87 Year-Old Beats Capablanca’s Record

Brigitta Sinka


Last Sunday, 87 year-old Brigitta Sinka from Hungary accomplished what she had set as a goal five years ago: The retired chess player beat the simultaneous chess record of the chess icon José Raúl Capablanca who had played remarkable 13,545 matches during his life until, finally, he passed away in 1920.

While attending a one-week open chess event at an immense tent in Budapest, the chess mentor, who played her first duel against her father at the early age of four, proved her physical and mental health by keeping up with her mentees – after all, she did have to play up to thirty rounds per hour.

Sinka states that chess makes up her entire life and simultaneous chess is her passion. In her lifetime she was supposed to compete in two world championships, both of which she tragically couldn’t attend, as fate had planned otherwise for her – the ambitioned Hungarian has endured heart surgery three times. Fifty-eight years ago, she made first contact with simultaneous chess at the Chess Olympics in Budapest. She has played enthusiastically ever since, especially at summer camps against students. She kept thorough records of every single match as if she had had a feeling that those might come in handy one day. Her chronicle include all matches’ opponents, their dates, locations and results; and she had witnesses sign her every one of her records.

Five years ago, the chess historian Sinka pointed out the record of the Cuban grandmaster Capablanca during an interview. She had already kept record of 9,000 duels at that time and had the idea of breaking his record right away.

Last Sunday was her day: having played over 13,600 matches of simultaneous chess, Brigitta Sinka broke Capablanca’s record. Now, she is waiting for recognition of her accomplishment by the Guinness Book of World Records. Having reached her goal, she still has no intention of quitting the game yet. Sinka plans on improving her record as long as her state of health allowed her to.

Best of Luck!

written by Sarah, translated by Birthe