New World Records by Susan Polgar
On August 1, 2005, Susan Polgar attempted to break the Guinness World Records by playing against 350 players simultaneously at the Gardens Mall in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.
Opponents lined up in the Mall to register as opponents for the record attempt
The previous Guinness World Record was held by British IM Andrew Martin who did it in early 2004 against 321 opponents. Andrew scored 294 wins, 26 draws and 1 loss for a winning percentage of 95.64%. Andrew broke the World Record held by Swedish Grandmaster Ulf Anderson who did it in 1996 against 310 opponents.
The world record attempt is under way
The event started at 10 a.m., but Susan already arrived at the Gardens Mall at seven in the morning to prepare. By eight players started to arrive. She was so energized that instead of sitting down to relax before the long day, she was signing autographs, posing for pictures and chatting with fans.
Five miles at five p.m. – it is a matter of stamina
By 9 a.m. most players started to pile in to register. Because of a large last minute registration, the start was delayed by about 30 minutes. All TV networks, local newspapers, associated press and CBS radio showed up to cover the event. The event received even more mainstream media coverage than anyone had anticipated.
Not easy for the opponents either – this lady gave no quarter
After 326 players had signed up, the organizers decided to stop the registration process not to delay the Guinness World Record event any further. It was an amazing sight to see, with rows and rows of tables and chess sets throughout the mall from Sears to Bloomingdale’s.
Spectators, including many children, flocking to watch the world record simul in action
After the first Guinness World Record attempt was on its way, more people still showed up wanting to play. Rather than turning players away, the organizer consulted with Susan and she consented to go for a second record, one for the most consecutive games played. The previous record was 1102 games by WGM Anna-Maria Botsari from Greece. Susan ended up playing against 551 opponents and 1,131 games.
After everything ended, the following four records were broken:
- Most Simultaneous Games Played: official record against 326 players: 309 wins, 14 draws and 3 losses = 96.93% in 16 hours and 30 minutes (the previous record was 321 games, with 294 wins, 26 draws, 1 loss = 95.64%, by IM Andrew Martin, England).
- Most games won: 309 (Andrew Martin: 294)
- Highest percentage: 96.93% (Andrew Martin: 95.64%)
- 1,131 Consecutive Games Played: Overall statistics which included 551 opponents: 1,112 wins, 16 draws and 3 losses = 99.03% (previous record: 1102 games by WGM Anna-Maria Botsari, Greece)
3:45 p.m. – 6,816 steps taken, 4.3 miles
5:15 p.m. – 8,091 steps taken, 5.1 miles
6:45 p.m. – 8,879 steps taken, 5.6 miles
9:15 p.m. – 9,733 steps taken, 6.1 miles
12:00 a.m. – 11,421 steps taken, 7.2 miles
01:00 a.m. – 12,395 steps taken, 7.85 miles
02:00 a.m. – 13,220 steps taken, 8.4 miles
03:00 a.m. – 14,361 steps taken, 9.1 miles
Two important secrets for the world record success
The last official game ended at 3:00 a.m. Susan took only five 5-minute breaks during the entire record simul. The youngest player was 4 years old and the oldest was 95. There were players were from the United States, Turkey, Australia, Sweden, Jamaica, Hungary, Argentina, Mexico, Colombia and Canada, etc.
Special guests included vice mayor (and former mayor) Eric Jablin, countless officials from Palm Beach Gardens, the Managing Director of the US Chess Trust Barbara DeMaro and the Executive Director of the USCF Mr. Bill Hall.
The last group of participants, after the records were broken, at 3:30 a.m.
This would not have happened without the hard work of countless people from Palm Beach Gardens. Thank you everyone for your tireless efforts. But the biggest credits have to go to Mr. Joel Channing and the Channing Corporation, Don Schultz, Jon and Jeffrey Haskel, the Susan Polgar Foundation, Barbara DeMaro and the U.S. Chess Trust, International Chess Marketing, American Chess Equipment, Excalibur Electronics and the World Chess Hall of Fame, The Gardens Mall, Northern Palm Beaches Chamber of Commerce, Boca Raton Chess Club, Palm Beach Gardens Park and Recreation, Palm Beach County Sports Commission, The Palm Beach Post, Florida Coca-Cola Bottling Co., Palm Beach Gardens Marriott and William T. Dwyer High School, and many more people for making this possible.