Some stories are so remarkably fantastic, that all you wish is to find out whether they are real or fake. So when I interviewed Judit Polgár in a Café in Budapest a few years back, I had to ask her, was it true that she never attended school? Indeed, she confirmed that she, like her two elder sisters before her, attended school for less than one week a year, only so that they could take the exams. She did go to kindergarten – but only for a slightly longer period.
The story of Polgár and her sisters has captured the imagination of many fans worldwide since the 1980s. Brought up from a young age to become a chess champion, in controversial educational methods invented and used by her father, this prodigy girl proved all theories about genius – though she refuses to be defined as a genius. She proved that genius is not just a genetic but has much to do with environment and education. And most and foremost, she showed that women can reach the highest level in the rational field of chess like men can, as she reached the world sixth place and defeated 11 world champions, including Garry Kasparov and Magnus Carlsen, the legendary world champion since 2013.