Friday, August 27, 2010

Polgar appears on international radio show

Polgar appears on international radio show
Jon Arnold
Managing Editor
Friday, August 27, 2010
Friday, August 27, 2010 02:08

Susan Polgar, the executive director of Texas Tech’s Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence, was featured as an expert Thursday on the BBC’s international debate program “World Have Your Say.”

Thursday’s discussion centered on the book “Bounce” by British author Matthew Syed, who also was on the program. The book argues that too much importance is placed on natural ability when it comes to determining who will end up being successful. Polgar’s story is mentioned in the book to back up this claim.

“My father had written a book even before I was born exactly on the same topic,” Polgar said. “He was a firm believer that success is ninety-nine percent sweat and one percent talent.”

Polgar’s father’s work came to fruition in the form of Susan and her sisters. Her father trained the girls in chess from a very young age, and Susan became the first female Grandmaster to earn the title in regular play. One of her sisters became the second female to accomplish the feat. She has another sister who is an International Master.

Ros Atkins, the presenter of the show, said this made Polgar the ideal guest to discuss the topic at hand.

“Well, she’s the real deal, isn’t she?” Atkins said when reached at the show’s London studio via phone. “She’s the living proof of the theory which Matthew Syed espouses. So if you believe in what he says, Susan Polgar and her sisters, there is no better example.”

Atkins went on to say that Polgar’s presence brought the discussion from theory to real life.

“You can talk about things hypothetically, but if you want to bring a discussion alive, clearly people who have lived something rather than just believing it brings something special to any conversation.

“There’s an authority which comes from someone who has reached the top, which the rest of us who haven’t reached the top just can’t have,” he said.

In addition to Syed and Polgar, former NBA player John Amaechi joined the discussion, as well as callers from around the world.

Polgar said the experience of listening to and debating with such well-accomplished people was fascinating. She said the worldwide exposure her experience provided for Tech and SPICE will help increase awareness about Tech’s academic profile.

“It’s bringing visibility and credibility to this fine university that is well known for its athletic department and I think should be more known for its academic field that we’re so good at,” she said. “I’m hoping that through my celebrity status, at least in the world of chess, I can contribute something to the university that others can’t.”

Atkins said “World Have Your Say” contacted Polgar after he found out Syed would be coming on the program. Since Polgar’s story stuck out to Atkins after reading “Bounce” he did some research and e-mailed Polgar.

Polgar joined the program from the studios of KOHM-FM in Lubbock, and Atkins had high praise for the station employees, as he set up Polgar’s appearance at the last minute.

“The guys at KOHM were unbelievably helpful on very short notice,” he said. “One of the most accommodating sound engineers we’ve ever dealt with in the States. They really were a pleasure.”

The program is available in a podcast form on the show’s website and It airs every weekday at noon on KTXT-FM 88.1.

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