2016 Shanghai Mixed Pairs

by Liang Ziming
10/15/2016 – On Oct 5, the "Blue Arrow Training Cup" 2016 Chinese Chess Master Mixed Pairs Tournament was held in the Shanghai Haiwan National Forest Park. Eight of China's chess stars, four female players and four male players, participated in the double round-robin competition, including former Women World Champion Xie Jun and Xu Yuhua, the first Asian WGM Liu Shilan, GM Ju Wenjun, GM Ye Jiangchuan, GM Xu Jun, GM Yu Shaoteng and GM Ni Hua. This fun event had teams of two alternating moves in a showdown of stars.

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The main sponsors of the tournament were the Heilongjiang Long Yi Sports Industry Development Co., Ltd. and Blue Arrow Training Center.

In fact, it’s the second time this event is held in the Shanghai Haiwan National Forest Park. Last year, 20 top Chinese players participated in the first edition held there and the team Zhao Xue/Bu Xiangzhi won the tournament.

Mixed pair chess tournaments are quite popular in China. In 2012-2015, we saw four tournaments in a row in Wuxi city, with four chess queens, Xie Jun, Zhu Chen, Xu Yuhua and Hou Yifan pairing with four male coaches. In 2014, we saw the Chendu International Mixed Pair tournament that was won by the pair Zhu Chen/Yasser Seirawan.

In Mixed Pair games, four players will play a single chess game, one pair against another pair with each player in the pair alternately making a move.

Although this might seem like a fairly standard drawing of lots ceremony, there is an important twist. Xu Hua, the former Women World Champion from 2006, is not just drawing a number to decide the color...

...The number is the same as that of Xu Jun, world no. 22 in 2000, and means she will be paired with him.

This system means the teams are completely random. Here Ni Hua pulled a number from the left box...

.... which was matched by Liu Shilan, seven-time Chinese champion in the 70s and 80s.

The best performing team was that of GM Yu Shaoteng, the personal trainer of Hou Yifan, and Xie Jun, who was Women World Champion from 1991-1996 and then 1999-2001. The pair managed to play the best and most harmoniously, winning four matches, and drawing two, with no losses.

Yu Shaoteng/Xie Jun vs Ye Jiangchun/Ju Wenjun

The toughest matchups for the victorious Xie Jun/Yu Shaoteng team were against Liu Shilan and Ni Hua

Ju Wenjun and Ye Jiangchun came in second, beating the other teams handily, but losing to the winners

Ju Wenjun/Ye Jiangchun vs Ni Hua/Liu Shilan

Liu Shilan and Ni Hua proved themselves very tough to beat, but were unable to defeat the other pairs

Xu Jun and Xu Yuhua

Xie Jun/Yu Shaoteng convincingly won the tournament with four wins and two draws without a loss. Mr. Hu Huanlong (left), the president of the Blue Arrow Training Center, is seen giving the winners their prize. Being the vice president of the Capital Institute of Physical Education with lots of work every day, Xie Jun’s energy at the chessboard was admirable. She said: "I very much enjoyed this tournament.”

The runner-up was Ju Wenjun/Ye Jiangchuan. Ye Jiangchuan was the oldest player in the tournament and Ju Wenjun was the youngest.  Miss Hu Jialing (right), the general manager of Blue Arrow Training Center, is seen giving the prize to the winners.

Mr. Zhang Zhijun (right), the vice-general manager of Blue Arrow Training Center, awarded the third-place finishers Liu Shilan/Ni Hua. Xu Yuhua/Xu Jun took last.

A group photo with the players, organizers and sponsors

Final standings



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Liang Ziming has been a chess journalist since 2003 and the New Officer for the Chinese Chess Association since 2011. In 2007, he translated Kasparov's book "How Life Imitates Chess" into Chinese together with the former Women World Champion Xie Jun.
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ulyssesganesh ulyssesganesh 10/16/2016 01:56
liu shilan played candidates in the eighties!
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