Judit Polgár is universally considered the strongest woman chess player ever. She was #1 woman player in the world for an unbroken period of over 26 years starting from the age of 12 in 1989 when she burst into the world's top 100 until her retirement from competitive chess in August 2014, aged 38, and into 2015 while her rating was still active.
She was born in Hungary in 1976. Her childhood included an extensive chess education from her father, László, and her sisters. Beginning international competition as early as 1984, Polgár first defeated an International Master in Adelaide in 1986, when she beat Dolfi Drimer, and a year later the then 11 year old girl defeated her first grandmaster, Lev Gutman. In 1988 she won the U12 Boys World Championship, and in 1990, the U14 Boys World Championship. In 1991 she became an International Grandmaster by winning the "men's" Hungarian championship and at the age of fifteen years and five months, she was the youngest grandmaster in history, breaking a record that Robert James Fischer had held for over 30 years. She has been the highest-rated woman ever since FIDE's January 1990 list, and in 2003 she entered the overall top ten. In 2005, she became the first woman to take part in the final of an open world championship cycle when she participated in the FIDE World Championship Tournament (2005). Although she finished last, her participation in this event seeded her into the 2007 Candidates playoff for the World Championship Tournament in Mexico City, but she bowed out in the Candidates Match: Polgar - Bareev (2007) by 3.5-2.5.
Polgár's career-best tournament performances include four victories at Essent (twice shared), first in London 1988, first in Varna 1988, equal first with Bareev in Hastings 1992/93, clear first at Madrid 1994, first at the Isle of Lewis 1995 (1), equal first in the 1998 US Open, first at the VAM Tournament in Hoogeveen in 1998, first at the category 16 Japfa Classic in Bali in 2000, first at the the Sigeman & Company International Tournament in Malmo, equal first at the Najdorf Chess Festival 2000, fourth in the 2001 European Championship which fielded 143 GMs in a 13-round Swiss-system tournament, first at Superstars Hotel Bali (2002), clear second at Corus at Wijk aan Zee (2003) and equal first at the 12th European Individual Championship (2011), the first time a woman has stood on the podium in this immensely competitive tournament that on this occasion attracted 167 grandmasters; her result also qualified her for participation in the World Cup (2011), where she defeated Cuban GM Fidel Corrales Jimenez, Armenian GM Sergei Movsesian, and Russian GM Sergey Karjakin and Cuban GM, Leinier Dominguez Perez in the first four rounds, but lost her quarter final match against the eventual winner, Russian GM Peter Svidler, to exit the contest. She was one of the President's nominees to play in the World Cup (2013), where she faced Cuban #4 player, GM Isan Reynaldo Ortiz Suarez in the first round, losing the first game and drawing the second.
Polgár represented Hungary at the (open) Olympiads in 1994, 1996, 2000, 2002, 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2014. During that time she won two team silver medals, and an individual bronze medal, both occurring at the 2002 Olympiad and the second team silver in 2014. During the Chess Olympiad (2012) held in Istanbul, she played on board 3 scoring 7.5/10 which yielded a TPR of 2744, her best result since the Istanbul Olympiad of 2000. Her overall game results from her participation in Olympiads now amounts to 85 games (+35 =35 -15) with a winning percentage of 61.8%. She represented Hungary twice in the European Team Championships, once in 1989 and then again in 1999, on the latter occasion helping her team to its best result, a silver medal, and also winning an individual silver medal for her result on board 2.
In rapids, Polgár's best results include equal first with Viswanathan Anand in the Wydra rapid in Israel in 1998, defeating David Navara 6-2 in a rapid match in the Czech Republic in 2010, and defeating Vassily Ivanchuk 2.5-1.5 and Veselin Topalov 3.5-0.5 to win the rapid Ajedrez UNAM Quadrangular (2010). She won an invitational rapid tournament, Festa da Uva (Grape Celebration), in Caxias do Sul in Brazil in early 2012, ahead of Henrique Mecking, Gilberto Milos and Andres Rodriguez Vila; the contest was a round robin featuring 2 game mini-matches between each player, with one rapid and one blitz game in each match. (2) She played in the European Individual Championships (2014) but only scored 6.5/11, losing a couple of games in the last few rounds of the tournament and failing to qualify for the World Cup 2015.
Polgár first entered the top 100 in January 1989 at the age of 12 when her rating skyrocketed to 2555 and number 55 in the world, and she has remained in the top 100 since then. She remains the youngest player by far to enter the top 100. Her standard rating as of 1 January 2015 is 2675 making her the world's top rated woman, Hungary's #4 player, and world #67; her peak rating was 2735 in 2005, when she was ranked #8 in the world. She is rated 2646 in rapid and 2736 (world #30 & women's world #1) in blitz.
She lives in Budapest with her husband, veterinarian Gusztáv Font, and their two children, Olivér and Hanna who were born in 2004 and 2006 respectively. In late 2012, she released her autobiography "How I Beat Fischer's Record". (3) In August 2014, she announced her retirement from competitive chess after 25 years as the top rated woman in chess. (4)
- (1) http://www.365chess.com/tournaments...; (2) chessbase article: http://chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp...; (3) http://chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp...; (4) http://en.chessbase.com/post/judit-....
- Article in the Independent dated 24 November 2012: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/p...;
- Personal website: http://www.polgarjudit.com/index_en...;
- Psychology Today article titled The Grandmaster Experiment: http://www.psychologytoday.com/arti...;
- John Miller's (User: wanabe2000) collection of games and tournaments of the Polgár sisters: Game Collection: Zsuzsa Polgar, Zsofia Polgar, Judit Polgar;
- Live rating: http://www.2700chess.com/women;
- Polgár's Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/GMJuditPolgar;
- Q & A between Polgár and fans: http://www.crestbook.com/en/node/1668;
- Audio-visual collage of Polgar Chessday 2009: http://www.timeapictures.com/en/jud... (link in print underneath photo array);
- Wikipedia article: Judit Polg%C3%A1r
Latest update 6 Nov 2014