I am often asked what is the secret to my chess success?
Answer? Work way harder & smarter than the competition.
When I was a player, while others slept, I trained. While others went to the movies, I trained. While others went on vacations, I trained. While others went to concerts, I trained. While others hung out with friends, I trained. While others went to night clubs or discotheque, I trained….
Not only I trained on the chess board, I did everything possible to improve on my physical fitness. I do not smoke, drink, or take any drugs. I try to eat healthy and diligently exercise.
Results? Became the #1 ranked woman player in the world at age 15 at maintained top 3 ranking for 25 years. 1st woman to earn the grandmaster title over the board play. 1st player, male or female, to win the World Chess Triple-Crown (World Rapid, Blitz, and Classical Championships). Won at least 2 medals at every Olympiad, totaling 5 gold, 4 silver, and 1 bronze, and a 56 consecutive game scoring streak without a single loss, etc.
Did I have “natural” talent in chess? Not really. But I made up for it with my world class working habit, focus, and discipline.
Now I repeat the same process as a coach. It is easy. Anyone can do it!
After I made this post, some asked if it was a torture for me to fully commit myself to chess, to always give 110%, first as a player, to reach the ultimate pinnacle of my sport, then as a coach?
The answer is absolutely no. It is never a torture or punishment for me to follow my dreams, and to dedicate my life to something I am so passionate about. Chess is not a job for me. It never was. It is something I love. It is my passion. In fact, because both my parents were educators, I actually love chess researching, teaching, and coaching even more than playing.
I was lucky enough to find my passion at a young age, 4. I was very good at both chess and mathematics, way beyond my years. My father did not choose chess for me. He gave me a choice. I could have picked chess or mathematics to pursue seriously.
I loved math. Maybe I could have been Pythagoras, John von Neumann, or Blaise Pascal… But I did not have the same passion for mathematics as chess. So at the end, I chose chess and the rest is history with the Polgar family chess legacy.
This is very important. Find something you are passionate about, something you look forward to each day when you wake up. I was lucky to find chess. Therefore, what I do is not a job. It is my passion. It is something I absolutely love.
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– GM Susan Polgar