5th Aquaprofit - Polgar Chess Day

by ChessBase
11/28/2011 – For the fifth straight year, Aquaprofit sponsored the Polgar Chess Day, a giant chess bonanza designed to promote chess through many activities, with a focus on children, celebrity presences and massive media coverage. The event is spearheaded by Judit Polgar herself, with the collaboration of her sisters Susan and Sofia. With pictures and videos here is the report by Diana Mihajlova.

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5th Aquaprofit - Polgar Chess Day

By Diana Mihajlova

While the Women’s World Championship between Hou Yifan and Humpy Koneru was taking place in Tirana, in Budapest, three ladies synonymous with women’s chess were holding their annual chess event named ‘Chess Day’. On Saturday, 19 November, Judit, Susan and Sofia were greeted by a 2,000 strong audience that came to celebrate the chess legacy of the Polgar sisters.

While Susan, Sofia and Judit Polgar are necessarily connected to the term ‘women’s chess’, paradoxically, they have actually brought women’s chess ever closer to the men’s. It started with Susan narrowing the gap when she resisted the gender barrier and in 1986 qualified for the Men’s World Championship Cycle. It continued with Judit who completely closed the gap by persistently refusing to take part in ‘women only’ competitions. The ‘men’s’ or ‘women’s’ chess is an ongoing debate opened up by the Polgars with an intermediate compromise by creating a new term, 'Open', to indicate a mixed tournament where both men and women take part.

Women’s chess’ has never been the same, ever since the three little girls from Hungary started shaking chess competitions around the world.

That was then … Sofia, Susan and Judit, excited about the many places in the world
that they could visit thanks to chess - their full-time occupation since their very young age.

Today, almost 30 years later, they are sophisticated women that have embraced married life and children, scattered on three continents – Susan in the USA, Sofia in Israel and Judit, ever faithful to her native Budapest.

Sofia, Susan and Judit at the 2011 ‘Chess Day’. On the photo they are accompanied
by Gabor Talmacsi, the world champion in motorcycling, one of the most famous
sportsmen in Hungary.

Behind can be seen posters of the front pages of the chess book for children, ‘Chess Playground’. The first part was published last year and the second, more advanced sequel was added this year and launched at the 'Chess Day'. This book is aimed at kindergarten and pre-school kids and is a joint venture between Judit as writer and Sofia as illustrator.

Judit Polgar and Gabor Talmacsi, the world champion in motorcycling

The 'Chess Day' serves as an opportunity to bring the three sisters together and keep the myth alive. This year it was its fifth edition. It was created in 2007 by Tamas Nadasi, the CEO of ‘Aquaprofit’, an engineering, consulting and investment company, successful internationally. Mr Tamas Nadasi, a chess enthusiast, sponsors many chess events as well as the winning Hungarian national chess team, which in 2009 even enlisted Anand for a round.

The King Sponsor and the Chess Queen

Chess Day’ started with a pageantry of human chess pieces clad in costumes designed by the famous Hungarian designer, Marta Makany.

Human chess pieces on the ‘Chess Day’ in a music and chess performance led by…

…Queen Judit

The first part of the day was filled with a jovial interaction with the audience, a book signing, chess classes in three levels with Susan, Sofia and Judit, a blind chess game by Judit against a VIP team, and blitz games against members from the audience chosen by lottery.

The morning activities included an 18-board simul against city mayors from all over Hungary. The winner, selected by a lottery draw, was awarded a public playground worth 4000 Euros, donated by a benefactor, Mr Peter Jovian. It was won by Mr Almádi István from Bodajk, a small town in Hungary.

The sponsor, the Polgar sisters and the Town Hall representatives from Bodajk,
winner of a public playground

A press conference attended by all national press and television channels, which went for a long time with an extended question-answer session with the audience.

DIGI Sport does a TV report on the event with shots and an interview of Judit Polgar

A picture from the TV interview of Judit above

During the conference, a surprise visitor turned up, albeit only on a large screen. Thanks to the internet, Gary Kasparov greeted the participants and guests and congratulated all on the event. He spoke about his efforts to make chess a compulsory subject in schools within the European Union, to which he is now joined by Judit Polgar as a member of the European Chess Committee for the promotion of Chess in Schools.

Garry Kasparov made an appearance at the ‘Chess Day’. Asked by the facilitator
‘Would he join them in person next year?’ – ‘Well, I am very busy, but it would be
very nice, maybe…’ - let’s wait and see.

While the grown-ups were busy at the press conference, in the adjoining room, 120 children were taking part in a chess rapid tournament.

Children in the tournament. Chess activities for children play a very important part at
Polgars' Chess Day.

At one point, an agitated boy was trying hard to put across his point to the judges: he had won the game and not his opponent! Judges were scratching their heads trying to solve this complex matter - there appeared to be two winners in one game! Who is this young chap with the piercing look and determination, gesticulating with both hands as an old man? Why...it’s Oliver! Judit’s son has obviously inherited her strong will.

Oliver Font: 'I am telling you, I won!'

The children were treated to a playing hall and toys, for a deserving break from chess. A climbing house displayed a logo claiming that to take up chess is 'Egy jó döntés' - A Good Decision.

'Egy jó döntés' - A Good Decision

Fun was not lacking among the main protagonists either. A blitz game between Judit and Sofia, with pieces made of chocolate, sweetened the mood. Judit proved to be the greedier of the two.

Chocolate chess! Judit: ‘After Nd4 I took Sofia's pawn ... and ate it!'

Susan Polgar demonstrating a game on a giant sensory monitor

Both Susan and Judit gave displays of some of their past chess positions as a way
to test how smart this new chess technology is.

Many visitors from the Hungarian chess, arts and cultural life paid visit to the event:

In the VIP room, from left: Janos Murin, GM Jozsef Pinter and his partner, Tivadar
Farkashazy, a famous Hungarian TV personality, IM Janos Rigo, international chess
organiser and the living chess legend, Pal Benko.

IM Peter Hardicsay, a chess trainer, engineer - economist and college sports professor, is also promoting another worthy project: making chess available in old people's homes as a way of improving their social and quality of life.

IM Peter Hardicsay and Dr Kecse-Nagy Laszlo, President of the Szeged chess club,
where Peter Leko started his career.

IM and IA Miklos Orso, Laszlo Nagy, the famous 'Mr First Saturday' and Ferenc
Dobroviczky whose private collection of nearly 20,000 chess memorabilia originating
from 36 countries is on display at his Chess Museum in Heves.

The Mother. Clara Polgar with her middle daughter, Sofia, during her simultaneous exhibition.

The main attraction of the event was the 100 board simultaneous exhibition split between the three sisters. It is regularly met with a lot of interest and many disappointed players who were not lucky enough to get through the waiting lists.

A very nice video/photo montage of the event

Winners are rare, however sometime some surprises lurk. Susan gallantly yielded a win to a young boy after several hours of battle.

Andras Dankhazi (2085) has just beat a GM!

The artist Andras Gyorfi made a painting for Judit within just an hour, while she was
conducting the simultaneous exhibition.

It might come as a surprise to those who don’t know Judit well, but she has another great ability – she is also the driving force behind the organization of this worthy and very successful event, in a fruitful collaboration with its sponsor, Aquaprofit.

The driving force behind the organization of the event

Judit Polgar and Tamas Nadasi, the sponsor

Oliver Font, Sofia, Hanna, Judit and Tamas Nadasi dressed in their respective roles

The 'Chess Day' is a lasting reminder about the fabulous Polgar sisters and their contribution to the noble game. But also an update about Judit Polgar's march towards ever greater success. Judit, unlike her sisters, continues to be an active chess player, keeping a prominent place among the top 50 (men!) on the FIDE rating list. She has 'only' reached the quarter finals of this year's World Cup, and was third at this year’s Individual European Championship (the Open) but she has not played her last move yet!

Judit the Chess Queen

Photos by Diana Mihajlova and Timea Jaksa

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