Julian Schuster first heard the rumor a year and a half ago. Susan Polgar, the legendary grand master known to journalists as “the Queen,” was unhappy in her current position as Texas Tech’s chess coach.
The Queen’s Gambit: Susan Polgar, the First Woman to Break the Chess Gender Barrier, Brings SPICE to Webster University by Jeannette Cooperman
It hardly seemed fair. Hungarian-born Susan Polgár—who brought home the U.S.’s first Chess Olympiad medal and ranked among the top three women players in the world for 24 years—was hired by Texas Tech University in 2007 to create a chess program. She set to work, establishing the Susan Polgár Institute for Chess Excellence (SPICE) and assembling a team. Four years later, Texas Tech won the 2011 Final Four—the World Series of collegiate chess—defeating long-established powerhouses…
Long Live the Queen by Nancy Ruhling
Grandmaster Susan Polgar settles herself into the folding chair on the makeshift podium, folds her arms demurely in front of her and trains her enormous coffee-brown eyes on the green and white chessboard before her. She lost the coin toss to her opponent, Hall of Famer Lev Alburt, so he, as white, will be making the first move in the 4th annual Chess-in-the-Parks Rapid Open in New York City’s Central Park. Polgar, the No. 1 ranked player in the United States and the No. 2 player in the world, earned her first checkmate when she was only 41/2 and since then has played against all the big names—Bobby Fischer, Boris Spassky, Garry Kasparov, Anatoly Karpov—but this is no ordinary game and this is certainly no ordinary venue. As Polgar and Alburt make their moves, the results are bellowed out via microphone and 32 hyper grade-schoolers, posing as chessmen, mimic the players’ maneuvers on a life-size chessboard beneath the park’s angel-topped Bethesda Fountain. The object of this demonstration is not so much to win or lose but to show children how much fun the game of chess really can be.
The Grandmaster Experiment by Carlin Flora
The queen is the most powerful piece on the chessboard. Yet in the ultra-elite ranks of chess, a woman who can hold her own is the rarest of creatures. How, then, did one family produce three of the most successful female chess champions ever?
The world’s first female grandmaster was ready to deliver her regular Thursday-night lecture. Susan Polgar was perfumed, coiffed, made-up and dressed in a sleek black pantsuit, an elegant contrast to the boys and young men hunched over their boards in her Queens, New York, chess club. “I have a special treat,” Susan, 36, announced in her gentle Hungarian accent. “Tonight, everyone will get to play me.” Blitz chess it was—each opponent received five minutes on his clock to Susan’s one. She first sat across from a young Serbian man. The two began slamming pieces and punching down their side of the clock, creating a percussive sound track to their lightning-fast moves. Susan beat him with a good 30 seconds to spare. He shook his head and avoided her eyes. A retired bartender and a 14-year-old boy succumbed almost as quickly…