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Yifan Hou
Yifan Hou 
Photograph by Sophie Triay.  
Number of games in database: 1,359
Years covered: 2003 to 2018
Last FIDE rating: 2657 (2595 rapid, 2659 blitz)
Highest rating achieved in database: 2686

Overall record: +413 -230 =431 (58.5%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 285 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Sicilian (225) 
    B93 B42 B90 B92 B30
 Ruy Lopez (157) 
    C67 C78 C65 C84 C95
 French Defense (77) 
    C11 C10 C18 C15 C05
 Ruy Lopez, Closed (64) 
    C84 C95 C92 C89 C96
 Caro-Kann (60) 
    B18 B12 B17 B11 B13
 Sicilian Najdorf (53) 
    B93 B90 B92 B91 B94
With the Black pieces:
 Sicilian (187) 
    B84 B90 B22 B80 B81
 Nimzo Indian (74) 
    E32 E37 E46 E21 E34
 Queen's Gambit Declined (66) 
    D38 D35 D31 D37
 Queen's Pawn Game (56) 
    A46 E10 D02 E00 A40
 Sicilian Scheveningen (46) 
    B84 B81 B80 B83 B82
 French Defense (44) 
    C11 C07 C18 C01 C13
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   B Ider vs Yifan Hou, 2017 0-1
   Yifan Hou vs Navara, 2016 1-0
   Yifan Hou vs N Dzagnidze, 2014 1-0
   J Smeets vs Yifan Hou, 2008 0-1
   Vaganian vs Yifan Hou, 2017 0-1
   Yifan Hou vs M Sebag, 2011 1-0
   I Sokolov vs Yifan Hou, 2013 0-1
   Yifan Hou vs Judit Polgar, 2012 1-0
   A Giri vs Yifan Hou, 2013 0-1
   Yifan Hou vs Beliavsky, 2009 1-0

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Women's World Team Championship (2007)
   FIDE Women's Grand Prix (2011)
   37th Chess Olympiad: Women (2006)
   FIDE Women's Grand Prix Khanty - Mansiysk (2014)
   FIDE Women's Grand Prix Lopota (2014)
   Women's Grand Prix Monte Carlo (2015)
   FIDE Women's Grand Prix Sharjah (2014)
   Women's World Chess Championship (2010)
   SportAccord World Mind Games (Women, Basque) (2013)
   Tradewise Gibraltar (2012)
   European Club Cup (Women) (2016)
   FIDE Women's Grand Prix (2009)
   World Junior Championship (2008)
   World Junior Championship (Girls) (2006)
   Chess Olympiad (Women) (2014)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Blunderdome's favorite games of 2012-2013 by Blunderdome
   2004 WYCC (open) U-10 by gauer
   2005 WYCC (open) U-12 by gauer
   Omnis stultia laborat fastidio sui。 by hanwubai
   Yifan Hou by akatombo
   Hou Yifan by Granmaestro
   Girl meets boy by englishplus

   🏆 GRENKE Chess Classic
   Yifan Hou vs Naiditsch (Apr-09-18) 1/2-1/2
   G Meier vs Yifan Hou (Apr-08-18) 1/2-1/2
   Yifan Hou vs M Bluebaum (Apr-07-18) 1/2-1/2
   Caruana vs Yifan Hou (Apr-06-18) 1/2-1/2
   Yifan Hou vs Vitiugov (Apr-05-18) 1/2-1/2

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Yifan Hou
Search Google for Yifan Hou
FIDE player card for Yifan Hou

(born Feb-27-1994, 24 years old) China
[what is this?]

Grandmaster; Chinese Women's champion (2007 & 2008); 13th Women's World Champion (2010-12 & 2013-2015).


Hou Yifan (侯逸凡) was born in Xinghua City, Jiangsu, China and started playing chess at age 6. She is the youngest female in the history of chess to acquire the GM title, and was the youngest GM in the world when she acquired the title. At 14, she was the youngest ever finalist in a Women's World Championship contest. Winning the Women's World Championship title in 2010 at the age of 16 made her the youngest Women's World Champion ever, beating the mark long held by the legendary Maia Chiburdanidze who won the title in 1978 at the age of 17. In 2011, she successfully defended her title by winning the best-of-ten Hou - Koneru Women's World Championship (2011) by 5.5-2.5 (+3 =5 -0), also making her the youngest Women's World Champion to defend her title, and the youngest to do so successfully.


<Age - Girls> In 2003 she won the U10 Girls division of the World Youth Championships in Halkidiki, Greece. She scored 9/12 in the World Junior Championship (Girls) (2006) and secured second place on countback behind Shen Yang.

<Age - open> In 2004, she contested the Open U10 World Championship in Heraklio, Crete, placing third. She came third in the World Junior Championship (2008) behind Abhijeet Gupta and Parimarjan Negi.

<National - Women> In June 2007 Hou broke through to win the Women's Chinese National Chess Championship in Chongqing city, a title she successfully defended in Beijing the following May.

<National - open> She competed in the "open" Chinese Championship (2011), scoring 6/11 (+2 -1 =8). She scored 5/11 at the Chinese Chess Championships (2012).

<Continental - open> In 2009, Yifan came equal third in the 8th Asian Continental Chess Championship (2009) (open) (ACCC) with 7/11, half a point behind GM Surya Shekhar Ganguly and GM Zhou Weiqi, qualifying her for the World Cup 2009. She scored 4.5/9 at the 10th Asian Individual Championships (2011).

<Grand Prix> She came second with 7.5/11 in the Women's Grand Prix in Nalchik in 2010 after Tatiana Kosintseva and won the FIDE Women Grand Prix (2010) in Ulan Bator, Mongolia with 8/11 and a 2649 performance rating. Soon after the World Cup 2011 she won the Shenzhen Women's Grand Prix (2011) with a score of 8/11 (+5 =6).

<World - Women> At the age of 12, she contested the FIDE Women's World Championship (2006) in Ekaterinburg, Russia, defeating Nadezhda Kosintseva and Natalia Zhukova in the first two rounds before falling to Nino Khurtsidze in the third round. Yifan capped 2010 and her career so far by becoming the Women's World Champion in December, defeating Ruan Lufei in the tiebreaker 3-1 after drawing the classical games 2-2. Her win earned her China Central Television's 2010 award for Sportsperson of the Year involved in a sport that is not included in the Olympic category* and her title win also qualified her for participation in the World Cup 2011. Hou relinquished her world title a second time in April 2015 when she played in the Hawaiian Masters' Tournament (which she won) instead of the FIDE Women's World Chess Championship (2015) which was scheduled for the same time. As the winner of the Women's Grand Prix 2013-14, she is qualified to contest the Women's world crown later in 2015 against Mariya Muzychuk, who won the knockout event.

<World - open> Having qualified via the ACCC 2009 for the World Cup (2009), she bowed out in the first round after losing to Arkadij Naiditsch. She qualified for the World Cup (2011) by dint of her being the Women's World Champion, but lost to Sergei Movsesian in the first round after missing a winning combination in the second game. In September 2015 she was a Presidential Nominee for the World Cup (2015) where she defeated Rafael Duailibe Leitao in the first round but lost to Shakhriyar Mamedyarov in the rapid game tiebreaker of the second round to be eliminated from the event.

Team Events

<Olympiads> Yifan played in the 37th Chess Olympiad: Women (2006) on the Reserve Board (Board 4), winning the silver medal with 11/13 and a performance rating of 2596. She lead her country to a silver medal in the Chess Olympiad (Women) (2010) she also won bronze for her efforts on the top board where she scored 8/11 (+5 -0 =6).

<Women's World Team Championship> Also in 2007, she won a team gold and individual gold and silver medals on board 2 at the 2007 Women's World Team Championships. In 2009, she won team gold and individual bronze playing top board for China in that year's edition of the Women's World Team Championships.

Standard Tournaments

<2005-2010> Hou came fifth in the 3 Arrows Cup in 2005 in Jinan, recording a performance rating of nearly 2400. In 2008 she also won the Isbank Ataturk Women Masters (2008) outright by a clear point ahead of Pia Cramling. In April 2010, after relatively modest results in the Moscow Open (2010) and Aeroflot Open (2010) in February, she won the 3rd Kuala Lumpur Open with 7.5/9.

<2011-2015> She won the 1st Women Master Tournament 2011 at Wuxi with 7/9, and played in the 2nd Hainan Danzhou GM tournament where she scored 2 points from 9 rounds. Her poor form continued in the Airports Authority of India (2011) (3/10) and the 1st Hangzhou Women's GM Tournament (2011). Yifan staged a partial recovery by winning the FIDE Women's Grand Prix (2011) with 8/11, coasting to a victory by a clear point ahead of Kateryna Lahno (to whom she lost in their individual encounter) after leading by 2 points midway through the event. In December 2011 at the inaugural World Mind Games which featured rapid, blitz and blindfold chess alongside Go, Bridge, Draughts, and Xiangqi, Hou won gold in the women's blitz and in the women's blindfold.** She finished a successful 2011 by winning team gold and two individual silver medals at the FIDE Women's World Team Championship (2011), and by overtaking Koneru as women's world number 2 after Judit Polgar. Hou started 2012 in dramatic style by taking equal first place at Tradewise Gibraltar (2012) with 8/10 (+7 -1 =2; TPR 2872), alongside Nigel Short (+6 =4; TPR 2838), however she came second on tiebreak when she lost the 2 game blitz playoff with Short by 1.5-0.5; her record against the 7 GMs she played, each of whom was rated over 2700 was 5/7, and included wins against Zoltan Almasi, Judit Polgar, Le Quang Liem and Alexey Shirov, draws against Michael Adams and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and a loss to Krishnan Sasikiran. A few weeks later, she came close to winning the Reykjavik Open (2012), but failed to find the right continuation to defeat the eventual winner, Fabiano Caruana, in the last round; she scored 7/9 (+5 =4; TPR 2677) to place =2nd, albeit 6th on count back.

Her results have been more modest since then, including 6/9 at the 12th Bangkok Open (2012), costing her 16 Elo points, and then reached a nadir by placing last with 3/9 (-3 =6) at the 3rd Danzhou Tournament (2012). Neither her =3rd at the FIDE Women's Grand Prix Kazan (2012) with 7/11 nor her outright win at the Women Grand Prix Jermuk (2012) enabled her to regain any of her lost rating points, but nevertheless she won the 2011-12 Women's Grand Prix which entitles her to challenge for the Women's World Championship in 2013 since she lost her title in the 2012 World Women's Championship knockout tournament. Yifan represented China on board 1 of the Chess Olympiad (Women) (2012), and helped her team to win team silver (missing gold to Russia on tiebreak), and also picking up individual gold on board 1. 2012 finished with Hou crashing out of the FIDE Knock-out Women's World Championship (2012), losing to GM Monika (Bobrowska) Socko in the rapid game tiebreaker in round 2. As the winner of the 2011-2012 Grand Prix series, Hou won the right to challenge the winner of the Knockout Tournament and 2012 Women's World Champion, GM Anna Ushenina, for the women's title in 2013.

2013 started with Hou's inaugural participation in an open super-tournament, starting as the 14th and lowest seed in the category 20 Tata Steel (2013). After a string of early losses, she recovered well (especially when playing Black) to defeat current and previous 2700 players Anish Giri, Pentala Harikrishna and Ivan Sokolov to score 5.5/13 (+3 =5 -5) and a near 2700 performance to finish 10th, ahead of Fabiano Caruana, Erwin L'Ami and Sokolov. Seeded 4th, she came in at =4th (8th on tiebreak) with a relatively rating-neutral 5.5/11 (+3 =5 -3) result at the Chinese Championships (2013). Her participation in the Women Grand Prix Geneva (2013) in May 2013 has been her least successful to date, scoring only 5/11 and placing =8th out of 12, and shedding 22 rating points for the June 2013 rating period. In June, and presumably part of her preparation for her World Championship match with Ushenina, Hou played the Navara vs Yifan Hou, 2013 and drew all 4 classical games; however, after drawing the blitz tiebreakers 1-1 she won the Armageddon blitz tiebreaker. In July 2013, she was selected as one of the President's nominees to play in the World Cup (2013), where she lost to Latvian #1 Alexey Shirov in the tiebreaker of the first round. However, in the following month in September 2013, she played and won the Ushenina - Hou Women's World Championship (2013) by 5.5-1.5 (+4 =3), to regain her title as 13th Women's World Champion.

As a WFM, her rating topped 2500 in the January 2007 FIDE ratings before FIDE formally conferred her WGM title in late January 2007. Her results in the Aeroflot Open (2008) and the Isbank Ataturk Women Masters (2008) provided her with her first and second GM norms. She picked up her third GM norm in the World Junior Championship (2008) with a round to spare. Any lingering doubts about Yifan's GM norm from the Isbank Ataturk Masters were resolved when she acquired another GM norm upon defeating Koneru Humpy to reach the final of the Women's World Championship (2008) before losing the championship match against Alexandra Kosteniuk. In October 2012 she helped her team Cercle d'Echecs Monte-Carlo to win gold at the 28th European Club Cup (Women) (2012), and in the following year, she repeated that feat for the same team at the European Club Cup (Women) (2013). Hou easily won the FIDE Women's Grand Prix Khanty - Mansiysk (2014) with 8.5/11, with a round to spare. She scored a crushing 9/11 at the FIDE Women's Grand Prix Lopota (2014) and followed up with a strong 5/10 at the Biel (2014), placing =3rd a point behind the winner, and boosting her rating to the extent that she has reached the world's top 100, only the second woman to do so. In September 2014, she was =1st at the FIDE Women's Grand Prix Sharjah (2014). In December 2014, she played in the women's contingent of the chess section of the Mind Games events held in Beijing, placing 2nd with 5/7. She easily won the blitz portion of the event with 22.5/30, boosting her blitz rating to over 2700.

In 2015, she participated in her first open invitational super-tournament, namely Tata Steel (2015), and scored a rating-neutral 5/13. Soon afterwards she scored 7.5/10 to place 3rd at the Tradewise Gibraltar (2015), a point behind the winner Hikaru Nakamura and half a point behind the runner-up David Howell against whom she missed a winning variation to draw their final round game.

She won the Category 16 Biel (2017) tournament ahead of seven strong grandmasters, her best result to date.

Rating and Ranking

Hou's highest rating to date was 2686 in April 2015 when she reached her highest world ranking so far at #59. She is now the #1 woman in the world. On 1 January 2015, she exited the Girls list, ending a domination of that division as world's #1 Girl (i.e., female Junior U20) that started in January 2008, when she was 13, and lasted for 84 months.

References and Sources

* **

Article about Hou being the youngest female GM:; Live rating:; Wikipedia article: Hou Yifan

Last updated: 2017-08-05 02:52:25

 page 1 of 55; games 1-25 of 1,359  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Yifan Hou vs J Bluebaum  1-0502003Wch U10 GirlsC18 French, Winawer
2. A Le Bail vs Yifan Hou  0-1372003Wch U10 GirlsB56 Sicilian
3. Yifan Hou vs M Butuc  1-0422003Wch U10 GirlsB13 Caro-Kann, Exchange
4. G Madanasri vs Yifan Hou  0-1462003Wch U10 GirlsA36 English
5. Yifan Hou vs M Hejazipour  ½-½512003Wch U10 GirlsC96 Ruy Lopez, Closed
6. A Kashlinskaya vs Yifan Hou  0-1392003Wch U10 GirlsA46 Queen's Pawn Game
7. N Szabo vs Yifan Hou  0-1352003Wch U10 GirlsB56 Sicilian
8. Yifan Hou vs N Paikidze ½-½572003WYCC - G10B92 Sicilian, Najdorf, Opocensky Variation
9. Yifan Hou vs M Danelia 1-0612003Wch U10 GirlsB52 Sicilian, Canal-Sokolsky (Rossolimo) Attack
10. Yifan Hou vs J Moussard 0-1522004Championnat du Monde -10B76 Sicilian, Dragon, Yugoslav Attack
11. Yifan Hou vs B Khvan 1-0412004Wch U10B71 Sicilian, Dragon, Levenfish Variation
12. Robson vs Yifan Hou 0-1372004Wch U10B84 Sicilian, Scheveningen
13. A Galymzhanov vs Yifan Hou  0-1562004Wch U10B50 Sicilian
14. Yifan Hou vs A A De la Rosa Lara  1-0442004Wch U10B92 Sicilian, Najdorf, Opocensky Variation
15. M Bortnyk vs Yifan Hou  ½-½472004Wch U10B22 Sicilian, Alapin
16. Yifan Hou vs Srinath Narayanan  1-0472004Wch U10B84 Sicilian, Scheveningen
17. P Zhao vs Yifan Hou  ½-½642004Wch U10A46 Queen's Pawn Game
18. D Shahinyan vs Yifan Hou  0-1292004Wch U10C02 French, Advance
19. D Khachykian vs Yifan Hou  0-1572004Wch U10A30 English, Symmetrical
20. Yifan Hou vs C Heung  1-0262004Wch U10B31 Sicilian, Rossolimo Variation
21. Yifan Hou vs S Zigangirova  1-0452004Asian-ch (Women)B42 Sicilian, Kan
22. M Ovezova vs Yifan Hou 0-11332004Asian-ch (Women)A45 Queen's Pawn Game
23. S Meenakshi vs Yifan Hou  1-0372004Asian-ch (Women)E32 Nimzo-Indian, Classical
24. Yifan Hou vs Wang Yu  0-1372004Asian-ch (Women)C78 Ruy Lopez
25. Yifan Hou vs S Vijayalakshmi  1-0432004Asian-ch (Women)C84 Ruy Lopez, Closed
 page 1 of 55; games 1-25 of 1,359  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Yifan Hou wins | Yifan Hou loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 40 OF 66 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Premium Chessgames Member
  Wild Bill: Happy birthday, young lady.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Happy 18th birthday Hou Yifan! She's officially a women now!
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: I think--time to update the photo?
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Meryl Streep won the Oscar for "The Iron Lady", but perhaps that name should go to young world champion Yifan, who is certainly a strong young lady.
Mar-10-12  Karpova: Interview with Judit Polgar by Albert Silver:

Question: Who do you see as your successor, the next female player to break 2700. Would you consider Hou Yifan as a candidate?

Judit: <Well, seriously, I think Hou Yifan is the only one. First of all, she is pretty young, she is ambitious, the background is behind her as it should be. The government supports her, so she is probably the only one who has the potential to reach 2700 in the long term.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Hou Yifan gained 7 rating points in Iceland. Looks like she wants to catch Polgar.
Mar-13-12  radu stancu: So close to also winning the tournament!
Mar-13-12  Lupara: How did she manage to make the weakest move of the game after the first time control? She came so close to winning the 2012 Reykjavik Open.

I guess I shouldn't even ask the question, because I've made some howlers in my games over the years.

Still, congrats to Yifan Hou for an excellent tournament.

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: The game with Caruna was the final round, right? Lots of tension. I wonder if the 'Bots found a forced win for her in the endgame, with Fabio? wouldn't that be something.

In any case, a fine result. I don't think any woman has done so well in a strong GM event since Judit Polgar was running strong(er) in her 20s.

It might be time for <Chessgames> to change the photo here, from 14 year old kid to young adult.

Mar-15-12  Eti fan: There comes the match
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Hey, u right <Eti> The match cometh! Polgar v. Yifan. WAaay Cool. I expect a close match. Yifan's grasp of positional chess seems to be the strong point of her game. I think Polgar will blow her out tactically, should the games turn into brawls. I think this scenario favors Judit. Yifan will probably steer the games into quiet, closed games, where her feel seems best.
Premium Chessgames Member

This will be a lot closer than people may think. Just recently Yifan has been giving more grief to 2700+ players than Judit.

Premium Chessgames Member
  cro777: The long expected Judit Polgar Yifan Hou match has now been officially announced.

The match will take place in China September 26th October 2nd, 2012.

The organization plans for 4 classical games and 4 rapid games.

Premium Chessgames Member
  joeyj: ^^^ But ...

I firmly have to say that the information is FALSE! Judit Polgar

read more:

Official statement from Judit about the unknown match THURSDAY, MARCH 15, 2012

Premium Chessgames Member
  cro777: You are right <joeyj>

<Susan Polgar: It is completely false. My sister is visiting me in the US now and she told me that it is absolutely not true. They have not even spoken about this since last year at the World Team Championship.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  cro777: <Susan Polgar: Why would Judit change her policy to play in a women's event after all these years. If it is an official world championship match and the money is equivalent to Anand - Gelfand match then there is a discussion. I have no idea where this "fun" match came from.>
Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: That's a shame. Hope someone comes up with a nice big bid to make it happen.
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: That's too bad. I always thought Judit would play it, should there be enough money. I guess it was a pre-April Fools story.
Mar-16-12  Blunderdome: Why does Susan think the money should be equivalent to Anand - Gelfand when the average rating of Polgar and Yifan is 100 points lower? Polgar played a match with Navara not long ago -- I wonder if she would play Yifan for a prize fund similar to whatever was offered there.
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Thats a good point--the match is a curiosity, good for chess, but not the class of the titans.
Mar-16-12  Riverbeast: <Thats a good point--the match is a curiosity, good for chess, but not the class of the titans>

It's the clash of the female titans

Which in some ways, is a better story...And perhaps more likely to gain a lot of attention from the general (non-chess) media

Mar-16-12  theodor: congratulations, Hou! You're a genius!
Mar-16-12  IoftheHungarianTiger: I know I'm probably in the minority here - among both Polgar and Hou fans - but I'm just as happy not to see a match between the two ... I'm not all that crazy about Judit returning to women's-only events. Judit didn't earn the distinction of world's best female player by defeating Chiburdanidze or Gaprindashvili in match play. She earned the distinction through being the highest ranked player who just happened to be a woman.

I think if Hou is after the distinction of strongest female player, she should earn it the same way that Judit did ... become the highest rated female player. If she earns the distinction through a single match, it's not so much a distinction as a title. And personally, I feel titles like Women's world champion (which is basically what the match is about, officially or not) are a little demeaning to women playing the game - like Junior Champion or Scholastic Champion. It implies women are incapable of playing with "real" chess players, so they need consolation prizes and special titles to feel successful. I think that's one of the reasons Judit has always abstained from participating in women's events (at least, since 1990 or so).

And besides, even if Hou won a match against Polgar, would it really clarify who was the greatest female player of all time - as some claim it would (not here so much, but on other forums and sites I've seen)? Kasparov lost a match to Kramnik. Capablanca lost a match to Alekhine. But I suspect if a poll were taken, most people would consider Kasparov a greater player than Kramnik, and most people would consider Capablanca a greater player than Alekhine.

I hope to see more encounters between Judit and Yifan Hou, but I want to see them in tournaments, where they meet through the natural course of playing chess - not thrown together artificially because they happen to be women. Anyways, just my thoughts on the matter.

Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: Good thoughts, well expressed.
Mar-17-12  Riverbeast: <And besides, even if Hou won a match against Polgar, would it really clarify who was the greatest female player of all time>

I agree with that...

It probably wouldn't

Judit is past her prime, perhaps....She's also semi-retired and a mother of two

Still, it would be an interesting match....As long as nobody tries to claim it's to determine 'The Greatest Female Player of All Time'

Maybe just 'The Greatest Female Player Right Now'

Judit probably never wanted to play a match against a woman back in her heyday, not only because she didn't want to play 'womens only' events, but because no other woman (except maybe her sister) could give her a game

Hou is probably the first woman who can give her a tough match

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