She is the reigning 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 more prestigious Grandmaster title by achieving her 3rd GM norm. In 2010, she became the youngest World Chess Champion in history (men's or women's) 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. She is only the third female chess player to achieve a FIDE rating of over 2600.
Hou produced a stunning 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. She is the new Queen of Chess in today’s competition, the new born of the chess world. The great Fisher once said that he will give a Bishop or a Knight to any women on earth and still win the challenge, though in today’s world this would be very risky business if not impossible, I wouldn’t bet my money on that. Unlike most sports, women are able to compete against men in chess, and so some women do not compete for the women's title. Notably, the world's top rated female player for the past 20 years, Judit Polgár (and by far the highest FIDE-rated woman in chess history), has never competed for the women's title.
"They're all weak, all women. They're stupid compared to men.
They shouldn't play chess, you know. They're like beginners. They lose every single game against a man.
There isn't a woman player in the world I can't give knight-odds to and still beat."
Robert James Fischer, 1962, Harper's Magazine.
Fischer was a kid when he said that (16-17 years old), he and his sister Joan learned together how to play Chess from instructions found in a chess-set that Joan bought at a candy store below their apartment. If it wasn’t Joan who knows, he probably would have been a famous Tennis player? He was maybe just trying to impress the journalists by saying that, who knows?
Let’s see how Hou Yifan won against this month world’s top 2:
…And as always, in the Chess spirit, have a nice game!