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The Most Famous

CHESS PLAYERS from China

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This page contains a list of the greatest Chinese Chess Players. The pantheon dataset contains 374 Chess Players, 22 of which were born in China. This makes China the birth place of the 3rd most number of Chess Players behind Russia and Ukraine.

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Chinese Chess Players of all time. This list of famous Chinese Chess Players is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Chinese Chess Players.

Photo of Xie Jun

1. Xie Jun (1970 - )

With an HPI of 43.79, Xie Jun is the most famous Chinese Chess Player.  Her biography has been translated into 37 different languages on wikipedia.

Xie Jun (born October 30, 1970) is a Chinese chess grandmaster and is not just the first Chinese female but the first Asian female to become a chess grandmaster. She had two separate reigns as Women's World Chess Champion, from 1991 to 1996 and again from 1999 to 2001. Xie is one of three women to have at least two separate reigns, besides Elisaveta Bykova and Hou Yifan. Xie Jun is the current president of the Chinese Chess Association. In 2019, she was inducted into the World Chess Hall of Fame.

Photo of Zhu Chen

2. Zhu Chen (1976 - )

With an HPI of 38.29, Zhu Chen is the 2nd most famous Chinese Chess Player.  Her biography has been translated into 36 different languages.

Zhu Chen (simplified Chinese: 诸宸; traditional Chinese: 諸宸; pinyin: Zhū Chén, Arabic: زو تشن; born March 13, 1976) is a Chinese-born Qatari chess Grandmaster. In 1999, she became China's second women's world chess champion after Xie Jun, and China's 13th Grandmaster. In 2006, she obtained Qatari citizenship and since then plays for Qatar.

Photo of Xu Yuhua

3. Xu Yuhua (1976 - )

With an HPI of 38.12, Xu Yuhua is the 3rd most famous Chinese Chess Player.  Her biography has been translated into 34 different languages.

Xu Yuhua (born 29 October 1976) is a Chinese chess grandmaster and former Women's World Champion (2006–2008). She was China's third women's world chess champion after Xie Jun and Zhu Chen. She has been followed by Chinese women's world chess champions Hou Yifan, Tan Zhongyi, and Ju Wenjun.

Photo of Hou Yifan

4. Hou Yifan (1994 - )

With an HPI of 34.95, Hou Yifan is the 4th most famous Chinese Chess Player.  Her biography has been translated into 45 different languages.

Hou Yifan (Chinese: 侯逸凡; pinyin: Hóu Yìfán pronunciation ; born 27 February 1994) is a Chinese chess grandmaster, four-time Women's World Chess Champion and the second highest rated female player of all time. Once a chess prodigy, she was the youngest female player ever to qualify for the title of grandmaster (at the age of 14 years, 6 months, 2 days) and the youngest ever to win the Women's World Chess Championship (at age 16). At the age of 12, Hou became the youngest player ever to participate in the Women's World Championship (Yekaterinburg 2006) and the Chess Olympiad (Torino 2006). In June 2007, she became the youngest Chinese Women's Champion ever. She achieved the titles of Woman FIDE Master in January 2004, Woman Grandmaster in January 2007, and Grandmaster in August 2008. In 2010, she won the 2010 Women's World Championship in Hatay, Turkey at age 16. She won the next three championships in which the title was decided by a match (in 2011, 2013 and 2016, with a total of ten wins to zero losses and fourteen draws against three different opponents), but was either eliminated early or she declined to participate in the championships in which the title was decided by a knockout tournament (in 2012, 2015 and 2017). Hou is the third woman ever to be rated among the world's top 100 players, after Maia Chiburdanidze and Judit Polgár. She is widely regarded as the best active female chess player, "leaps and bounds" ahead of her competitors. As of July 2022, she has been the No. 1 ranked woman in the world since September 2015, and is 51 points ahead of the No. 2 ranked Aleksandra Goryachkina. She was named in the BBC's 100 Women programme in 2017. She has been semi-retired since 2018, and became a professor at Shenzhen University in 2020, at the age of 26.

Photo of Ding Liren

5. Ding Liren (1992 - )

With an HPI of 34.85, Ding Liren is the 5th most famous Chinese Chess Player.  His biography has been translated into 35 different languages.

Ding Liren (Chinese: 丁立人; pinyin: Dīng Lìrén; born 24 October 1992) is a Chinese chess grandmaster. He is the highest rated Chinese chess player in history and is also a three-time Chinese Chess Champion. He was the winner of the 2019 Grand Chess Tour, beating Maxime Vachier-Lagrave in the finals and winning the 2019 Sinquefield Cup, as the first player since 2007 to beat Magnus Carlsen in a playoff. Ding is the first Chinese player ever to play in a Candidates Tournament and pass the 2800 Elo mark on the FIDE world rankings. In July 2016, with a Blitz rating of 2875, he was the highest rated Blitz player in the world.Ding was undefeated in classical chess from August 2017 to November 2018, recording 29 victories and 71 draws. This 100-game unbeaten streak was the longest in top-level chess history, until Magnus Carlsen surpassed it in 2019.

Photo of Ju Wenjun

6. Ju Wenjun (1991 - )

With an HPI of 34.81, Ju Wenjun is the 6th most famous Chinese Chess Player.  Her biography has been translated into 34 different languages.

Ju Wenjun (Chinese: 居文君; pinyin: Jū Wénjūn; born 31 January 1991) is a Chinese chess grandmaster. She is the current Women's World Chess Champion. In March 2017 she became the fifth woman to achieve a rating of 2600. She is a three-time Women's World Chess Champion having won the title in May 2018, November 2018 and 2020. She is scheduled to play a match to defend her world title in 2023.

Photo of Zhang Zhong

7. Zhang Zhong (1978 - )

With an HPI of 33.84, Zhang Zhong is the 7th most famous Chinese Chess Player.  His biography has been translated into 17 different languages.

Zhang Zhong (simplified Chinese: 章钟; traditional Chinese: 章鍾; pinyin: Zhāng Zhōng; born 5 September 1978) is a Chinese chess grandmaster, a twice Chinese champion and the 2005 Asian champion. In 1998, he became China's 9th Grandmaster.

Photo of Peng Zhaoqin

8. Peng Zhaoqin (1968 - )

With an HPI of 32.57, Peng Zhaoqin is the 8th most famous Chinese Chess Player.  Her biography has been translated into 17 different languages.

Peng Zhaoqin (Chinese: 彭肇勤; pinyin: Péng Zhàoqín; born 8 May 1968 in Guangzhou, Guangdong) is a Chinese-born Dutch chess player. In October 2004, she was the eleventh woman ever to be awarded the FIDE title of Grandmaster. She won three times the Chinese women's chess championship, in 1987, 1990 and 1993. She has resided in the Netherlands since 1996. Peng has won the Dutch women's championship an unprecedented fourteen times, landing her first title in 1997 and then winning twelve more in an uninterrupted sequence from 2000 to 2011. She tied for first with Alexandra Kosteniuk at the European Women's Chess Championship of 2004 in Dresden, and took the silver medal on tiebreak. Thanks to this result, Peng was awarded the title of Grandmaster.In the 2011 Dutch women's championship, Peng won nine games out of ten, placing a full three points ahead of her closest competitor.

Photo of Ye Jiangchuan

9. Ye Jiangchuan (1960 - )

With an HPI of 31.85, Ye Jiangchuan is the 9th most famous Chinese Chess Player.  His biography has been translated into 15 different languages.

Ye Jiangchuan (born November 20, 1960) is a Chinese chess player. He is the second Chinese player, after Ye Rongguang, to achieve the title of Grandmaster, which FIDE awarded him in 1993. On 1 January 2000, he became the first ever Chinese player to cross the 2600 elo rating mark.

Photo of Wang Hao

10. Wang Hao (1989 - )

With an HPI of 28.16, Wang Hao is the 10th most famous Chinese Chess Player.  His biography has been translated into 26 different languages.

Wang Hao (Chinese: 王皓; pinyin: Wáng Hào; born August 4, 1989) is a Chinese chess grandmaster. In November 2009, Wang became the fourth Chinese player to break through the 2700 Elo rating mark. In 2019, he qualified for the 2020 Candidates Tournament by winning the FIDE Grand Swiss Tournament 2019, making him the second Chinese player to qualify for a Candidates Tournament. Wang announced his retirement from professional chess at the end of the Candidates tournament in 2021, citing health issues. However, he returned to playing in 2022.

Pantheon has 22 people classified as chess players born between 1960 and 1999. Of these 22, 22 (100.00%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living chess players include Xie Jun, Zhu Chen, and Xu Yuhua.

Living Chess Players

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