Susan Polgar, a chess giant of our times.

Susan Polgar

Susan Polgar is a chess giant of our times. This lady has been a trailblazer in the chess world for a very long time.  Her achievements are very impressive. Not only did she make her mark as a player but she has taken that level of excellence to her role as a chess coach, chess promoter and her role as the Executive Director of SPICE at Webster University. So Wesley, the winner of the recently held Millionaire Chess Open is a student at Webster University. Susan is a Champion working hard to inspire other chess champion.

Susan has also been very prolific in supporting and promoting the game of chess in all its forms. She founded the Susan Polgar Foundation whose mission  is to promote chess, with all its educational, social, and competitive benefits throughout the United States, for young people of all ages, especially girls. Even though I am based in Africa I can feel the impact of Susan’s work as chess is becoming more popular not only with adults but children as well. More and more schools and institutions across the world are including chess in the curriculum. Here in South Africa we have MiniChess which promotes education through chess. I have little doubt that people like Susan Polgar have played a huge role in transforming the way is viewed and perceived by the general public and chess players as well.

What inspired Susan Polgar to take chess to the children? She says “From my 30 plus years of experience, I discovered that chess can help children of all ages do better in school as well as develop many important life skills. Research around the world has supported my belief,”  “Countless studies have shown that chess can help develop critical thinking that can be used in other areas of a child’s life, academics and social situations. According to research, Test scores improved by 17.3% for students regularly engaged in chess classes, compared with only 4.6% for children participating in other forms of enriched activities,” adds Susan.

If you thought Chess was just another game, think again! According to Susan chess is like life itself. She saw chess as combining, so many important qualities in life, such as concentration, focusing and planning ahead, and taking into account the people around you, and precision, and research, and psychology, and time management, and a number of other very important life skills that we deal with on an everyday basis. She believes chess teaches you to be more responsible. Garry Kasparov, former world Chess Champion and arguably the greatest player of the game strongly agrees about how chess is very much like life. He even wrote a book, How Life Imitates Chess.

Below is her super impressive resume.

  • Winner of 4 Women’s World Championships
  • The only World Champion in history besides Magnus Carlsen to win the Triple-Crown (Rapid, Blitz & Classical World Championships)
  • 5-time Olympic Champion – 10 overall medals (5 Gold, 4 Silver, 1 Bronze)
  • Currently hold a record 56 consecutive Olympiad game scoring streak without a loss
  •  2006 Women’s Chess Cup Champion
  • Held 4 world records for simultaneous chess exhibitions
  • FIRST WOMAN EVER IN HISTORY TO
  • 2006 Women’s Chess Cup Champion
  • Currently hold a record 56 consecutive Olympiad game scoring streak without a loss
  • 5-time Olympic Champion – 10 overall medals (5 Gold, 4 Silver, 1 Bronze)
  • The only World Champion in history to win the Triple-Crown (Rapid, Blitz & Classical World Championships)
  • Winner of 4 Women’s World Championships
  • Earn the Men’s Grandmaster title (91) through traditional FIDE requirements
  • Win the U.S. Open Blitz Championship
  •  Be awarded the Grandmaster of the Year honor
  • Serve as the Head Coach of a Men’s Division I Team to win the Final Four National Collegiate Championship
  • Serve as the Head Coach of the #1 ranked Men’s Division I Team in the US
  • Serve as the Head Coach of Men’s Division I Teams from 2 different schools to win the Final Four National Collegiate Championship
  • Serve as Head Coach of a Men’s Division I Team to win the National Collegiate Championship 3 straight years
  • Be named Coach of the Year

OTHER NOTABLE ACCOMPLISHMENTS

  • Won the Budapest Championship for Girls under 11 at age of 4 with the perfect score of 10-0
    #1 ranked woman chess player in the world at the age of 15 (remain in the top 3 in the world for 23 straight years)
  •  Currently ranked #1 in the US
  • 3-time US Open Blitz Champion
  •  Award-winning & best-selling chess author in numerous languages
  • Winner of the prestigious Cramer Award for “Best Chess Column of the Year”
  •  3-time winner of the Chess Journalists of America Award
  • First ever recipient of the “Chess Educator of the Year” award and “US Scholastic Chess Ambassador” award
  • Founder of the Susan Polgar Foundation, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, with partners, awarded more then $3 million in scholarships to young players
  • Sponsor & organizer of the prestigious annual Susan Polgar Girl’s Invitational, World Open for Girls, National Open for Girls, SPICE Cup, etc

Here is a video on SPICE: The Webster University Chess Team.

As someone who loves chess chess a great deal I take my hat off and applaud the efforts of Susan Polgar.  If there were Chess Oscars for promoting the stature of our game and improving education through the game, I believe Polgar deserves one. In the chess world a great deal of attention is paid to the male players. Perhaps it is high time we also acknowledge the role of our female compatriots in taking the game of chess to new levels.

You can read more about Susan Polgar on her website . Follow her on Facebook  , Follow her on Twitter

Bruce Mubayiwa

I am the founder and editor of Africa Chess Net. I have been playing chess for over 25 years and love writing about the game. Our goal is simple, to get more people playing chess in Africa! The game of chess is not only absorbing but a great deal of fun.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: