Woman's World Champion GM Susan (Zsuzsa)
Polgar Delights All at Boston University
by Jack Litwinsky, 3/27/97
From Chess Horizons, May-July, 1997
In a rare Boston appearance (she was in Boston in 1993 and 1985 at the BCC), Grandmaster Susan Polgar gave a free lecture to the students and friends of Boston University. Invited by the Boston University Chess Club to give a talk, GM Polgar chose to present favorite games from each of the Polgar sisters, highlighting differences in their playing styles.
Allan Ong, president of the BU Chess Club, introduced the Champion. The talk would not have happened without Allan's hard work and that of other club members and club advisor Assistant Dean Robert Oresick. Many members of the Boston chess community joined the students for this wonderful event.
Susan first went over a famous game of her sister Judit which Judit played when she was only 14 years old. The game was played on national television in the then East Germany. We learned from this game that Judit's secret move is a well-timed g4! Well, I think the secret is out, but she still loves to play this move according to Susan.
Susan then went over one of her sister Szofia's games. We learned that perhaps Szofia's rating could be higher, but she likes to let her creative nature take over and will play for a beautiful game whenever she can, even passing up more obvious, practical and mundane wins.
Then Susan played through one of her own favorite games. It illustrated her style of placing pieces in a harmonious configuration from which a brilliant combination emerges naturally.
I must say this was a night to remember for all who attended the lecture. Susan is not only beautiful but witty and charming. Her analysis of the games was elegant and lucid. She was especially gracious in sitting for photo ops with audience members.
She talked about her forthcoming book Queen of the King's Game. I was surprised to learn her phenomenal career started at the age of four when she came across a chess book and asked her father what it was. He explained, set up a chess board, and showed her the moves. A few months later she played in the under-11 championship of Budapest and won every game!
Susan Polgar is the eldest of the magnificent Polgar sisters from Hungary, the first woman to earn the Grandmaster title in her family. In February of last year she became the Woman's World Champion at the age of 26 by defeating GM Xie Jun of China in 13 games (8.5 to 4.5).
Susan is married and currently living in Queens, New York. She teaches in chess clubs in New York and has just opened her own chess academy. She instructs in English, Hungarian, Russian, and Spanish. GM Polgar plans a summer camp throughout the summer giving intensive courses of five hours a day, five days a week. Susan and her husband Jacob Shutzman are currently finishing a book, due out soon, about her life and career, including many games. Her story is filled with the suspenseful and dramatic events on her way to the championship. The book includes accounts of her relationship with Bobby Fischer. (I had thought she had no chance of playing Fischer in a match until she shared the extent of her acquaintance with Bobby.) In addition, the book contains photos from the most interesting events and her pictures with seven world champions (Kasparov, Karpov, Spassky, Tal, Smyslov, and Botvinnik). Having enjoyed her lecture, we look forward to her book later this Spring. Susan Polgar is truly a delightful champion.
Jack Litwinsky works at Boston University and is a member of the BU Chess Club. He can be found playing blitz chess at Harvard Square more often than not.
Last Modified: Wednesday, 27-Jan-2010 14:35:18 EST