Chess coach Susan Polgar to retire from Webster


Susan Polgar and her husband, assistant chess coach Paul Truong, are planning on moving to Florida. Liem Quang Le, one of Polgar’s former students, will fill the position.

Webster’s chess team has been ranked #1 in Division 1 Chess since 2012. That was the same year world chess champion Susan Polgar became Webster’s chess coach. Since then, Webster has not relinquished its top spot. 

Nine years later, Polgar is retiring from her position as chess coach at Webster University. Polgar will be replaced by one of her former students, Liem Quang Le. 

Polgar is a household name. At the age of 4, she won the Budapest under-11 chess tournament. At the age of 12, she won the under-16 tournament. She won the World Championship in 1996 in China. 

Webster announced Polgar will remain emeritus director of the Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence (SPICE) even after she retires. 

Polgar and her husband, assistant chess coach Paul Truong, are moving to Florida to be closer with family and for health reasons. 

Polgar fell down a flight of stairs at the end of last year. She’s had back issues for almost 30 years, and the accident caused her to be in more pain. 

“Earlier this year, she felt that it would be unfair to her students if she cannot give 110%,” Truong said. 

Polgar and her husband debated about it for more than a month. They decided that Polgar’s retirement would be best for Webster and the chess team.

“She was more than a coach. She was a mentor, a sort of mother for many of us, a friend to some. A very kind person,” chess team member Emilio Cordova Daza said. 

Daza has been a member of Webster’s chess team for three years. He has one more semester left before he graduates. 

File photo from 2019. Credit to Glenn Fuselier. See the original post here.

Daza says Polgar taught him that hard work pays off, and that success is equally as important as being a good person. 

Before announcing her retirement, Polgar held a team meeting with the chess team and she told them she was retiring in May.

“I felt pure sadness, but at the same time, I felt that she deserves some rest too. She has worked all her life,” Daza said. 

Daza is not worried about the future of the chess team. He says the team is very capable, and he knows Le will do a great job. 

Polgar and Truong plan to continue to help Webster’s chess team from Florida. They want to help with the recruiting process and in any other way they can. 

Truong says it was amazing to be a part of a great legacy in college chess. He loved watching the students grow and seeing the program his wife built from scratch develop. 

In leaving Webster’s chess team behind, Truong had one thing he wanted the students to know. 

“You can achieve anything if you set your mind to it. Nothing is impossible,” Truong said. 

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Jordyn Grimes
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