Susan Polgar was born on April 19, 1969 in Budapest, Hungary. She is one of the strongest female players ever, having been Women's World Chess Champion from 1996 until 1999. She was originally called Zsuzsa Polgr, but she Anglicized her name to make it easier for English speakers to pronounce.
Along with her two younger sisters, Judit and Sofia, she was coached in chess by her father, L szl Polg r. Despite restrictions on her freedom to play in international tournaments, by 1984 Polgar had become the top-rated female chess player in the world. However, in November, 1986, FIDE (with the pressure from the Soviet federation which did not want to see a non-Soviet to be ranked #1) decided to grant 100 bonus ELO rating points to all active female players except her, knocking her out of the top spot in the January, 1987 ratings list. The rationale was that Polgar had earned her rating primarily playing against men, whereas other female chess players had deflated ratings from playing in women-only tournaments. The statistical evidence supporting this decision was highly suspect because the data on which it was based was a small subset of the available data. No similar interference with ratings has occurred since.
In January 1991, Polgar became the first woman to earn the men's Grandmaster title by achieving three GM norms and rating over 2500. (Nona Gaprindashvili and Maia Chiburdanidze had earlier been granted the title honorarily by virtue of being Women's World Champions). Zsuzsa's younger sister Judit earned the title of Grandmaster later in December 1991. In 1992, (as the underdog to her sister Judit who was ranked #1 in the world) Polgar won both the Women's World Blitz and Rapid Championship ahead of her sisters Judit and Sofia as well as many other top women players in the world.
In 1996, Zsuzsa Polgar won the classical Women's World Championship, her 4th World Championship title. She is the only World Champion (male or female) to win the triple crown in chess (World Blitz, Rapid and Classical World Championships). FIDE had difficulty finding a sponsor for Polgar's title defense two years later, and ultimately arranged it in 1999 under conditions Polgar objected to, first because she demanded at least six months to recuperate and prepare after bearing her first child, and secondly because the match was to be held entirely in China, the home country of her challenger Xie Jun. When Polgar refused to play under these conditions, FIDE stripped her of her title. Polgar sued in the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland, for monetary damages and the restoration of her title. In March of 2001 the court ruled in favor of Polgar, ordering FIDE to pay Polgar $25,000 in damages. However, since a new World Champion was crowned, FIDE cannot restore her title.
In 1997 Polgar published the autobiographical book Queen of the King's Game. The United States Chess Federation named Polgar "Grandmaster of the Year" in 2003, the first time a woman has won that honor. In that same year (2003), Polgar also became the first woman to win the strongest US Open Blitz Championship ever, a field which included 7 grandmasters. She did not compete in 2004 but won the title again for the second time in 2005.
On the April 2005 FIDE list, Polgar had an Elo rating of 2577, which made her the number two female player in the world behind her sister Judit. She was the #1 female player in the world at age 15 and has remained in the top 3 for the past 20 consecutive years. In July 2005, Polgar broke four international records at a single match played in Palm Beach, Florida, including: largest numbers of simultaneous games played (326, with 309 won, 14 drawn and 3 lost); consecutive games played (1,131); highest number of games won; and highest percentage of wins (96.93%).
As of September 2005, Polgar lives in New York City, where she runs the Polgar Chess Center (see below) primarily to encourage young girls and boys in their pursuit of chess. She played on the United States women's team at the 2004 Chess Olympiad held in October in Majorca, Spain, and won the gold medal for highest performance rating in the women's event and most point scores. She has a total of 10 Olympiad Medals (5 Gold, 4 Silver and 1 Bronze). In addition, she has a 56 consecutive Olympiad game scoring streak without a single loss (this is comparable to Joe DiMaggio's incredible 56-game hitting streak in baseball). In fact, she has never lost a single game in the Olympiads.
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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Susan Polgar.