IM (1999); GM (2002).
Ni Hua is China's 15th Grandmaster, achieving his title in July 2002 and has thrice won the Chinese Championship (2006-8).
Ni was born in Shanghai and started learning chess, aged six. He won the S.T. Lee Cup for under 14 year-olds in 1996 and 1997 and repeated the performance in a higher age group in 1999.
He gained his three GM norms in February 2000 at the 1st Saturday GM Tournament in Budapest, the April 2001 China Team Championship in Suzhou, and at the Tan Chin Nam Cup in Qingdao in July 2002.
<Age> In 2001, Ni was =4-9 in the U18 World Championship (won by Dmitry Jakovenko ) held in Oropesa del Mar, Spain and =3rd in the World Junior won by Peter Acs held in Athens. In 2002, he came = 5th-10th in the World Junior won by Levon Aronian in Goa.
<National> Ni has performed well in the Chinese Championships in which he has participated in every year bar 2003 since 2002, winning in 2006, 2007 and 2008.
<World> Ni qualified for the FIDE World Championship Knockout Tournament (2004) by coming =1st in the China Zonal of 2003; he beat Yevgeniy Vladimirov in round one but lost to Ye Jiangchuan in the second round. He also played in the World Cup (2005) but was eliminated in round one by Vasilios Kotronias. He declined to play in the World Cup (2009) as he had committed to playing in the London Chess Classic (2009). He qualified to play in the World Cup (2011) through his results in the 2010 Asian Continental Championships, and defeated the Russian GM Ildar Khairullin in the first round. In the second round he faced former FIDE Champion, the Ukrainian GM Ruslan Ponomariov, and drew the classical games. They also drew the 25 minute-rapid-game tiebreaker match before Ponomariov prevailed in the 10 minute rapid-game tiebreaker match to eliminate Ni from the tournament.
Ni Hua qualified for the World Cup (2015) through his result at the 2014 Asian Championship where he placed 3rd, and therefore within the top five qualification group. He bowed out in the first round after an unexpected loss to 99th seeded Argentinian GM Sandro Mareco.
<2004-2007> He played at Aeroflot from 2004 to 2007, his most notable result being =2nd at the Aeroflot Open (2007) half point behind sole winner Evgeny Alekseev. He also scored 3rd place in the China National Chess King Championships 2009.
In 2004, he was second with 5.5/9 behind Nigel Short at the 1st Sanjin International Hotel Cup (GM tournament) in Taiyuan, China, won the 1st Dato' Arthur Tan Malaysian Open in Kuala Lumpur with 8.5/11 and was =1st in the Kolkata International Open, sharing the honors with Surya Shekhar Ganguly. In 2005, he came =1st in the Singapore International Masters Open.
In 2006, Ni took =2nd with 7/12 at the Railyaway Hotel Cup GM Tournament in China, a point behind Baadur Jobava, and =3rd at 1st Gloria Macapagal Arroyo Cup International Open in Manila. 2007 saw Ni win the Open International de Balagne with 6.5/7, finish with 6.5/9 in the 23rd International Open in France – half point behind 6 joint leaders, come =1st (2nd on countback behind Wang Yue) in the Philippines International Open Chess Championship, win the Asian Indoor Games Classical Individual held in Macau, take =1st (2nd on tiebreak) at the 2nd President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo Cup in Manila, and win the Prospero Pichay Cup in Manila with a score of 7.0/9.
<2008-2011> In 2008, Ni came =3rd Gibraltar Masters (2008) behind Bu Xiangzhi and Hikaru Nakamura, =3rd behind Zoltan Almasi and Vugar Gashimov in the 50th Reggio Emilia Tournament, the Reggio Emilia (2007/08), and went one better a year later in January 2009 when he won the 51st Reggio Emilia (2008) with 7.5/10, 1.5 points clear of Almasi. In 2009, he came 3rd in the Corus Group B (2010) behind Anish Giri and Arkadij Naiditsch. In 2010, he won the 9th Asian Continental/Individual Championship at Subic Bay, Philippines with 7/9 in a field which included 32 grandmasters and scored 6/6 in the Asian Games in November. 2011 has kicked off with =1st (5th on tiebreak) at the 9th Parsvnath International Open Chess Tournament in New Delhi, scoring 9/11, and =1st (3rd on tiebreak) at the Chennai Open GM Chess Tournament. A modest 4.5/9 result at the Aeroflot Open (2011) was followed in July 2011 by outright first at the Biel Chess Festival's Master Tournament with 8.5/11, ahead of 34 other grandmasters and numerous other masters. However, his rating took a major hit in October when he scored only 3/10 (+0 -6 -4) at the Governor's Cup (2011) (his win by forfeit against Nikita Vitiugov did not count for rating purposes).
<2012-2013> His 6/9 at the Moscow Open in 2012 was a par performance but his 5/9 at Aeroflot Open (2012) was slightly below par, causing his rating to slide by 5 points to its lowest since November 2010. However, he showed a welcome return to form with an outright win in the 2nd HD Bank Cup Open 2012 ahead of 2nd placed Le Quang Liem, scoring 8/9 (+7 =2) with a TPR of 2791, 3rd place in the Chinese Chess Championship (2012) with 6.5/11 and a win on tiebreak with 7/9 at the 14th Dubai Open (2012), performances that restored him to the top 100 in the May 2012 ratings list. In May 2012, he scored 6/9 coming =4th (7th on tiebreak) at the Asian Continental Chess Championship (2012), qualifying him to participate in the 2013 World Cup. In June, he scored 6.5/9 at the Hainan Danzhou GM (2012) placing equal first alongside Bu Xiangzhi, but lost the tiebreak for first prize. However, he fared poorly in the Fujairah International Open in November 2012, scoring only 4.5/9 and shedding 21 ratings points for the December 2012 list. Although he scored 7.5/11 in the Kolkata Open (2012) placing =3rd, he lost more ratings points. After a layoff of a few months, Ni Hua played in the Hainan Danzhou GM (2013), a category 15 event, and placed =2nd (3rd on tiebreak behind Bu Xiangzhi) with 6/9, a point behind Ding Liren. In July, he scored 6.5/9 at the Open Internacional Ciutat de Balaguer in Spain to place =3rd behind Jorge Cori and Vladimir Burmakin.
<2014-2015> In April 2014, he placed =2nd at the powerful Asian Continental Championships 2014 (open) with 6.5/9, half a point behind the winner Yu Yangyi and then in June he won the 6th Capo d Orso Open 2014 held in Porto Mannu Palau in Italy with a crushing score of 8/9, a point and a half ahead of a strong tightly packed field of GMs and IMs. (1) Immediately afterwards he placed =1st alongside Aleksander Delchev with 7/9 at the Forni di Sopra in Italy, following on to his 3rd tournament in June when he again placed =1st, this time at the International Open at Montcada i Reixac with 7/9 alongside Ukrainian GM Yaroslav Zherebukh. There followed a temporary lapse of form at the Montpellier Festival in early July, but Ni regained his form to perform strongly at the Olympiad a few weeks later in August (see below).
2015 started with a powerful win in the Australian Open played in Sydney in early January, with Ni Hua winning the 11-round event with a round to spare, his final score having been 10.5/11. This win propelled Ni Hua back into the 2700 "club". In July of that year, Ni placed an undefeated and outright 2nd place at the category 17 Hainan Danzhou GM (2015), a point behind the outright winner, Wang Yue, pushing him back close to peak rating and ranking he held in 2010. In November 2015, he competed in the eight player China Chess Kings (2015) knockout event, but was eliminated by Yu Yangyi in the tiebreaker for the first round. He finished the year with equal third behind Magnus Carlsen and Yu Yangyi at the powerful Qatar Masters (2015), scoring 6.5/9, a half point behind the leaders.
<Olympiads> In 2000 Ni played in his first Olympiad in Istanbul, where he scored 5.5/9 as second reserve, with China coming 9th. At the Bled Olympiad (2002), he played 1st reserve but only scored 2/6, although China improved its position to 5th placing. He missed the Calvia Olympiad (2004) in Calvia, but at the Turin Olympiad (2006), he again played Ist reserve, scoring 5.5/9 with China achieving its best result yet, coming second to Armenia. In 2008 at the 38th Dresden Olympiad (2008) in Dresden, Ni scored 6/10 playing Board 3, with China coming 7th. He next participated in the Tromso Olympiad (2014), when he played board 4, winning individual bronze and helping China to its inaugural gold medal.
<Other National Representative Events> Ni played in the 2001 China-USA Summit Match in Seattle (scoring 3.5/4), and in the 2nd China-USA match in 2002. In 2004, he played in the France-China Match, this time scoring 5.5/8
In 2006, Ni topped the scoring with countryman Bu Xiangzhi with 7.5/9 at the 9th World University Chess Championship in Nigeria. He participated in the Russia-China Matches of 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and China - Russia (2010) where he captained the Chinese men's team to a victory over Russia (the men and women's team won the overall margin as well). He also played for China in the King's Tournament summit match between China and Romania in November 2014, helping his side to victory. He is also a member of the Chinese side that is participating in the China - Russia Challenge (2015), the second stage of which is completed late in 2015.
<Chinese League> Ni Hua plays for Shanghai Jianqiao Academy team in the Chinese Chess League, and in the 2012 season, he scored 13.5/22 on top board, helping his team to first place. He again played top board for his Shanghai team in 2013, scoring 15/22 with his team placing =2nd (3rd on tiebreak) out of 12. (2) Ni Hua again played top board for Shanghai in 2014, when it placed fourth, and in 2015, when it also placed fourth.
Ratings and rankings:
Ni Hua passed the 2600 point rating mark in October 2004, at the same time entering the world's top 100 for the first time, remaining above that rating since. He has also remained in the top 100 since then apart from a handful of rating periods between 2010 and 2013.
He breached the 2700 mark in April 2008, remaining there for six rating periods until July 2009. He re-entered the 2700 rating group nearly six years later in February 2015 and remained above 2700 until October 2015.
His peak rating was 2724 in April 2009, when his world ranking peaked at #21.
Sources and references
(1) http://www.theweekinchess.com/html/...; (2) http://chess-results.com/tnr99752.a...
Live ratings: http://www.2700chess.com/; Wikipedia article: Ni Hua; Photo is taken at move 16 of Ni Hua vs Miroshnichenko, 2012