Judit Polgár Biography: Age, Net Worth, Career & Achievements

Judit Polgár

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Judit Polgár is a Hungarian chess player, mostly known as the strongest female chess player. At age 12, she was first rated in the top 100 players in the world and at the age of 15, she became the youngest grandmaster who broke Bobby Fischer’s record. Polgár was ranked number 1 Women chess player from January 1989 until her retirement on August 13, 2014. In 1996, she is the only female chess player who was ranked in the top 10 ranking list of the year.

She was the youngest player ever to break into the rating list of FIDE top 100 players, in the January 1989 rating list ranked No. 55, when she was just at the age of 12. She is the only woman to have been a serious player for the World Chess Championship, in which she participated in 2005; she had previously participated in large, 100-player-plus knockout tournaments for the world championship. 


Judit is also only woman to have surpassed 2700 Elo, setting peak world ranking of number 8 in 2004. Polgár has shared first or won in the chess tournaments of Hastings 1993, Madrid 1994, León 1996, US Open 1998, Hoogeveen 1999, Sigeman & Co 2000, Japfa 2000. The number 1 player, and has defeated eleven current or former world champions in either classical or rapid or chess: Anatoly Karpov, Vladimir Kramnik, Vasily Smyslov, Viswanathan Anand, Alexander Khalifman, Magnus Carlsen, Garry Kasparov, Boris Spassky, Veselin Topalov, Ruslan Ponomariov, and Rustam Kazimdzhanov. 

On August 13, 2014, Judit announced her retirement from competitive chess. In June 2015, she was elected as the head coach and new captain of the Hungarian national men’s team. On August 20, 2015, she received Hungary’s highest decoration, the Grand Cross of the Order fo Saint Stephen of Hungary. In 2021, she was admitted into the World Chess Hall of Fame. 

Early Life

Judit was born on 23rd July 1976, in Budapest. She was born into a Hungarian-Jewish Family. Judit and her two older sisters, International Master Sofia and Grandmaster Sisam, were part of an educational experiment accomplished by their father, László Polgár. It was in an attempt to prove that his daughters could make exceptional achievements if trained in a specialist subject from a very early age. “Geniuses are made, not born,” was László’s thesis.

He and his wife Klára educated their children at home, with chess as the specialist subject. László Polgár also taught his daughters Esperanto, the international language. They got resistance from Hungarian authorities as home-schooling was not a “socialist” approach. They also faced criticism for depriving the sisters of a normal childhood from some Western commentators.

Traditionally, chess had been a male-dominated game. Females were not seen to be playing it before the Women’s World Champion. However, from the start, László was against the thought that his daughters had to participate in only female events. “Women are able to achieve results similar, in fields of intellectual activities, to that of men,” László wrote. “Chess is a form of intellectual activity, so this applies to chess. Accordingly, we reject any kind of discrimination in this respect.”

This put the Polgárs in conflict with the Hungarian Chess Federation of the day. Whose policy was for females to play in only female tournaments. Judit’s older sister, Susan, first fought the bureaucracy by refusing to play in women’s tournaments and playing in men’s tournaments. In 1985, when she was a 15-year-old International Master, Susan said that it was due to this conflict that she had not been awarded the Grandmaster title despite having made the norm 11 times.


Judit played in women-specific tournaments or divisions rarely. She has never competed for the Women’s World Championship. “I always say that females should have the self-confidence that they are as great as male players. But only if they are willing to work and take it seriously as much as male players”. Her father has been credited with being a great chess coach. Judit had also employed professional chess players to train their daughters. This includes GM Pal Benko, Hungarian champion IM Tibor Florian, and Russian GM Alexander Chernin. Being the youngest, Judit was separated from her sisters while they were at their training. However, this only served to increase Judit’s curiosity.

After she had gotten to know the rules, they discovered Judit was able to find solutions to the problems they were studying, and she started to be invited into the group. One evening, Susan with their trainer was studying an endgame, a strong International Master. Unable to find the solution, they called Judit, who was asleep in bed, they wroke her up and carried her into the training room.

Still half asleep, Judit showed them how to solve the problem, after which she back to bed. László Polgár’s experiment would produce a family of one international master and two grandmasters and prove women could be chess grandmasters as well as strengthen the argument for nurture over nature.

Judit’s Personal Life

In August 2000, Judit tied the knot with Dr. Gusztav Font a veterinarian and an amateur chess player. The couple welcomed their first baby who was a boy, named Olivér born in 2004, and then in 2006 they welcomed their daughter, Hanna. Now they are living a happy family life together in Hungary, and her parents and sisters eventually emigrated: Susan to the United States, Sofia to Israel, and her parents to Israel and the United States.

The Judit Polgár Chess Foundation

The two educational programs were developed by the Judit Polgár Chess Foundation. One is a Chess Playground for preschool students and another is a Chess Palace for primary school students (classes 1–4). The main goal of the foundation is to improve various skills (strategic thinking, problem-solving, etc.) with the help of chess.

The methodical chess rules are used to process the knowledge of general subjects as well (math, language, etc.). The program was successful in Hungary and it is part of the Hungarian National Curriculum. At the Frankfurt Book Fair 2015, the Chess Palace book series was honoured with the special prize of the Best European Learning Materials Awards (BELMA).

Net Worth

Judit Polgar’s estimated net worth is least $ 4 million. She the one woman that comes in mind when discussing the best female Chess players around the world and also one of the best Hungarian Chess players of all time, it’s Judit Polgar.