Judit Polgar appears in Playboy magazine

by Albert Silver
1/19/2015 – It is not the first time that one of Caissa's most celebrated children graces the pages of Playboy magazine, but many would certainly not have expected the next one to be the Queen of Chess herself: Judit Polgar. In the latest Hungarian edition of Playboy, in an article replete with photos and video, the great champion lays herself bare with no inhibitions.

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Of course, we meant she is baring her soul. You never for an instant thought we meant anything else, right? In any case, it should be pointed out this is hardly the first time they place the spotlight on a chess player, and it wasn't because they might look good in their birthday suit.

The first time Playboy swung its attention on a chessplayer was in July 1973, when one of its feature articles was on none other than Bobby Fischer.

While Fischer was the attention grabber, very much at the height of
his popularity, it was not an interview. Still, as an example of its history
of serious interviews with notable personalities, they had a multi-page
talk with none other than Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Playboy's first and most famous interview with a chess champion was in 1989, when the
magazine published a long and detailed interview with Garry Kasparov, the world champion
at the time. If you think Kasparov is provocative or outspoken now, it is nothing compared
to his much younger self.

In December 2005, shortly after Kasparov's retirement, the Bulgarian edition interviewed Veselin Topalov, the newly crowned World Champion

It was a 20-question interview, and while Kasparov's had covered everything from sports to
politics, here the questions were unusually technical on chess, asking about his openings
choices among others. Clearly the Bulgarian readership was expected to have no issues.

In 2008, Playboy revisited Garry Kasparov, this time focusing on his new life as a political activist and vocal critic of the Russian regime.

The photos were also a stark contrast as he now sported sober clothing
with a black turtleneck, compared to his first appearance in a sleeveless shirt

Fast forward to 2015 when the greatest female player to play the game has announced her retirement from competitive play, and is still receiving accolades left and right for her invaluable contributions and example.

It might seem quite ironic that the woman who did the most to break the preconceptions on gender performance, should now appear in a publication that is most famous for celebrating the female form, but perhaps it is singularly fitting as she cannot be touched by stereotypical labels.

The interview she conceded is present in part at the official site, with numerous great shots of her, showing yet again how photogenic she is, though only in part, and only in Hungarian. The title of the interview reads: "Judit Polgar - above average intelligence", which may qualify for the Understatement of the Year award.

She is the highlight of the issue, as can be seen above. On the left. The cover also mentions another article called "Smart is the New Sexy"

From the excerpt, Judit discusses her decision to retire, notably the process that led to it, and the debates she carried out with her husband, without whose support she would not have last as long as she did, listing the pros and cons.

She also shares anecdotes on growing up in a field dominated by men, and some of the consequences of beating her much older male grandmaster opponents, such as one who was caught repeatedly banging his head against the wall in an elevator.


Though the print edition will not share it, Playboy magazine published a video with Judit Polgar at their website

Click here to access the article

Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications, and the content creator of the YouTube channel, Chess & Tech.


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