International grandmaster Judit Polgar is the greatest female chess player of all time. She is ready to answer chess fans’ questions as part of the Crestbook KC-Conferences project. You can ask the Hungarian Chess Queen about virtually anything!
Your questions for GM Judit Polgar can be submitted in English at a special post at Chess in Translation. Of course, it is also possible to submit your questions in Russian at the KasparovChess forum. The deadline is 28 November.
Judit Polgar occupies a unique position in world chess. As well as simply being one of the best players around, she’s also living proof there’s no genetic barrier to women competing with men in chess. As the latest grandmaster to take part in the “KC-Conference” series you can now ask her about anything you like.
Twelve renowned chess figures have so far answered readers’ questions for the Russian-based Crestbook website, providing perhaps the best available insight into life at the top of world chess. The last three, Peter Svidler, Ruslan Ponomariov and Levon Aronian, also answered questions posed in English here at Chess in Translation. Judit Polgar has now kindly agreed to be the next in line.
The way it works is as follows:
- You can leave your questions for Judit Polgar in the comments section below (or in Russian at Crestbook). Please only post questions there.
- You can ask up to 10 questions, on any topic whatsoever, but remember to be polite and that Judit will have limited time. Also try to read through the earlier questions to avoid too much repetition.
- The deadline for questions is Sunday, 27 November.
- After that deadline Judit will be sent all the questions. The only editorial control might be to correct obvious spelling/grammar mistakes and group them thematically.
- As soon as Judit has answered your questions we’ll get down to translating, editing and publishing the results.
The comments section is below this post, but first you’ll first find an introduction to Judit Polgar written for this occasion by Sergey Shipov (grandmaster, commentator extraordinaire and Crestbook’s editor-in-chief), and below that a short (or as short as Judit’s achievements allow it to be!) biography of the world’s best female chess player. Both may serve as inspiration for your questions!
Sergey Shipov on Judit Polgar
Judit Polgar is the greatest female chess player of all time. She’s never been, and is unlikely ever to become, the Women’s World Champion, as that’s a goal that makes no sense. The Hungarian queen is so superior to all other women (including her sister Susan Polgar), that you can only talk about her in the context of men’s chess.
Judit has spent her whole career only playing against men and I see that as one of the reasons for her rise. The stronger your opponents, the greater the demands, and the more you have to push yourself to achieve your goal. But that factor is only third in order of importance. What comes first is still the colossal natural talent of the youngest Polgar. Her extraordinary abilities. As they say, it’s God given – and that’s that!
The second reason for her success is the unique family in which Judit grew up. The atmosphere of chess fanaticism created by Laszlo Polgar, the head of the family, and his older daughters, was the fertile soil on which the divine seed fell. The talented child had no doubt why she’d come into the world. From childhood onwards she studied with the best coaches, worked a lot and devoted herself entirely to her goal – which is why she became great.
If you created such conditions for the youngest child in millions of multiple-children families it’s by no means certain that even a single one of them would grow into a chess player… never mind a chess player of Judit Polgar’s level. She’s a phenomenon. Unique.
Judit Polgar’s mission on Earth has, by and large, already been completed – she’s successfully destroyed the remnants of male chauvinism. She’s proved that women are capable of competing with men at the very highest level. All the preconceived notions about the fundamental superiority of the stronger sex above the weaker in chess, and about an upper limit for women, have turned out to be wrong.
I’ve commented on many of Polgar’s games and I’ve never found myself bored. She always plays with great invention and is capable of seeing hidden resources in positions and posing her opponents unexpected problems.
Judit’s natural style is dynamic – she plays for complications and is always ready to sacrifice for the initiative. Her attacking potential is great and multi-faceted. However, her long stay among the elite has forced the warlike Amazon to moderate her fervour and master all the means of combat, including stubborn defence, patience and taking the psychology of her opponents into account. Of course, Polgar never became a technician on Kramnik’s level, but she was still able to grow into a player almost devoid of weaknesses. Except, perhaps, that her sense of danger isn’t at the elite level. Sometimes she gets carried away with activity, though that recklessness merely adds to the number of her fans. Bold play, shooting from the hip – what could be more beautiful in chess?
I’m endlessly amazed by the fact that getting married and giving birth to children hasn’t led to a serious lowering of Judit Polgar’s level of chess. Who could have imagined that family matters and an entirely natural lack of time and energy for preparation wouldn’t be reflected in her results? But that’s how it is.
I was there in person to see our Madonna play at the 2011 European Championship in Aix-les-Bains and also at the 2011 World Cup in Khanty-Mansisyk. It was simply incredible! Judit demonstrated colossal drive, a will to win and high class chess. Just as in her best years… though it’s still not certain which years will be considered her best.
I don’t want to get ahead of myself and predict how Judit the grandmother will play chess. I hope many of us will live to see and appreciate that.
One way or another, after centuries have passed all of us will be registered in small print in the Great Book of Life as contemporaries of the great Polgar.