by RYAN KOHLS on Aug 23, 2013 • 12:53 pm
If you love a good tale about women who are socially constructed geniuses, smash gender barriers and humiliate sexist men in sports, I’ve got someone I want you to meet.
Her name is Susan Polgar. She’s Hungarian. She’s a genius. And, she was the first woman to ever achieve grandmaster status and compete with men in chess world championships.
Polgar’s gender-defying ride is now the stuff of legend. Her father, László Polgar, was a psychologist and chess enthusiast who believed strongly that “geniuses were made, not born.” The key was to focus a child’s energy on one thing from an early age. Susan, at the age of 4, showed interest in the chessboard. László noticed and began to hone her skills. Together, Susan and her father began playing and practicing chess for thousands and thousands of hours. It was an experiment he had always wanted to try, so he did…and it worked.
By the age of 15, Susan Polgar was the best female player in the world. From there the barriers began tumbling down as she defeated men, won countless tournaments and became one of chess’ greatest players. During her career she also had the opportunity to play some of the greats: Bobby Fischer, Garry Kasparov and Boris Spassky, to name a few.
Susan isn’t the only Polgar to excel at chess, however. She has two younger sisters, Judit and Sofia. Both followed in her footsteps, received the same treatment from their father and became chess champions. The Polgar Sisters are mainstays on the chess circuit and a popular trio of inspirational women in sports.
The Polgar’s upbringing has been widely reported and even featured in an episode of National Geographic’s “My Brilliant Brain” program.
Following an extensive career at the top of the chess world, Susan Polgar retired from professional play in 2005. Since then, she’s focused her energy on coaching university chess teams, first for Texas Tech and now at Webster University in St. Louis. She’s also started her own foundation: The Susan Polgar Foundation. The goal of the foundation is to promote chess, and its educational benefits throughout the U.S., especially for girls.
Polgar has also used her extensive experience to author numerous books on chess strategy and her rise to grandmaster status.
There is much I WANNA KNOW from one of chess’ greatest players.
I caught up with Susan Polgar over the phone from her home in St. Louis.
From the strategies of chess, to her confrontations with Bobby Fischer, to breaking gender barriers and defeating male grandmasters, we cover it all.
Here is the full article: http://www.whatiwannaknow.com/2013/08/susan-polgar