Sofia Polgar

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Sofia Polgar
Full name Polgár Zsófia
Country Hungary
Born (1974-11-02) November 2, 1974 (age 44)
Budapest, Hungary
Title International Master
Woman Grandmaster
FIDE rating 2450 (February 2019) [inactive]
Peak rating 2505 (July 1998)

Sofia Polgar (Hungarian: Polgár Zsófia, pronounced [ˈpolɡaːr ˈʒoːfiɒ]); born November 2, 1974) is a Hungarian, Israeli and Canadian chess player, teacher, and artist. She is a former chess prodigy.[1] She holds the FIDE titles of International Master and Woman Grandmaster, and is the middle sister of Grandmasters Susan and Judit Polgár. She lives in Israel, and has worked as a chess teacher and artist.


Polgár was born into a Jewish family in Budapest. She and her two sisters were part of an educational experiment carried out by their father László Polgár, in an attempt to prove that children could make exceptional achievements if trained in specialist subjects from a very early age—László's thesis being that "geniuses are made, not born". He and his wife Klara educated their three daughters at home, with chess as the specialist subject.[2] They also taught their daughters the international language Esperanto.

In the 1986 World Under-14 Championship she finished second to Joël Lautier and was declared world under-14 girls champion.[3]

In 1989, at the age of 14, she stunned the chess world by her performance in a tournament in Rome, which became known as the "Sack of Rome". She won the tournament, which included several strong grandmasters, with a score of 8½ out of 9. According to the Chessmetrics rating system, her performance rating was 2735,[4] one of the strongest performances in history by a 14-year-old.

Polgár won the silver medal at the World Junior Chess Championship (open section) in 1994.[5]

On February 7, 1999 Polgar married the Israeli Grandmaster Dr Yona Kosashvili and moved to Israel. They have two children, Alon and Yoav. Polgar's parents later joined them in Israel. The whole family subsequently emigrated to Toronto, Canada, but around 2012 Polgar moved back to Israel and settled in Tel Aviv.[6]

For a time, Polgar ranked as the sixth-strongest female player in the world. She played one FIDE-rated game in July 2005. Prior to that, her last FIDE-rated game was in September 2003. At one point she beat Viktor Korchnoi at a game of fast chess. However, Korchnoi said that this was "the very first and the very last game [she] had ever won against [him]."[7]


  1. As she uses the anglicised form of her name on her website we may assume this is the form she now prefers. In Hungarian she is sometimes known by the familiar form Zsófi.
  2. Shvidler, Eli (November 22, 2007). "All the right moves". Haaretz. Archived from the original on 22 November 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. San Juan 1986 - 2° World Championship u14 (boys/girls) BrasilBase
  4. "Chessmetrics Player Profile: Sofia Polgar".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Matinhos 1994 - 33° Campeonato Mundial Juvenil BrasilBase
  6. This is according to her Facebook page.
  7. Video of Sofia Polgar defeating Victor Korchnoi

External links