7 Life Lessons from a Chess Prodigy

They say she is the best female chess player of all time, having become a grandmaster at the tender age of 15, making her the youngest in history to achieve that title.

It is estimated that Judit Polgar has an astounding IQ of 170. This Hungarian chess champion, born in 1976, starting winning chess games against adults at the age of 5. They say she once defeated an adult family friend at chess without even looking at the board.

Polgar has defeated many chess champions including Garry Kasparov, the longest reigning chess champion.
For her services as a great athlete of our time, Polgar has received the highest honors and awards from the Hungarian Government.

There is no doubt that we can learn a lot from this champion.

Do your homework
“If you do your “homework” well you can be sure you’ll feel more relaxed.”

The best way to maintain confidence is to be prepared. Doing your homework means taking the time out to practice, visualize and perfect your art, speech, assignment or whatever it is that you are doing. Putting in a little extra effort outside of allotted times can go a long way to achieve success in any endeavour.

How to be a good parent
“It’s very important not to put pressure on a child. Make sure that she/he feels that whatever happens it’s not the end of the world.”

Remember when you got punished or ridiculed for a mistake you made when you were younger. How did it feel? It is very natural to expect perfection from your child or expect him to be good at everything. But just remember, you are not good at everything yourself. We need to let our children be and encourage our younger generation to explore and be curious without pressure.

Nervousness is okay
“I think it’s very natural to get nervous.”

Those butterflies in your belly before an important race, an important presentation or just an important event is actually good. It tells us that we are passionate enough to care this much. It is an indication that you want things to go well, and that is completely normal and natural. So the next time you feel like your legs are going numb or your stomach feels funny before something, just stop to think about how much you care for what you are about to do.

Celebrate differences
“In thinking, men and women are indeed different, but you can achieve the same goal of thinking differently, fighting in a different style, from a different direction.”

We must learn to accept our differences, without resorting who is better, who is right, who is smarter or who deserves more. Everyone has their capabilities and drawbacks. An artist may be great at portraits but cannot cook a meal for themselves. An accountant may be great at dancing. We all have our unique abilities and if we concentrate on how we can support each other by uniting the different talents we have, then the world will be a much better place.

Focus on the task at hand
“If you are in a tournament, you have to think of yourself—you can’t think of your wife or children—only about yourself.”

If you want to do something well, then you must give all your attention to it. Multi-tasking, contrary to popular belief is not as productive as focusing on one task and accomplishing it properly. So when you are work, focus on your work and when you are at home, focus on yourself and your family.

Maintain a personal-professional balance
“Chess is my profession and of course I hope to improve. But I’m not going to give up everything to become world champion; I have my life.”

It is important to prioritize what is most important. This does not mean that you need to pick one or the other. The best practice is to maintain a balance so you don’t experience burnout or exhaustion. Work is important, your passions are important but so are family and friends. So, maintain a healthy schedule. Give time to all things important. Keep regret away by making enough memories with your loved ones.

Learn from your experience
“I make more use of my experience now and try to work more efficiently so that my efforts aren’t wasted”

The best part about experience is that it can show you a roadmap to your future endeavours. That is, if you allow yourself to learn from your mistakes. Experience is the best form of learning as whatever you learn through experience is unlikely to be forgotten. So use it well.