In the 1980’s, the appearance of the Polgar girls in the world of international competitive chess forever changed the public’s perception of chess and general opinion about the respective capabilities of men and women in this intellectual sport. The three Polgar girls won two Chess Olympics (Thessaloniki 1988 and Novi Sad 1990), and turned in a series of top performances at elite competitions against the world’s best men chess champions. In the following years, the three sisters ended up in three different countries. After a final joint appearance in 1997, their paths parted, they built their own lives, and each became the mother of two children.
Of the three sisters, only Judit – who has topped the women’s chess rankings for a quarter century – has remained in Hungary. In 2006, she was invited to take part in the Hungarian team championship, playing for the Aquaprofit NTSK team from the town of Nagykanizsa. Judit accepted, and soon led the team to victory. Then the idea was born: the legendary three sisters, after a ten-year hiatus, would again appear together in a celebration of chess that would feature them playing simultaneous matches on 100 chessboards.
The first Aquaprofit Polgar Chess Day, held June 22, 2007, was an immediate popular success: leading artists, sportsmen, politicians and other public figures gathered at Budapest’s Corinthia Grand Hotel to try their hand against the Polgar girls at the chess table. Judit took on 34 competitors; Sofia and Susan played 33 games each. The event’s main patron was Szilveszter E. Vizi, President of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
In addition to the simultaneous games, the event featured a ten-board Hungarian-American rapid game. Susan Polgar, who had recently represented the U.S. team at the Chess Olympics, welcomed her college team from Texas to Budapest, where they played in 30-minute matches against top Hungarian youngsters. This event also hosted the awards ceremony of the Talented Hungary Foundation.