Judit Polgar: “Chess is much more than a sport”
Renowned scientists, philosophers, diplomats, artists and education professionals are attending Budapest’s National Gallery for this year's Global Chess Festival.
Now being held for the fifth time, the Global Chess Festival has grown to become one of the most significant global events in chess. Founded by Judit Polgar, the event is headquartered in the Hungarian Grandmaster’s national capital of Budapest, joined by professional and amateur players from around the world - from China to Libya, India to Mexico - as well as world-famous chess players. These include former World Champion Vladimir Kramnik and President of the International Chess Federation, Arkady Dvorkovich, who are coming to Hungary for the festival.
As part of the global event, a professional conference will be held for the first time with keynote speeches by Ken Rogoff, former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund, and Sylvester E. Vizi, former president of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Not only that, but the audience will be able to once again witness Judit Polgar host the festival and will be joined by her sisters Susan Polgar, World and Chess Olympic Grandmaster, and Sofia Polgar two-time Olympic champion.
The organizers are placing huge emphasis on using the festival as a platform for the young generation, and these future champions can test their skills in the National Gallery. Morgan Stanley will join the Global Chess Festival as a primary sponsor this year. For years, the firm has been supporting numerous educational initiatives in mathematics, science and technology to ensure a higher participation of girls in these fields.
The motto of Judit Polgar - Chess Connects Us - is more relevant than ever before with the Fifth Global Chess Festival, since it has grown to become a truly global event thanks to the persistent work over the last few years. The importance of the event is demonstrated by the fact that the former World Champion, Vladimir Kramnik, and the President of the International Chess Federation (FIDE) are also visiting Budapest to attend the occasion. This global presence is reinforced by the popular science program, Chess Connects, which is the first time that it is being hosted at the festival and will feature many internationally renowned professionals. The conference aims to showcase the diversity of chess: how it appears in the arts, how it contributes to science, what opportunities it offers in education and how it has and continues to develop as a sport.
The presentations being held during the conference will include Grandmaster Susan Polgar’s evaluation of the Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence (SPICE) that she founded as well as Harvard professor Ken Rogoff’s talk about how he used his experience as a chess player in his youth. Sylvester E. Vizi Széchenyi Prize winner University Professor, former President of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences gives a talk on Artificial Intelligence and co-author of the best-selling pair of AlphaZero, International Female Master Natasha Regan and Grand Master Matthew Sadler. Spanish specialist Leontxo Garcia will take a look at the state of chess education, while Chilean singer Juga will compare the universal language of chess and music. As part of the conference, Judit Polgar and Vladimir Kramnik will share their competition experiences and views on the scientific, educational and artistic aspects of chess.
“Morgan Stanley is proud to support the Global Chess Festival and Judit Polgar in her pursuit to inspire the next generation of strategic thinkers to play chess,” said Norbert Fogarasi, Head of Morgan Stanley Budapest. “As a game that provides a good grounding in many valuable soft skills including problem solving, rational thinking and strategic planning, chess connects Morgan Stanley’s employees not only locally in Budapest, but also across the 41+ countries in which the firm operates.
“There are numerous chess enthusiasts and competitive players among Morgan Stanley’s global employees, and the firm has been running internal, online inter-office championships for 5+ years. Morgan Stanley actively supports STEM education, in which chess can be a useful education tool. Our employees provide mentoring through mathematics and coding lessons to female high school students and we also sponsor the Hungarian team at the European Girls’ Mathematical Olympiad.”
Further events at the Global Chess Festival 2019:
The Inspiration Cup. One of the highlights of the 2019 Festival will be The Inspiration Cup, where Grandmaster mixed couples will match their skills according to the rules of Hand & Brain. In what is perhaps the most spectacular couples game, one of the team members is the ‘brain’ who announces which piece should be moved, while the other is the ‘hand’ who decides exactly which piece and where it should be moved. If the brain and hand are not on the same wavelength, chaos on the board and beyond is guaranteed. Competing pairs include Mihail Marin, who is considered to be one of the greatest authors and chess experts in modern history, and his wife, Marina Yugina, a FIDE Master. There is also Natasha Regan and Matthew Sadler at the table, Sofia Polgar and her husband, Grandmaster Yona Kosashvili. as well as orthopedic professor and Grandmaster Artur Kogan and his wife, Tatjana Plachkinova, woman international master. The competition will be streamed live on Twitch with live commentary by international masters Anna Rudolf and Lawrence Trent.
Chess Café by Morgan Stanley. The Festival’s primary sponsor, Morgan Stanley will open its Chess Café alongside Tivadar Csontvary Kosztka’s painting ‘Ruins of the Greek Theatre at Taormina’. This is where the Polgar sisters and Vladimir Kramnik will sign autographs, and where visitors will have a chance to learn more about Morgan Stanley, a leading global financial services firm, as well as learn new skills from chess masters working at the firm’s Budapest office.
Chess & Math. Morgan Stanley’s educational objectives and the Festival’s philosophy will converge in a spectacular fashion during this activity. The playful journey, led by UK-based chess trainer and teacher of physics and maths, Rita Atkins, will guide the youngsters through the connection points of chess and mathematics. The harmony of the board and the logic of moves will provide a playful basis to direct the kids’ attention to interesting problems in geometry, combinatorics, game theory and information technology.
Chess Palace Cup in memory of Dezso Tandori. Dezso Tandori, the Kossuth Prize-winning poet died in February this year and had contributed to Judit Polgar's first chess book for children. As such, the festival commemorates this year's Chess Cup for kindergarten and pupils in memory of Dezso Tandori.
Future Champions of Europe. This year Budapest may be awarded the title of European Capital of Sport, hence the festival will feature the best of the younger generation at the Future Champions of Europe competition, which the Polgar Judit Chess Foundation, together with the European Chess Union, aims to promote throughout Europe. 30 young people from 13 countries will compete in the competition, with the prizes made available by the organizers giving the children a kickstart that can be a decisive experience for the longevity in their future careers.
Growth Mindset. It is not only the results that matter, however, but also the path that leads to them, which also has a prominent role at the festival. This year the Heroes’ Square Initiative is using its Growth Mindset program to show parents and educators what it takes to help kids forget mental barriers that might hold them back: "I'm not good at it" or "This won't work for me" won’t be valid statements anymore. The research by world-renowned Stanford University psychology professor Carol S. Dweck demonstrates that praising effort will drive us to a desire for knowledge and perseverance that will ultimately make us successful in all walks of life and is a method that can be perfectly modeled with chess.
Goodwill Ambassadors of Chess. The awards presented to the Goodwill Ambassadors of Chess will take place within four categories: sports, education, science and art. This year, Vladimir Kramnik, Leontxo Garcia, and Demmis Hassabis, CEO of DeepMind and one of the foremost researchers in artificial intelligence, will be honored. The world-famous chess master, Paul Benko, who died at the end of August, will also receive a posthumous award.
Guinness World Record attempt. On the day of the Global Chess Festival, young people will have the last chance to take part in Judit Polgar's Guinness World Record attempt. The largest online children's event to date has seen a record-breaking 8,000 kids join since its launch on September 1, with a Guinness record goal of at least 20,000 children. Two thousand players from the qualifiers will qualify for the October 19 finals.
ChessDiscovery Trail. Judit Polgar has established a partnership with the Hungarian National Gallery for many years, showing the many points of contact between chess and art. As part of cooperation with Laszlo Baan, Director General of the Museum of Fine Arts, and Adam Petri Lukacs a new chess discovery path will soon open in the renewed City Park, which Judit Polgar was involved in designing.