Mr Tibor Navracsics, Member of the European Commission
I’m very pleased to address you as you celebrate the Global Chess Festival 2016, in the wonderful setting of the Buda Castle.
Once again, this event brings together young and old, grandmothers and grandmasters, families and computer geeks, people from different countries, men and women with different backgrounds and beliefs.
What you all have in common is an interest, a passion, for an ancient game. A game that has conquered the world, spreading from India to the Arab world, to Europe and the other continents A game which is still hugely popular fifteen centuries after its invention.
The host of this event, Judit Polgár, is not only an astonishing chess grandmaster and world champion: she is also an authoritative ambassador, campaigning for the educational benefits of chess. I know that she has been instrumental in the introduction of chess-related projects into the schools of several EU Member States.
This is a great initiative which I support as an innovative approach well-suited to boosting the motivation of pupils and enhancing their ability to concentrate.
At a time when businesses and organisations of all sorts are discovering the power of gamification, there is much to learn from the combination of simple rules with complex strategies that one finds on a chessboard.
The game of chess has been variously described as an allegory of war, politics, love and life itself. It has fascinated writers and poets, from Thomas Middleton to Jorge Luís Borges, from Lewis Carroll to Vladimir Nabokov, from Charlotte Brontë to Stefan Zweig. Painters, sculptors and filmmakers have celebrated it in their work.
Let me add my own praise for its ability to overcome language and cultural barriers, to provide — for the time of a game — a symbolic battlefield where no defeat is ever final, and one can always ask for a rematch.
I wish you all an entertaining, engaging and educative festival, in the peaceful pursuit of the right gambit, of the decisive move.