Chess teaches life lessons, champion says
By Tammy Walquist
Deseret Morning News

The crowd hushes and silence fills the room. Attention turns to the two players already fixated on the chess board between them. The order comes to start the timers, and the ancient battle of logic, strategy and kings is engaged.

The scenario is a familiar one for Susan Polgar, a chess ambassador to the world who has been playing chess since she was 4 years old and who won her first championship in the same year.

“It’s my responsibility as a champion to go out and meet new people all over the country and teach them,” she said. “So many people are too busy with their own careers. Nobody is going out and motivating children.”

Polgar is also helping break down the barrier to what was once considered a man’s sport. She became the first female Chess Grandmaster, a four-time Women’s World Chess Champion, five-time Olympic Champion and the first to qualify for the Men’s World Championship.

“As a child I thought it was a strange thing — why aren’t there more women in chess?” said Polgar, the No. 1 ranked woman player in the world, in Salt Lake this past weekend for a chess festival bearing her name at Rowland Hall Elementary and the University of Utah Student Union Building.

“I became a pioneer for women in chess,” she said. “I found that not only was I proving myself, but I was representing all women. I helped pave the way for generations of young women.”

Polgar became an advocate to prove that women are just as capable as men, not only in chess but in other aspects of life.

Chess has taught her many important qualities in life, including logical thinking, patience and being responsible for her own actions.

“There’s an obvious connection between chess and education in school or even later,” she said.

Chess has the capacity to teach life lessons. One of the main things Polgar said she learned from it is focus.

“You need to be focused, because one minute, a lack of focus, a lack of concentration, can cost you the game, even though you played well, according to the rules and according to what’s right and wrong. Life is the same way,” she said.

Polgar has focused well. She won her first Olympiad in 1988, becoming ranked the No. 1 player in the world at age 15. She was the first woman Grandmaster, the first woman to qualify for the men’s championships and the recipient of a gold medal at the Olympiad for highest overall performance.

Here is the full article.

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