|Full name||Hou Yifan|
February 27, 1994 |
Xinghua, Jiangsu, China
|Women's World Champion||2010–2012 2013-present|
|FIDE rating||2629 (December 2013)|
|Peak rating||2639 (March 2012)|
Hou Yifan (Chinese: 侯逸凡; pinyin: Hóu Yìfán pronunciation (help·info)) (born February 27, 1994 in Xinghua, Jiangsu, China) is a Chinese chess prodigy. She is the Women's World Chess Champion, the youngest ever to win the title, as well as the youngest female player ever to qualify for the title of Grandmaster.
At the age of 12, Hou became the youngest player ever to participate in the FIDE Women's World Championship (Yekaterinburg 2006) and the Chess Olympiad (Torino 2006). In June 2007, she became China's youngest National Women's Champion ever. She achieved the titles of Woman FIDE Master in January 2004, Woman Grandmaster in January 2007, she would have qualified for the International Master title in September 2008 by reaching the final of the Women's World Championship but in August 2008 she had already qualified for the Grandmaster title by achieving her 3rd GM norm. In 2010, she became the youngest Women's World Chess Champion in history by winning the Women's World Championship in Hatay, Turkey, at the age of 16. She then defended her title by defeating Indian GM Koneru Humpy in November 2011.
In the most recent (November 2013) FIDE rating list, Hou is ranked as the No. 1 girl player in the world, the No. 2 female player, only after Judit Polgár, and the No. 9 junior player of either sex. She is only the third female chess player to achieve a FIDE rating of over 2600.
Hou produced a remarkable performance in January 2012 playing in a very strong open tournament in Gibraltar. In a field of 55 other grandmasters, 11 of them rated at or above 2700, Hou shared the lead with Nigel Short on 8/10, subsequently losing to Short in rapidplay. She had faced 7 of the 2700+ players and achieved an overall tournament performance rating of 2872.
Hou played in the Tata Steel Chess Tournament A group in January 2013, scoring a better than predicted 5.5/13.
Hou started playing chess regularly at the age of 6, but was already fascinated with the game when she was 3 years old. Hou's father, Hou Xuejian, a magistrate, often took his young daughter to a bookstore after dinner. He noticed that the little girl liked to stare at glass chess pieces behind the window. He later bought his daughter her first chess set. The 3-year-old was able to beat her father and grandmother after a few weeks. In 1999, her father engaged a chess mentor, IM Tong Yuanming, for his 5-year-old daughter. Tong later said that Hou was an unusual talent, showing "strong confidence, distinguished memory, calculating ability and fast reaction." The young girl's talent impressed many people.
In 2003, Hou played against the chief coach of the Chinese National men's and women's chess teams, Ye Jiangchuan, for the first time. The chess master was surprised that the 9-year-old could identify almost all of his weak moves. "Then I knew she was an exceptional genius", Ye said. That year, Hou became the youngest member of the national team and won first place at the World Youth Championship for girls under age 10. In June 2007, she became China's youngest ever national champion.
She was admitted to the National Chess Center, an academy for young talented players from all over the country, in Beijing when she was 10, with leading Chinese grandmasters Ye Jiangchuan and Yu Shaoteng as her trainers. In order to better support her chess career, her family relocated to Beijing in 2003.
Hou's mother, a former nurse, accompanies her daughter on the international tournament circuit. Hou is homeschooled and 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 Polgár as the best ever female player. Of her own career, Hou said in 2007: "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".
In 3–14 November, she finished joint first (with Yu Yangyi, Jules Moussard and Raymond Song) but third on tiebreaks in the boy's under-10 section of the World Youth Championship, held in Heraklio, Crete (9/11; +8 =2 -1).
In April, she finished fifth with a score of 7/11 (+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.
In July, at the Festival Open International des Jeunes in Saint-Lô, France, she came second out of 75 players with 6/8, behind Wen Yang. 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 8/11.
In October, she managed to qualify for the World Women's Chess Championship to be held in March 2006. Despite being rated only 2220 and ranked women's number 28 in her own country, she qualified by winning the Chinese Women's Zonal (3.5) tournament, scoring 6/9 points with a performance rating of 2401, ahead of several better-known Chinese players.
The sixth World Team Chess Championship was staged in Beersheva, Israel in 31 October-11 November. 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. This was Hou Yifan's first major team tournament and she was the youngest participant there at 11 years of age. She played as second reserve and finished with 0/3. The Chinese women's team drew one match and lost all their others (+0 =1 -7) finishing last. The tournament was won by Russia, with China (men's) coming in second and Armenia third.
In December Hou 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 16½/28 and gained a whopping 121 elo-points. She made the Olympiad team with Wang Yu and Shen Yang, the other top three finishers.
Hou reached the third round (the last 16) of the Women's World Chess Championship in March 2006. Despite being rated 2269 and seeded 56th out of 64 players, she defeated IM Nadezhda Kosintseva (rated 2480) of Russia 1½–½ in the first round, then the former 2000 European champion WGM Natalia Zhukova (2432) of Ukraine 2–0 in the 2nd round,. She was beaten 0–2 by IM Nino Khurtsidze (2430) of Georgia in the third round to finish with a performance rating of 2504.
In May–June 2006, China came third winning bronze at the 37th Chess Olympiad in Turin, Italy. Hou Yifan scored 11/13 (+10, =2, −1), all played on the fourth board, at her Olympiad debut. 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.
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 7/11 (+5 =4 -2) and a performance rating of 2477.
In July–August, she performed badly at what has been traditionally the strongest women's tournament – the North Urals Cup in Krasnoturinsk, Russia. Although seeded third, she failed to win a game scoring 3/9 (+0 =6 -3) with a performance rating of 2357. She finished 8th out of 10 players.
In 10–20 August, Hou played in the China-Russia Summit Match in Ergun, Mongolia. The tournament was a two double round robin Scheveningen, one for men and one for women (category VIII (2444)). Russia won the men's event 26½–23½ but China won the women's section 28-22, winning the match 51½–48½. Hou Yifan was the highest scoring female player on tiebreak with 6½/10 (+5 =3 -2).
China and France played for the Trophée MULTICOMS in Paris 4–9 September 2006. This was also a Scheveningen team match with six men and three 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 12½–5½. The overall result was China 28½ France 25½. Hou Yifan was again the highest scoring female player with 5/6 and a performance rating of 2498.
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 9/12 (+7 =4 -2; tied for first on points) behind her compatriot Shen Yang. Her rating performance was 2469.
In January 2007, Hou achieved a respectable fifth place in Group C (Cat. 10, 2486) of the Corus Chess Tournament with a score of 7/13 (+4 =6 -3) and a 2513 performance rating. This result, together with WGM norms she had earned at the 2005 Zonal 3.5 Women's Championship, the 37th Chess Olympiad and the 2006 Chinese Championship (Women's) won her the WGM title, formally conferred by FIDE in late January 2007.
At the Aeroflot Open in February 2007, a few weeks before Hou's 13th birthday, she played in the A1 group for the first time. Hou started well with two wins out of two, defeating first the Russian IM Nikita Vitiugov (rated 2604) and then the 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 Greek grandmaster, Vasilios Kotronias, and finished with 3½/9.
In 1–11 May 2007, at the 8th Russian Team Chess Championship (Women's) in Dagomys, Hou played for Southern Ural Chelyabinsk on board one and scored 6½/10 (+5 =3 -2). At the 1st World Women's Team Chess Championship in Ekaterinburg later that month, Hou was part of the winning China national team that also included Zhao Xue, Ruan Lufei, Shen Yang, and Huang Qian. Hou Yifan played on board two in every round and scored 7½/9 (+7 =1 -1), winning the gold medal for that board. Her performance rating was 2559.
In June 2007, she won her first Chinese Women's Chess Championship in Chongqing. Hou was 13 years old at the time, breaking WGM Qin Kanying's (who was 14 when she won the title in 1988) record as the youngest champion. Hou scored 9/11 (+7 =4 -0). Second and third place went to Zhao Xue and Shen Yang, respectively.
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 4/9 (+3 =2 -4) with a performance rating of 2436. The tournament was won by Zhu Chen and with Zhao Xue in second place.
In 4–15 August, she competed in what was then her strongest closed tournament – the 5th Győrgy 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 3/10 (+1 =4 -5; TPR 2444).
At the UK-China Match in Liverpool 3–9 September 2007, China defeated the UK team with a comfortable score of 28–20. Hou played for the men's team and scored 2½/6 (+1 =3 -2) with a performance rating of 2540. The average rating of her opponents (Rc) was 2598.
In October 2007, she competed at the 12th European Club Cup in Kemer, Turkey for team Southern Ural Cheliabinsk. Hou played on board two for the team, which finished fourth in the women's tournament. In the individual women's standings, Hou came in fifth with a score of 5/7 (+3 =4 -0) and a performance rating of 2547.
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 (18½ game points out of 24). The Chinese team were Zhao Xue, Xu Yuhua, Hou Yifan, Wang Hao, Ni Hua and Bu Xiangzhi. Hou Yifan also won an individual gold medal for her board two display with a score of 5½/6 (+5 =1 -0; 91.7%) and a performance rating of 2596.
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 6/13 (+3 -4 =6) with a performance rating of 2598. She scored victories over three grandmasters, including a 23 move win over former World Champion challenger Nigel Short.
In February 2008, Hou gained her first Grandmaster norm (GM norm) at the Aeroflot Open in Moscow by finishing in 31st place with a score of 4½/9 (+2 =5 -2, TPR 2605). 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 7/9 (+5 =4 -0) with a performance rating of 2674. Her victory in this tournament earned her a GM norm conditional on FIDE ratifying then WGM Zhao Xue's attainment of her GM title. Eventually however this GM norm was not used in her official grandmaster title application.
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 finished 7th out of 8 players with 2/7 (+1, =2, −4) and a rating performance of 2467.
In August 2008 she competed in the World Junior Chess Championship held at Gazientep, Turkey where she competed in the boy's section for the first time in her career. She was the only girl in the boy's section and was the 16th seed on the entrant's list. Hou finished joint 3rd–7th on 9/13 (+6 =6 -1), achieving a performance rating of 2661 and her second GM norm.
In September 2008, FIDE referred to her as a "GM-elect", indicating that her Atatürk norm had been confirmed. This meant that Hou Yifan qualified for the grandmaster title in August at the age of 14 years 6 months 2 days, making her one of the youngest grandmasters in history, as well as the youngest female. She is also one of the very few players to achieve the Grandmaster title without first gaining the International Master title, and the first female player to do so.
In August – September 2008, Hou competed in her second Women's World Chess Championshipat Nalchik, Russia. She had qualified by being one of the six highest rated players from the average of the July 2006 – January 2007 period. In this knockout tournament, she was seeded 3rd 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 quarterfinals she defeated Armenian IM Lilit Mkrtchian 1½–½, followed by Indian GM Humpy Koneru, the second seed, in the semifinals (4–2 overall, 1–1, 1–1, 2–0). She lost the final to Alexandra Kosteniuk of Russia, 2½–1½. Nonetheless she became the youngest ever finalist for the Women's World Championship title, earning an automatic International Master (IM) title and a "runner-up 9-game grandmaster norm", her fourth GM norm overall.
Hou participated at the 1st World Mind Sports Games in Beijing on 3–18 October as a member of the Chinese team, winning the bronze medal in the Women's Individual Blitz event, the gold medal in the Mixed Pairs Rapid event (with Ni Hua), the silver medal in the Women's Teams Blitz event, and the gold medal in the Women's Teams Rapid event.
She played in the Cap d'Agde Rapid tournament from October 24 to November 1, losing to former world champion Anatoly Karpov in a tiebreaker match at the end of the qualifying stage, despite winning the second tiebreak game.
At the 38th Chess Olympiad in Dresden from 12 to 25 November, she played at no. 1 board in the Chinese women's team. Although her team did not win a prize, she still placed third in the individual board prize. She played in every round with a final result of 7½/11 (+5, =5, −1, TPR 2563).
- Aeroflot Open Tournament A1 in Moscow, February 2008; score 4½/9 (requirement=4½ pts)
- World Junior Chess Championship in Gaziantep, August 2008; score 9/13 (requirement=8 pts)
- World Women's Chess Championship in Nalchik, September 2008; reached the final round (equivalent to a 9-game GM norm).
Hou Yifan competed in the Grandmaster Group B of the 71st Corus chess tournament in Wijk aan Zee from January 16 to February 1, 2009. She was seeded 12th out of 14 players and finished joint 9th–10th with a performance rating of 2620.
On March 7–19, she finished third in the FIDE Women's Grand Prix Tournament in Istanbul, scoring 8/11 (+6=4–1) with a 2648 performance.
From May 12–23, she competed at the 8th Asia Continental Chess Championship at the Subic Exhibition and Convention Center, Subic Bay Freeport Zone in Olongapo City, Philippines. She scored 7½/11 with a 2640 performance, finishing 7th out of 86 on tiebreak. By finishing in the top 10 she qualified for the 2009 World Cup.
In 19 August-1 September at the NH Hotels Risings Stars vs Experienced, Amsterdam, she finished with a score of 3½/10
In January, she finished with 4½/9 at the Moscow Open.
In February, she finished with 4/9 at the Aeroflot Open.
In August she won the 2010 Women's Grand Prix in Mongolia.
In November, she won the women's individual gold medal in the 16th Asian Games in Guangzhou, China. She finished with 8½/9 and with a performance rating of 2798. She won another gold medal from the women's team event, representing China as the first board, along with her team mates Ju Wenjun, Zhao Xue, Huang Qian and Wang Yu, beating Uzbekistan 2½–1½ in the final.
In December she won the Women's World Chess Championship 2010 in Hatay, Turkey, making her the youngest women's world champion in history. Her compatriot Ruan Lufei was her opponent in the finals. After four games at classical time controls, the score was tied 2–2, but Hou won the rapid playoffs 3–1 to take the title.
In June, she took part in a tournament in India, the AAI International Grandmasters Chess Tournament 2011. She finished with a dismal last place, but in August, she rebounded to win clear first place in the FIDE Women's Grand Prix 2011–2012 tournament in Rostov, Russia. She then went on to win the second Grand Prix stage in Shenzhen in September 2011.
In August, she took part in the Chess World Cup 2011 in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia. She was one of the two female participants in the 128-player single-elimination tournament. Her opponent for the first round was Sergei Movsesian, to whom she lost 2–0, resulting in her elimination.
Hou successfully defended her women's world champion title in the Women's World Chess Championship 2011 in Tirana, Albania against Koneru Humpy. Hou won 3 games and drew 5 in the ten-game match, winning the title with two games to spare.
In December, Hou played for China in the Women's World Chess Team Championship in Mardin, Turkey. The 5 person team, arranged according to rating, consisted of herself, WGM Ju Wenjun, GM Zhao Xue, WGM Tan Zhongyi and WGM Zhang Xiaowen. China was the clear winner with 16 match points, having lost but one match to Ukraine in the 8th round and winning the rest, ahead of the runner-up Russia by 3 match points. Georgia grabbed bronze with 12 match points. Hou contributed 5 points from the 7 games she played (Wenjun played the first board for Round 1 and Round 2).
Hou started 2012 in dramatic style by taking equal first place at Tradewise alongside Nigel Short (+6 =4; TPR 2838) at the Gibraltar Chess Festival (2012) scoring 8/10 (+7 -1 =2; TPR 2872). She came second on tiebreak when she lost the 2 game blitz playoff against Short by 1.5–0.5. She scored 5/7 against the 7 GMs she played rated 2700 or higher. This included 4 wins against Zoltan Almasi (2717), Judit Polgar (2710), Le Quang Liem (2714) and Alexei Shirov (2710), 2 draws against Michael Adams (2724) and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (2747), whilst her only loss came against Krishnan Sasikiran (2700) in a close endgame of Q(with a pawn up) versus R+R with black, which was similar to the endgame of Peter Leko vs Vladimir Kramnik (2007). Her performance rating was 2872, the highest of any player in the event.
From March 6 to the 13th, she played and finished joint 2nd–8th in the 2012 Reykjavik Open 7/9 (+5 =4, TPR 2677).
From March 27 to April 7, she participated in the 2012 China Chess Individual Tournament Group A, the determiner of China's National Champion. She finished joint 7th–9th, 7th by tiebreak. 5/11 (+1 -2 =8; TPR 2560).
From April 13 to April 19, Hou played in the 2012 Bangkok Chess Club open. Seeded third by rating, she finished 14th, 6/9 (+4 -1 = 4; TPR 2500).
From May 29 to June 7, Hou played in the 3rd Hainan Danzhou Grand Master Chess Tournament that traditionally showcased the top 10 highest rated Chinese players, although the two highest rated players at the time Wang Hao and Li Chao did not participate. Seeded 6th by rating, Hou finished in 10th and last place with 3/9 (−3 =6, TPR 2507).
From June 9 to June 22, Hou played in the 4th leg of the FIDE Women's Grand Prix 2011–2012 held in Kazan, Russia. Coming immediately off the heels of the recently completed Chinese Men's super tournament in Danzhou, she started off slowly with 2 points in the first 5 rounds before closing strongly with 4 wins in the final 6 rounds. She finished joint 3rd–4th. 7/11 (+5 -2 = 4; TPR 2604).
From July 16 to July 19, Hou played in the 5th leg of the FIDE Women's Grand Prix 2011–2012 held in Jermuk, Armenia. She won the event with a 7/11 score (+4 −1 =6, TPR 2598). This victory added to her victories in Rostov 2011 and Shenzeng 2011 makes Hou the winner of the FIDE Women's Grand Prix 2011–2012 and secured for herself the challenger spot for the Women's World Chess Championship 2013.
At the 40th Chess Olympiad held in Istanbul, Turkey from August 27 to September 10, 2012, Hou Yifan led the Chinese women's chess team to a second place, silver medal finish. She, herself, won the gold medal for individual performance on board 1 with a 2645 TPR, 6.5/9 score (+4, =5). During the competition she was also presented with the Caissa Cup, which honors the female player with the best chess results during the year.
From October 8 to October 17, Hou played in the European Chess Club Cup 2012 as a member of team, Cercle d'Echecs de Monte-Carlo. She played board 1 with 4.5/6 score (+4 -1 =1, TPR 2609) and her heavily favored team swept the round robin competition with a 7-0 score.
From October 19 to October 27, Hou played in the main even of 16th Univé Hoogeveen Chess Festival as part of the Univé Crown Group, a four player double round robin tournament. The average rating of the participants was 2695, making this a category 18 tournament. Hou finished in last place with a 2/6 score (-2 =4, TPR 2605).
In an interview in Kazan she said that she was going to start studying international relations at Beijing University in September. She said that she was glad China was moving away from its one-child policy, she would have liked to have had a brother or sister, and she knew of women who had been forced to have abortions.
In November 2012 she was surprisingly knocked out in the second round of the Women's World Chess Championship 2012. As the winner of FIDE Women's Grand Prix 2011–2012 she has earned the right to challenge the new champion in the Women's World Chess Championship 2013.
Hou was invited to participate in the 2013 Tata Steel Chess Tournament Grandmaster A group in Wijk aan Zee from January 12 to 27. This was a Category 20 event, and her first supertournament participation. She was the lowest Elo rated player at 2603 and seeded 14th. She surpassed initial expectations by finishing 11/14 with a 5.5/13 score (+3 -5 =5, TPR 2688) including a draw against then World Champion Viswanathan Anand.
Hou competed in the 2013 China Chess Individual Tournament Group A in Xinghua, China from April 16 to the 27th. She finished in a six way tie for 4th to 9th place, 4th by tie breaks, with a 5.5/11 score (+3 -3 =5, TPR 2609).
From May 2 to May 16, Hou competed in the 1st leg of the FIDE Women's Grand Prix 2013–2014 held in Geneva, Switzerland. She was the highest rated player in the event but finished 8th/9th, including a loss to the Women's World Champion 2012-2013 Anna Ushenina. Hou's score was 5/11 (+3 -4 = 4, TPR 2470).
From June 11 to June 14, Hou played a four game match with David Navara for the CEZ Chess Trophy 2013. All four games ended in draws, so the winner would be decided by tie breaks. After each player won with white in the blitz portion, an armageddon game won by Hou, as black, gave her the trophy. Her performance rating for the classical games was 2707.
From June 30 to July 3, Hou was part of the team representing China in the 4th Asian Martial Arts Games held in Incheon, South Korea. She won a gold medal in the classical portion of the event with a 6.5/7 score (+6 =1).
In August, she took part in the Chess World Cup 2013 in Tromsø, Norway. She was one of four female participants in the 128-player single-elimination tournament. Her opponent for the first round was Alexei Shirov. After two draws in the classical portion of the match, they proceeded to tiebreaks. Hou won the first rapid game with white and lost the second with black. In the next tiebreaker set she lost both games resulting in her elimination.
As the winner of the FIDE Women's Grand Prix 2011–2012, Hou won the right to challenge Anna Ushenina in a 10 game match for the world title. Scheduled from September 10th to the 27th, the Women's World Chess Championship 2013 was played in Taizhou, Jiangsu, China. She won the match in 7 games with a 5.5-1.5 score (+4 =3, TPR 2730) regaining her championship title.
From 19 to 26 October, Hou played in the European Chess Club Cup 2013 as a member of team, Cercle d'Echecs de Monte-Carlo. She played board 1 with 5/6 score (+4 =2, TPR 2736) and for the second year in a row, her team swept the round robin competition with a 7-0 score.
From 12 to 18 December 18, Hou played in the SportAccord World Mind Games in the chess discipline. The tournament consisted of three events: rapid, blitz and the basque system. In the rapid event, Hou scored 5/7 (+3 = 4) capturing the silver medal. In the blitz event, she won the gold medal with a 21.5/30 score (+19 -6 =5). Particularly noteworthy was that during the second day of the blitz event, Hou achieved a near perfect 9.5/10 score. In the final event played under the basque system, Hou won the silver medal on tiebreaks with a 7/10 score (+7 -3).
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 played for Shandong Qilu Evening News Chess Team, who became the 2007 champions when they defeated the 2006 champion Beijing team, 3½ to 1½. In the 2008 season, there were 18 rounds in six different cities over a six-month period, from March to August. Hou's teammates were GM Bu Xiangzhi, GM Zhao Jun, GM Wen Yang, and WGM Zhang Jilin.
Rated 2639 in the March 2012 FIDE rating list, Hou is the second 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.
On 1 July 2006, she was the youngest ever female player to enter the Top 50 Women (Number 8) and Top 20 Girls (Number 2) 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, which made her the eighth highest rated female player, and the second highest rated girl, in the world.
|Rating list||Rating||Games||Change||National women's
|Women's world ranking
|July 2006||2488||41||+190||3||8 (2)||855|
|October 2006||2481||19||−7||4||10 (2)||942|
|January 2007||2509||30||+28||3||8 (2)||673|
|April 2007||2513||22||+4||2||6 (2)||646|
|July 2007||2523||25||+10||2||4 (2)||565|
|October 2007||2502||19||−21||3||8 (2)||742|
|January 2008||2527||67*||+25||2||5 (1)||549|
|April 2008||2549||22||+22||2||4 (1)||386|
|July 2008||2557||35||+8||2||4 (1)||363|
|October 2008||2578||40||+21||1||3 (1)||267|
|January 2009||2571||15||−7||1||3 (1)||309|
|April 2009||2590||29||+19||1||3 (1)||220|
|July 2009||2584||21||−6||1||3 (1)||256|
|September 2009||2585||9||+1||1||3 (1)||254|
|November 2009||2588||30||+3||1||3 (1)||237|
|January 2010||2590||14||+2||1||3 (1)||240|
|March 2010||2570||18||−20||1||3 (1)||320|
|September 2010||2578||25||+8||1||3 (1)||311|
|November 2010||2591||23||+13||1||3 (1)||248|
|January 2011||2602||23||+11||1||3 (1)||206|
|March 2011||2602||0||0||1||3 (1)||209|
|May 2011||2612||20||+10||1||3 (1)||193|
|July 2011||2575||24||−37||1||3 (1)||335|
|September 2011||2578||33||+3||1||3 (1)||327|
|November 2011||2578||19||0||1||3 (1)||322|
|January 2012||2605||20||+27||1||2 (1)||211|
|March 2012||2639||10||+34||1||2 (1)||129|
|May 2012||2623||29||−16||1||2 (1)||165|
|July 2012||2617||15||−6||1||2 (1)||177|
|August 2012||2599||23||−18||1||3 (1)||235|
|September 2012||2599||0||0||1||3 (1)||236|
|October 2012||2605||9||+6||1||3 (1)||216|
|November 2012||2606||6||+1||1||3 (1)||214|
|December 2012||2606||6||0||1||3 (1)||219|
|January 2013||2603||4||-3||1||2 (1)||222|
|February 2013||2617||13||+14||1||2 (1)||183|
|March 2013||2617||0||0||1||2 (1)||181|
|April 2013||2617||0||0||1||2 (1)||180|
|May 2013||2617||0||0||1||2 (1)||183|
|June 2013||2595||11||-22||1||3 (1)||256|
|July 2013||2600||15||+5||1||3 (1)||226|
|August 2013||2609||7||+9||1||2 (1)||203|
|September 2013||2609||0||0||1||2 (1)||211|
|October 2013||2621||9||+12||1||2 (1)||175|
|November 2013||2629||6||+8||1||2 (1)||152|
|December 2013||2629||0||0||1||2 (1)||156|
- bold, new peak rating
- * Most number of games played in a quarter by a female player in FIDE rating history
Hou Yifan primarily plays 1.e4 as White. As Black, she usually plays the Sicilian Defence (including the Najdorf, Dragon and Closed variations) as well as the French Defence against 1.e4, while against 1.d4 she plays the Nimzo-/Bogo-Indian and Queen's Indian defences.
|This section uses algebraic notation to describe chess moves.|
1. d4 e6 2. c4 Nf6 3. Nf3 b6 4. g3 Ba6
5. Qc2 Bb4+ 6. Bd2 Be7 7. e4 d5 8. cxd5 Bxf1 9. Kxf1 exd5 10. e5 Ne4 11. Nc3 Nxd2+
- A novelty.
12. Nxd2 Qd7 13. Kg2 Nc6 14. Qa4 0-0 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
- If 50.Kd3, then Rxc2 follows. If 50.Rxc3, then d1=Q+.
- Hou Yifan New in Chess NICBase Online Info.
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- China Women Selective – Tournament report
- China Women Selective – Tournament details
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- 37th Chess Olympiad OlimpBase
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- 1st World Team Chess Championship (women) OlimpBase
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- "FIDE Ratings Chart". Ratings.fide.com. Retrieved 2011-12-03.
- Rating data for player Hou, Yifan, (CHN)
- Elo rating with world rankings and historical development since 2004 for Hou, Yifan (benoni.de/schach/elo)
- Chessgames Chess.com
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Hou Yifan.|
- Hou Yifan player profile and games at Chessgames.com, includes notable games
- Profile at NICBase Online Info
- Profile at Starz International Sports
- 2007 and 2008 short biographies at Corus Chess official website
- Profile and interview, ChessBase.com, 5 February 2009
- Hou Yifan interview at the 2009 World Cup
- Hou Yifan interview at the 2010 World Championship
- Yifan Hou fan site
|Women's Chinese Chess Champion
|Women's World Chess Champion
|Women's World Chess Champion