In a week's time Judit Polgar will be competing in the London Chess Classic against the best chess players in the world.
Judit has been the strongest female chess player for two decades, and has achieved this by competing with the best men rather than in women-only tournaments.
The Independent (UK) newspaper has today published an excellent interview with Judit, covering her unusual upbringing and her struggles in a predominantly man's profession.
Very much worth a read! Link here. Some excerpts below...
Judit on her upbringing: "From the moment of my birth on 23 July 1976, I became involved in an educational research project. Even before I came into the world, my parents had already decided: I would be a chess champion."
Judit on women's chess: "The problem is that women are still measured by how they do against other women and that is where the bar is set. For example, the Chinese have a great young woman player, Hou Yifan. But the Chinese government are interested only in her becoming woman's world champion. For them that is enough, and it is much easier to achieve than outstanding performances against the best men. My parents, however, believed that there should be no limits to what you could reach as a woman."
Judit Polgar reached the Quarter-Finals of the 2011 World Cup
Judit on press hostility in her childhood: "In 1986, at the age of 10, I won the unrated section of the New York Open and I was on the front page of the New York Times; then, shortly after that, I did a press conference, in Germany. And they killed me. The journalists said 'You are not normal'. They attacked my family's lifestyle. They wanted to tear us apart. I had been speaking English for only six months, so it was difficult for me to answer their questions. Afterwards I was crying in the bathroom. And then I decided at that moment: you know what? I don't care and I won't care. There's absolutely nothing you can do about it."
Judit on not crying when she lost games as a child: "Of course I got angry when I lost and maybe would cry in my hotel room afterwards. But I would never show it. I didn't want the men's pity. I didn't want to share my pain with them. I would never give excuses, even if I really had one, like being ill."
Judit on taking part in the London Chess Classic: "I was hesitating about playing. I don't play as much as a full professional should play. But I like a challenge. I just hope it's not too much of a challenge!"
(H/T Chess in Translation on Twitter).