Chess Grandmaster Zsuzsanna Polgár, the first woman to break the gender barrier in chess is confident that the EUSA Chess Championship to be held in Budapest soon will help recognising university chess in Hungary.
Susan Polgár (born as Zsuzsanna Polgár) is a Hungarian-American chess player who has been women’s World Chess Champion from 1996 until 1999. She was the first woman to qualify for the men’s World Championship Cycle in 1986. She stopped playing professionally in 2006 and she has acted as a chess coach and competition organiser. She is living in the U.S.
There has been less heard of you recently. Since you have been busy as a chess coach, have you had time to play?
I ended my playing career long ago, the last time I played a game of chess as a professional player was in 2006. Since then I have been active in other areas of chess. I have acted as a coach, organised competitions (I have organised more than 750 competitions), I have written books and made video series, held lectures worldwide and popularised chess through establishing Susan Polgar Foundation in 2002.
In what respect is chess different in the US?
Unlike in the US, chess has a long tradition and history in Europe. In the US, there is no chess association and the there is no state funding. Sponsorship is mainly provided by gentle, chess-loving people. Most competitions are considered as business and even grandmasters have to carry their own chess board and figures to the competitions.
How would you summarise the university chess life in the US?
Interestingly enough, university chess has a leading role in the US chess scene. Luckily enough, more and more universities recognise the importance of this sport and finance players and teams. There are more scholarships available for foreign chess players to study at US universities. Nine grandmasters will enroll at the autumn semester at the Webster University including Hungarian players Péter Prohászka and Benjámin Gledura.
In your opinion, how will the EUSA Chess Championship contribute to the development of chess in Hungary?
Like in the US, the media may contribute to help finding more support and sponsors for the Hungarian university chess. This may result in a better recognition of the sport at Hungarian universities.