Based on educational research, our parents decided that their children’s lives and careers would be a living example that would prove that any healthy child – if taught early and intensively - can be brought up to be an outstanding person – or, in the words of my father László Polgár: a genius.
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I have never been good at writing CVs. This is because I have trouble coming up with the usual items, such as educational institution, course of study, profession and career path. I never went to school, having done all my studies at home, and I have never held a conventional job.
Practically from the moment of my birth, on July 23, 1976, I became involved in an educational experiment. Even before I came into the world, my parents had already decided: I would be a chess player.
My sister Susan had been a successful player for years, winning one tournament after the other.
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Thus, my CV essentially consists of my achievements as a chess player. I was 9 when I first won an international chess tournament, and at age 12 and 14, I won the boys’ World Youth Chess tournament in my age groups. I was 12 when – for the first time in the history of Hungarian chess – my team, including Ildikó Mádl and my two sisters Susan and Sofia, won an Olympic gold medal in women’s chess. We repeated this achievement in 1990. But ever since that second Olympic gold medal, I have competed only against men.
In 1991, I became Chess Grandmaster, breaking Bobby Fischer’s record as youngest grandmaster in history at the time. On four occasions, I played on the Hungarian men’s Olympic chess team, and we won a silver medal in 2002. I have defeated world chess champions Spassky, Karpov, Kasparov, Topalov and Anand at international tournaments, matches and rapid tournaments.
I have been the world’s No. 1 woman chess player for nearly 20 years straight, since 1989. Among men, I was ranked 8th in 2005. I was awarded the Chess Oscar seven times, and was elected Woman Chess Player of the Century.
In the past few years, I have been able to add some “normal” items to my CV: In 2000, I married Gusztáv Font, a veterinarian. We have two children, Olivér and Hanna. And thus, not only my CV, but my whole life has become more complete.
Read About Judit Polgar in Wikipedia
As many other Soviet chess players did, I went to Pioneer's House (at age of 8). One of the myths which is very popular in the US is that chess is a part of the school curriculum and so forth. Our chess club in Pioneer's house had about 20-30 kids of different ages and levels and was headed by a great woman who's name was Ninel Grichenko. She was not a strong player (maybe medium A class player due to American standards), but she was very good with kids.
The road to becoming a grandmaster began when I was a small boy. I was born in 1959 in Berdichev (Ukraine). Since 1960 my family was located in Kaliningrad (West of Russia). Kaliningrad became part of the Soviet Union after World War II. It was German city Kenigsberg before it.
I started to play chess when I was 6 years old, learning the moves from my father. It immediately became a passion. There were a few kids in our house, who were 2-4 years older than me and who could play chess. We spent hours and hours fighting and I lost a lot of games before getting better. During summer I carried a chessboard every time I went to a park and asked everybody to play with me.
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She never gave us any kind of formal chess instruction and most of the time we just played tournament games against each other. But there was a difference with average school chess clubs in US. We met 3 times a week, each session for 3 hours (Monday, Wednesday, Friday from 3 till 6 PM. I remember it like it was yesterday).
We didn't have a rating system back then. So, norms requirements were as follows: if you score 75% of all possible points in the tournament where everybody is a beginner you get a forth category. If you score 75% in the tournament where everybody has forth category you get third category, etc. And there were tables which showed how many points did you need for the norm in mixed tournaments. My improvement was pretty stable, though not as fast as I wanted. In my first year I got 4th category, next year 3rd. But then funny (or sad) stories started to happen. It turned out that the last round of the tournament where I had a chance to make a 2nd category norm was held on October, 10, day before my tenth birthday. There is no need to describe how badly I wanted to win this game. My opponent didn't have a good tournament and I was sure that it won't be very difficult to make it. The beginning, indeed, seemed very encouraging:
Gregory Kaidanov - Sergey Martinenko
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Bc5? 3.Nxe5 Bxf2+??
My opponent just blundered a pawn and now he decided to win it back.
Now Sergey was ready to play 4...Qf6+ and to pick up a knight on e5, but he noticed 5.Nf3 and changed his plans.
4...Qh4+ 5.Kg1 Qxe4
A terrible play of my friend convinced me that such a desirable goal is close and without too much thinking I played 6.Qh5??
Now I am threatening to take on f7 and of course he'll miss it. But right after I played my move, I found out that I had one little problem. I even tried to take the move back, but it was too late. 6...Qd4 mate ...and a rain of tears followed.
A very similar story happened a year later, when I tried to get a first category. I needed 1.5 points from the last 2 games. The last round game was against one of my friends, whom I used to beat almost every time we played. However, the game before last had a tragic scenario. I got a winning position right after the opening. My opponent offered me a draw after every 3-4 moves. Eventually we went to the pawn endgame, where I had an extra pawn. Usually it means an easy win, but this particular one was miraculously lost for me. Again I came back home in tears and said that never again I will play a chess game...Fortunately next day was Monday and I was 15 minutes early, waiting for our coach to come and open doors of Pioneer's House Chess Club.
Boys under-14 Russian Federation Championship,1972 2nd place
Boys under-14 Russian Federation Championship,1972 1st place
Became a Candidate of Master (analog of expert in US), 1975
Became a Master, 1978
Became an International Master, 1987
Became a Grandmaster, 1988
Won international tournaments:
Moscow, Russia 1987
Lvov, Ukraine 1988
Protvino, Russia 1988
Wien, Austria 1989
Hastings Masters, England 1990
Gent, Belgium 1990
New York 1990
Since emigrating to US in 1991:
won World Open (1992)
won US Open (1992)
tied for first in National Open (1990,1992, 1994 and 1999)
won World Championship Lucerne,1993) with the US team.
member of US team, who finished third in World Chess Olympiad (Erevan, Armenia, 1996)
member of US team, who finished second in World Chess Olympiad (Elista, Russia,1998)
won Goodricke Open (Calcutta, India, 2000)
member of US team, in World Chess Olympiad (Istanbul, Turkey,2000)
member of US team, in World Chess Olympiad (Bled Slovenia,2002)
winner of Aeroflot Open, one of the strongest open tournaments ever (80+ GMs) Moscow, Russia,2002
member of US team, who finished 4th in World Chess Olympiad (Calvia, 2004)
member of US team, who finished 3rd in World Chess Olympiad (Torino, 2006)
3rd place in US Championship (Stillwater, OK, 2007)
Coach of U.S Women's Bronze Medal Team (Dresden, Germany, 2008)
Read about Gregory Kaidanov in Wikipedia