Can Everyone Become Talented? – Story of the Polgar Sisters (animated)

Can Everyone Become Talented? – Story of the Polgar Sisters (animated)


Laszlo Polgar, a Hungarian educational psychologist,
was one of the earliest advocates that great performers are made, not born. He had argued, that dedicated practice in
any chosen field, could transform any healthy child into a genius. “Children have extraordinary potential, and
it is up to society to unlock it”, he says. “The problem is that people for some reason,
do not believe it.” “They seem to think that excellence is only
open to others, not themselves.” Back in 1960s, when Polgar was contemplating
his experiment, his idea about talent was considered so absurd, that a local government
official told him to see a psychiatrist to get rid of his delusions. But Laszlo could not be stopped that easily. He realized that the only way to prove his
theory was to test it on his own future children. So he started exchanging letters with a number
of young ladies, in search of a wife. He found a young Ukrainian woman named Klara. Like many at the time, she thought he was
crazy, but they agreed to meet. Amazingly enough, she found his arguments
irresistible and ended up taking part in his bold experiment. In 1969, Klara gave birth to their first daughter,
Susan. Laszlo spent hours trying to decide on the
specific area in which Susan would be groomed for excellence. He needed Susan’s achievements to be so dramatic,
that nobody could question their authenticity. This was the only way to convince people,
that their ideas about innate talent were all wrong. And then it struck him: Chess. Polgar said it was chosen because it was objective. If his child had been trained as an artist
or novelist, people could have argued about whether she was really world class or not. But chess has an objective rating based on
performance, so there is no possibility of an argument. Although Laszlo was only a hobby player, he
read as much as he could on the method of teaching chess. He schooled Susan at home, devoting many hours
a day to chess even before her fourth birthday. He did it playfully, making great drama of
the game, and over time Susan became hooked. By her fifth birthday she had accumulated
hundreds of hours of dedicated practice. A few months later, Laszlo entered Susan in
a local competition. Almost all the girls qualified were twice
her age or older. But she won game after game, her final score
being being 10 to 0. The fact that such a young girl won the championship
was already a sensation, but winning all the games added to people’s amazement. They thought she was born with natural talent
for chess. Now, this is where the story only begins. In 1974, Klara gave birth to a second daughter,
Sofia. Then in 1976, to a third daughter, Judit. Both Sofia and Judit watched their older sister
Susan being trained by their father and wanted to get involved, but Laszlo did not want them
to start too early. Only when they turned five did he start their
training. The girls were not forced to play, so it didn’t
feel like a chore for them. They were actually fascinated by chess and
wanted to play. By the time they had reached adolescence,
all three sisters had accumulated well over ten thousand hours of specialized practice. Let’s take a look at how they performed: At the age of twelve, Susan became a world
champion for girls under sixteen. Less than two years later, she became the
top rated female player in the world. In 1991 she became the first woman player
in history to reach the status of grandmaster. The highest title you can reach in chess. By the end of her career she had won the world
championship for women on four occasions and five chess Olympiads and was the first person
in history to win the chess Triple Crown. Sofia won the girls under fourteen championship. And like her sister, she would win many gold
medals from chess Olympiads and other prestigious championships aswell. But her most extraordinary achievement is
now known as the “Sack of Rome”. She stunned the chess world by winning eight
straight games against many of the best grandmasters. She was just 14 at the time. Her performance at that tournament was rated
as the fifth greatest in chess history. After many record breaking victories in her
early teens, Judit became the youngest grandmaster ever – male of female – in history, at the
age of fifteen. She has been the number one female chess player
in the world for well over a decade. Over the course of her career, she had victories
over almost every top player in the world and is universally considered to be the greatest
female player of all time. The story of the Polgar sisters provides evidence
for Laszlo’s theory of dedicated practice. But the public was sure that, the sisters’
success, was a consequence of unique talent. Susan was even described by the local newspaper
as a child prodigy. But this is an iceberg illusion. We only see the fruits of labor, but not the
hard work behind the curtains. As Laszlo puts it: “If they had seen the painfully
slow progress, the inch by inch improvements, they would not have been so quick to call
Susan a prodigy.” Also neither Laszlo nor Klara could have passed
on any innate chess ability to their daughters. Laszlo was only a mediocre player, and Klara
had demonstrated no chess ability at all. The sisters’ success resulted only from their
years of intensive work. At the same time, it must be noted that the
sisters did not achieve equal levels of success. The middle sister, Sophia, did not reach the
heights of her two sisters and everyone seems to agree that she was the least committed. Although she did become the sixth ranked woman
in the world. Even Susan said that Sophia “was lazy”. And Sophia herself agreed, that she would
give up easier than Judit and never worked as hard as she did. Likewise, everyone seems to agree that Judit,
who rose highest, worked hardest and practiced the most. So here’s a question for you: Does everyone have the capacity to become
a talented individual? The sisters would say that yes, any healthy
person can become an expert in their own domain, if they put in enough dedicated practice. Their own stories have convinced them that
their father was right about talent. As Susan put it: “My father believes that
innate talent is nothing, that success is 99 percent hard work.” “I agree with him.” Thanks for watching till the very end. I hope you found the story of the Polgar sisters
as fascinating as I did. If you enjoyed the video, don’t forget to
press that like button. And if you’re new to the channel, make sure
to subscribe. Together we’ll become better than yesterday.

14 thoughts on “Can Everyone Become Talented? – Story of the Polgar Sisters (animated)

  1. There are people out there that thought they had zero talent but I for one believe that their talent is to learn the talents of others, to not be restricted by one ability they are good at but to learn multiple ones as life goes on.

  2. Talent exist, no questions bout that. The fact that she could defeat people with more hours than himself prove it. How can a gilr with 1000hrs defeat someone with 10.000hrs? In those 1000 hrs she gets more experience and gain more awknoledgment than the other with 10.000. And everybody knows somebody that it's just natural for them do certain things, even with no practice at all they just perform better. Somebody without talent and a lot a hard work will never surpass someone talented that train a quarter o even half the first one do.

  3. I understand and agree with the notion whole heartedly but my parents don't….and so I regret not becoming an artist or an astronaut for the lack of grooming in my childhood….and now I want my little sister to be groomed cause she is at the right age yet my parents say "she is too YOUNG for this or that" !!!! sigh it pains me to see how she wants to be taught many things but denied by the elders underestimating her capabilities……she isn't my child so I can't influence her much and I don't have a good relationship with my parents either; yes, you guessed it right, because my ideology and philosophy is so much different from theirs that we can't mix at all, like oil and water….Sometimes I wonder why I didn't adopt their ideology and way of thinking and the answer lies in YouTube, yes I know, it sounds cringy but yes thanks to channels like your's I developed the different and better way of seeing the world.

  4. Reminds me of Stuart Mill, his father claimed he could make his son a genius and he did, he made a depressed genius but a genius overall. I believe children has unbelievable potential but for it to be reveal it there are sacrifice to make.

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