Judit Polgár

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Judit Polgár : biography

23 July 1976 –

Strongest female player ever

Polgár is by far the strongest female chess player of all time.Sources citing Polgár as by far the strongest female chess player of all time:

  • note: The Associated Press story on Aug.17/18, 2003 on the Polgár–Anand match explicitly refers to Polgár with the words "by far the strongest woman chess player ever"
  • note: explicitly uses "by far": "By far the strongest female player of all timer".
  • Malcolm Pein, British IM and Executive Editor of CHESS magazine, when speaking of A. Kosteniuk’s victory over Hou Yifan for the Women’s World Champtionship, said "Currently Judit Polgár is in another league from any other female player."
  • Kavalek, GM in the top 100 players for 26 years, called Polgár, "the all-time best female player"
  • Panolfini, chess author and coach, writes "Judit Polgár is simply the strongest female chess player in history."
  • The January 1996 FIDE ratings list was a landmark as Polgár’s 2675 rating made her the No. 10 ranked player in the world, the only woman ever to enter the world’s Top Ten.

In August 1996, Polgár participated in a very strong 10–player tournament in Vienna. There was a three–way tie for first between Karpov, Topalov and Boris Gelfand and a three–way tie for fourth between Kramnik, Polgár and Lékó. In December 1996, Polgár played a match in São Paulo against Brazil’s champion Gilbert Milos. The four games were played at 30 moves an hour with 30 minutes for the remainder of the game. Polgár won two, drew one and lost one and won $12,000 in prize money.

In February 1997, she played in the Linares "supertournament" which Kasparov won by edging out Kramnik. Polgár finished in clear fifth position in the 12-GM tournament, ahead of Anand, Ivanchuk, Gelfand and Shirov. Her result was considered exceptional considering the strength of the tournament, average 2701, and she was praised for her tactical skills in her game against Ivanchuk. In April 1997, she played in the Dos Hermanas Chess tournament, a single-round robin category XIX event of 10 of the world’s best players. She finished in sixth place with an even score of 4½–4½. In June 1997, she finished with an even score, 4½–4½, in the Madrid 10-player GM tournament won by Topalov. In July 1997, Polgár competed in the elite Dortmund International Tournament. She finished in fifth in the strong field of ten, ahead of players such as Anatoly Karpov. In the tournament, she won playing with the black pieces against Veselin Topalov, at the time ranked fourth in the world. Topalov had the advantage until Polgár executed a deep positional sacrifice. In October 1997, she tied for second in a double round-robin tournament of four grand masters in the VAM International Tournament in Hoogeveen, the Netherlands.

"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 Aug. 26, 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."

In January 1998, she played in the category XVII event, the Hoogovens in Wijk aan Zee, Netherlands, in which 14 of the world’s top grandmasters participated. She finished in the middle of the pack, tied for sixth–tenth position with Karpov, Topalov and Jeroen Piket and an even score of 6½ points in thirteen games. Polgár handed co-winner Vishwanathan Anand his only loss of the tournament. Note: The Berry article used the spelling Hoogooven. In June 1998 in Budapest, Polgár played an eight game match of "action" chess, which is 30 minutes for the entire game, against Anatoly Karpov. She won the match 5–3 by winning two games with the remaining ending in draws. At the time Karpov was the FIDE World Champion. In August 1998, Polgár became the first woman to ever win the U.S. Open held at the Kona Surf Resort in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. She shared the tournament victory with GM Boris Gulko as each scored 8–1. Typical of her aggressive style was her victory against GM Georgi Kacheishvili in which she sacrificed her queen for the attack. In October 1998, Polgár won the VAM four-grandmaster tournament in Hoogeveen, Netherlands by 1½ points over Jan Timman. In November 1998, Polgár played in the Wydra Memorial Rapid chess tournament in Israel. She tied for first with Viswanathan Anand as both scored 11½ out of the 14 games. Anand won the tournament in a tie-break game over Polgár.