The Top Chess Players in the World

WGM Nemo Qiyu Zhou

Nemo Qiyu Zhou
Photo: Nemo Qiyu Zhou.
Full name
Nemo Qiyu Zhou
Jan 6, 2000 (age 23)‎
Place of birth



Nemo Qiyu Zhou is a Chinese-Canadian woman grandmaster, esports athlete, content creator, and chess-streaming star. She has won multiple tournaments and is currently among the top five women chess players in Canada (December 2020).

Chess Career

Nemo Qiyu Zhou learned chess when she was three years old while she was living in France. From a very young age, she became obsessed with the game and quickly grew into a strong player for her age. At age five, Nemo won the Finnish National Championships for U-10 Open for the first time. She went on to win that same event again in the following four years.

WGM Qiyu
WGM Nemo Qiyu Zhou, also known as Nemo. Photo: Nemo Qiyu Zhou/Instagram.

Nemo's chess career highlight came when she was 14 years old. At that time, she realized her lifelong dream and won the World Youth Chess Championship after finishing the competition undefeated.

Below, you can see how the young 14-years-old Zhou would not shy away from a sharp confrontation. In this wild game against Polina Shuvalova (who is a woman grandmaster now), Nemo pressured her opponent and invited her king to a walk out in the open. In the crazy position that followed, Shuvalova eventually faultered and resigned after hanging a knight.

Zhou became a woman international master after winning the 2015 North American U-18 Championship and made all her woman grandmaster norms that same year. She then became the first Canadian woman grandmaster and won the Canadian Women's Championship a year later in 2016.

WGM Qiyu Zhou.
Photo: Nemo Qiyu Zhou/Instagram.

Zhou has also represented the Canadian Olympic team on four occasions—in 2014, 2016, 2018, and 2020. She reached her peak rating of 2367 in September 2016 and is currently one of Canada's best female chess players (December 2020).

You can see an example of Nemo's energetic playing style in the 27-move thrashing she delivered to Mirai Ishizuka during the 2016 Chess Olympiad. Zhou was quick to launch an attack on her opponent's king. It wasn't long until Ishizuka fell into a hopeless position and had to resign.

Streaming And Content Creation

Zhou is an accomplished content creator and hosts one of the most popular chess streams on Twitch. Her channel, akaNemsko, has almost 250,000 followers and more than 3.9 million hours watched (as of April 2021).

On her channel, Zhou regularly plays chess, solves puzzles, chats with her followers, and plays other games like League of Legends. Her sense of humor and relaxed approach have made her a streaming star among chess fans. Here's a video of Nemo playing Puzzle Rush on—while displaying her famous high-pitched laugh:

Zhou also started a YouTube channel in April 2020 and has more than 41,000 subscribers (as of April 2021). She dedicates her channel mostly to chess and other games but also uploads videos with her take on miscellaneous topics as well. Below is a video of the Canadian woman grandmaster playing hand and brain chess with another streaming celebrity, Andrea Botez:

Nemo's success as a streamer paved the way for her to become the first competitive chess player ever to sign a contract with an esports organization. She joined the Counter Logic Gaming team in August 2020, just a few days before GM Hikaru Nakamura joined a competing team. Content Creation

Zhou has also created exclusive content for She has commentated and coached players for PogChamps and authored a lesson on how to swindle your opponents in chess.

Here you can see Nemo coaching Fuslie for one of her PogChamps matches:

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