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Book Review - Breaking Through

Breaking Through - How the Polgar Sisters Changed the Game of Chess is a wonderful personal history of the famous Polgar sisters, all of whom became grandmasters of chess in their teens, a rare feat for anyone, let alone three sisters! It is a hardcover book by Susan Polgar and Paul Truong, and it retails for $30.

The book follows through the history of Sofia, Susan and Judit from their childhood in Hungary on through adulthood, carefully chronicling some of their best games and hearing their stories in between.

Chess is dominated by men and always has been, so when the Polgars hit the scene, they faced significant amounts of sexism and resentment. However, they overcame these obstacles and emerged victorious.

The book is a little bit clunky reading at times, but the sisters' incredible story, told in their own words, shines through beautifully. Each woman's story is accompanied by some of their favorite games, written in standard chess notation. I don't personally read notation very well, but I enjoyed skimming these areas of the book anyway, as insights about certain games and opponents are shared in here as well.

This book isn't for everyone, but any young teenage female (or male!) chess player who'd like a little inspiration for their chess game, or even their soccer or volleyball game, would likely enjoy this book. I've always been a big fan of autobiographies, and this one was a particularly interesting one.

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