But did Judit prove that women can play chess as well as men? Trained to play chess from the age of two-and-a-half, and specialising in it since she was six, Judit was the subject of a remarkable educational experiment. Her parents, Laszlo and Klara, vindicated their theory that a child can be trained to be a genius, but from a formal scientific viewpoint, the results showed little about the relative potential of the sexes. For that, we would have needed to Polgarise a boy or two, with precisely the same educational system, to see how good he became.
In the last couple of years, we have seen the results of something close to that experiment. Peter Leko, another young Hungarian, has been brought up an a chessplayer from as young an age as Judit Polgar (though not with precisely the same teaching methods). Last year, at the age of 13, he beat Polgar's record as the youngest person to gain the grandmaster title.
After that, however, he did not maintain quite the same level of improvement. Thrown into top-class tournaments before he was truly ready for them, Leko suffered a number of morale-shattering results.
Now 15, he is emerging from that experience and has started winning grandmaster tournaments. Comparing Polgar with Leko, the results are not looking at all bad for the prospects of women's chess, but it will take another generation or more before we can truly begin to draw conclusions about the relative innate abilities of male and female players.
Today's game is an impressive win by Peter Leko from this year's Schools' Chess Olympiad played in the Canaries in May. White's piece sacrifice, 8.Nxe6!, is something most Black Caro-Kann players have learnt to avoid. White appears to gain little immediate compensation, but Black's entire game is so tangled, and his king so uncomfortable, that White seems to have all the time in the world to build up his attack.
The finish is most attractive. After 22...Nxd7 (or Bxd7) 23.Qd6+ Kd8 24.Qxf8+ White's attack crashes home with e6 or Qd6+ next move.
White: Peter Leko
Black: Giorgi Bakhtadze
1 e4 c6 12 Qe2 Qc7
2 d4 d5 13 Rd1 Bd6
3 Nc3 dxe4 14 Ne5 Rf8
4 Nxe4 Nd7 15 Bf4 Bxe5
5 Ng5 Ngf6 16 dxe5 Ng8
6 Bd3 e6 17 Bg3 Qb6
7 N1f3 h6 18 Qg4 c5
8 Nxe6 Qe7 19 Rd6 Qxb2
9 0-0 fxe6 20 Rad1 Kc7
10 Bg6+ Kd8 21 Qxe6 Ndf6
11 c4 Qd6 22 Rd7+!! 1-0Reuse content