Susan Polgar, founder of Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence (SPICE) program at Webster University, was inducted into the World Chess Hall of Fame Nov. 13 along with grandmasters Bent Larsen and Lajos Portisch. The ceremony was co-sponsored by the World Chess Hall of Fame in the Luhr building on Webster University’s campus.
“I’m honored. It feels great. It’s recognition of fifty years of dedication to my profession and of my accomplishments,” Polgar said.
At the age of 15, Polgar became the top ranked female chess player in the world. She won twelve Olympiad medals along with being the Women’s World Chess Champion from 1996 to 1999. Polgar coached Webster chess from 2012 to 2018. In her tenure, Polgar won seven national championships and helped make the team top in the nation in chess for 10 consecutive years.
Polgar expressed her gratitude for Webster in her induction speech, saying that when she came to Webster, she felt like history was written with her record seven straight championships in her time at Webster.
“The last decade of my coaching career was at Webster. So I’m obviously very thankful for their trust in me but before I even got here and the continuous support from administration that gave me the chess program to the trustee members. It really meant a lot to me and all of us in the program.”
After a heartfelt speech about her chess background, the discrimination she endured as a woman in chess and her relationships with the other grandmasters, Polgar left the stage and was officially inducted into the Hall of Fame by Rex Sinquefield, founder of the Sinquefield Cup.
“ I tell every young chess player … Set goals, work hard and the sky’s the limit. You can accomplish anything you want.”