Polgar Named Top Chess Trainer in the World

Susan Polgar at the 2013 Girl's Invitational Webster's Chess Coach was recognized by the World Chess Federation for her work with both male and female players.

ST. LOUIS (JUNE 23, 2014) - Susan Polgar was named the top chess trainer in the world by FIDE, the World Chess Federation, it was announced last week. Polgar, who is the chess coach at Webster University, was awarded the Furman Symeon medal, which is given annually to the best coach who works with both male and female players.

Polgar is the first coach from America to ever earn one of the top six coach medals and also the first female to ever be recognized by FIDE with a top coaching medal. FIDE, which was founded in 1924 in Paris, is an international organization that acts as the governing body of international chess competition.

“I am flattered to be recognized by the chess community and would like to thank all of the people who have supported me over the years, including all of the players who I have worked with, my family, my co-workers, the administration at Webster University, and especially my husband Paul,” Polgar said after learning of the award. “For me, chess is more than just a game. It is a passion of mine, a philosophy that teaches the importance of strategy, critical thinking and sportsmanship that can be applied to all areas of life and is not just limited to the game board.”

Polgar was recognized for her ability to bring out the best of her players. For example, when Wesley So of the Philippines joined the Webster University team two years ago, he was ranked as the 95th best player in the world. He is now ranked in 15th place and recently won the National Open Blitz Championship in Las Vegas. More recently, Polgar gave one-on-one training with the top 10 young female chess players in Europe, and will do the same next week when she will coach the top 10 young female chess players from Asia. In July, she will host her annual Susan Polgar Girls' Invitational Championship on Webster University’s home campus.

The announcement of the medal was made Friday, June 20. She was recognized along with Vladimir Chuchelov of Belgium, who was named the best men’s trainer in the world; Wienling Li of China, who was named the best juniors trainer; Genna Sosonko of the Netherlands, who was named the best chess author; Boris Postovsky of Russia, who was recognized for special achievements in chess; and Uwe Boensch of Germany, who was recognized as the best chess educator. Four other people also were inducted into the Chess Hall of Fame during the announcement.

All of the honorees will be presented with their awards during the Tromso ChessOlympiads in Norway on Aug. 13. A full list of the achievements can be found online athttp://www.fide.com/images/stories/NEWS_2014/Trainers/FIDE_Trainer_Awards_2013-Results.pdf

Polgar has been Webster’s chess coach for the past two years. Under her direction, Webster’s chess team has won the 2013 and 2014 Presidents Cup, which is awarded to the best collegiate chess team in the country. Previously, she was the coach at Texas Tech, where she also won the Presidents Cup twice previously and was the first woman coach to ever lead a men’s chess team to a national championship.

Besides coaching, Polgar holds some of the highest chess honors as a player. She won four Women’s World Championships, is the first world champion to earn a “triple crown” in chess, has earned 10 Olympic medals in chess, and was the 2005 Women’s Chess Cup Champion. She also has set five world records in the field chess, two of which remain unbroken (most consecutive games played and most consecutive Olympiad scores). She also is the first woman to break the chess gender barrier, to earn the Grandmaster title, and qualify for the Men’s World Championship cycle. For more about Polgar, visit http://www.webster.edu/spice/about-susan-polgar.html