Hou Yifan

Infobox Chess player
playername = Hou Yifan

caption = Corus chess tournament, Wijk aan Zee, 2007
birthname = Hou Yifan
country = CHN
datebirth = birth date and age|1994|2|27 [ [http://www.newinchess.com/Hou_Yifan__-ip-128035.html Hou Yifan] New in Chess NICBase Online Info.]
placebirth = Xinghua, Taizhou, Jiangsu, China [http://ccl.sports.cn/remark/2006-06-13/875476.html Profile] , China Chess League]
datedeath =
placedeath =
title = Grandmaster (qualified in August 2008, not yet ratified) International Master (Sep 2008) Woman Grandmaster (Jan 2007) Woman FIDE Master (Jan 2004)
worldchampion =
womensworldchampion =
rating = 2578
(No. 3 Woman and No.1 Girl on the October 2008 FIDE rankings)
peakrating = 2578 (October 2008)

Hou Yifan (zh-cp|c=wd|侯wd|逸wd|凡|p=Hóu Yìfán Pronunciation|En-HouYiFan-name.ogg) (born February 27, 1994, in Xinghua, Taizhou, Jiangsu, China) [ [http://chesspawn.net/xml/xm6-3.htm chesspawn.net] ] is a Chinese chess prodigy, who in 2008, became the youngest ever female in history (at the age of 14 years 6 months 2 days) to qualify for the title of Grandmaster, the highest a chess player can attain.

In June 2007, she became China's youngest ever National Women's Champion, and in September 2008 she became the youngest ever finalist for the Women's World Championship title.

At the age of 12, she became and still holds the record for being the youngest ever player to participate at the FIDE Women's World Championship (Yekaterinburg 2006), and at the Chess Olympiad (Torino 2006). [ [http://www.bjreview.com.cn/newsmaker/txt/2008-09/28/content_155106.htm Newsmakers, Beijing Review] PEOPLE/POINTS NO.40, 2008]

In the most recent (October 2008) FIDE rating list, she is ranked the World Number 1 girl player [According to FIDE, "girl" players are those under the age of 21.] and the World Number 3 female player in the world. [After Judit Polgar and Koneru Humpy, as of October 1, 2008 official FIDE rating list.]


Hou started playing chess at the age of 6. "I took up chess because I was fascinated by the pieces - I just liked it. In the future, I want to be a professional chess player or maybe study to be a doctor", she said in 2007. [http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/liverpool-news/local-news/2007/09/04/chess-grandmaster-hou-13-is-no-square-100252-19730079/ Chess grandmaster Hou, 13, is no square!] Sep 4 2007 by Adrian Butler, Liverpool Echo] She was admitted to the National Chess Center, an academy for young talented players from all over the country,WWCC 2006 Ekaterinburg, Russia. [http://wwcc2006.fide.com/main.asp?id=832 Hou Yifan: "Dreaming of a house in Paris"] 22.03.2006] in Beijing when she was 10, [ [http://www.ase.hu/marxgy/2007/biography_146_eng.htm Biography of Yifan Hou] . V. Marx György Memorial, 4th - 15th August 2007 Paks, Hungary.] and has leading Chinese grandmasters Ye Jiangchuan and Yu Shaoteng as her trainers. [ [http://www.womenchess.com/main.asp?id=832 Interview at the Women's World Chess Championship 2006 by the tournament's organisers.] Accessed March 24, 2006.] [ [http://www.chessbase.de/nachrichten.asp?newsid=7381 ChessBase.] ] She lives with her mother in Beijing. She lists her interests as reading and studying, and her favorite chess player as Bobby Fischer.

Chess writer Leonard Barden has said that she could rival Judit Polgar as the best ever female player. [cite web|title=Chess|author=Barden, Leonard|publisher=The Guardian|url=http://sport.guardian.co.uk/chess/story/0,,2265629,00.html|date=2008-03-15|accessdate=2008-03-17]


Hou Yifan's first major tournament was in August 31 - September 12 2003 at the Chinese Team Chess Championship (Men's) in Tianjin. [ [http://ratings.fide.com/rtdarca.phtml?event=167&codt=10 CHN Team Ch.Men 2003] - Tournament details] She scored 3.0/7 and had a 2246 performance rating. [ [http://ratings.fide.com/trarc.phtml?event16=167&codt=10 CHN Team Ch.Men 2003 - CHN] - Tournament report]

Her first international tournament brought early success when she came first (9.5/11; +8 =3 -0) in the girl's under-10 section of the World Youth Championship in Halkidiki, Greece in 23 October-2 November 2003. [World Youth Chess Championships 2003 [http://www.chess.gr/tourn/2003/wyc2003/stands/girls_u10.html Girls Under 10 Standings] . Accessed March 26, 2006.]

In November (15th-26th), she made her debut in the National Women's Chess Championship, held at Shanwei, Guangdong. [ [http://ratings.fide.com/rtdarca.phtml?event=534&codt=10 2003 CHN Indv.Ch.Women] - Tournament Details ] She finished in 14th place with 3.5/9. Her performance rating was 2202. [ [http://ratings.fide.com/trarc.phtml?event16=534&codt=10 CHN Indv.Ch.Women - CHN] - Tournament report]


On 1 January 2004, she received her first International FIDE rating of 2168, which automatically qualified her for the title of Woman FIDE Master (>2100 elo points).

In April, she competed at the Chinese Team Chess Championship (Women's) in Jinan, Shandong. [ [http://ratings.fide.com/rtdarca.phtml?event=394&codt=12 CHN Women Team Ch.2004] - Tournament details] She scored 1.5/7 having faced an average opposition rating (Rc) of 2316. [ [http://ratings.fide.com/trarc.phtml?event16=394&codt=12 CHN Women Team Ch.2004 - CHN] - Tournament report]

In 3-14 November, she came in third place (9.0/11; +8 =2 -1, tied for first on points) and won bronze this time in the boy's under-10 section of the World Youth Championship, held in Heraklio, Crete. [World Youth Chess Championships 2004 [http://www.greekchess.com/wycc2004/stands/boys10.html Boys U10 Standings] . Accessed March 26, 2006.]

At the 11th Asian Women's Championship that took place in Beirut, Lebanon 4-11 December 2004, she came 11th with a score of 4.5/9 (+4 =1 -4; TPR 2278). Wang Yu of China won the event with 6.5/9. [ [http://www.chesscenter.com/twic/twic529.html#11 Asian Women's Championship] ]


In February, she competed at the 4th Aeroflot Open (Group C) in Moscow, [ [http://ratings.fide.com/rtdarca.phtml?event=808&codt=15 Aeroflot Open C] - Tournament details] where she scored 2.0/5. [ [http://ratings.fide.com/trarc.phtml?event16=808&codt=15 Aeroflot Open C - RUS] - Tournament report]

In April, she came to the notice of the international chess community for her fifth place and a score of 7.0/11 (+6 =2 -3) (tied for fourth) at the 3 Arrows Cup 2005 ladies tournament in Jinan, China. In that tournament, she defeated international master Almira Skripchenko and achieved a performance rating of 2393. [ChessBase news article on the [http://www.chessbase.com/eventarticle.asp?newsid=2346 World Ladies Tournament in Jinan] . Accessed March 24, 2006.]

From 28 June - 6 July at the 2nd China-France Youth Match, which took place in Shenzhen, Guangdong, Hou Yifan scored 3.0/8 (+2 =2 -4). The Chinese team (Zhou Jianchao, Zhao Jun, Zhao Xue and Hou) won the match 19-13. [ [http://www.chesscenter.com/twic/twic557.html#22 China - France Youth Match] , TWIC]

In 18-29 July at the World Youth Chess Championship in Belfort, France, Hou Yifan came 5th in the Boy's Under-12 Section with 8.0/11. [ [http://www.chesscenter.com/twic/twic560.html#6 World Youth Chess Championship 2005] - TWIC] Earlier in the month at the Festival Open International des Jeunes in Saint Lo, France she came second out of 75 players with 6.0/8, behind Wen Yang. [ [http://ratings.fide.com/trarc.phtml?event16=2192&codt=17 Fest.Open Intl.Jeunes - FRA] - Tournament report] [ [http://ratings.fide.com/rtdarca.phtml?event=2192&codt=17 Fest.Open Intl.Jeunes] - Tournament details]

In October, she managed to qualify for the FIDE World Women's Chess Championship to be held in March 2006. Only rated 2220 and ranked women's number 28 in her own country, she did so by winning the Chinese Women's Zonal (3.5) tournament, ahead of a group of well known Chinese players. She scored 6.0/9 points with a performance rating of 2401. [ [http://ratings.fide.com/trarc.phtml?event16=0965&codt=18 Zonal 3.5 Chmp Women] ]

The 6th World Team Chess Championship was staged in Beersheva, Israel in 31 October-11 November. [ [http://www.olimpbase.org/2005t/2005in.html Olimpbase tournament website] ] China fielded two teams - the men's and women's, which was only the second time in the championship history where a women's team competed in what has traditionally been a male team event. [ [http://www.chessbase.com/newsprint.asp?newsid=2721 World Team Championships – the Chinese are coming] ] This was Hou Yifan's first major team tournament and she was the youngest participant there at 11 years of age. [ [http://www.chessbase.com/newsprint.asp?newsid=2724 WCTC – China still in the lead] ] She played as second reserve and finished with 0.0/3. [ [http://www.olimpbase.org/2005t/2005chnw.html 6th World Team Chess Championship] ] The Chinese women's team drew one match and lost all their others (+0 =1 -7) finishing last. [ [http://www.olimpbase.org/2005t/2005fa.html 6th World Team Chess Championship] - final placings] The tournament was won by Russia, with China (men's) coming in second and Armenia third. [ [http://www.chessbase.com/newsprint.asp?newsid=2718 Russia leads in the World Team Championships] ] [ [http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=2728 WCTC – China loses but retains the lead] ] [ [http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=2730 Caught! Russians win the World Team Championship] ]

In December Hou Yifan came second at the China Women Selective Tournament in Beijing for the 37th Chess Olympiad to be held in May-June 2006 in Turin, Italy. She scored 16.5/28 and gained a whopping 121 elo-points. She made the Olympiad team with Wang Yu and Shen Yang, the other top three finishers. [ [http://ratings.fide.com/trarc.phtml?event16=2429&codt=20 China Women Selective] - Tournament report] [ [http://ratings.fide.com/rtdarca.phtml?event=2429&codt=20 China Women Selective] - Tournament details]


Hou proved that her performance at the 3 Arrows Cup 2005 was not a fluke by reaching the third round (the last 16) of the Women's World Chess Championship in March 2006. [ChessBase news article on the [http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=2981 Women's World Championship 2006, round two] . Accessed March 24, 2006.] Despite being rated 2269 and seeded 56th out of 64 players, [ [http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=2910 Women's World Chess Championship 2006] ] she defeated IM Nadezhda Kosintseva (rated 2480) of Russia 1.5-0.5 in the first round, then the former 2000 European champion WGM Natalia Zhukova (2432) of Ukraine 2-0 in the 2nd round, [ [http://www.china.org.cn/sports/news/2006-03/15/content_1161770.htm Hou Beats Former European Champion] ] but lost to IM Nino Khurtsidze (2430) of Georgia 0-2 in the third to post a decent performance rating of 2504. [ [http://www.chessbase.com/eventlist.asp?eventname=%20Womens%20World%20Championship Womens World Championship] ] [World Chess Championship (Women) [http://www.mark-weeks.com/chess/a6wo$wix.htm 2006 FIDE Knockout Matches] . Ekaterinburg, Russia, III, 2006.]

In May-June 2006, China came third winning bronze at the 37th Chess Olympiad in Turin, Italy. Hou Yifan at her Olympiad debut confirmed her talent with a score of 11.0/13 (+10, =2, -1), all played on the third board, and finished with a performance rating of 2596. [37th Chess Olympiad official homepage [http://schach.wienerzeitung.at/tnr3411.aspx?tnr=3411&art=1&lan=1&
] . Accessed June 6, 2006.
] For her winning percentage of 84.6%, she won a silver medal for fourth (reserve) board performance, and her performance rating of 2596 was the third highest overall. [ [http://www.olimpbase.org/2006/2006in.html 37th Chess Olympiad] OlimpBase] [ [http://www.olimpbase.org/playersw/71r19dj9.html Olympiad Statistics] ]

The Chinese Championships for men and women took place in Wuxi, Jiangsu 25 June - 6 July 2006. Ni Hua took the men's title and Li Ruofan the women's. Hou Yifan came fourth in the women's category V (2369) event with a score of 7.0/11 (+5 =4 -2) and a performance rating of 2477. [ [http://www.chesscenter.com/twic/twic609.html#6 Chinese Championships] ]

In July-August, she had a lacklustre performance at what has been traditionally the strongest women's tournament - the North Urals Cup in Krasnoturinsk, Russia. [ [http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=2494 North Urals Cup: Ladies Super-Tournament] ] Although seeded third, she failed to win a game scoring 3.0/9 (+0 =6 -3) with a performance rating of 2357. She finished 8th out of 10 players. [Chessbase reports [http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=3257] , [http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=3270] ]

The China-Russia Summit Match saw two double round robin Scheveningen format events, one for men and one for women (cat. VIII (2444)), taking place in Ergun, Mongolia 10-20 August 2006. Russia won the men's event 26.5-23.5 but China won the women's section 28-22, therefore in the combined standings China beat Russia 51.5-48.5. Hou Yifan was the highest scoring female player on tiebreak with 6.5/10 (+5 =3 -2). [ [http://www.chesscenter.com/twic/twic615.html#11 China-Russia Summit] ]

China and France played for the Trophée MULTICOMS in Paris 4-9 September 2006. This was also a Scheveningen team match with 6 men and 3 women in the teams. France edged out China 20-16 in the men's event. The women's section was a complete mismatch in terms of ELO ratings in favour of the Chinese and they confirmed this over the board winning 12.5-5.5. The overall result was China 28.5 France 25.5. Hou Yifan was again the highest scoring female player with 5.0/6 and a performance rating of 2498. [ [http://www.chesscenter.com/twic/twic618.html#5 France vs China] ]

In October in Yerevan, Armenia at the World Junior Chess Championship (Girl's section) she went on to take second place on tiebreak with a score of 9.0/12 (+7 =4 -2; tied for first on points [ [http://ratings.fide.com/tourarc.phtml?codt=22&field1=8602980 World Girls U20 Chess Championships] ] ) behind her compatriot Shen Yang. Her rating performance was 2469. [ChessBase news article on the [http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=3432 World Junior Championship 2006] . Accessed December 25, 2006.] [ [http://www.armchess.am/WJGCC06/wjgcc-sta-g13.html World Girls Chess Championships] . Yerevan, October 2-17, 2006]


At the start of 2007 in January, Hou achieved a respectable fifth place in Group C (Cat. 10, 2486) of the Corus Chess Tournament. She scored 7.0/13 (+4 =6 -3) with a performance rating of 2513. [Corus [http://www.coruschess.com/standings.php?year=2007&group=3 Grandmaster Group C Final Standings] . Accessed February 15, 2007.] [ [http://www.chessbase.com/eventlist.asp?eventname=Wijk%20aan%20Zee%202007 Wijk aan Zee 2007] ] [ [http://www.chesscenter.com/twic/event/wijk07/wijk13.html Corus, Wijk aan Zee 2007. Round 13 28th January 2007.] ] It was at this tournament when she earned her WGM title, formally conferred by FIDE in late January 2007. She achieved her WGM norms at the following tournaments: [ [http://www.fide.com/index.php?option=com_fidetitles&view=appsdt&cat=2&per=14&aid=8602980 Application Details] FIDE]

* 2005 Zonal 3.5 Women's Championship in Beijing (October 20-25, 2005); score 6.0/9
* 2006 37th Chess Olympiad in Turin (May 21-June 4 2006); score 7.0/9
* 2006 Chinese Championship (Womens) in Wuxi (June 25-July 6 2006); score 7.0/11

In her first A1 Group event at the Aeroflot Open in February 2007 a few weeks before her 13th birthday, she started well with two wins out of two defeating first Russian IM, Nikita Vitiugov rated 2604, and then the former (2001) European Champion, GM Emil Sutovsky of Israel rated 2629. However in the third round she was defeated by the Russian Championship runnerup, Dmitry Jakovenko, and managed only one draw in her next five games. She rallied in the final round with a victory against the strong Greek grandmaster, Vassilios Kotronias and finished with a respectable 3.5/9. [ [http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=3679 Snowflakes are fallin' on the Aeroflot Open 2007] ] [ [http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=3695 Aeroflot Open 2007: Evgeny Alekseev wins in style] ] [ [http://www.aeroflotchess.com/results/a1/SMWSite/players/p079.html WGM Hou, Yifan] aeroflotchess.com]

In March, at the 1st Ruy Lopez International Festival (cat. XV (2607)) in Zafra, the birth place of Ruy López de Segura, Hou suffered a bad performance finishing in last place with 2.0/7 (+1 =2 -4). Her performance rating was 2462. [ [http://ruylopez.juntaextremadura.net/modules/news/ Festival Internacional de Ajedrez "Ruy Lopez"] ] [ [http://www.chesscenter.com/twic/twic646.html#4 1st Ruy Lopez International Festival] ]

In April Hou Yifan came second at the China Women Selective Tournament in Ningbo for the 2007 Asian Indoor Games to be held in October. She scored 8.0/14 (+6 =4 -4). [ [http://ratings.fide.com/trarc.phtml?event16=9962&codt=26 Women's Selective tournam - CHN] - Tournament report]

In 1-11 May 2007, in Dagomys at the 8th Russian Team Chess Championship (Women's), she played for "Southern Ural Chelyabinsk" on board one and scored 6.5/10 (+5 =3 -2). [ [http://ratings.fide.com/trarc.phtml?event16=7635&codt=24 8. RUS Team Women's Chmp.] - Fide.com] [ [http://www.chessbase.com/newsprint.asp?newsid=3837 Tomsk leads in the Russian Team Championships] ] In 19-30 May 2007 in Ekaterinburg, the 1st World Women's Team Chess Championship was held. Hou Yifan was part of the winning China national team that also included Zhao Xue, Ruan Lufei, Shen Yang, and Huang Qian. Hou Yifan played in every round on board two and scored 7.5/9 (+7 =1 -1) winning the gold medal for that board. Her performance rating was 2559. [ [http://www.olimpbase.org/2007v/2007in.html 1st World Team Chess Championship (women)] OlimpBase] [ [http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=3893 China wins Women's Team Championship by two points] ] [ [http://www.olimpbase.org/playersv/71r19dj9.html Hou Yifan at the World Women's Team Chess Championship] OlimpBase.]

In June 2007, she won her first Chinese Women's Chess Championship in Chongqing, breaking WGM Qin Kanying's—who won her first title at the age of 14 in 1988—record as the youngest champion with a score of 9.0/11 (+7 =4 -0). Second and third place went to Zhao Xue and Shen Yang, respectively. [ [http://www.cctv.com/program/sportsscene/20070619/102456.shtml Youngest Hou Yifan wins national chess title] . Accessed June 19, 2007.] [ [http://www.fide.com/ratings/trarc.phtml?event16=9975&codt=26 2007 China Women's Indivi - CHN] . FIDE.]

In July, she improved on the previous year's performance at the North Urals Cup in Krasnoturinsk, finishing in 7th place out of 10 players. She scored 4.0/9 (+3 =2 -4) with a performance rating of 2436. The tournament was won by Zhu Chen and second placed was Zhao Xue. [ [http://www.northuralscup.ru/2007/tournamenteng.shtml North Urals Cup 2007] ] [ [http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=4022 Zhu Chen wins North Urals Cup 2007] ] [ [http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=4006 Stefanova leads in North Urals Cup 2007] ]

In 4-15 August, she competed in what was then her strongest closed tournament - the 5th Gyorgy Marx Memorial (Cat. 14, 2582) in Paks, Hungary. Being the lowest rated player and the only non-Grandmaster (out of Pentala Harikrishna, Peter Acs, Csaba Balogh, Ferenc Berkes and Viktor Korchnoi), she finished in last place in the double round robin event with 3.0/10 (+1 =4 -5; TPR 2444). [ [http://www.chesscenter.com/twic/twic667.html#3 TWIC] ] [ [http://www.ase.hu/marxgy/2007/index_eng.html official website] ]

At the UK-China Match in Liverpool 3rd-9th September 2007, China had a comfortable 28-20 win against the UK team. Hou Yifan competed in the men's team and scored 2.5/6 (+1 =3 -2) with a performance rating of 2540. The average rating of her opposition (Rc) was 2598. [ [http://www.liverpoolchessinternational.co.uk/lci_2007/index.htm Official UK-China Match Website] ]

In late September, she came first at the 2007 Chinese Women's Zonal (3.5) tournament in Tianjin with a score of 8.0/9 (+7 =2 -0). [ [http://ratings.fide.com/trarc.phtml?event16=10110&codt=26 2007 Women's Zonal 3.5 Ch] - Tournament report]

In October 2007, she competed at the 12th European Club Cup in Kemer, Turkey on board two for team "Southern Ural Cheliabinsk", which came in at fourth place in the women's tournament. She came 5th in the individual women's standings with a score of 5.0/7 (+3 =4 -0) and a performance rating of 2547. [ [http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=4169 Linex and Monte-Carlo are European Team Champions] ] [ [http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=4160 Everybody's there – at the European Club Cup in Turkey] ]

From October 26 to November 3, she competed for Team China at the 2nd Asian Indoor Games in Macau. The national team won team gold in the classic chess mixed team event with 11 match points (18.5 game points out of 24) The Chinese team were Zhao Xue, Xu Yuhua, Hou Yifan, Wang Hao, Ni Hua and Bu Xiangzhi. [ [http://www.fide.com/component/content/article/4-tournaments/1647-138-china-wins-classic-chess-gold-in-macau-asian-indoor-games China Wins Classic Chess Gold in Macau Asian Indoor Games] ] Hou Yifan also won an individual gold medal for her board two display with a score of 5.5/6 (+5 =1 -0; 91.7%) and a performance rating of 2596. [ [http://www.olimpbase.org/playersai/71r19dj9.html Hou Yifan at the Asian Indoor Games] OlimpBase.] [ [http://www.olimpbase.org/2007ai/2007in.html 2nd Asian Indoor Games: Macau 2007] ]


This year she began a concerted attempt to become a grandmaster.

In the January Corus 2008 chess tournament in Wijk aan Zee, Hou competed in Group B where she finished in a tie for 7-10th place (9th by tiebreak) achieving 6.0/13 (+3 -4 =6) with a performance rating of 2598 and victories over three grandmasters, including a 23 move win over Nigel Short. [ [http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=4417 Wijk R13: Aronian, Carlsen win Wijk aan Zee 2008] . Accessed January 29, 2008.]

In February 2008, Hou gained her first Grandmaster norm with a performance rating of 2605 at the Aeroflot Open in Moscow by finishing in 31st place with a score of 4.5/9 (+2 =5 -2). [ [http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=4469 Nepomniachtchi wins Aeroflot Open 2008] ] [ [http://susanpolgar.blogspot.com/2008/02/yifan-hou-scored-gm-norm.html Yifan Hou scored GM norm at Aeroflot] ]

This was followed in March 2008 with a victory at the 1st Atatürk International Women Masters Chess Tournament (cat. IX (2461)) in Istanbul, Turkey where she finished a point ahead of the rest of the field on 7.0/9 and a tournament performance rating of 2674. [ [http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=4526 Atatürk Istanbul: Hou Yifan wins Atatürk Masters] ] [ [http://awm2008.tsf.org.tr/ Atatürk International Women Masters Chess Tournament] ] She did not lose a single game having won 5 games and drawn 4. Her victory in this tournament should also provide her a GM norm though this is conditional on FIDE ratifying WGM Zhao Xue's attainment of her Grandmaster title. [cite web|title=Chess|author=Barden, Leonard|publisher=The Guardian|url=http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2008/mar/29/chess.sport|date=2008-03-29] According to a report she gained a GM norm, as there were 2 GM players (Pia Cramling and Zhu Chen) and she had well above 2600 performance. [ [http://players.chessdom.com/yifan-hou/results Yifan Hou, a new chess star on the horizon] ] However, the requirements for such a GM norm include playing against 3 GM opponents. [ [http://www.fide.com/info/handbook?id=58&view=article Requirements for the titles designated in 0.31] ]

In April 2008, she competed in Mérida, Spain at the 2nd Ruy Lopez Chess Festival tournament. In the category XV (2616) round robin event she failed to gain a GM norm after finishing in 7th place out of 8 players with 2.0/7 (+1, =2, -4) and a rating performance of 2467. [ [http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=4561 Second Ruy López International Chess Festival in Mérida] ] [ [http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=4566 Michael Adams wins Second Ruy López International in Mérida] ]

In May-June 2008, she became the Chinese Women's Champion for the second time running with 9.0/11 points (+7 =4 -0) in Beijing and having a performance of 2599. [ [http://www.chesscenter.com/twic/twic710.html#9 Chinese Championships] TWIC] [ [http://ratings.fide.com/view_source.phtml?code=14483 Tournament Report] FIDE]

At the July 2008 First Saturday GM Tournament in Budapest, Hou Yifan was the top seed but came in second place with 9.0/12 narrowly missing a GM norm by half a point. Her performance rating was 2574. [ [http://www.fide.com/component/content/article/4-tournaments/3068-hou-yifan-just-misses-gm-norm Hou Yifan just misses GM Norm] 19 July 2008]

In August 2008 she competed in the World Junior Chess Championship held at Gazientep, Turkey where she competed as the only female in the boy's section for the first time in her career and was the 16th seed on the entrant's list. [cite web|title=World Junior Chess Championship Starting Rank List|url=http://wjcc2008.tsf.org.tr/component/option,com_turnuva/task,show/dosya,12/Itemid,12/lang,en/] Hou finished joint 3rd-7th on 9.0/13 (+6 =6 -1) achieving a performance rating of 2661, [cite web|title=World Junior Chess Championship Final Ranking|url=http://wjcc2008.tsf.org.tr/component/option,com_turnuva/task,show/dosya,24/Itemid,24/lang,en/] in the process obtaining her second confirmed GM norm. [cite web|title=World Junior Chess Championship Norms|url=http://wjcc2008.tsf.org.tr/content/view/138/1/lang,en/]

In September 2008, FIDE referred to her as a "GM-elect", [ [http://www.fide.com/component/content/article/1-fide-news/3263-wccc-nalchik-2008-and-now-there-were-just-four WWCC - Nalchik 2008 - and now there are just four!] , FIDE web site, September 9 2008] indicating that her Atatürk norm had been confirmed. This means Hou Yifan qualified for the title of Grandmaster in August at the age of 14 years 6 months 2 days, making her one of the youngest grandmasters in history, and the youngest female.

She competed in her second Women's World Chess Championship in August - September 2008 where she finished as runner-up. She qualified by being one of the six highest rated players from the average of the July 2006-January 2007 period. In this 2008 Championship knockout tournament held in Nalchik, Russia, she was seeded no. 3 out of 64 players. She defeated WGM Mona Khaled (Egypt) 2-0 in the first round, and WGM Bathuyang Mongontuul (Mongolia) 2-0 in the second. In third round, she had to go to rapid playoffs to eventually beat IM Elena Sedina (Italy) 3-1 (1-1, 2-0). In the quaterfinals she won against Armenian IM Lilit Mkrtchian by 1.5-0.5. In the semifinals she defeated Indian GM Koneru Humpy, the no. 2 seed, by 4-2 (1-1, 1-1, 2-0). She lost the final to Alexandra Kosteniuk by 2.5-1.5. In this tournament she became the youngest ever finalist for the Women's World Championship title. By reaching the final, she automatically gained the International Master (IM) title and a "runner-up 9-game grandmaster norm", her fourth GM norm overall [ [http://www.fide.com/info/handbook?id=58&view=article 1.0. Requirements for the titles designated in 0.31] FIDE Handbook] .

She will compete at the 1st World Mind Sports Games in Beijing on 3-8 October, [USCF. [http://main.uschess.org/content/view/8575/468 1st World Mind Sports Games in China] - July 24, 2008] Cap d'Agde Rapid tournament on October 24-November 1, [ [http://www.capechecs.com/trophee_ccas.php Site officiel des 8èmes rencontres nationales et internationales d'Echecs - Cap d'Agde 2008] ] and at the 38th Chess Olympiad in Dresden on 12-25 November. [ [http://tournaments.chessdom.com/chess-olympiad-2008-teams Chess Olympiad Dresden 2008, teams] ]

China Chess League

:"See: China Chess League"

Hou Yifan has participated in the 2007 and 2008 seasons of the Chinese domestic league, officially known as the "Torch Real Estate Cup Chinese Chess League Division A". She plays for "Shandong Qilu Evening News Chess Team", who were the 2007 champions when they defeated previous champion Beijing team by 3.5 to 1.5. [ [http://www.starzsports.cn/English/shownews.asp?id=99 Prodigy Girl Hou YiFan claimed Champion of National Chess Championships] ] In 2008, her team mates were GM Bu Xiangzhi, GM Zhao Jun, GM Wen Yang, and WGM Zhang Jilin. In the 2008 season, there were 18 rounds in six different cities over a six month period, from March to August. [ [http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=4654 Stars from the Chinese League] ]


Rated 2578 in the October 2008 FIDE rating list, Hou is the 3rd highest rated female player and the highest rated girl player in the world. She is also the youngest person in any of the FIDE's "top players" lists. [The lists are Top 100 players, Top 100 women, Top 20 juniors and Top 20 girls - http://ratings.fide.com/toplist.phtml]

On 1 July 2006, she was the youngest ever female player to enter the Top 50 Women (Number 8) [ [http://ratings.fide.com/toplist.phtml?list=women] ] and Top 20 Girls (Number 2) [ [http://ratings.fide.com/toplist.phtml?list=girls] ] FIDE lists at age of 12 (rated 2488), since FIDE began releasing these lists in 2000.

Between the April 2006 and July 2006 FIDE rating lists, she gained an impressive 190 rating points from a rating of 2298 to a rating of 2488, [ [http://www.fide.com/ratings/id.phtml?event=8602980 Rating progress chart for Hou Yifan] . Accessed July 5, 2007.] which made her the eighth highest rated female player, and the second highest rated girl, in the world.

* bold, new peak rating
* * Most number of games played in a quarter by a female player in FIDE rating history [ [http://ratings.fide.com/toplist.phtml?list=women] [http://ratings.fide.com/toplist.phtml?list=girls] ]


Hou Yifan's openings repertoire includes primarily playing as White and as Black, the Sicilian Defence (including the Najdorf, Dragon and Closed variations) and the French Defence against 1.e4 and, the Nimzo-/Bogo-Indian and Queen's Indian defences against . [ [http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessplayer?pid=95916 Chessgames] [http://www.chess.com/article/view/young-superstars-hou-yifan Chess.com] ]

Notable game

Chess diagram|=
| | | |rd| |kd| |=
| | | | | | |pd|=
| |rl| | | |pd| |=
| | | | | | | |=
| | | | |pl| |pl|=
| |pd| |nl| |pl| |=
| |nl|pd|kl| | | |=
| |rd| | | | | |=
G. Sargissian-Hou Y.

Final position after 49...Re8 0-1

On 25 January 2008, Hou as Black, beats, GM Gabriel Sargissian (2676) of Armenia and long time second of Levon Aronian in Corus (Group B), Wijk aan Zee, Netherlands. This is, as to date, the highest rated opponent she has defeated.

1. d4 e6 2. c4 Nf6 3. Nf3 b6 4. g3 Ba6 Queen's Indian Defense: Fianchetto. Nimzowitsch Variation (E15) 5. Qc2 Bb4+ 6. Bd2 Be7 7. e4 d5 8. cxd5 Bxf1 9. Kxf1 exd5 10. e5 Ne4 11. Nc3 Nxd2+ Novelty 12. Nxd2 Qd7 13. Kg2 Nc6 14. Qa4 O-O 15. Rac1 f6? 16.Nd1 Nxe5 17.Qxd7 Nxd7 18.Rxc7 Bb4 19.Nf3 +/-; better was 15...Rfd8 16. f4 fxe5 17. dxe5 Bb4 18. Rhf1 Rac8 19. Ne2 Nxe5 20. Qxb4 Nd3 21. Qb3 Nxc1 22. Nxc1 Rce8 23. Nf3 Qf5 24. Rf2 c5 25. Qd3 Qe4 26. Rd2 d4 27. Qxe4 Rxe4 28. Nd3 Re6 29. h4 Rc8 30. a4 a6 31. Nfe5 b5 32. a5 g6 33. Rc2 c4 34. Nb4 Rf8 35. b3 d3 36. Rd2 Rc8 37. Rd1 Rd6 38. Kf3 d2 39. bxc4 bxc4 40. Nc2 c3 41. Ke2 Rd5 42. Ng4 Rxa5 43. Nge3 Rd8 44. Rb1 Ra2 45. Kd1 Rb2 46. Ra1 Rdb8 47. Rxa6 Rb1+ 48. Ke2 Rc1 49. Rc6 Re8 0-1 The blockade by the knights is only imaginary. If 50. Kd3, then Rxc2 follows.

ee also

*Chess in China
*List of female chess players
*List of youngest grandmasters
*List of chess grandmasters
*List of world records in chess



External links

*fide|id=8602980|name=Hou Yifan
*chessgames player|95916, includes notable games
* [http://www.newinchess.com/Hou_Yifan__-ip-128035.html Profile] at NICBase Online Info
* [http://www.starzsports.cn/English/ydy_2.asp?id=159 Profile] at Starz International Sports
* [http://www.coruschess.com/participants.php?year=2007&group=3&bio=6 2007] and [http://www.coruschess.com/participants.php?year=2008&group=2&bio=13 2008] short biographies at Corus Chess official website
* [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-2h5G0IQwgU Video interview] at the 2008 Aeroflot Open with "Europe Échecs"

NAME = Hou Yifan
DATE OF BIRTH = February 27, 1994
PLACE OF BIRTH = Xinghua, Taizhou, Jiangsu, China

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