess Championship.[2] In 1991 she got the title of Grandmaster (GM) at 15 years, 4 months. She was, at that time, the youngest person to do so. Polgár is now ranked number 51 in the world,[3] the only woman on FIDE's Top 100 Players list; she has been ranked as high as eighth.

Judit Polgár
Judit Polgár, 2008
Full namePolgár Judit
Born (1976-07-23) 23 July 1976 (age 47)
Budapest, Hungary
TitleGrandmaster (1991)
FIDE rating2675 (January 2024) [inactive since September 2015]
Peak rating2735
(No. 8 player and No. 1 woman in the July 2005 FIDE World Rankings)
Peak rankingNo. 8 (July 2005)

Life change

Judit and her two sisters were educated at home by their father. She always preferred playing in the open events, making it clear from the start that she wanted to become the true world chess champion regardless of gender. This considerably annoyed the Hungarian Chess Federation, which had visions of winning the Women's World Championship after decades of Soviet domination. Paid substantial appearance fees by the Hungarian Chess Federation,[4]p106 the family did play in two female-only events. The Hungarians (nicknamed 'Polgaria') won the Women's Chess Olympiads, with a team packed with Polgárs, in 1988 and 1990.[4]p106; 156 Zsuzsa, Judit, Sofia (the least strong sister) and Ildiko Madl were the team which pushed the Soviet Union into second place for the first time.

In 1994 Judit suffered a controversial defeat at the hands of then-world champion Garry Kasparov, the highest-rated chessplayer of all time. Kasparov changed his mind after making a losing move and then made another move instead. According to chess rules, once a player has released a piece s/he cannot make a different move, so Kasparov should have been made to play his original move. However, Polgár did not challenge this because she says there were no witnesses and an arbiter was not around. She was also unaware at the time that the re-move was caught on tape by a television crew. The tournament director was criticised for not forfeiting Kasparov when the videotape evidence was made available to him.[5]

In the event, Polgar has not reached the top of the game (very few do), and now is the mother of two children. Nevertheless, she has broken the gender barrier in chess: she has proved that a woman can reach the top ten. Her sister, Susan Polgar, who now lives in the U.S.A., did become Women's World Champion, and also a full Grandmaster.

References change

  • Polgar, Susan & Truong, Paul 2005. Breaking through: how the Polgar sisters changed the game of chess. Everyman Chess. ISBN 1857443810
  1. Hooper D. and Whyld K. The Oxford companion to chess. 2nd ed, Oxford.
  2. "Judit Polgar: 'I can work myself into the top ten again'". ChessBase. 2007-11-11. Retrieved 2008-02-04.
  3. FIDE rating card for Judit Polgar
  4. 4.0 4.1 Forbes, Cathy 1992. The Polgar sisters: training or genius? Batsford, London.
  5. "The Kasparov touch-move controversy".