The talent myth
By Joe Brolly
Published on Sunday 25 November 2012 19:53

Judit Polgar, the first female chess grandmaster is in England next week in the run-up to the London Chess Classic in December, where she will compete with eight of the world’s top male grandmasters. Lennon nor anyone in Celtic’s backroom staff will have a clue who she is. McGuinness however knows all about her, since she herself was part of an experiment that has become the foundation stone of his approach to sport. 

Her dad is Laszlo Polgar, a world renowned psychologist who destroyed what is known as “the talent myth”. In the 1960s, his ground breaking idea was that success was achieved from hard work rather than natural talent. The world’s psychology community rubbished the notion, one eminent expert saying he needed to be “healed of his delusions”. 

So, Polgar proposed an amazing challenge. He publicly announced that he would marry any woman who came forward and turn any children they had into world-class achievers. Soon after, a young Ukrainian woman called Klara wrote to him offering her services (She later said “I thought he was crazy.”) and in April 1967 they married. Within a year, Susan was born. 

“I need Susan’s achievements to be dramatic,” said Polgar, “So I can show people their ideas about excellence are all wrong.” 

He chose chess. When she was three, he started her on a big chess board, just fooling around with pieces. By the time she was 14, she was the No. 1 female chess player in the world. His two other daughters Sofia and Judit followed suit. Judit has defeated Kasparov, Karpov and all the other legends. She is widely considered the greatest ever female player. Polgar did it with his daughters. McGuinness tested the same experiment with the young man from nowhere, before repeating it with Donegal. 

Full article here.

Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar
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