Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Judit Polgar Retiring from Professional Chess

Um, I thought she did this years ago, except for the occasional urge to make some appearance fees at special events or serve the call of her homeland (as in an Olympiad).  It's been clear for some time that Judit P.'s heart was no longer solely dedicated to the game. One reaches the point in one's life where too many other things are calling out to one...  And, as we know, Chess is a very jealous lover. 

Here's a link to the report at The Week in Chess

Will there ever be another female player of Judit Polgar's calibre?  Not in what's left of my lifetime, unless there is an undiscovered "prodigy" out there who will stun the world during the next 5-10-15-20 years or so.  I can always hope that will happen; otherwise, female chessplayers will continue in their chess ghetto, earning half (or much less) than mediocre male chessplayers. 

Personally, I won't ever forget actually seeing JP play in person at the FIDE World Chess Championship held at Caesar's Palace Resort Complex in Las Vegas, Nevada, in August, 1999.  I saw her in only one game -- a quarter-finals game, on Friday, August 13th.  She should have won, that's an auspicious number for chess goddesses.  However, she was knocked out of play by GM Alexander Khalifman, a long-shot who went on to win the title.  I was close enough to nearly reach out and touch both of them, I'd only have to have gone a little bit over the red rope separating the row of seats I was in to where the players' table were, but of course that would have been a horrible breach of ettiquette!  I should have done it...

JP's legacy, and that of the three Polgar sisters, will always be part of chess lore.  For that, I am grateful.  They stand as beacons of enlightenment to other aspiring female chessplayers, if they work hard enough (as hard as the best male players, who get utterly obsessed with the game).  Remember - 10,000 dedicated focused, hours of practice and study...that is what research has shown is necessary for most anyone to become an expert at any endeavor.

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