Judit Polgar was the only female chess player to reach the top 50. She was the product of an educational experiment by her father, who wanted to prove that “geniuses are made, not born”. As such, he decided to vigorously train his daughters for chess from a young age

Judit Polgár

The native form of this personal name is Polgár Judit. This article uses Western name order when mentioning individuals.

Judit Polgár (born 23 July 1976) is a Hungarian chess player. She is generally considered the strongest female chess player of all time. Since September 2015, she has been inactive as a tournament player. In 1991, Polgár achieved the title of Grandmaster at the age of 15 years and 4 months, at the time the youngest to have done so, breaking the record previously held by former World Champion Bobby Fischer. She was the youngest ever player to break into the FIDE top 100 players rating list, ranking No. 55 in the January 1989 rating list, at the age of 12. She is the only woman to qualify for a World Championship tourna… Continue Reading (34 minute read)

8 thoughts on “Judit Polgar was the only female chess player to reach the top 50. She was the product of an educational experiment by her father, who wanted to prove that “geniuses are made, not born”. As such, he decided to vigorously train his daughters for chess from a young age”

  1. FoFoAndFo

    Not just top 50, she peaked at #8! What a beast.

  2. kaz12

    “What is my purpose, father?”

    ‘You play chess.’

    “Oh my god..”

  3. NakedTRexGoneWild

    “There has long been a lively debate about who is the strongest player of all”, wrote GM Robert Byrne in his New York Times column of 26 August 1997. “Prominent candidates are Bobby Fischer, Garry Kasparov, Jose Raul Capablanca, Alexander Alekhine or Emanuel Lasker. But there is no argument about the greatest female player: she is 21-year-old Judit Polgár.”

    – Wikipedia quote (since people keep asking “what about such & such?”)


    She achieved the title of Grandmaster at a younger age than Bobby Fischer.

    László Polgár had 3 children, all daughters, and all ranked in the chess world.

    Edit: Made the Wikipedia quote more obvious that it was a 1997 quote from Wikipedia.

  4. EastLA1980

    Same mentality with the father of the Williams sisters in tennis. They already had kids, but were deliberate about having more kids and training them specifically in tennis as early as possible, to make them champions. Crazy methodology he employed too.

  5. EndoExo

    Upbringing and opportunity. It’s no coincidence that two of Archie’s Manning’s sons won Super Bowls, and Michael Schumacher’s son is about to become an F1 driver.

  6. JessyKenning

    At [Linares](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linares_(Spain)) 1994, Polgár lost a controversial game to the [World Champion](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Chess_Championship) [Garry Kasparov](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garry_Kasparov). The tournament marked the first time the 17-year-old Polgár was invited to compete with the world’s strongest players. After four games she had two points.[\[93\]](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judit_Polg%C3%A1r#cite_note-Globe_Mar19_94-93) During her game with Kasparov in the fifth round, Kasparov gradually outplayed her and had a clear advantage after 35 moves.[\[94\]](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judit_Polg%C3%A1r#cite_note-Geuzendam-94) On his 36th move, the World Champion reportedly changed his mind about the move of a knight, and moved the piece to a different square.[\[95\]](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judit_Polg%C3%A1r#cite_note-95)[\[96\]](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judit_Polg%C3%A1r#cite_note-96) According to [chess rules](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rules_of_chess#Act_of_moving_the_pieces), once a player has released a piece, the move must stand, so if Kasparov did remove his hand, he should have been required to play his original move. Polgár did not challenge Kasparov, in the moment, because, she stated, “I was playing the World Champion and didn’t want to cause unpleasantness during my first invitation to such an important event. I was also afraid that if my complaint was overruled I would be penalized on the clock when we were in time pressure.” She did however look questioningly at the [arbiter](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Arbiter), Carlos Falcon, who witnessed the incident and took no action.[\[94\]](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judit_Polg%C3%A1r#cite_note-Geuzendam-94)

    The incident was caught on tape by a crew from the Spanish television company PVS, and the videotape showed that Kasparov’s fingers had quit the knight.[\[97\]](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judit_Polg%C3%A1r#cite_note-LymanMay94-97)[\[98\]](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judit_Polg%C3%A1r#cite_note-98) [Tournament director](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Arbiter) Carlos Falcon did not forfeit Kasparov when the videotape evidence was made available to him.[\[99\]](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judit_Polg%C3%A1r#cite_note-Berry_GM_Mar261994-99) As U.S. chess journalist Shelby Lyman pointed out, in the majority of sports “instant replays” do not overrule a referee’s original decision and chess is no exception.[\[97\]](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judit_Polg%C3%A1r#cite_note-LymanMay94-97) The video has never been publicly released, at the request of tournament sponsor Luis Rentero.[\[94\]](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judit_Polg%C3%A1r#cite_note-Geuzendam-94) At one point Polgár reportedly confronted Kasparov in the hotel bar, asking him, “How could you do this to me?”[\[100\]](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judit_Polg%C3%A1r#cite_note-GardianBarden_2002-100) Following this incident, Kasparov bluntly told an interviewer “… she just publicly said I was cheating. … I think a girl of her age should be taught some good manners before making such statements.”[\[101\]](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judit_Polg%C3%A1r#cite_note-101) Subsequently, Kasparov refused to speak to her for three years.[\[94\]](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judit_Polg%C3%A1r#cite_note-Geuzendam-94) Kasparov told reporters that his conscience was clear, as he was not aware of his hand leaving the piece.[\[102\]](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judit_Polg%C3%A1r#cite_note-102) Although Polgár recovered by the end of the tournament, she went into a slump over the next six rounds, gaining only half a point.[\[93\]](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judit_Polg%C3%A1r#cite_note-Globe_Mar19_94-93) The incident may also have had an effect on Kasparov, who turned out a subpar performance in the tournament.[\[97\]](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judit_Polg%C3%A1r#cite_note-LymanMay94-97)

    From wiki

  7. DramaticDog007

    The dad and mom were sort of geniuses themselves at chess.

    The experiment would have value if they had trained the kids in another unrelated discipline IMO

  8. scrptman

    That’s great, but it does not prove his original premise. A good chess player is not automatically a genius… but just a good chess player.

Leave a Comment