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Robert Howard has a paper Does High-Level Performance Depend On Practice Alone?Debunking The Polgar Sisters Case in which he argues against the strong version of Gladwell’s thesis.
This is what we should expect given the correlation of about r = 0.24 between IQ and chess ability (see also this analysis, although I disagree with the details).He points out that there are many chess masters who have practiced much less than the Polgar sisters but are better than they are.He also points out that even though the sisters themselves have all practiced similar amounts, youngest sister Judit is clearly better than the other two in a way that practice alone cannot explain.It’s unclear if the Polgars deserve extra points for overcoming whatever factor usually keeps women out of the highest levels of chess.) But I’m actually still not sure this suffices as an explanation.According to Wikipedia: Polgár began teaching his eldest daughter, Susan, to play chess when she was four years old.
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Also they spoke seven languages, including Esperanto.