By Katie Engelhart - Friday, January 4, 2013 - 0 Comments
A conversation with the best-ranked woman chess player
Judit Polgár is the best-ranked female chess player in history. Born in Hungary in 1976, she earned grandmaster status when she was 15. She has played, and bested, the likes of Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov. She is now the only woman on the World Chess Federation’s top 100 players list. Maclean’s caught up with Polgár in London, where she was playing in the London Chess Classic.
Q: Are you nervous?
A:It’s not about being nervous. It’s about preparation.
Q: How do you prepare? Do you have a morning ritual before competitions?
A: Well, I wake up around 9:30 or 10 a.m. Then I go to the gym and have some breakfast. But then I’m preparing for my specific opponent. I study how he plays, his repertoire. You see, in chess we have styles—like in any other field. There are also fashions in the kinds of systems that people play. So I’m trying to know my opponent as much as possible. Continue…
By Julia De Laurentiis Johnson - Thursday, November 8, 2012 at 1:05 PM - 0 Comments
At the end November, the 17-year-old could very well be the first African American female chess master
Rochelle Ballantyne is one determined young lady. The 17-year-old star of Brooklyn Castle, a documentary about a middle school that produces national chess champs from a body of students where most live on the federal poverty line, would like to be the first black female chess master. After the film had its international premiere at Toronto’s Hot Docs earlier this year, attention around Ballantyne has been mounting. At the end of November, she’ll compete in her last national junior school chess tournament and, possibly, reach the level of chess master.
Chess is historically an old white guy’s game. It calls to mind images of Victorian gentleman discussing the Empire over a match at the club or an American genius competing against a Russian genius in some kind of Cold War metaphor. Ballantyne is like the Williams’ sisters of chess: she’s can’t help but shake things up.
Maclean’s spoke with her about focus, skin colour and how beating a boy at chess feels oh so good.
Q: You’ve said that when you play national tournaments you think of the other girls as part of your support system and that you feel like the boys don’t understand. What is it that you don’t think they understand?