I found a few publicly accessible biographies of Judit Polgár, including details of her early life. According to the biography on her website, she was 9 when she first won an international chess tournament. According to this SuccessStory article, she began participating in tournaments at the age of 6. According to this article from “All That’s Interesting”, she was able to beat her father by the age of 5.

But how old was she when she learned how to play?

  • I'd be skeptical of her being able to beat her father at age 5, at least consistently. He was a chess player/teacher himself. Nov 2, 2020 at 11:23
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    @InertialIgnorance Perhaps she wasn't beating him consistently. The source just says that she was "able to" beat her father.
    – hb20007
    Nov 2, 2020 at 13:05
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    @Rewan Demontay Thanks for the edit. I happen to use US spelling, so you are right, "learnt" would be incorrect. However, please note that "learnt" is correct as the past tense of "learn" in UK English, so this correction might not be necessary for other people.
    – hb20007
    Nov 5, 2020 at 12:38

1 Answer 1


In her TED talk Giving checkmate is always fun, Judit Polgar says (t=0:59):

My mother taught me the first moves when I was about five years old...

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    It's interesting that she says that she was about 5 when her mother taught her the first moves. One source I quoted in my question claims that she was able to beat her father by the age of 5. The TED talk is probably more accurate since the info is coming from Polgar herself.
    – hb20007
    Nov 5, 2020 at 12:45
  • In this video, Judit mentions again that she started playing chess when she was 5: edition.cnn.com/videos/tv/2020/11/17/…
    – hb20007
    Nov 19, 2020 at 13:26
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    This agrees with the Cathy Forbes book, The Polgar Sisters, Training or Genius?
    – Mike Jones
    Dec 27, 2021 at 20:09

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