Sunday, March 11, 2012

How to Build a World Champion

A reproduction of an old photo of Boris Gelfand by Uriel Cohen. Gelfand Sr.'s caption to a similar photo of the young Boris: "perhaps we shold have played differently?"

I hope I am not jinxing Boris Gelfand here by using the words "world champion", but this is the title (in Hebrew) given to an in-depth investigative report about his life recently published in Calcalist ["The Economist" in Hebrew], an Israeli business journal.

Even if you do not read Hebrew it is worth while visiting the site, for the list of photographs -- including Boris as a child, his living room, the notes of his daily life his father kept, and many others. (For a change, the interview really is in depth, about Gelfand's history, life, friends, trainers, philosophy, etc., and not the oft-repeated collection of cliches about "the genius chess player").  It turns his father trained him from childhood; that he knows the Polgars very well, in particular Sophie (Zsophia) Polgar, who is his neighbor for many years -- although they never played chess as neighbors, only table tennis. Ms. Polgar notes that Boris' father was using, in effect, her own father's methods for "raising geniuses", if more intuitively.

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