Sofia's Biography

GM Sofia Polgar

Mom brought me into the world in Budapest, Hungary, on November 2, 1974. My Hungarian name is Zsofia and friends call me Zsofi (jo-fee). Moved to Israel in 1995, was married there to Yona Kosashvili in 1999. Proud mother of two sons, Alon and Yoav. Both my parents, Klara and Laszlo, are teachers; their skills and experience made it possible for my sisters and me to be home-schooled. I started to play chess at the age of four and played professionally for more than 20 years. Since then I have pursued my long time passion: art. Currently residing in Toronto, Canada, I'm a chess teacher, artist and freelance designer.

Chess Career Highlights

  • My first big result as a five year-old, in 1980, was winning the Hungarian Girl's Under-11 championship
  • Gold medalist for girls and silver medalist in the overall World Championship Under-14 in Puerto Rico, 1986
  • World Junior Under-20 Rapid Champion in Mazatlan, Mexico, 1986
  • Team gold medal for Hungary in the Women's Chess Olympiad in Thessaloniki, Greece, 1988. The team consisted of four teenagers: my sisters Susan and Judit, Ildiko Madl, and me
  • First place with 8,5 points of 9 games in 'Magistrale di Roma' 1989. This achievemnt is a record in chess history as compared to any other open chess tournament, due to my performance rating of over 2900. Read more
  • The same teenaged team represented Hungary again in the 1990 Novi Sad Women’s Olympiad, Serbia. Once again we took the team gold with a score of 11.5 out of 13. I also won individual gold medals
  • At the Rapid Women's World Championship in Budapest in 1992, I won the silver medal behind Susan
  • Silver medalist at the World Junior Championship Under-20 in Brazil, 1993. This was at the time the best result for a girl in this type of event in chess history
  • Two years later, at the 1994 Moscow Olympiad, the team won the silver medal. I played all 14 games and scored 12.5 points without losing a game. As a result of my performance, I won the individual gold on Board Two
  • • In the 1996 Yerevan Olympiad in Armenia, neither of my sisters played on the women's team, so this time I represented Hungary on Board One. Once again I played all 14 games and scored 10 points, winning another individual gold medal

From 1999 to 2001, I worked for Kasparov Chess Club, the Israeli branch of an international start-up company and one of the best chess websites at the time. I served in various capacities, as co-editor of the news section, graphic designer, private instructor, and chess community builder on the web. Through the website,, I gave pre-recorded and on-line chess lessons, organized first-class international events and provided professional live chess commentaries.

Education and Exhibitions

  • 2004, Diploma. Architecture and Interior Design, ORT College, Rechovot, Israel.
  • 1997-1998, Painting and Sculpture Studies. College of Tel-Hai, Upper Galilee, Israel.
  • 1998-1999, Graphic Design Studies. Avni Institute of Design and Arts, Tel Aviv, Israel.
  • 2006-present. Graphic designer and book illustrator.
  • 1996, "The Art of Chess: a Celebration." My work was featured in this exhibit at the Borough of Manhattan Community College. Other exhibitors included Yoko Ono and Despo Magoni.


Fluent in Hungarian, English, and Hebrew. Basic knowledge of Russian and German.


Painting, table tennis, dance, travel, spending time with family and friends.