Zeng Zilin and his two female disciples
'.. This 74-year-old grandfather from Chengdu is thin. These days he is not suffering from diabetes, he likes to meet three or five friends. He sits in the antique Heming Teahouse [鹤鸣茶社] in the People’s Park and orders a cup of tea. ..
He is Zeng Zilin. His time goes back to the 1970s and 1980s. He is the most famous chess coach in Chengdu, the "Chess City". If you are interested in chess, you may not know Zeng Zilin, but you must have heard of his two most famous female disciples - one is the pioneer of chess and the first female international grandmaster in Asia, Liu Shilan; the second even better at studying than playing chess is his daughter Zeng Bei, who once won the third place in the World Junior Girls Group, was known as the "Tsinghua Young Talent".
In the mid-1970s, the already respected coach Zeng Zilin began to be questioned. A chess school manager told him: "Some students reported that you often give female student Liu Shilan a small stove in class. In addition, it is said that when you often walk together, your 'back' [posture] looks like you are in love?!"
Zeng Zilin not shy replied like this: "First, any coach will prefer the best student in the class. Yes, Liu Shilan is the best one in my class. Secondly, I'm actually in love with her sister, is that okay?"
The storm subsided. Liu Shi Lan's sister, Liu Jixuan, became Zeng Zilin's wife after a long love affair, and Liu Shi Lan herself became Asia's first women's international grandmaster when she was runner-up in the 1982 World Women's Inter-Regional Chess Tournament in the former Soviet Union.
What made Liu Shi Lan, the best student of the year, so powerful? Zeng Zilin confessed: "She listened to her teacher the most, and when she participated in the competition back then, she basically deployed all the layouts I had and could execute them strictly. In addition, she is one of the most diligent students I've ever met. Lastly, Liu Shilan is best at holding up her own moves and will come up with her own when strictly executing the tactics deployed by her coach on the board, and will win the tournament as a result."
Yes, the "Two orchids of Shu" (Liu Shilan and Zhao Lan) are Zeng Zilin's lifelong pride.
from Th Cover, by Jia Zhiruo, 2018