HYDE PARK — The top-ranked female chess player in the world is enrolling at the University of Chicago, explaining "I want my life to be rich and colorful, not narrow."
In a story headlined "The Exceptional Genius of Hou Yifan," ESPN.com said the China-born Hou has been accepted into the U. of C.'s master's program in social work.
Hou, 23, is ranked 74th among the top 100 players in the world, the only woman in the top 100, and has been called "The Queen of Chess."
The story, by Alex W. Palmer, said of Hou: "While others shunned the world outside of chess, Hou embraced it." While traveling and competing around the globe "she continued to pursue her studies and disciplines, from science and politics to social entrepreneurship."
"Some players only see chess but others see chess in all things — beauty, fashion, strategy," she told ESPN. "I'm clearly the second type. I want my life to be rich and colorful, not narrow."
Hou — who started playing chess at age 5, became a grandmaster at 14 and won the women's world championship at 16 — was scheduled to enroll this year at U. of .C but in July deferred acceptance for a year to continue to compete in chess at the highest level, ESPN said.
A university spokeswoman confirmed Hou's decision to defer to the 2018-2019 school year.
In a controversial move, she has stopped playing in women's competitions and competes only in mixed gender contests now, saying that playing only women hurt her overall world standings.