Sofia Polgar

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Sofia Polgar
Full name Polgár Zsófia
Country Hungary
Born (1974-11-02) November 2, 1974 (age 40)
Budapest, Hungary
Title International Master
Woman Grandmaster
FIDE rating 2450 (March 2015)
Peak rating 2505 (July 1998) at age 24

Sofia Polgar (Hungarian: Polgár Zsófia Hungarian pronunciation: [ˈpolɡaːr ˈʒoːfiɒ]); born November 2, 1974) is a Hungarian-born Israeli and Canadian chess grandmaster, teacher, and artist. She is a former chess prodigy.[1] She is an International Master and Woman Grandmaster, and is the middle sister of Grandmasters Susan and Judit Polgár. She is a resident of Israel, and has worked as a chess teacher and artist.


Polgár is Jewish, and from 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 a specialist subject from a very early age. "Geniuses are made, not born", was László's thesis. He and his wife Klara educated their three daughters at home, with chess as the specialist subject.[2] They also taught their daughters the international language Esperanto.

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. According to the Chessmetrics rating system, her performance rating was 2735;[3] one of the strongest performances in history by a 14-year-old.

On February 7, 1999 Polgar married Georgian-born Israeli Grandmaster Dr. Yona Kosashvili and made aliyah by moving to Israel. They have two children, Alon and Yoav, and they were later joined by her parents. Later, the whole family emigrated to Toronto, Canada. Around 2012 she moved back to Israel, and now lives in Tel Aviv.[4]

For a time, she 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. However, Korchnoi said that this was "the very first and the very last game [she] had ever won against [him]."[5]


  1. ^ As she uses the anglicised form of her name on her website we may assume this is the form she now prefers. In Hungarian she is sometimes known by the familiar form Zsófi.
  2. ^ All the right moves[dead link] A Haaretz account of the education and accomplishments of the Polgar sisters
  3. ^ "Chessmetrics Player Profile: Sofia Polgar". 
  4. ^ This is according to her Facebook page.
  5. ^ Video of Sofia Polgar defeating Victor Korchnoi

External links[edit]