Sofia Polgar

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Sofia Polgar
Full namePolgár Zsófia
Born (1974-11-02) November 2, 1974 (age 45)
Budapest, Hungary
TitleInternational Master
Woman Grandmaster
FIDE rating2450 (November 2019) [inactive]
Peak rating2505 (July 1998)

Sofia Polgar (Hungarian: Polgár Zsófia, pronounced [ˈpolɡaːr ˈʒoːfiɒ]); born November 2, 1974) is a Hungarian, Israeli and Canadian chess player, teacher, and artist. She is a former chess prodigy.[1] She holds the FIDE titles of International Master and Woman Grandmaster and is the middle sister of Grandmasters Susan and Judit Polgár. She lives in Israel and has worked as a chess teacher and artist.


Polgar 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.[2] They also taught their daughters the international language Esperanto.

Sofia Polgar with her sister Judit in 1988

In the 1986 World under-14 championship she finished second to Joël Lautier and was declared world under-14 girls champion.[3]

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.[4]

Polgar finished second to Helgi Gretarsson at the World Junior Chess Championship 1994 in Matinhos, Brazil.[5]

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 emigrated to Toronto, Ontario, Canada, but around 2012 Polgar moved back to Israel and settled in Tel Aviv.[6]

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.[7]


  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. ^ Shvidler, Eli (November 22, 2007). "All the right moves". Haaretz. Archived from the original on 22 November 2007.
  3. ^ San Juan 1986 - 2° World Championship u14 (boys/girls) BrasilBase
  4. ^ Polgar, Susan; Truong, Paul (1 August 2005). Breaking Through: How the Polgar Sisters Changed the Game of Chess. Everyman Chess.
  5. ^ Matinhos 1994 - 33° Campeonato Mundial Juvenil BrasilBase
  6. ^ This is according to her Facebook page.
  7. ^ Video of Sofia Polgar defeating Victor Korchnoi

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