This year Garry Kasparov was the guest of honor of the annual Aquaprofit-Polgar Chess Festival held in the Palace of Arts in Budapest. His visit supported by GE Lightings the Russian world champion visited many programs at the event and held a presentation on one of his most memorable games, which he played against Anatoly Karpov at the World Chess Championship in Lyon, in 1990. At the press conference of the event Agostino Renna, President and CEO of GE Lighting Kasparov recalled his first memories of the Polgar sisters from 1988, when he was playing for the Soviet Union at the Chess Olympiad in Thessaloniki, and yet he gave his support to the very young and talented Hungarian women team that included Susan, Sofia and Judit Polgar. The Polgar sisters became Olympic champions putting an end to the long hegemony of the Soviet female team at the Chess Olympiads. Kasparov called it an obvious sign that right there a new era had started in women chess.
Now, 25 years later the Polgar sisters hosted one of the biggest, and as for the variety of programs and performances, the most unique chess festivals in the world.
The programs included an international educational conference focusing on the “Chess in School” program, and especially on Judit Polgar’s very own Chess Palace skill-building program that was integrated into the National Curriculum in Hungary this autumn. Those chess lovers who were not able to attend the festival personally could follow the event via the livestream coverage provided by Ustream.
As a very successful program of the festival the children choir of the reference school of the Judit Polgar Chess Foundation performed the Zigzag Chess Song, Judit Polgar’s chess poem, written for her Chess Palace children’s workbook, with music by the famous Hungarian rock band Omega. In the song, the world’s number one female chess player tells a rhyming fairy tale featuring chess figurines, and along the way introduces the fundamentals and the beauty of the game.
The Aquaprofit-Polgar Chess Festival was under the patronage of Mrs. Androulla Vassiliou, Member of the European Commission. In the Generations Chess Clash families took on families in a multi-generational chess competition, sponsored by the European Commission. Each team was composed of a child, a parent and a grandparent. Children also had the chance to attend the Chess Palace Cup, Sponsored by GE Lighting, a tournament for beginners and also for certified players. As Agostino Renna, president and CEO of GE Lighting pointed out, it is not difficult to draw parallels between the strategic thinking in chess and business strategies, so the company is very supportive towards chess used as an educational tool, that can help children to think in a way that can lead to great innovations.
The closing program and the highlight of the festival was again the Great Simultaneous Exhibition match in which Judit, Susan and Sofia Polgar played simultaneous chess matches on 100 boards against public figures, famous sports stars and artists.