Judit Polgár - The Woman Who Impacted Chess

14/04/2023 - Actualizado: 21/06/2023

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The chess player Judit Polgár was born in Hungary in 1976, on July 23rd. She is currently retired from the chess world, but since her debut and success she is considered to be the best female chess player in history. Her ELO rating is 2,735.

Judit Polgár's Success

For Judit Polgár nothing happened by chance, everything was the result of her effort, work and perseverance. Her parents taught all their daughters that geniuses are made, not born.

It was also her parents who decided that chess would be a part of her life and that she would be different from the rest of the children of her time. These were the reasons why she was molded into a demanding young woman who preferred large competitions where her opponents were recognized men in the field. At that time, women were not very influential in the sport.

Judit Polgár

Her preparation was conscientious, Judit Polgár wanted to be part of the elite, so nothing was accidental, but part of her education and ambition.

Judit Polgár's Early Years in Chess

Judit always stood out, on a professional level her first participation was at the age of 12 in the Hungarian Olympiad, where she won the gold medal, but this was not an experience she liked.

At the age of 15 Judit Polgár was already among the elite, she was beating her opponents, she was a genius and this led her to become a grandmaster, a title that few women had ever won. With this achievement she broke the record of Bobby Fischer.

She did not want to be part of the women's chess team, so she resigned from the women's chess championships and joined the Hungarian men's team, where she remained for eight seasons.

Until her retirement Judit Polgár remained the number one female chess player in the world. Moreover, in 2014 she was ranked number 8 in the world, where the rest of the players were men.

Who Did Judit Polgár Face?

Being part of the elite of this sport, she had many opportunities to compete and faced great competitors such as:

Judit Polgár has defeated them all many times, in both conventional and rapid modes.

Judit Polgár vs Garry Kaspárov

Her match against one of the greatest chess players of all time in 1994 turned out to be one of the most attention-grabbing encounters, as Judit Polgár faced the World Champion for the 15th time in a row.

During the match there was a big controversy because Kaspárov called Judit Polgár in a derogatory way, mainly because of her female gender.

However, this was not the only match in which they clashed; some time later they met again. This time, to Kaspárov's surprise, the young woman he had criticized for being a woman defeated him.

The Career of Judit Polgár

Judit Polgár's chess career was full of victories, where she was always ranked among the top players in the world and kept her reputation as a chess player very high.

judit polgar

From 1990 to 1993

  • During these years Judit Polgár participated in several competitions, one of them was in New Delhi in 1990, where she took the third place; but in the United States, while in Wisconsin, she won the gold medal.
  • A year later, in Hungary, she won the national absolute prize and became a grandmaster.
  • In 1992 she competed in both New York and Madrid and won second place in both.
  • In 1993 Judit Polgár achieved remarkable victories. She was the winner in England, while in Spain she took second place in a duel against Boris Spassky.

From 1994 to 1999

  • In 1994 she won the Madrid Municipal Tournament and the best of all, she won it undefeated. A year later Judit Polgár took part in the Donner Memorial in England where she finished third.
  • In 1996 she finished 5th in Dortmund, while in León she shared the first place with Topalov. A year later she finished 5th in Linares.
  • In 1998 she traveled to Greece and participated in the Chess Olympiad, where she won a gold medal.
  • During her stay in the Netherlands, in 1999, she participated in the tournament called Hoogeveen and won. She would win this tournament on many other occasions.

The Year 2003

  • It was quite an interesting year for Judit Polgár as she participated in the Wijk aan Zee in the Netherlands and defeated Anand. She also participated in the Chess Festival in Indonesia and won it.
  • In the same year Judit participated in the 34th Chess Olympiad in Turkey and scored 10.5 points.

Why Did Judit Polgar retire?

She was still very young when she made the decision not to participate in any more competitions, but this did not mean that she abandoned the chess world altogether. Judit Polgár became a coach for young talents. She is also the head of the Hungarian coaching team.

She also has a foundation which pursues a rather peculiar and enriching goal, which is to make chess an educational tool. That is to say, to connect the sport with children in such a way that the methodology and strategy required by the game become a means to generate greater benefits in the minds of the participants in the short and long term.

In addition, one year after her retirement, Judit Polgár was awarded the Grand Cross, which is the highest honor in her country, Hungary.

Here you can find a compilation of their games

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