30 countries joined Budapest with worldwide events based on the idea of Judit Polgar
Chess connects us. This motto has long been Judit Polgar’s personal belief and the guiding idea behind the 5th Global Chess Festival, which was hosted at the Hungarian National Gallery once again this year. The event allowed fans to see the legendary trio of the Polgar sisters together again after a long time, while sports enthusiasts could also personally meet former World Champion Vladimir Kramnik. This year the festival, which was brought to life by Judit Polgar, had joint events in 30 different countries worldwide across multiple locations and was attended by thousands of international visitors, who took part in the vast variety of events during the course of the day. A particular highlight was the Chess Connects conference that was conducted by notable representatives of international science. Morgan Stanley, who joined as the festival’s main sponsor this year, was also on hand to reveal the vision and expertise of the company’s own chess masters on- and off the chessboard.
“What I saw in the Hungarian National Gallery was amazing and very exciting,” said Arkady Dvorkovich, President of the International Chess Federation (FIDE), who came to Budapest at the invitation of Judit Polgar. “Kids of different ages, backgrounds and interests were able to meet in one place. The event created a real combination of art, sport, education and science. And that's what makes the Global Chess Festival special.”
Former World Champion Vladimir Kramnik also paid tribute to the festival and was followed around by dozens of children all wanting a selfie with their idol. The Russian grandmaster joined Judit Polgar at the Champions Talk, a discussion that aimed at discovering an answer on how to become a cutting edge chess player. In addition to offering insight into their competition experience, the two world-class players shared their views on the scientific, educational and artistic aspects of chess. Subjects such as how to synchronise the career of a top athlete, parenting and the topic of gender were also discussed.
“Attending the festival gives me the opportunity to show my respect to Judit Polgar as a chess player and as a human being,” said Vladimir Kramnik. “Many may not have realized how big her achievement is. It may be compared to that of Marie Curie. That is why I am delighted to be able to show my really sincere admiration and respect towards her work, since it is also very important for the next generations.”
Goodwill Ambassadors of Chess
The Goodwill Ambassador of Chess award, which was founded by the Judit Polgar Chess Foundation, returned for the second year to reward some of the most extraordinary achievements within the fields of sport, education, science and art. The award was given to Vladimir Kramnik for his life achievement in Chess as a Sport, Leontxo Garcia for his efforts with Chess in Education, Demis Hassabis, DeepMind's chief executive officer and one of the foremost artificial intellyesce researchers and Alpha Zero for Science in Chess. The world-famous chess grandmaster Pal Benko, who died in late August, was awarded a posthumous award for his artful ways on the chessboard. One of the festival's most touching moments was when his widow received the Art in Chess award in the midst of a tearful celebration from the audience. Chess and Science
The Global Chess Festival’s international status was raised by its conference with renowned scientists, world-famous chess players and educators. Ken Rogoff, a professor at Harvard University, showed how he could use his experience as a chess player in his earlier career with a special focus on the human factor. Neuroscientist Sylvester E. Vizi, former president of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, gave a lecture on artificial intellyesce, which was also discussed by international female chess master Natasha Regan and grandmaster Matthew Sadler, co-authors of the bestselling book on AlphaZero. Spanish specialist Leontxo Garcia outlined the benefits of chess in education, Chilean singer Juga compared the universal language of chess and music, and grandmaster Susan Polgar highlighted the success of the institute she has founded (SPICE) to encourage college chess.
Future Champions of Europe
This year Budapest is named the European Capital of Sport and, as part of this, the best young players were able to compete in the Future Champions of Europe competition. By organising this tournament, the Judit Polgar Chess Foundation in association with ir European Chess Union, aimed to promote the sport throughout Europe. Youngsters from 11 countries competed against one another and the first prize winner, 10-year-old Ukrainian Ihor Samunenkov, gets an invitation to the 82nd Tata Steel Chess Tournament 2020, the world-famous competition in The Netherlands where he will be able to enter backstage and meet some of the best players in the world.
Equal opportunities for girls and boys
Sofia Polgar and her husband, Grandmaster Yona Kosashvili won The Inspiration Cup, the 1st hand & brain tournament ever organised in the history of chess. It was not only a spectacular game for Grandmaster pairs, where one team member was the ‘brain’ and the other was the ‘hand’, but also a prestigious example of mixed gender competitions at the event.
One of the most important aspects of the tournaments of the Global Chess Festival is the fact that girls and boys get equal opportunities by playing in the same group. In this crucial mission for gender equality, Judit Polgar found a partner in the festival's main sponsor, Morgan Stanley. For years, the company has invested heavily in the development of mathematics, science and technology education in the country, and has paid particular attention to equal opportunities and to enabling girls to achieve a future in these fields
12th October 2019
Hungarian National Gallery
Global Chess Festival 2019 Budapest
1014 Budapest, Szent György tér 2.
Judit Polgar Chess Foundation