Judit Polgar Chess Foundation’s Key Accomplishments

Global Chess Festival 2018

"Chess is a pure form of art"

250 venues from 23 countries took part in the 4th Global Chess Festival initiated by Judit Polgar
The event was followed online by nearly 100,000 people

The special venue of the Hungarian National Gallery recently hosted the fourth Global Chess Festival on October 13, where participants of the event could play among fine art masterpieces spanning hundreds of years. Olympic chess champion Judit Polgar brought together 250 locations across 23 countries from around the world, with representatives from many nations - ranging from India and Chile to China and the US - also taking part in the festival’s programs.

For the first time at the festival the Goodwill Ambassador of Artistic Values of Chess was awarded to a number of artists whose work has been inspired or influenced by the great game of chess. These include French composer Jason Kouchak, who opened the ceremony with a concert, and the Chilean singer-songwriter Juga, who amazed the crowd with her singing. Others were also bestowed the award, such as artist Yoko Ono, who will receive the award from Polgar in New York this November. Ono’s long-time collaborator Sam Havadtoy was also honoured with the award, as was Hungarian pianist Gergely Bogányi.

The festival itself even received praise from famed Italian singer Andrea Bocelli, who expressed his support for the festival in a letter that emphasised his message that chess eliminates the differences between people. It is in this spirit that the special circumstances of those with visual or hearing impairments were also playing on the festival, allowing for their chess technique and tools to be a focal theme to this year’s event.

Nearly 100,000 viewers watched Polgar's simultaneous online game on the eve of the event via Twitch TV, which streamed the event online in conjunction with Chess.com. Sam Copeland, a director of the latter, said that simultaneous online streaming tremendous treat for the entire chess community, and Polgar’s dynamic and energy was a blast to see on screen.

It is with the spirit of Polgar’s personal motto, “#Chess Connects Us”, that the fourth Global Chess Festival was held. Chess, the world's oldest board game, was able to show it's many faces during the event - including competitive sports, art and education - proving that chess truly does not have any boundaries. The Budapest-based local event was also joined by venues from across globe, including - among others - the United States, Canada, Colombia, Mexico, Spain, India and Nepal. The Netherlands participated with eight locations including the small island of Schiermonnikoog with a tiny population of almost a thousand inhabitants, who renamed the island in celebration of the event to become the Isle of Chess for the day. China was also a major partner of the Global Chess Festival, with 200 locations representing the event.

The stand out event of the festival was the simultaneous match held by Judit and Sofia Polgar, for which hundreds of people applied. Ultimately nearly 50 players sat and played against the two multiple Olympic champions in tandem. All ages were represented by this mix of players, from the retired to the very young, with the central motto for the event strengthened when a visually-impaired little girl sat at the chess table to compare her skills against the Polgar sisters.

The young Argentine Grandmaster, Damian Lemos, also arrived in Budapest at the invitation of the festival, allowing for the most adventurous of players to test their abilities against the champion of Argentina. At the close of the festival, Lemos noted the surprising strength of the Hungarian chess players he was facing, regardless of their age.

The ability for chess to educate was once again highlighted this year, with Judit Polgar’s Chess Palace and Chess Playground educational programs also playing a major role at the festival. These programs were developed for the younger generation to help them tackle the challenges of the 21st century and to teach them how to navigate the digital age and face the constant barrage of information that we are all required to endure on a daily basis.

“Chess is a world, but a precious one, without the lies. It is a pure form of art” - said Arkady Dvorkovich, the newly elected president of the International Chess Federation (FIDE), who acknowledged the festival’s motto of connectedness. “It gives us an opportunity to have an honest relationship with others and ourselves. This Festival has the power to gather all the generations, and to bring everyone close to everyone, to meet each other in socializing and to transmit that energy further. The idea that Judit Polgar put into focus, fact that chess have power to connect people, is the guiding principle for all of us.”

Biz Chess 2018

The 3rd Biz Chess event was organized at the amazing roof terrace of the Hotel Aria which won the Hotel of the Year award in 2017.

It was a cozy event with great fighting spirit and there were many discussions and analyses after the games and in the breaks.

We also had some invited special guests visiting the venue from different countries to experience the atmosphere of this exclusive event.

There was a tight fight between the Chilean Daniel and Ashwin from India but the 1st prize was won by Daniel Yarur, a Golden Knight of Murano glass. The 2nd place received a Judit Polgar Exclusive Chess set and the 3rd place a Digital JP Chess clock and a Judit Polgar Teaches Chess book series.

By participating at the event the players were supporting the Judit Polgar Chess Foundation's initiatives. We would like to congratulate to the participants.

We are looking forward to welcome these players again. The 2019 Biz Chess Tournament is planned to be held on 11th of October as a pre- event of the 5th Global Chess Festival.

Biz Chess

The JPCF established the Biz Chess Tournament in Budapest on the day before the Global Chess Festival. First time it was organized in 2016, with the idea to have business persons with passion for the game of chess and also artists to play at the tournament. By having this event we would like to inspire international networking while giving an opportunity to play their passionate game where chess is the common language. It is also an opportunity to have some discussions with Judit Polgar and her sister Sofia.  

In the 1st Biz Chess in 2016 we had 10 players from 5 countries. The the winner  was Elek Nagy, who having been a chess player in his youth went into the business field while chess remained his passion. In addition, he celebrated his birthday by being the winner. Business persons who support the foundation by participating and the artists give an artistic touch to the event. We had Gergely Boganyi pianist playing on his own designed piano in the location of the amazing Hotel Aria. 

In the year 2017 Jason Kouchak and JUGA were performing in between the games as a relaxation adding a special atmosphere to the event. In 2017 at the second time organized event we had already visitors from 7 countries: Hungary, India, Holland, England, Chile, France and USA as well . The winner was Erno Mesterhazy, Hungarian businessman. He won with his enduring concentration and he conquered the Indian competitor in his last game. Thus he became the winner of 2017 Biz Chess Tournament.

Chess Playground for the Little Ones

Initiated by the belief of the Judit Polgar Chess Foundation, that the game of chess is a treat for strategic and creative thinking, which encourages children's thinking and understanding, in particular problem-solving skills, has created the new Chess Playground Program for Preschoolers. This program takes into account the age-specific features, provides a complex solution for the development of kindergarten children, while also providing them great help in preparing to start school studies. With the help of the playful program, children can be prepared from 4 years of age to school life and to the challenges of our digital era. Kids learn the rules by playing. Unnoticed their problem-solving skills, creativity and logical thinking are evolving. There are few games that take on competition with digital devices, chess is. The colorful three-volume publication of the program is already available in Hungarian. Chess Playground is a strategic playing field for future champions!

Expanding the Chess Palace Teacher’s Training Program

The success of the Chess Palace Program over the past few years has encouraged the Judit Polgar Chess Foundation to expand one of the program's main pillars, the Teacher’s Training Course. As a result, eight new members are added to the company of teacher guides, who will instruct many more teachers in future Chess Palace Teacher’s Training Courses. Since 2013, more than 1,000 teachers have already mastered the knowledge of the educational program to help skills development for children in elementary schools. Extending the teacher’s training means that more children are given the opportunity to learn about logical and creative thinking through the educational chess program, an exceptionally effective teaching methodology that copes with development shortcomings of the digital age. That is to say, we can further expand the home of creativity in the Chess Palace, which already has more than ten thousand small “inhabitants”. Now there will be opportunities across Hungary for educational institutions, teachers and children to engage in the road of strategic thinking, thus satisfying the growing interest of the Chess Palace Program year by year.

Global Chess Festival 2017

The 3rd edition of the annual Global Chess Festival (GCF) in Budapest, held on Saturday October 14th 2017, was a huge success. About two thousand chess enthusiasts visited the beautiful location by the river Danube at the Graphisoft Park, the ‘Silicon Valley’ of Hungary, which turned into a true chess resort on Saturday. The Global Chess Festival was officially opened by the Founder of the Graphisoft Park, Gabor Bojar, whereafter a variety of chess-themed activities started. The patronage of the festival, mayor of Budapest, Mr.Istvan Tarlos, could not attend the official opening ceremony but his supportive speech was presented by Melinda Nagyne Varga from the Mayor’s office.The highlight of the Opening Ceremony was the special artistic performance of Jason Kouchak’s “Queen’s Journey”.“I am happy that so many children and families visited the festival from all over Hungary, moreover that we also welcomed participants from Chile, India, Holland, Romania, Russia, Norway, Slovenia, Slovakia, Italy, USA, Mexico, England, France, Serbia and Spain” said Judit Polgar.

The 1st Future Champions tournament, with 15 Hungarian talented kids, was won by Dorina Demeter. She received the special prize from the Judit Polgar Chess Foundation: free participation in the Isle of Man Tournament 2018, with accommodation for both the player and one accompanying person.

Some Global Chess Festival details:

Best European Learning Materials Award

Beside the numerous accomplishments and Hungarian awards, the first major international prize was won by the JPCF-developed Chess Palace Programme at the 2015 Frankfurt Book Fair. The Best European Learning Materials Awards are presented every year to high quality educational materials that have been produced in Europe. An international jury of experts evaluated the best European products and the special prize of the jury, the 2015 Merit Award, was given to Judit Polgar at the Awards Ceremony at in the Education Forum at the Frankfurt Book Fair. The event was hosted by Jean-Claude Lasnier, chairman of the BELMA jury, and Helga Holtkamp, director of the EEPG. Prof. Dr. Christoph Bläsi addressed the audience on behalf of the jury.

From the evaluation of the respected jury: "The internal coherence of the material is excellent: lessons and teaching materials build on each other, lessons plans are carefully designed to activate previously acquired knowledge, the teacher's handbook, the student textbook and the exercise book complement each other very well. The material is cross-curricular: it uses a lot of references and develops important skills for other subjects like math, writing etc. The storytelling aspect about the life at the Chess Palace and its inhabitants engages and motivates students with playfulness and develops imagination and creativity."

JPCF Organizes the 1st Global Chess Festival

The Judit Polgar Chess Foundation has set the mission of attracting five million people from five continents to play chess as part of the Global Chess Festival. Our goal is to reach this number within ten years under the logo of "1000 faces of chess". The first big step was made this year with a big variety of chess activities on ten locations worldwide: In South America, the Chilean Chess Foundation organized a grand event with simultaneous exhibitions, chess lessons and the Rene Leterial Memorial tournament. The USA participated with several locations, including the traditional SPICE Cup at Webster University, Saint Louis and various chess events in Florida for professional and amateur chess players. In Australia and New Zealand more than 600 children took part in tournaments and chess related activities on this special day. In Romania and Serbia hundreds of visitors joined the chess celebrations, with individual and team competitions as well as cultural events. In Hungary, the city of Gyor has featured the Korall Cup, with chess tournaments for both children and adults.

The Global Chess Festival Budapest location offered full-day family entertainment in three main categories: chess, educational and cultural activities. See the official video of the event that embraced a wide range of events. The Chess Palace Cup hosted the children tournament in different age groups, in the Generation Clash families played with and against each other, the online USA versus Hungary Chess Battle was sponsored and broadcasted by Chess.com and there were simultaneous displays by Judit and Sofia Polgar, Kata Karacsonyi (9) and Brigitta Sinka ( 87), proving that chess is ageless. The chess highlight at the historic Royal Palace Garden was the Highlander Cup with the participation of former World Champions Anatoly Karpov and Rustam Kasimdzhanov, with the latter winning the tournament and the 20.000 USD prize.

At the Chess Palace International Educational Chess Conference teachers discussed the methods and saw practical demonstrations of educational chess. Conference presentations emphasized the specific needs of the digital age. Judit Polgar took part in a Q&A session and her sister Sofia gave a chess lesson for beginners. Thousands visited the festival and the children especially enjoyed the various award winning Chess Palace educational tools and activities. The famous Hungarian artists Andras Gyorfi painted and Andras Hajos performed on stage, as well as the children of all ages and the Chess Palace Reference Schools of Hungary. Along with interactive games, Arts & Crafts and fascinating shows, the kids' favorite was the making of marzipan chess pieces at this prestigious social event. See a large picture report about the 2015 GCF Budapest location: Global Chess Festival part 2. Save the date: the second Global Chess Festival will take place on the 8th of October 2016.

1000 Faces of Chess

The JPCF makes it possible for Judit Polgar, number 1 female chess player for more than 25 years, to realize a dream by organizing the first Global Chess Festival on 17th October, 2015. The Global Chess Festival is an international unique event that relies on the 1500 years-old mystical board game presenting the diversity of 1000 faces of chess. From the perspective of education, culture, science and games, the festival offers all-day family entertainment.

Our goal is in 10 years to attract 5 million people from the 5 continents to join the Global Chess Festival. We aim to provide opportunity for people to establish cooperation and build friendships across the barriers of language, age, gender, ethnicity, religion, physical ability or social status.

Candidates from various countries wishing to participate may join the Global Chess Festival on the website of the event. On a dedicated day each October, participants organize their own event with various chess activities. While maintaining individual ideas and unique culture, participating events will contribute to the programs of the Global Chess Festival.

2015 August of Awards

The highest order in Hungary, the Order of St Stephen, was given to Judit Polgar, acknowledging her life-long chess career and unique educational achievements. Shortly after this prestigious medal, the JP Chess Palace Competence Developing Student Book and Exercise Book series has won the Hungarian Quality Product Award. JPCF is proud to reveal these awards and the fact that in more than 150 elementary schools, students and teachers are giving positive feedback of the practical use of the Chess Palace programme.

Meetings and Conferences

The Grade 2 Chess Palace books for teachers and students were completed in April. The news of the Chess Palace Programme has been spread since internationally on countless occasions, on meetings and conferences as well as the in the Hungarian pavilion at the Expo, in Milan. Judit gave a presentation on the outstanding advantages of implementing chess in public education, at the meeting of the EU Education, Culture, Youth and Sport Commission and for ECU representatives in Brussels. She gave a motivation speech at the Google Ground Training Center as a unique initiative a unique initiative, talking about her vision in education for children and grown-ups, the keys to success for women in male dominated areas and about using technology in different fields in the digital age. After presentations in NY; a successful talk at Tedx Danubia in Budapest; and promoting Chess Education in Spain; Judit presented in Italy on the topic of „Play your Way to Creative Thinking” at the international Creativity Conference organized by the Sapienza University of Roma. The message was clear: Creativity in the Chess Palace Educational Programme – chess is an exceptional learning tool. It facilitates the development of children, fostering their talent and creativity through chess. 

October, 2014

The biggest European cultural chess festival in Budapest was once again organised by the JPCF

The 8th Aquaprofit-Polgar Chess Festival was organised under the patronage of Mrs. Androulla Vassiliou, Member of the European Commission. In the morning the Representation of the European Commission in Hungary, Tamas Szucs and Judit Polgar opened the Generations Chess Clash, a multi-generational chess competition, sponsored by the European Commission. Each team was composed of a child, a parent and a grandparent. In a European Union cultural exchange project a group of Swedish girls visited the festival and played a simul against great Hungarian chess talents Gellert and Kata Karacsonyi. The Chess Festival offered full day family programmes in the Budapest Palace of Arts where children were invited to the 3D Chess Palace, participate in interactive chess tutoring, competitions and arts & crafts. The Chess Festival provided a great opportunity to parents who wished to introduce their children to Educational Chess. The entertaining programmes included a fairy tale chess game with the fantasy cartoon character Shrek and Fiona impersonated by Karoly Gesztesi, one of the most popular actors in Hungary, and Judit Polgar. The commentary was done by grandmaster Peter Leko.
Along the many contests and events JPCF hosted the 2nd Chess Palace International Educational Conference, supported by OTP Fay Andras Foundation. Presentations at the conference included the topic of the digital age, how the Chess Palace programme helps in every aspect the changes in children's thinking in these challenging times; about a highly successful Swedish chess teaching program; concerning teaching opportunities in the digital age and the potential of the most complex strategic board game; integration of the Chess Palace programme in public education and in the general school curriculum; social impacts of chess in Spain. Among the prominent guests were Erno Rubik, the inventor of the famous Rubik’s Cube and Zurab Azmaiparashvili, the recently elected ECU president and many other Olympic and world champion athletes, artists, and leaders of the business and political world. The Chess Festival ended with a simultaneous exhibition given by Judit Polgar, who has been leading the FIDE world rankings for 25 years setting a Guinness record, was also announced at the festival. 

August, 2014

In Educational Chess, the Chess Palace series continues focusing on improving academic skills, logical, creative thinking and problem solving, preparing children to be able to accept the challenges of the digital society they live in. JPF has developed the Chess Palace 2 book series – students’ book, workbook and teachers’ book for grade 2 students. This series is available for second graders from this new school year, starting from September. The Chess Palace programme was launched in September 2013 as the part of the National Curriculum.

June, 2014

In collaboration with the Hungarian Chess Federation JPF managed and carried out a thorough educational chess and after school chess promotion among elementary schools in Hungary in the first half of this year. Regional representatives assigned by Hungarian Chess Federation, after having participated in a workshop held by the JPCF, visited more than 1000 schools in Hungary. During these visits they filled in questionnaires on current status of chess in school. Based on the results of this survey, it can be stated, there is a significant interest in educational chess and after school chess in the Hungarian schools. As a result of this awareness campaign, the number of applicants registering on our Teachers' training on Chess Palace has significantly increased.

March, 2014

Judit Presents Chess Palace in Georgia

In 2014 Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Garibashvili received Judit Polgar at an official meeting where the Hungarian chess legend expressed her enthusiasm and dedication towards the game of chess and also described her educational chess programme. Sports Minister of Georgia Levan Kipiani, his first deputy Zurab Azmaiparashvili, and President of Georgia’s Chess Federation Georgiy Giorgadze were also at the meeting. On behalf of the JP Foundation, Judit also had a meeting with the Minister of Education, Tamar Sanikidze to discuss the possibly of having a pilot project of the Chess Palace programme, designed to improve logical thinking and smart decision making in elementary schools in Georgia.


Raising Awareness About Educational Chess

More than 600 teachers gathered around to listen to Judit Polgar’s presentation on introducing chess into the elementary education in Hungary. ”Plans – Boards – Games” IV. Mathematics Conference was held in Budapest, and invited mainly teachers of math to learn about the programme developed by Judit’s foundation. JP talked about Skill Developing Chess as part of the new National Curriculum as an optional subject from 2013, the series of student’s and teacher’s books and the accredited courses supplementing the program. Considering the great feedback given by the participants of the presentation is become even more obvious that there is a huge demand on introducing educational chess as a tool to creative thinking in education.
Other highlights of the Judit Polgar Foundation activities in 2013 included:

  • Judit Polgar was involved as the Ambassador at the European Union’s “Year of European citizens” events
  • The Judit Polgar Foundation held a presentation on the Chess Palace programme at the London Chess Classic/Chess and Education London Conference
  • The Judit Polgar Foundation organised Garry Kasparov’s Budapest visit with the aim of promoting chess
  • Judit Polgar gave a simultaneous chess exhibition at the Budapest School of Blind People, organised by EuroChess
  • Judit Polgar held presentation on “Smart decision making in Business and in Chess”
  • Worked on chess education in the digital age – chess apps for Smartphones
  • Worked with the Scientific Advisory Board of the Talent Bridges Programme, as part of the New Széchenyi Plan
  • Worked with Judit Berg to write her new novel titled ALMA

February, 2013

Judit Meets EU Commissioner for Education

As a new step in the Chess in Education efforts Judit Polgar, Garry Kasparov and President of the European Chess Union, Silvio Danailov met with the EU Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, Mrs. Androulla Vassiliou, in Brussels.
During the meeting Mrs. Vassiliou expressed her satisfaction with the big progress of the European Chess Union concerning the project “Chess in school” and the big support which the Written Declaration 50/2011 had received by the MEPs in the EU Parliament. Mrs. Vassiliou gave her full support to the Chess in School program and expressed the EU Commission's willingness to cooperate very closely with the European Chess Union in several chess projects regarding chess in school, including big chess event for children of Europe and China. Judit thanked the Commissioner giving her patronage to the EU Polgar Chess Festival last November, and also informed her about the progress that the Judit Polgar Chess Foundation made in Hungary introducing chess in the National Curriculum.


Chess is Officially in the National Curriculum

The Judit Polgar Chess Foundation for Educational Benefits has been working on the „Chess Palace” programme for more than a year, running pilot projects in several schools from September 2012. The educational chess programme proved to be very successful with children, teachers, parents and educational professionals as well. From last September there has been a non-stop interest from many other school in Hungary, and also many schools from several other countries. Because of the great interest in this initiative, the Foundation regularly holds open lessons to demonstrate the methodology to teachers and professionals interested in introducing the subject at their own school.