Hun­gar­ian su­per­gran sets chess record

The China Post - - LIFE GUIDE POST -

Af­ter decades spent play­ing si­mul­ta­ne­ous chess, an 87-yearold Hun­gar­ian pen­sioner clinched a world record Sun­day, by fi­nally over­tak­ing a to­tal set by 1920s Cuban grand­mas­ter Jose Raul Ca­pablanca.

Al­most 60 years since her first si­mul­ta­ne­ous games, on six boards side-by-side at a Chess Olympiad in 1957, Brigitta Sinka over­took the magic 13,545 num­ber at­trib­uted to Ca­pablanca (1888-1942), one of the world’s best-ever play­ers.

“I wanted to stop for a mo­ment so ev­ery­one could re­flect in mem­ory of Ca­pablanca,” Sinka, a for­mer top am­a­teur, told AFP in a packed tent in a Bu­dapest park where she played the record-break­ing games.

“There were so many peo­ple wait­ing for me to move my pieces how­ever, so I sim­ply car­ried on,” she added.

By late-Sun­day, she was al­ready well over 13,600 games — clock­ing up over the week the fi­nal few hun­dred games needed to beat the old record — be­fore call­ing it a day.

“We feel priv­i­leged to have been one of the many thou­sands,” said Jozsef Cs­abi, 37, who brought along his teenage son to play Sinka, or Aun­tie Bici (pro­nounced “Bitzi”) as she is widely known.

Since the 1950s, Sinka clocked up thou­sands of si­mul­ta­ne­ous games around Hungary play­ing at sum­mer camps for school­child­ren hosted by her em­ployer for many decades, a com­mu­nist-era me­tal re­cy­cling firm.

In 2010, with her to­tal around 9,000 games, a chess his­to­rian told her that he had spot­ted Ca­pablanca’s to­tal in a bi­og­ra­phy of the Cuban great.

“I was un­aware of it be­fore then, so I thought I’d have a go at beat­ing it,” she told AFP.

Around a cen­tury ago Ca­pablan- ca played high-speed si­mul­ta­ne­ous ex­hi­bi­tion chess for money but his games, de­spite be­ing counted, were un­doc­u­mented.

Sinka how­ever has metic­u­lously recorded in scrap­books ev­ery game she has played — where, when, op­po­nent, and re­sult — each signed off by a wit­ness.

She hopes the Guin­ness Records ad­ju­di­ca­tors will ac­knowl­edge her feat as an of­fi­cial world record.

Sinka, who has un­der­gone three heart oper­a­tions in re­cent years, doesn’t plan to stop any­time soon.

“I will keep go­ing, as long as my health per­mits,” she said, adding that she has al­ready com­mit­ted to play­ing in sev­eral school camps through­out the sum­mer.


87-year-old Hun­gar­ian pen­sioner Brigitta Sinka poses for a pic­ture as she plays her si­mul­ta­ne­ous chess game in the Bu­denz school in Bu­dapest on May 29.

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