Africa Chess Media recently interviewed chess legend Susan Polgar, to get her thoughts on the World Chess Championship Match so far.
Here is the short interview:
What has been your impressions of the World Chess Championship match between Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana so far?
Not the highest quality so far, not as good as they are both capable of, mainly due to nerves. A lot is at stake for these two players. For Carlsen, his chess legacy is on the line. His entire country is behind him. For Caruana, too many people are putting extra pressure on him by labeling him the next Bobby Fischer. It is quite unfair to him actually. Let Caruana be Caruana and you will see him at his best.
Has your prediction of the match changed since it began?
No, it remains the same. I still think Carlsen has a slight edge due to tie break odds. If the score is tied at 6-6, Carlsen will be the favorite in Rapid and Blitz.
Which has been your favourite game and why?
For the match, I do not know yet. But after 6 games, it has to be game 6. Carlsen played without energy in spite of having White. He almost paid a heavy price for it. At the end, it took an incredible defensive effort to hold (seems he got something from his match against Karjakin), and a super computer to find the humanly impossible path to win. Incredible technology!
How do you think the rest of the match will go and why?
It will come down to who has the biggest heart, toughest nerves, and strongest will to win. Their chess strength is similar overall. Caruana is better prepared in the opening while Carlsen is superior in the middlegame and possibly endgame. Both are incredible defenders, as we witnessed their defensive skills in games 1 and 6.
Where do you find the energy and time to promote chess so much?
It is not a job for me. It is purely a passion, something I developed since I was 4 years old. More than 45 years later, it remains just as strong. I also have no interest in chess politics. But I will do everything in my power to help my beloved sport grow the right way.
A bit about Susan’s achievements in chess
Susan’s achievements in chess are too numerous to mention. Grandmaster Susan Polgar was the first woman in history to break the gender barrier by qualifying for the 1986 “Men’s” World Championship and earning the Grandmaster title in 1991. She became the #1 ranked woman player in the world at the age of 15 and remained in the top 3 for nearly 25 straight years. Susan went on to win ten Olympiad medals (5 Gold, 4 Silver and 1 Bronze) and four Women’s World Championships.
Her most recent Olympic spotlight moment took place in October 2004, when she and the U.S. women’s national team brought home the first ever medal (silver) for the United States at the 36th Chess Olympiad. In that Olympic, she further distinguished herself by bringing home 2 additional gold medals (one for best overall performance and one for the most points scored in the entire Women’s Olympiad). She also got another silver medal for racking up the second best percentage on the top board.
Below are some of her accomplishments over her 30 year career:
- Winner of 4 Women’s World Championships
- The only female World Champion in history to win the Triple Crown (Rapid, Blitz and Classical World Championships)
- 5-time Olympic Champion with 10 overall medals – Never been defeated in Olympiad competition (5 Gold, 4 Silver and 1 Bronze)
- Currently holds a record of 56 consecutive Olympiad games scoring streak without a loss
- Broke four world records for a simultaneous chess exhibition in 2005:
- Most simultaneous games played: 326 players with 309 wins, 14 draws and 3 losses in 16 hours and 30 minutes (the previous record was 321 games, with 294 wins, 26 draws, 1 loss = 95.64%, by IM Andrew Martin, England)
- Most simultaneous games won: 309 (Andrew Martin: 294)
- Highest winning percentage: 96.93% (Andrew Martin: 95.64%)
- Most consecutive games played: 1,131 games against 551 opponents with 1,112 wins, 16 draws and 3 losses = 99.03% (previous record: 1102 games by WGM Anna-Maria Botsari, Greece)