Judit Polgár (born July 23, 1976) is a Hungarian chess player. Easily the strongest female chess player in history, in the April 2005 FIDE rating list (including men and women) she was ranked number eight in the world with an Elo rating of 2732, the only woman on FIDE´s Top 100 list.
Judit comes from a Jewish family background in Budapest. (A number of her great-grandparents were killed in the Holocaust, and her grandmother was a survivor of Auschwitz). She and her two older sisters (Zsuzsa (GM) and Zsófia (IM)) were part of an educational experiment carried out by their father László Polgár, in an effort to prove that children could make exceptional achievements if trained in a specialist subject from a very early age. He and his wife educated their children at home, with chess as a specialist subject.
Judit could almost certainly have won the title of Women´s World Champion of Chess several times over. No other woman was even in the top 100 of the FIDE Elo rating list, while Judit entered the Top 10 in 2003. However, she has refused to participate in women-only chess events, stating that she wants to be the true World Champion of Chess. Amongst her achievements are earning the men´s Grandmaster title at the then-record age of 15 years and 4 months, one month earlier than Bobby Fischer´s previous record. Her climb up the ranks once seemed to put her on target for the world championship, but although she has played many winning games against some of the world´s best players, she has yet to win a major tournament. She has also been unable to beat former champion Garry Kasparov in any of their encounters in standard time control games. In 2002, she finally beat Kasparov in a rapid game of the "Russia vs The Rest of the World 2002" tournament (moves given in Algebraic chess notation):
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. O-O Nxe4 5. d4 Nd6 6. Bxc6 dxc6 7. dxe5 Nf5 8. Qxd8+ Kxd8 9. Nc3 h6 10. Rd1+ Ke8 11. h3 Be7 12. Ne2 Nh4 13. Nxh4 Bxh4 14. Be3 Bf5 15. Nd4 Bh7 16. g4 Be7 17. Kg2 h5 18. Nf5 Bf8 19. Kf3 Bg6 20. Rd2 hxg4+ 21. hxg4 Rh3+ 22. Kg2 Rh7 23. Kg3 f6 24. Bf4 Bxf5 25. gxf5
fxe5 26. Re1 Bd6 27. Bxe5 Kd7 28. c4 c5 29. Bxd6 cxd6 30. Re6 Rah8 31. Rexd6+ Kc8 32. R2d5 Rh3+ 33. Kg2 Rh2+ 34. Kf3 R2h3+ 35. Ke4 b6 36. Rc6+ Kb8 37. Rd7 Rh2 38. Ke3 Rf8 39. Rcc7 Rxf5 40. Rb7+ Kc8 41. Rdc7+ Kd8 42. Rxg7 Kc8 1-0
The rest of her family eventually emigrated (Zsófia and her parents to Israel, Zsuzsa to the US), but she remained in Hungary and married a veterinary surgeon from Budapest. In 2004 Judit took some time off from chess to give birth to her son, Olivér. She was consequently considered inactive and not listed on the January 2005 FIDE rating list, meaning that her sister Zsuzsa temporarily became the world´s number one woman player.
Judit returned to chess at the prestigious Corus chess tournament on January 15th 2005, scoring 7/13. She was therefore relisted in the April 2005 FIDE rating list, gaining a few rating points for her better-than-par performance at Corus. In May she also had an better-than-par performance at a strong tournament in Sofia, finishing third, so she seems likely to gain ground when the next FIDE rating list is published in July 2005.
- Tibor Károlyi: Judit Polgar, the princess of chess. London: Batsford, 2004. ISBN 0-7134-8890-5
- Forbes, Cathy: The Polgar Sisters: Training or Genius?
- Hurst, Sarah: Curse of Kirsan: Adventures in the Chess Underworld. Russell Enterprises, 2002.