Susan Polgar has been named the top chess trainer in the world by the World Chess Federation (FIDE). Polgar, chess coach at Webster University, was awarded the Furman Symeon medal given annually to the best coach who works with both male and female players.
Polgar is the first coach from America to earn one of the top six coach medals and also the first female to ever be recognized by FIDE with a top coaching medal. FIDE, founded in 1924 in Paris, is an international organization that acts as the governing body of international chess competition.
"For me, chess is more than just a game. It is a passion of mine, a philosophy that teaches the importance of strategy, critical thinking and sportsmanship that can be applied to all areas of life and is not just limited to the game board," Polgar said after learning of the award.
Polgar was recognized for her ability to bring out the best in her players. When Wesley So of the Philippines joined the Webster University team two years ago, he was ranked the 95th best player in the world. He is now in 15th place and recently won the National Open Blitz Championship in Las Vegas.
Polgar was recognized along with:
Vladimir Chuchelov of Belgium, named the best men's trainer in the world; Wienling Li of China, named the best juniors trainer; Genna Sosonko of the Netherlands, named the best chess author; Boris Postovsky of Russia, recognized for special achievements in chess; and Uwe Boensch of Germany, recognized as the best chess educator.
All of the honorees will be presented with their awards during the Tromso Chess Olympiads in Norway on Aug. 13.
Polgar has been Webster's chess coach for two years. Under her direction, Webster's chess team has won the 2013 and 2014 Presidents Cup, which is awarded to the best collegiate chess team in the country. Previously, she was the coach at Texas Tech, where she also won the Presidents Cup twice and was the first woman coach to ever lead a men's chess team to a national championship.
In July, Polgar will host the annual Susan Polgar Girls' Invitational Championship on Webster University's home campus.