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World's greatest female chess player retires

Hungarian grandmaster Judit Polgar, widely recognised as the greatest female chess player of all time, said on Wednesday (Aug 13) she is retiring from competition to dedicate more time to her family and chess foundation.

LONDON: Hungarian grandmaster Judit Polgar, widely recognised as the greatest female chess player of all time, said on Wednesday (Aug 13) she is retiring from competition to dedicate more time to her family and chess foundation.

The 38-year-old, who has been the top-ranked female player for 25 years, told The Times newspaper she no longer had the concentration levels required and railed against the sexism she experienced during her career. She recalled how one coach told her she was "an exception, not a girl" and that there was the general impression among the leading players that "there were men, women and Judit Polgar".

Asked if there was a female world champion on the horizon, she replied: "I hope in the next 20 years. But I'm not sure she's been born yet."

The eight-time "Chess Oscar" winner also criticised today's game for being obsessed with technology, saying that "so many competitions are driven by who has the best computer".

Polgar, who is currently competing for the Hungarian team at the Chess Olympiad in Norway, credits her career on an "educational research project" carried out by her father Laszlo. He pulled Judit and her two sisters Susan and Sofia out of school, deciding that their lives "would be a living example, that would prove that any healthy child - if taught early and intensively - can be brought up to be exceptionally successful in any field".

She won her first international chess tournament at nine and was only 12 when she teamed up with her sisters to claim Hungary's first-ever women's Olympic gold chess medal. At the age of 15, Polgar broke Bobby Fischer's record by becoming the youngest ever international chess grandmaster, and reached a high of eighth in the World Men's Rating List in 2005.

She is now married with a son and daughter, aged 10 and eight, and set up the Judit Polgar Chess Foundation for Educational Benefits in 2012, to help promote chess as an educational tool to children in schools throughout the world.