29.06.2005 Women's chess. Sergey Shipov

Judit Polgar is the only woman who plays at the level of the best world players, she is preeminent among the other women. What is the secret of her achievements?

All the factors ran into one another. Her talent, scope of activity and professional approach. Unique family, unique sisters and unique system of upbringing. Initially severe requirements and high aims.

Judit played with men not only to improve her play as the other female chessplayers do. Her goal was to learn how to defeat them without sparing herself. Usually when girls loose they comfort themselves: “I played with a man”. It could not gloss over in Polgar family.

Another thing. Polgar sisters have never peddled. They’ve never conceited themselves with minor victories. That’s why they became what they are.

Why in your opinion does Alexandra Kosteniuk successfully manage to combine her career of a chessplayer with shootings for advertising and fashion magazines? What helps her not to repeat the destiny of Kournikova?

Because these aspects help each other! The more famous Sasha becomes in the world of advertising, the more willingly organizers invite her to the tournaments. And vice versa: it’s easier for the vice-champion of the world, the champion of Europe and Russia to get to the advertising business. There are some things to be added to the catchphrase. However, Sasha’s appearance and her complete professionalism of the advertising stare are even more important.

I think that many people are jealous of Kournikova’s career. I think she is extremely successful. Please God all the girls will once turn to be in the top ten of the world and will make millions advertising. She has not won a single tournament? That’s true, but she participated in the finals and semifinals of the first-rate tournaments. That’s also great! Others are the owners of dozens of titles, but they played tennis weaker than Kournikova did. I do not even speak about the finances… So, everything is quite relative.

Is there a difference between women's and men's chess?

Women derive from men. We are platform and base on which our chess beauties can dance. Opening repertoire, organization of a positional play, work with computer, support in professional chess issues – men do all these helping women to spare their strength and perform in the best possible way.

The men are self-sufficient in this regard. They like chess and are ready to be occupied with it day and night. Women have other interests and it is a good thing! If there are too many chess fanatics on the same planet, it is bad...

Is it possible that women's chess like women’s tennis becomes a professional sport, or men’s chess and women’s chess will be unified?

The first variant is possible! Women’s beauty is a terrific power. It is irresistible. It will sooner breach the wall of mass media apathy than men’s chess force. Women’s silhouettes are much more beautiful than those of chess pieces. The unification of men’s and women’s chess is impossible. Even the victory of Judit Polgar in the Argentine match-tournament will change nothing. They have different weight.

It’s certainly more interesting to broadcast playing girls instead of sullen men. Do you think this fact can be used as a pretext for creation a chess TV show to popularize chess?

Of course. We need such established stars as Garry Kasparov and Alexandra Kosteniuk. Good commentators and computer technologies will also be not redundant for the TV-show. Interesting tournaments with quick control are quite telegenic. This can be blitz with participation of stars, or weekly chess news broadcast, or school of chess. Perhaps, it can be something else. I am sure, new ideas will arise soon.

Should the training of girls and boys differ?

In the beginning it should not. Then the division in groups happens as their chess strength begins to stratify. It is also better for talented girls to study with boys. The former will develop faster. And it will be more cheerful to study.

Does a very good relationship – not only professional, but also personal – between a coach and a female player help to improve the results?

It does help, because the emotional state plays a supreme role for women. Sometimes optimism and good mood can outweigh good training of the opponent. It had happened many times! Even in my brief trainer's career.

Whom of the female players do you like, judging by their play and personal qualities?

All of them!

Questions were asked by Misha Savinov.

This article is published with permission of Association of Chess Professionals

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