Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Susan Polgar Interviewed in India
Queen’s gambit Vikas Hotwani Tuesday, December 04, 2007 23:59 IST Chess Grand Master Susan Polgar is living proof of her dad’s theory that geniuses are made, not born firstname.lastname@example.org If you thought the sporting world just revolves around cricket and soccer, Woman Chess Grandmaster Susan Polgar has news for you. “Actually, chess is the most popular game in the world — not only do people play it professionally, it’s a very popualr past time as well. If the general perception does not point to this, it’s because chess is not given that competitive recognition,” says Polgar when After Hours caught up with her during one of her rare visits to India. “This is my second visit to the country. The first time I came was in 1999 and I must say, the pace of development is phenomenal,” she notes. Susan is today also acknowledged for changing the sexist perception towards the game. “Before I came in, chess was seen to be a male-dominated game. However, my sister (GM Judit Polgar) and me, along with many other women who subsequently got involved with the game, turned that theory around. Today there are more women in the game than ever before,” she says. Recognized as a super genius, she’s set to feature in a special Nat Geo documentary that focuses on super intelligence. But what’s her own definition of intelligence? “I think it’s being able to react smartly to various situations. Some have general intelligence while others have specialised intelligence. I guess specialised intelligence is more important if you take into account the limitations of the human mind — one can’t be expert in everything,” she points out. As for the long raging debate in the chess fraternity over competitive face-offs between humans and computers, Susan chooses to see the positive side. “In the end, even if the computer wins, it’s a victory of the human mind. Computers are created by humans and programmed to win by them. If man creates cars which are faster than humans, it ultimately benefits us. What we must look at is using this technology to our advantage,” she says. An interesting fact about Polgar is that that she and her sisters — Grand Master Judit and International Master Zsófia — were groomed into chess prodigies by their father László Polgár, because he was convinced geniuses were made, not born. He proved that children could make exceptional achievements if trained in a specialist subject from a very early age. In Polgar’s case, that specialised subject was chess. Would Susan want her own children to be similarly groomed into super geniuses? “Of course — that’s something I really wouldn’t mind,” she signs off.