Children’s Grand Prix, Ambassador for Talent

by Diana Mihajlova
4/7/2014 – The Spring Festival is a yearly event in Budapest, Hungary, with representations of all arts, whether they be performing arts, visual arts, or... chess! In this festival, there are many events for children and adults, all overseen by its Ambassador of Talent, Judit Polgar. It is not a figure of speech, as she is given this role for a five-year tenure. Here is an illustrated report.

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Children’s Grand Prix and the Ambassador for Talent

The Spring Festival is a yearly manifestation in Budapest that represents an outlet for all arts – performing and visual, and among them, chess has not been forgotten. Under the Patronage of Mr Istvan Tarlos, the  Lord Mayor of Budapest, in the Organisation of the Budapest Chess Federation and sponsored by the Hungarian Chess Federation, a big open chess tournament is being included in the official Spring Festival’s program.

The nine-round Open is underway, but the subject of this article is a special section of the Chess Spring Festival: The Children’s Chess Grand Prix. It took place on Saturday, the 29th of March, in the architecturally spectacular, newly opened Whale Centre (Balna Budapest). In the shape of a whale, this impressive building is spread along the Danube bank and offers excellent space for various art, business, culinary, shopping and social activities.

Balna (Whale) Budapest

Children in their hundreds from all over Hungary came to Budapest to participate
in the nine-round rapid Children’s Grand Prix, split into four age groups, and at
Judit Polgar’s ‘Chess Palace’.

The youngest ones

Girl power

Deep in thought with fingers interlinked- just like the grown-ups

The hair fashion must not be neglected either

Endgame (In the middle, a glimpse of Judit Polgar’s daughter, Hanna, who is a
regular participant in chess competitions)

In Hungary, no chess activity for children is imaginable without their ambassador, Judit Polgar. ‘Ambassador’, in this case, is not just a figure of speech; it is official: Judit Polgar is the first elected Ambassador for Talent, for a five-year mandate!

Judit Polgar, Ambassador for Talent, 2014 - 2019

The Ambassadorial title and duties are bestowed by the ‘Association for Talent’, an organisation that was incepted in Hungary, but has been adopted by the European Union as an activity to be spread all over its member-countries, with an official office in Brussels, presided by Prof. Peter Csermely. As of next year, Judit Polgar’s chess educational program will be part of and promoted by the Association for Talent. While the Children Grand Prix was unfolding, in the adjacent hall, the Judit Polgar Chess Foundation and its ‘Chess Palace’ presented its own program about chess in schools, with lectures, art activities, book signing and a simul.

The Lady of the Palace and the Palace’s inhabitants

A chess lesson

Browsing through his mother’s legacy: Oliver Font

Proudly waving the Palace’s flag, with the initials JP in its ‘Coat of Arms’

At the end of the Grand Prix, Judit moved to the playing hall to present the prizes. A photo with the Queen was the order of the day.

A–group winner: Adam Zakar with 7.0/7!. In 2006, Adam was a Hungarian Under-7 Champion

B-group winner: Tamas Broderick

C-group winner: Viktoria Cseke, an outright victory, beating all the boys!

D-group winner: Robert Baranti

Before the start of the competition, from the chess stand in the hall, Julia Linkowski
purchased a gold chess queen pendant to bring her luck

Indeed! She won five games in a row and got a prize. Julia is her district’s champion;
At the ‘Polgar Star Chess’ in Pardubice, 2013, she was 1st U-8 and  2nd U-10. A
future Judit Polgar? ‘That’s it!’, boldly confirms Julia.

Mother and son: Moczar Benedek, not happy with ‘only’ 3rd
place in the B-group and is consoled by his mother who is
committed to supporting him in his chess pursuits

Judit Polgar’s autograph could be seen at all sorts of locations

A former university lecturer in Romance philology, she is currently a painter as well as a chess journalist, and reports regularly from the international tournament scene.


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