This story is from Chess Grandmasters, an episode of The Conversation produced by Sarah Crawley and presented by Kim Chakanetsa. To listen to more episodes of The Conversation on the BBC World Service, please click here. Adapted by Helene Schumacher.
Hungarian Judit Polgar is the strongest female chess player of all time.
A child prodigy, she broke Bobby Fischer's record to become the youngest grandmaster aged 15. She went on to beat the world number one, Garry Kasparov, after he had said women shouldn't play chess. She remains the only woman ever to place in the top 10 players in the world, despite retiring four years ago.
Hou Yifan, from China, is widely considered the best female chess player today. She has been the women's world chess champion four times, the youngest ever to win the title, as well as the youngest female player ever to qualify for the title of grandmaster.
Both women share some similar traits: incredible dedication and resilience, an unshakable mindset, endless practice and a healthy dose of natural skill. These traits themselves are likely to lead someone to success in their field. But are there other factors that have also driven these women’s accomplishments?