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Global Chess Festival

Judit Polgar Chess Foundation

Chess and Music

Interview with Jason Kouchak pianist


Why do you like chess and what does it mean to you in your life?
Chess for me is a game of harmony and aesthetics as well as a challenging sport. The more I watch or play it has helped me in my music career to move forward by understanding some of its pure beauty. It can be perceived as more than a game with its essential values of power and grace within the human spirit. Chess in essence is a game that demonstrates the importance not only to educate and inform but also to entertain and inspire future generations.


What is your chess level?
My chess level is upper intermediate- somewhere between 1770-1870 depending on time controls.


What is the most obvious parallel between chess & music if there is any?
There are many beautiful similarities between chess and music: A search for truth and harmony in a chess position as in a symphony or any other piece of music, even changing key, realigning a position and improvisation at speed according to changing circumstances. This ability to recover balance during a chess or music performance is a balance between mind and body and ultimately the development of a strong 'core' that we obtain by observing, assessing and evaluating those around us, especially our parents or peer group in an educational setting. The 'core' within the word recovery is essential to have during any live performance within the chess or musical world especially as we find the ability to 'visualize' a music piece in our head without music or a chess position blindfold without a chessboard.

What is your message to the audience with your performance at the Global Chess Festival?
My message would be for everyone to find the joy within the journey. Enjoy the process of looking ahead, whether in life, on a chessboard, or during a piano or any other music performance. This ability to develop our confidence to look forward and visualize without fear of the future rests upon our own moral set of values and identity -our own self belief.


Judit Polgar Chess Foundation
Judit Polgar Chess Foundation