Susan Polgár, 2011
|Full name||Polgár Zsuzsanna|
|Born||April 19, 1969|
|Women's World Champion||1996–1999|
|FIDE rating||2577 (June 2019) [inactive]|
|Peak rating||2577 (January 2005)|
Susan Polgár (born April 19, 1969, as Polgár Zsuzsanna and often known as Zsuzsa Polgár) is a Hungarian-born American chess Grandmaster. 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. Her younger sisters Zsófia and Judit are also highly ranked chess players. 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. 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, Polgár had an Elo rating of 2577, making her the second-ranked woman in the world at the time, after her sister Judit. Polgár 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, Polgár founded the Polgar Chess Center in Forest Hills, New York, to give chess training to children. The Polgar Chess Center closed in 2009 following her relocation to Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. In 2002, she established the Susan Polgar 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[update], she has been the Co-Chairperson of the Commission for Women's Chess for the World Chess Federation FIDE.
She was born and brought up in Budapest, Hungary, to a Hungarian-Jewish family. In 1994, Polgár married computer consultant Jacob Shutzman, and moved to New York. They have two sons, Tom (born 1999) and Leeam (born 2000). She later divorced. In December 2006, she married her longtime business manager and friend, Paul Truong. She now lives in suburban St. Louis, Missouri.
Polgár and her two younger sisters, Grandmaster Judit and International Master Sofia, were part of an educational experiment carried out by their father László Polgár, who sought to prove that children could make exceptional achievements if trained in a specialized 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 principal subject. In 2007, National Geographic released an hour-long documentary entitled "My Brilliant Brain"  with Susan Polgár as the main subject (re-released as a DVD in multiple countries in multiple languages through 2010). The father also taught his three daughters Esperanto. Most of her family eventually emigrated to Israel, but Susan Polgár moved to New York after marrying an American citizen in 1994. Members of the Polgár family, who are Jewish, perished in the Holocaust, and her grandmother was a survivor of Auschwitz.
At age 4, Susan Polgár won her first chess tournament, the Budapest Girls' Under-11 Championship, with a 10–0 score. In 1982, at the age of 12, she won the World Under 16 (Girls) Championship. Despite restrictions on her freedom to play in international tournaments, by 1984 at age 15, Polgár had become the top-rated female chess player in the world.
In November 1986, FIDE decided to grant 100 bonus Elo rating points to all active female players except Polgár, which knocked her from the top spot in the January 1987 FIDE ratings list. The rationale was that the FIDE ratings of women were not commensurate with the ratings of the men because the women tended to play in women-only tournaments, Polgár being an exception because up to that point she had played mainly against men.
In January 1991, Polgár became the third woman to earn the Grandmaster title, after Nona Gaprindashvili and Maia Chiburdanidze. In 1992, Polgár won both the Women's World Blitz and the Women's World Rapid Championship.
Prior to 1992, Polgár tended to avoid women-only tournaments. She entered the candidates' cycle for the 1993 Women's World Championship and was eliminated after the candidates' final match with Nana Ioseliani. The match was drawn at the chessboard and the winner advanced to the championship based on the drawing of lots. She became the Women's World Champion at her second attempt in 1996. Her title defense against Xie Jun of China was scheduled to take place in 1998 but FIDE had been unable to find a satisfactory sponsor. In early 1999, a match was arranged, but under conditions to which Polgár objected. As a result, Polgár requested a postponement because she was pregnant and due to give birth to a child, Tom, in March 1999. She felt that she did not have sufficient time to recuperate, and secondly because the match was to be held entirely in China, the home country of her challenger. She also wanted a significantly larger prize fund.
When Polgár refused to play under these conditions, FIDE declared that she had forfeited the title, and instead organized a match between Xie Jun and Alisa Galliamova for the Women's World Chess Championship, which was won by Xie Jun. Polgár sued in the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland for monetary damages and the restoration of her title. In March 2001, the case was settled, with Polgár withdrawing her claims and FIDE agreeing to pay Polgár's attorney's fees in the amount of $25,000. Since Xie Jun had already been crowned Women's World Champion, FIDE could not restore the title to Polgár. Polgár has not participated in subsequent Women's World Championship cycles.
American career and Olympic medals
The United States Chess Federation named Polgár "Grandmaster of the Year" in 2003, the first time a woman has won that honor. In that same year (2003), Polgár also became the first woman to win the US Open Blitz Championship, against a field which included seven grandmasters. She won that title again in 2005 and in 2006.
She helped train and played the top board for the United States women's team at the 2004 Chess Olympiad held in October in Majorca, Spain. Overall, the team won the Silver Medal, but Polgár won an individual gold medal for achieving the highest performance rating in the women's event and the highest point total. She has a total of ten Olympiad Medals: five Gold, four Silver, and one Bronze. She has played 56 games in the Olympiads, never losing a single game.
In July 2005, Polgár gave a large simultaneous exhibition in Palm Beach, Florida, breaking four world records: the largest number of simultaneous games played (326, with 309 won, 14 drawn, and 3 lost); consecutive games played (1,131); highest number of games won (1,112); and highest percentage of wins (96.93%).
In October 2005, Polgár joined former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and former World Champion Anatoly Karpov in Lindsborg, Kansas, to promote "Chess For Peace." There, Polgár participated in the second Clash of the Titans - Battle of the Genders match against Karpov at the same location, with Gorbachev making the first move for Karpov. The match with Karpov ended in a 3–3 tie, with each player winning two games and two draws. Their first match had taken place in September 2004. That also ended up in a 3–3 tie.
In June 2006, Polgár organized and played in the 2006 New York City Mayor's Cup, a 30-minute competition and the highest-rated double round robin tournament in US history. She finished second, behind Gata Kamsky and ahead of Alexander Onischuk, Boris Gulko, Ildar Ibragimov, and Alex Stripunsky. In July 2006, Polgár represented the US in a side event to the Football World Cup in Dresden, Germany. She easily won the event by defeating International Master Elisabeth Pähtz in the final.
Texas Tech Knight Raiders
In 2007, Susan Polgár signed on as the head coach for the Texas Tech Knight Raiders chess team. In 2010, she became the first woman to lead a men's Division I team to the Final Four. In April 2011 and again in 2012, the Texas Tech Knight Raiders became the best college chess team in the nation by winning the President's Cup: The Final Four in College Chess. As the Knight Raiders coach, Polgár became the first ever female head coach to lead a men's Division I team to the national title.
Susan Polgár and the SPICE program joined Webster University in suburban St. Louis in 2012. Webster won the 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 Final Fours of College Chess, also known as the President's Cup. As a result, Polgár was recognized as 2012-13 College Coach of the Year by Final 4 organizer Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc. The Webster University chess team has also won (or tied for first) in the Pan American Intercollegiate Championships 2012–2017.
|This section uses algebraic notation to describe chess moves.|
Here is a game that Polgár won at age 16:
Zsuzsa Polgár vs. Hardicsay, Hungarian Team Championship 1985
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. d5 e6 4. Nc3 exd5 5. cxd5 d6 6. Nf3 g6 7. Bf4 a6 8. e4 Bg7 9. Qa4+ Bd7 10. Qb3 Bg4?! 11. Qxb7 Bxf3 Hardicsay had won a game a few months before after 12.gxf3 Nh5, when Black has good compensation for the sacrificed pawn after either 13.Be3 Nd7 or 13.Bg3 Nxg3 14.hxg3 Nd7. 12. Qxa8! Nxe4 13. Rc1! This was a ; Black had been thought to be better after 13.Nxe4 Bxe4. 13... Bd4 After 13...Nxc3 14.bxc3 Be4 15.f3 Bf5 16.g4, Black would have no good retreat for his bishop, e.g. 16...Bd7 17.Bxd6. 14. Rc2 Nxf2?! 14...Nxc3 15.gxf3! also leaves White with a large advantage. 15. Rxf2 Bxf2+ 16. Kxf2 Bg4 (diagram) 17. Bb5+! axb5 18. Re1+ Kf8 If 18...Kd7, 19.Qb7+ Qc7 20.Re7+! wins the queen. 19. Bh6+ Kg8 (diagram) 20. Re7! Paralyzing Black and stopping any counterplay with ...Qh4+. The rook is immune because 20...Qxe7 21.Qxb8+ forces mate. 20... Bd7 21. Qxb8! Qxb8 22. Ne4! 1–0 Although Black is up a queen for a knight, he cannot stop 23.Nf6#.:pp. 234–37:game 117
Susan Polgar Foundation
The Susan Polgar Foundation is a 501(c)(3) corporation established in 2002 and supported by charitable donations. "The mission of the Susan Polgar Foundation is to promote chess, with all its educational, social, and competitive benefits throughout the United States, for young people of all ages, especially girls."
SPICE Institute and SPICE Cup
On May 12, 2007, Polgár was the undergraduate commencement speaker at Texas Tech University. She was awarded an honorary Doctorate degree. On the same day, as reported on the LubbockOnline website, it was announced that she would become the coach of the Texas Tech chess team and would be the director of the new Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence (SPICE). In 2008, SPICE announced a $320,000 pledge from a private donor, for TTU chess scholarships over the next five years.
In 2007 Texas Tech and Susan Polgár hosted the first SPICE Cup which has since become the highest rated international round robin chess tournament held in the United States.
Polgár has written several books, often in conjunction with Paul Truong, her business manager and (later) husband:
- Queen of the Kings Game (as Zsuzsa Polgar; with Jacob Shutzman) (1997) ISBN 0-9657059-7-8
- Teach Yourself Chess in 24 Hours (with Paul Truong) (2003) ISBN 0-02-864408-5
- A World Champion's Guide to Chess (with Paul Truong) (2005) ISBN 0-8129-3653-1
- Breaking Through (with Paul Truong) (2005) ISBN 1-8574-4381-0
- Chess Tactics for Champions (with Paul Truong) (2006) ISBN 0-8129-3671-X
- Rich As A King: How the Wisdom of Chess Can Make You a Grandmaster of Investing (with Douglas Goldstein, CFP®) (2014) ISBN 978-1-63047-097-5 paperback
- Learn Chess the Right Way, Book 1 Must Know Checkmates (2016) ISBN 978-1-941270-21-9
- Learn Chess the Right Way, Book 2 Winning Material (2016) ISBN 978-1-941270-45-5
- Learn Chess the Right Way, Book 3 Mastering Defensive Technique (2016) ISBN 978-1-941270-49-3
Polgár is also a chess journalist, with columns in Chess Life, Chess Life for Kids, ChessCafe, Chess Horizons, Georgia Chess, Chessville, Empire Chess, School Mates, Europe Echecs, and others. She also publishes a blog titled Chess Daily News with daily updates about chess news and daily chess exercise problems. She has released a series of instructional chess videos.
US Chess Federation and FIDE
She was a member of the executive board of the United States Chess Federation from 2007 to 2009; however, a lawsuit instigated by the defeated candidate led to political infighting and extended litigation, and resulted in a settlement whereby Polgár severed her affiliation with the USCF and is now a "playing non-member".
In December 2006, she announced that she would run for election to the executive board of the United States Chess Federation. Polgár, Randy Bauer, and Paul Truong—three of four of Polgár's slate—were elected to four-year terms. She was elected as the first ever chairman of the USCF.
On October 2, 2007, one of the candidates for the Executive Board position, who had been defeated by Susan Polgár, filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the results of the 2007 election, alleging misconduct. Polgár denied any wrongdoing. Polgár and Truong filed suit against the USCF, who counter-sued them, with both sides issuing a variety of allegations. The suit alleging election campaign misconduct was ultimately dismissed by the court.
On January 15, 2008, four Board members issued a statement which requested Susan Polgár's husband step down from his position on the Board for "neglecting his fiduciary duties" through not providing an affirmative defense to the lawsuit. This was not, however, an official vote of the Executive Board. Polgár subsequently published a statement asserting that the Board members who voted in favor of this request made a number of misrepresentations.
On August 7, 2009, the Executive Board of the USCF rescinded the membership of Polgár and her husband, and they appealed to the Board of Delegates of the USCF. On August 8, 2009, the Delegates of the USCF ratified the previous year's actions of the Executive Board with respect to the litigation. In a closed Executive Session, the Delegates upheld the membership revocations. The lawsuits were all settled in 2010, with Polgár and Truong severing all affiliation with the USCF (though both can still play in USCF events under "Playing Non-Member Status"); the USCF's court costs of $131,000 were paid out by its insurer and it had to pay Polgár's attorney fees of $39,000.
In 2014, Polgár was awarded the Furman Symeon medal, which is given annually to the best chess coach who works with both male and female players. This made her the first coach from America to earn one of the top six coach medals and also the first woman to ever be recognized by FIDE with a top coaching medal.
In 2016, Polgár was involved in the Iran hijab controversy due to an erroneous report by the Telgraph Media Group that she was supporting the mandatory requirement of international women players to conform to Iranian dress code in her role with the FIDE women's commission. Polgár immediately stated that she was misquoted in the Telegraph article. A correction to her statement was issued one week later on 10/06/2016. U.S. women's champion Nazí Paikidze was among several players who refused to participate in the championship in protest against the mandatory hijab.
- "People: Isaac Rosa, Jennifer Aniston, Susan Polgar". The New York Times. 4 August 2005. Archived from the original on 17 November 2011.
- "Mastering Chess Was The Easy Part. Black Belt Champ Teaches Moves In Forest Hills". New York: NY Daily News. 2005-04-03. Retrieved 2014-03-30.
- "Commission for Women's Chess". FIDE Directory. FIDE. Archived from the original on 26 December 2010. Retrieved 2 August 2011.
- Breaking Through: How the Polgar Sisters Changed the Game of Chess, (Everyman Chess 2005), Susan Polgar, page 14
- "Polgar and Truong Marriage Revealed". 2007.
- "Susan Polgar Blogspot confirms her marriage to Paul Truong". Susanpolgar.blogspot.com. 2007-05-13. Retrieved 2011-12-04.
- "The Grandmaster Experiment".
- Polgár, Zsuzsa (2010). My Brilliant Brain (two DVD video). Australia: National Geographic Channel. OCLC 671303797.
- "Susan Polgar".
- The Grandmaster Experiment Archived 2009-07-01 at the Portuguese Web Archive, Carlin Flora, Psychology Today Magazine, July/August 2005
- Schultz, Donald (March 1987), "Letter from Dubai", Chess Life, p. 53
- "History". Women Blitz. Archived from the original on 20 January 2012. Retrieved 2 August 2011.
- First Saturday, June 1999
- FIDE News from Executive Director Omuku Archived 2007-10-12 at the Wayback Machine 17 February 1999
- Xie Jun defeats Alisa Galliamova in match for Woman's World Chess Championship Archived 2007-10-07 at the Wayback Machine June 5, 1999
- Editor's Note April 13, 2001
- Kavalek, Lubomir. "CHESS Lubomir Kavalek". The Washington Post.
- "Raiders Win Final Four: Best College Chess Team In Nation :: Texas Tech Today". Today.ttu.edu. Retrieved 2011-12-04.
- December 4, 2011 (2011-04-07). "Knight Raiders win national championship - The Daily Toreador: La Vida". The Daily Toreador. Retrieved 2011-12-04.
- "Zsuzsa Polgar vs. Peter Hardicsay (1985)". Chessgames.com. Retrieved 2011-12-04.
- Polgár, Zsuzsa; Shutzman, Jacob (1997). Queen of the Kings Game (book). New York: CompChess. ISBN 9780965705974. OCLC 37567453.
- "Chess Informant". 40. Chess Informant. ISSN 0351-1375. OCLC 753106968.
- "The Mission of Susan Polgar and the Foundation". Susanpolgar.com. Archived from the original on 2011-11-06. Retrieved 2011-12-04.
- "Texas Tech Hires Chess World Champion, Establishes Excellence Institute". 2007-05-14. Archived from the original on 2007-06-13.
- "Polgar: SPICE and chess in general in Lubbock get big boost from benefactor | Lubbock Online | Lubbock Avalanche-Journal". Lubbock Online. 2008-05-11. Retrieved 2011-12-04.
- "Texas Tech Opens 2009 SPICE Cup :: Texas Tech News". Today.ttu.edu. 2009-09-23. Retrieved 2011-12-04.
- "Aiming for a united and improved USCF". 2007.
- "I WILL run for the 2007 USCF Executive Board". 2006-12-06.
- "Election Results In!". 2007-07-27. Archived from the original on 2008-10-11.
- "Election Summary (Endorsements)". 2007.
- "Chess Group Officials Accused of Using Internet to Hurt Rivals". The New York Times. October 8, 2007. Retrieved May 24, 2010.
- "Susan Polgar Stating the Facts". Susanpolgar.blogspot.com. 2007-10-22. Retrieved 2011-12-04.
- "Polgar Responds on her Blog". Gambit.blogs.nytimes.com. 2007-10-23. Retrieved 2011-12-04.
- McClain, Dylan Loeb (3 September 2008). "Federal Lawsuit Against Chess Officials Is Dismissed in Dispute Over Online Messages". New York Times. Retrieved 10 July 2011.
- Member of U.S. Chess Federation's Board Is Asked to Resign in Dispute Over an Election, New York Times, January 15, 2008.
- Stating the Facts Archived 2008-02-09 at the Wayback Machine, Susan Polgar, January 15, 2008.
- "The Delegates Meeting". Chessdiscussion.com. August 8, 2009. Archived from the original on 2009-08-25. Retrieved March 5, 2014.
- Adam D. Young (2009-08-10). "Tech chess star removed from national organization | Lubbock Online | Lubbock Avalanche-Journal". Lubbock Online. Retrieved 2014-03-24.
- USCF Executive Board. "USCF Agrees to Settle Lawsuits with Susan Polgar and Paul Truong". USCF. Retrieved 15 July 2011.
- "Top collegiate chess team moving from Texas to Webster U." St. Louis Post-Dispatch. February 4, 2012.
- "Susan Polgar Named World's Top Chess Coach". Webster Kirkwood Times. 2014-07-04. Retrieved 2014-07-30.
- "Female chess players forced to wear hijab as governing body awards world championship to Iran". Telegraph Media Group Limited. 2016-09-29. Retrieved 2017-02-21.
- "Hijabs row Grandmaster forced to block 1,000 chess 'trolls' on Twitter". 2016-10-06. Retrieved 2017-02-21.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Zsuzsa Polgár.|
- Official website
- Polgár's blogs
| Women's World Chess Champion
vacant, then Xie Jun