“From my 30 plus years of experience, I discovered that chess can help children of all ages do better in school as well as develop many important life skills. Research around the world has supported my belief,” states 4 time World Champion GM Susan Polgar. “Countless studies have shown that chess can help develop critical thinking that can be used in other areas of a child’s life, academics and social situations. According to research, Test scores improved by 17.3% for students regularly engaged in chess classes, compared with only 4.6% for children participating in other forms of enriched activities,” adds Susan.
Polgar dreams of making chess so popular that it competes with other sports, like tennis, baseball and football. “We hope to get many more colleges to start offering scholarships for chess,” she says. “And we are working to promote chess as a grassroots movement in some of the smaller cities.”
The mission of the Susan Polgar Foundation is to promote chess, with all its educational, social, and competitive benefits throughout the United States, for young people of all ages, especially girls.
In approximately 30 nations across the globe, including Brazil, China, Venezuela, Italy, Israel, Russia and Greece, etc., chess is incorporated into the country’s scholastic curriculum. “I believe practically any healthy born child has the potential to become a very strong chess player,” Polgar says. Polgar is considered the queen of chess, a trailblazer who has changed the way chess is played throughout the world. She is recognized as the one who laid the foundation for female chess players everywhere. “There was a lot of skepticism about a young girl spending so much time with chess and competing against boys. I had to go through a lot of discrimination and a lot of obstacles that were put in my way,” she adds.
The Susan Polgar Foundation, with this in mind, has established many high profile tournaments throughout the year in order for younger girls and boys to excel through chess. The top tournaments right now are the Susan Polgar Girls’ Invitational the Susan Polgar National Championship for Girls and Boys, the Susan Polgar World Championship for Girls and Boys and the Get Smart! Play Chess! series. All of these events have received national acclaim and continue to grow every year. “To me chess is like life itself,” Polgar says. “Chess is combining, so many important qualities in life, such as concentration, focusing and planning ahead, and taking into account the people around you, and precision, and research, and psychology, and time management, and a number of other very important life skills that we deal with on an everyday basis. I believe chess teaches you to be more responsible.”