Zsuzsa Polgár (born April 19, 1969 in Budapest, Hungary), is among the strongest female chess players in history. She currently lives in the United States and has Anglicized her name to Susan Polgar.
Along with her two younger sisters, she was coached in chess by her father, Laszlo Polgar. Despite restrictions on her freedom to play in international tournaments, by 1984 Zsuzsa had become the top-rated female chess player in the world. However, in November of that year FIDE 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 1991, Polgar became the first woman to earn the menīs Grandmaster title by achieving three GM norms. (Nona Gaprindashvili and Maia Chiburdanidze had earlier been granted the title honorarily by virtue of being Womenīs World Champions). Zsuzsaīs younger sister Judit earned the title of Grandmaster later in 1991.
In 1996, Zsuzsa Polgar won the Womenīs World Championship. She is the only World Champion (male or female) to win the triple crown in chess (World Blitz, Rapid and Traditional World Championships). FIDE had difficulty finding a sponsor for Polgarīs 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, FIDE stripped her of her title. Polgar sued in the Court of Arbitration for Sports in Lausanne, Switzerland for monetary damages and the restoration of her title. In March of 2001 the parties settled out of court, with FIDE paying Polgar $25,000 in damages, and Polgar agreeing to relinquish her claim to the Womenīs World Championship.
In 1997 Polgar published the autobiographical book Queen of the Kingīs Game (ISBN 0965705978).
As of July 2004, Polgar lives in New York City, where she runs the Polgar Chess Center, primarily to encourage young girls and boys in their pursuit of chess. She played on the United States womenīs team at the 2004 Chess Olympiad held in October in Majorca, Spain, and won the gold medal for highest performance rating in the womenīs 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 DiMaggioīs incredible 56-game hitting streak in baseball). In fact, she has never lost a single game in the Olympiads.
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.
Susan Polgar speaks several languages fluently, including Esperanto, German, Russian, Spanish, English, Hungarian, and Hebrew.
She is one of the best-selling chess authors in the world. Her current books include World Championīs Guide to Chess, World Championīs Guide to Tactics, Breaking Through and Teach Yourself Chess in 24 Hours. Susan is also an award-winning chess journalist with columns in Chess Life, ChessCafe, Chess Horizons, Georgia Chess, Empire Chess, School Mates, etc. She also just released a series of instructional chess DVDs.