Judit Polgar has beaten all the world’s top chess players. She is brilliant. She has been the sole female in the men’s top 100 for two decades. She is the youngest Grandmaster in history. She is, quite simply, a chess genius.
Judit reached the top not just because of her natural talent, but she was part of an extraordinary experiment carried out by her father, Laszlo. Laszlo believed that he could train anyone to become a Grandmaster. So he advertised for a woman to collaborate with him with the aim of having children that he could train to play chess. Incredibly, he found someone and three sisters were born. Laszlo then went about the task of teaching them everything he knew about the game, and designing training methods that would constantly enhance their skill levels.
Here are the results. Incredibly, all three became Grandmasters. In addition, Judit became the best female player the world has ever known.
What can we learn from this amazing story?
- Do not rely on your natural talents. You can learn virtually anything.
- Great effort is required
- It take many years of practice, to perfect a skill
- You have to aim high and have a goal
Without three components our skill levels would still improve, but not to the point of mastery. There is a path to greatness and it sure is not about innate talent. It is about constant learning, huge aspiration and putting in the hours under an excellent teacher.