Young Superstars: Hou Yifan

Young Superstars: Hou Yifan

| 5 | Chess Players

Hou Yifan started playing chess at the age of 6. She was admitted to the National Chess Center in Beijing and has leading Chinese grandmaster Ye Jiangchuan as her trainer.  She plays e4 as White and as Black, a variety of Sicilians (Dragon, Najdorf & Closed) against e4 and lately, the Nimzo-Indian against d4.
Hou Yifan's early tournament successes came in the form of first place in the girls' under 10 section of the World Youth Championships in 2003 in Halkidiki, Greece and third place in the boys' under 10 section in 2004, in Heraklio, Crete.  She came fifth in the 3 Arrows Cup in 2005 in Jinan, China, recording a performance rating of nearly 2400.
Hou reached the third round of the Women's World Chess Championship in 2006, defeating Nadezhda Kosintseva and Natalia Zhukova in the first two rounds before falling to Nino Khurtsidze, earning a performance rating of 2504. She scored an amazing 11.0 out of 13.0 at the 37th Chess Olympiad, all played on the third board, finishing with a performance rating of 2596. In the 2006 World Junior Championship (Girls), she scored 9.0 out of 12.0 securing second place.  She was the highest scoring female in the China-Russia summit match. 
Yifan also came fourth in the Women's Chinese Championships in June-July 2006. In January 2007, FIDE formally conferred her WGM title.  In June, she took a respectable fourth place in Group C of the Corus chess tournament and won China's Women's National Chess Championship, breaking WGM Qin Kanying's record as youngest champion.  (2007 Nat'l Chess Title video)

Here are some amazing tactical positions played by Yifan:

More crucial positions from Hou's games are found at

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