Judit Polgár


Judit Polgár : biography

23 July 1976 –

In 1989, Polgár tied with Boris Gelfand for third in the OHRA Open in Amsterdam.

By now, numerous books and articles had been written about the Polgár sisters, making them famous even outside of the world of chess. In 1989, American President George H. W. Bush and his wife Barbara met with the Polgárs during their visit to Hungary. Although not released until 1996, in 1990 a documentary about children playing chess, Chess Kids, featuring Polgár was filmed. The documentary did not include an interview with Polgár as her father required payment.

In 1990, Judit won the Boys section of the under-14 in the World Youth Chess Festival in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. Also in 1990, Judit and her sisters represented Hungary on the Olympic women’s team winning the gold medal. As of 2013, it is the last women-only tournament in which Judit would ever participate.

In October 1991, Judit finished with 5½–3½, tied for third to fifth position with Zoltán Ribli and John Nunn, at a tournament in Vienna. Note: Day writes that with this tournament Polgár "collected her third and final Grandmaster norm." This implies this was sufficient to earn the GM title, however most accounts indicate she won the title with the Hungarian championship in December.


In December 1991, Polgár qualified as a grandmaster by winning the Hungarian National Championship, at the time the youngest ever at 15 years, 5 months to have achieved the title. This beat Fischer’s record by a month. Hungary, one of the strongest chess-playing countries, had all but one of their strongest players participate in that year’s championship, as only Zoltán Ribli was missing. Going into the last round, Polgár needed only a draw to achieve the GM title, but she won her game against GM Tibor Tolnai to finish first, with six points in nine games. In January 1991, Judit’s sister Susan had also earned the GM title. Susan had the distinction of being the first woman to earn the GM title by achieving three GM norms and achieving a rating over 2500 as previous female GMs, Nona Gaprindashvili and Maia Chiburdanidze, were awarded the title by winning the Women’s World Championship.

In 1992, Polgár tied for second, behind Anatoly Karpov at the Madrid International in Linares. She and Russian GM Vladimir Epishin finished with 5½–3½. In July 1992, she placed second in the Reshevsky Memorial in Manhattan finishing with four wins, five draws and no losses. In September 1992, Polgár participated in a tournament held in Aruba in which a team of senior men’s players competed against a team of top women players. The men’s team consisted of Lev Polugaevsky, Wolfgang Uhlmann, Oscar Panno, Efim Geller, Borislav Ivkov and Vasily Smyslov. The women’s team consisted of Judit and Zsuzsa Polgár, Pia Cramling, Chiburdanidze, Ketevan Arakhamia and Alisa Galliamova. The men won the tournament 39–33. The overall high scorer was Polugaevsky, 57 years old with Polgár, 16, finishing second with 7½–4½.

Polgár then tied for first in the Hastings tournament held over New Year’s, 1992–93. Russian GM Evgeny Bareev, at the time ranked eighth in the world, led going into tournament’s last round, but was defeated by Polgár in their second individual game, allowing her to share first. Immediately following the Hastings tournament, Polgár played an exhibition match in February against former World Champion, Boris Spassky. She won the match 5½–4½ and won the largest prize money to that point in her career of $110,000. Polgár also participated in the Melody Amber tournament in Monaco which featured a blindfold tournament of 12 grandmasters. Anand and Karpov finished first, Ljubojević third, while Polgár finished in clear fourth with 6½ points from 11 rounds, ahead of other strong GMs such as Ivanchuk, Short, Korchnoi and her sister Susan.

In 1993, Polgár became the first woman to ever qualify for a men’s Interzonal tournament. In March, she finished in a four-way tie for second place in the Budapest Zonal and won the tiebreaking tournament. She then confirmed her status as one of the world’s leading players, narrowly failing to qualify for the Candidates Tournaments at the rival FIDE and PCA Interzonal tournaments.