The GM Denker I Knew by GM Susan Polgar


That’s me presenting the Polgar medal to GM Arnold Denker at the first annual Susan Polgar National Invitational for Girls

     GM Denker was one of the kindest individuals that I have ever met. He was one of the few people who made his voice loudly known in support of the 2004 US Women’s Olympiad Training program that I started. When I discussed with him about following his and Dewain Barber’s idea to sponsor the Susan Polgar National Invitational for Girls, he was in full support. He said it was about time things are done to help the girls.
     When I faced a lot of political road blocks just to even get the Polgar event off the ground with my own personal money, he once again made his voice loudly known in support of the USCF sanctioning this event the same way as the Denker event. He did not back down to anyone who attacked the idea of giving opportunities to girls.
     He was honest, thoughtful and the best interests of the children were always his #1 priority. He was amazed to see so many girls showing up for the Susan Polgar National Invitational for Girls in the first year while doubters said that no more than 10 girls will show up. We more than triple that number and we were on equal pace with the Denker in only our second year.
     GM Denker did complain to me and Mr. Dewain Barber two things about the Denker and Polgar event. He complained about the scheduling of the events at the same time as the US Open. The US Open usually begins too late in August and many kids had to miss the beginning of school or they could not to attend. The other thing he complained about was there was no discount or free entry for the Denker and Polgar players who want to play in the US Open as well.
     On behalf of the Susan Polgar Foundation and all the Polgar players to date, I would like to thank GM Denker and his family for supporting these events, two that changed the lives of so many young chess players.
     Without his kindness, vision and actions, many of the young players would not be able to attend college today. He will always have a special place in my heart and I am eternally grateful for him being my friend and mentor.