Judit Polgar – I just can’t live without chess

Interview for the World Cup official website

At the World Cup 2009 Judit Polgar started the competition in the second round – her first round opponent could not come due to illness. “I got an opportunity to have some rest after the trip, for acclimatization and to get some energy” – Judit said – “This was very important before the game against the best Romanian chess player Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu” (ed. note – Judit won that match after tiebreaks 4.5-3.5). Excerpt from the official website.

Q: Are you usually nervous before a game?

Judit Polgar: It depends on my preparation. I think that it is somehow good to be nervous before a game. To my mind if you are not nervous – you don’t care that much on the result.

Q: Who was helping you to prepare for the Cup?

Judit Polgar: I don’t have permanent coaches, but there are people who help me. For instance, it is Lev Psakhis, we have been working for a long time already. Plus, my husband always accompanies me at the tournaments. He is not good in chess as he is in his profession, he is an animal doctor. On the other hand, he always supports me morally, perhaps this is the most important. He likes to watch my games keeping his fingers crossed.

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Judit Polgar

Q: We know that you were temporary out of big sport and took care of the family. What made you come back?

Judit Polgar: I cannot live without chess! It is an integral part of my life. I enjoy the game!

Q: Is it difficult to be successful in life and in chess?

Judit Polgar: Extremely difficult! You should be good mother, good wife, and good professional too. To be the best in all! Every day!

I had to give up chess for some period. When my son was born, it was clear that children are most important. So, chess disappeared from my life for some period. But later I wanted to play again and I have been trying very hard over the last couple of years to come back and to become the best again. I am concentrating on chess and trying to work more… I have a lot of ambitions, just difficult to fullfil them all.

Q: Do you follow the women’s chess?

Judit Polgar: Yes, I follow some women’s tournaments and from time to time I participate in them. Women’s chess develops very fast, female chess players become stronger and stronger. But anyway there is a big gap between men and women players. Comparatively few women chess players work on their professionalism, hire coaches, and use the computer base… Perhaps there will be good changes in future. But for the moment professional woman chess player is an unusual phenomenon.

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Judit Polgar

Q: Did you teach your children chess?

Judit Polgar: No, they just like to play with pieces. No one will be surprised if I say that my father promotes this. I hope in future they will like to play chess, but I don’t think that they will follow my path. I just don’t have this fanatic energy which their grandfather had.

Q: So, Polgar the father is not eager to grow up another generation of chess champions?

Judit Polgar: Maybe he is. The question is if children and their parents want this. Children take a grandfather a bit differently than parents. And my husband is not delighted that his children will follow my way. He knows well how hard our profession is. Though every profession is hard if to take it professionally.

Q: What do your sisters do now in life?

Judit Polgar: Sofia lives in Israel now. She likes art, paintings. And she teaches chess via Internet. Susan is a co-chairperson of FIDE Women’s chess committee. She likes it. I try to stay away from politics in general and chess politics in particular.

Q: Are you famous in Hungary?

Judit Polgar: Yes, sometimes they recognize me. It started in 1988 when our team won the Olympiad. Though in general chess in Hungary is not that famous. People think they are not smart enough to start learning chess. That is why I excluded chess diagrams from the book about me which has been published in Hungary.

Q: Do they buy your book?

Judit Polgar: Yes, I could not even expect that it will raise such an interest. I can say that with publication of my book I became more popular.