Person of day   -  29 MAY 2024



Tan Zhongyi was born on 29thMay 1991 in Chongqing- a port town in Central China that was the capital during World War II and the Japanese occupation. Tan began to play chess in the aftermath of Xie Jun, but, unlike multiple stars of her generation, she did not attend a sports college in Beijing because she was well-supported in her hometown. 

The young player from China quickly made her mark in children’s chess, winning three world championships in a row between 2000 and 2002. Success in adult chess followed soon after: in 2008, Zhongyi played in her first knockout world championship, where she made it to the second round. Thanks to her performances at the 2011 and 2013 Universiads, Tan earned a reputation of a team player. In Kazan and Shenzhen, the leader of China’s student team came first in the team rankings, as well as earning gold and bronze in individual discipline. 

Tan Zhongyi came first in the students’ world championship and won the China Women Masters in 2013 and 2015. She also won Asian blitz championship in 2014 and rapid championship in 2015, when she also defeated Ju Wenjun in the China’s Chess Queens tournaments after Hou Yifan did not attend. 

As a member of China’s women’s team, Tan Zhongyi played in three Olympiads (in 2008, 2014 and 2016) and four world team championships, between 2009 and 2015. She played for her second national team in 2009. He star moment came at the 2016 Olympiad in Baku, where she won two gold medals- one with her team and one for her individual performance of 2565; +7 -0 =4 at the fourth board. Tan also won the world women’s team championship in 2011.  

She was the champion of China in 2015 and has been a grandmaster among women since 2009 before becoming a grandmaster among men in 2017. 

Despite her impressive rating 2508, Tan Zhongyi was not considered the favourite of a well-attended world championship in Iran in 2017. However, the determined Chinese sportswoman adapted to playing in a hijab best of all and began to knock out her opponents in round after round. After defeating Sabina Foisor, the winner of the competition won dramatic contests against Anna Ushenina and Padmini Rout. Next, she conquered Ju Wenjun, before defeating Harika Dronavalli by a miracle. 

In the final, Tan Zhongyi was faced by the competition’s Elo-favourite, Anna Muzychuk. In the decisive match of the tiresome marathon, the Tan’s nerves proved to be stronger, and she became the 16thfemale world champion. 

In discussion of her successes, the new queen of the chess world noted the help she received from the trainer of the Chinese team, grandmaster Yu Shaoteng, who was the long-time mentor of Hou Yifan and whose experience helped Tan in critical moments. 

In May 2018, Tan Zhogyi played the match against her compatriot, Ju Wenjun, but lost in a close contest 4.5-5.5.

Tan Zhongyi respects those who helped her during childhood and she plays for a mediocre team of her native Chongqing in Chinese team championships on principle.