Celebration of Chess and the Arts
The second Aquaprofit Polgar Chess Day took place on October 11, 2008, in the Blue and Glass rooms of Budapest’s Palace of the Arts, with the support of Aquaprofit Zrt.
Susan and Sofia Polgar traveled to Budapest from the U.S. and Canada, respectively, to join Judit at this event and play chess against members of the public. Their challengers included actors, journalists, media personalities, professional and amateur chess players, and young talents. Held this year for the second time, Chess Day was part of a series of „Renaissance Year” events.
Illustrious players in the simultaneous chess matches included Pal Schmitt, President of the Hungarian Olympic Committee; Olympic boxing champion Istvan „Koko” Kovacs; and water polo champion Gabor Csapo. Other challengers included Tamas Jordan, Director of Hungary’s National Theater; world renowned pianist Gergely Boganyi; conductor Ivan Fischer; and other musicians and actors.
Prior to the simultaneous matches, Judit played a blind match against a VIP team of public figures, beating them while blindfolded and sitting with her back to the chessboard. Another highlight was the opportunity to participate in a simultaneous match with a NASA astronaut: 46-year old Greg Chanitoff, who a few days earlier had boarded the International Space Station as a space tourist, used a specialized chessboard to play against his earthling challengers. Communications occurred via an internet portal, with the players making one move per day. The Chess Day participants had a chance to view the events and suggest moves.