Judit Polgar is to retire as a professional chess player at the end of the Olympiad. The surprise announcement was made in a brief interview with The Times. Polgar herself was unavailable for comment as she was in preparation for the final round of the Olympiad with her Hungarian team which lies in second place and has a chance for gold in the final round. Polgar has so far contributed as score of 4.5/6 on board 5. It is unclear whether she will play in the final round.
No doubt there will be plenty of interviews after the round finishes. With her retirement she brings to an end an "educational experiment" which saw Judit and her three sisters all become exceptional players in a generally male dominated game.
Judit Polgar reached a career high of 2735 and world number #8 in 2005. At that point her highly tactical style had matured into a stronger all round game. Shortly afterwards Polgar took some time off to raise her family and although her initial return was promising she is quoted as saying her concentration at the board is in decline. Recently her focus has switched to writing books on her career and the Judit Polgar Chess Foundation.
Earlier in the Olympiad Judit Polgar was asked about the possibility of a match against Hou Yifan at a point I guess she already knew she would retire, she was non-committal without ruling it out. With the right money I guess it still wouldn't be out of the question but would really have to be this year. Hou defeated Polgar in their only game together in Gilbraltar 2012 and it was already clear it was only a matter of time before Hou became the women's number one. Now the baton has definitely passed to her.
There will be time enough to celebrate the career of the greatest ever women's player. It seems to me Judit Polgar didn't see playing was about women competing on an equal basis but that gender shouldn't make a difference at all.
- Published in Sports