2022 is the Year of Women in Chess, which also defines the focus and title of the Global Chess Festival:
Women in Chess - Women in Science. What will this mean in practice at the festival? We'll put a bit of a spotlight on the social, scientific, educational, artistic and sporting aspects of chess from a new perspective, putting women first.
We will keep the hybrid nature of the chess festival, so if you can't join us in person on 8 October at the Hungarian National Gallery in Budapest, we will open a wide lane in the online space and provide access to the event.
We will upload the program soon, but in the meantime, read Judit Polgár's personal message about this topic:
In recent months, I have often thought of this quote by Mahatma Gandhi: " They cannot take away our self-respect if we do not give it to them."
I have thought about it a lot. Not on the truth of it, because on a scale of one to ten it is a "hundred", but rather on what could make this idea more complete, what is the basis of our self-respect, what strengthens or weakens it. I was thinking about this when I started to outline the theme of this year's festival. I wrote down the main direction, and at that moment I was struck by realisation.
Women in chess - women in science.
These two notes stared me in the face and I immediately got the picture.
What is the purpose of the festival's focus on girls, in line with the International Chess Federation's '2022 Year of Women in Chess' initiative? We are adding a strong brushstroke to the image that the place of girls/women in society and in STEM fields is as inherent as that of men.
In many cases, society marks out the place and direction of progress for girls/women, which usually also determines how they view themselves and how they think of themselves. The mindset I had developed over the years thanks to my parents, who supported me unconditionally, encouraged me to reach my top and encouraged me not to put my head down. But it is now rather an exception.
Why is it still not natural today for a girl, in sports for example, to be assessed purely from a professional point of view? The question should be whether she has done her best? Not in comparison to boys - simply to herself.
For a shift to occur in this area, all actors in society - parents, family members, teachers, mentors, politicians - need to change. Few things I am more certain of than that EVERYONE can do something to help girls/women grow in confidence and self-esteem, to face less prejudice. This is based on valuing their spiritual, mental and physical performance first and foremost, not their appearance (like beauty, figure). Don't compare them to boys/men, don't encourage them by telling them how brilliant they were as a girl, because that is sweet poison: a belittling, lowering viewpoint.
So what would I add to Gandhi's sentence?
This: knowing that others believe in you is one of the greatest motivating forces. And human self-esteem always relies on the belief that I can do certain things best.