Wang Yue, World University Chess Champion

9/28/2010 – He became China's 18th grandmaster at the age of 17, and is currently his country's highest ranked player – at 2732 number 16 in the world. Recently 23-year-old student Wang Yue won the World University Chess Championship 2010, an event that carried no prize money, by a clear two points. He spoke to the Swiss organisers about his plan to return to the top ten slot in the world rankings. Insight.

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World University Chess Championship 2010

The 11th World University Chess Championship took place in Zurich, Switzerland, from September 5th to 11th 2010. It was won by the top seed and clear favourite Wang Yue, with a score of 8.5/9, two full points ahead of the field. The women's section was won by Batkhuyag Munguntuul.

Men's section

# Player Ti. Nat. Rtng Pts
1 Wang Yue GM CHN 2732 8.5
2 Ismagambetov Anuar GM KAZ 2492 6.5
3 Benidze Davit IM GEO 2504 6.5
4 Gundavaa Bayarsaikhan MGL 2460 6.5
5 Papin Vasily IM RUS 2534 6.5
6 Jumabayev Rinat GM KAZ 2547 6.0
7 Lysyj Igor GM RUS 2638 6.0
8 Khmelniker Ilya IM ISR 2483 5.5
9 Miljkovic Miroslav D IM SRB 2510 5.5
10 Nikolov Momchil GM BUL 2549 5.5
11 Jurcik Marian IM SVK 2466 5.5
12 Ponkratov Pavel GM RUS 2592 5.5
13 Pruijssers Roeland IM NED 2483 5.5
14 Popovic Dusan GM SRB 2565 5.5
15 Sulashvili Malkhaz IM GEO 2500 5.5
16 Burg Twan IM NED 2455 5.5
17 Swinkels Robin GM NED 2478 5.5

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Women's section

# Player Ti. Nat. Rtng Pts
1 Munguntuul Batkhuyag IM MGL 2412 7.0
2 Drljevic Ljilja WIM SRB 2273 6.5
3 Guramishvili Sopiko WGM GEO 2343 6.5
4 Fuchs Judith WIM GER 2237 6.5
5 Cheremnova Tamara WFM RUS 2225 6.0
6 Tsereteli Tamar WGM GEO 2384 5.5
7 Borosova Zuzana WIM SVK 2277 5.5
8 Tuvshintugs Batchimeg WGM MGL 2333 5.5
9 Severiukhina Zoja WIM RUS 2313 5.5
10 Melekhina Alisa WIM USA 2273 5.5
11 Sukandar Irine WGM INA 2372 5.5
12 Kharashuta Ekaterina WIM RUS 2298 5.5
13 Nakhbayeva Guliskhan WFM KAZ 2243 5.5
14 Stojanovic Andjelija WGM SRB 2337 5.0
15 Lkhamsuren Uuganbayar MGL 2206 5.0
16 Zhang Ying CHN 2210 5.0
17 Hoolt Sarah WIM GER 2251 5.0

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The winners: Anuar Ismagambetov, Wang Yue, Davit Benidze


Women's section: Ljilja Drljevic, Batkhuyag Munguntuul, Sopiko Guramishvili


Impressions from an analytic session during the tournament


An Interview with Wang Yue

By Philipp Kaufmann and Richard Forster

In the afternoon, after the final round, we first spoke to Professor Chen Hong (picture left), the Standing Vice President of Nankai University, who has flown in specially to attend the closing ceremony and to witness the coronation of his talented pupil. He is accompanied by Jianhui Teng, the Deputy Director of the Institute of Intercultural Communication at Nankai University. As Professor Chen Hong mentions, chess has been very popular at his university for many decades.

And by “chess” he means all three forms: traditional Chinese Chess, Weiqi (in the West better known as “Go”) and the international form of chess (“European Chess”). Each of these games has its own intellectual, cultural, historical and competitive identity, but particularly European Chess is growing fast in popularity among well-educated people. One reason, he suspects, is its foreign appeal and the prospect of worldwide recognition.

The University of Nankai can be reached in about half and hour by fast train from Beijing and is ranked among the top ten universities in China. It counts about 25,000 students, who mainly focus on Arts, Languages and International Relations. Nankai University is famous for its sports sections. Alongside volleyball, basketball, table tennis and badminton, the game of European Chess belongs to the disciplines enjoying particular attention.

Chess has been taught as an optional subject for three decades now, and with much success: three grandmasters have emerged from the ranks of Nankai students. One explanation for this achievement is that Nankai University employs full-time chess teachers. One of them is Zhu Jiaqi, who coached the Chinese team in Zurich, although he freely admits that in terms of chess-play there is nothing left which he can teach Wang Yue.

Professor Chen Hong is very satisfied with Wang’s success – his pupil has more than fulfilled the expectations of the Chinese delegation. A special celebration will be organised for him when he returns home. The professor also reveals himself highly impressed with the organisation of the Zurich tournament and extends his thanks to the organising committee for its kind hospitality and for all the work surrounding the event. It is the first international competition to which his university has sent a chess team, but he clearly intends to do so often in the future.

Enter a relaxed champion

Having thus learned about his university background, we now meet the 23-year-old grandmaster Wang Yue himself, who has just passed the doping control. It is the fourth or fifth such control of his career, and it obviously does not bother him. Today he is not only China’s Student Champion but also the World University Chess Champion. He learned our form of chess as a youngster. Over two years ago he passed the magical barrier of 2700 Elo points.


Chinese GM Wang Yue (photo Fred Lucas)

Wang Yue is a student at the Institute of Intercultural Communications and an avid reader. The plan is for him to obtain his master degree with a comparative study of the different receptions and the mutual influences of Chinese and European chess. But his first priority, at least for the time being, is chess-play.

Why did he choose to play in the World University Chess Championships?, we wonder. He was number eight of the May ranking, but had fallen back to place 16 in the July ranking. Nevertheless, surely a player of his calibre had stronger and, above all, more lucrative tournament opportunities.

Wang Yue admits that with there being no prize-money in this tournament, he could have earned more elsewhere. But he loved the chance to discover Switzerland for himself. And he had set himself two particular goals for this championship: to earn the title and to regain confidence after a rough period in the first part of the year which had cost him many rating points. As we know, he achieved both aims with bravado.

In the steps of Capablanca and Kramnik

In fact, his outstanding result (8.5 points out of 9) even netted him 15 additional rating points. As he admits, it was not all that easy. The opposition was stronger than expected, and twice he was in trouble: first when he lost two pawns after blundering into a simple knight fork in round four, and second when a bad opening choice led him into trouble in the next game. It is testimony to his great fighting capabilities that he still secured 1.5 points from these two games. And he won the rest.

There was nothing spectacular in his play, but he steadily obtained the little advantages which he likes so much and which he knows how to increase patiently until the opponent has no way out. Not surprisingly, Wang Yue names Capablanca and Kramnik as the models he is trying to follow in his play.

In the immediate future Wang Yue’s primary goal is to return to the top ten of the world ranking at the Olympiad in Siberia. He hopes for a good Chinese result at Khanty-Mansyisk. Asked whether he will play on board one, he shows himself indifferent. He does not mind playing on second board if the result is all right.

In the long term Wang Yue is confident that he can be among the top five in the world. Can he become world champion one day? He laughs. He does not want to think about such plans at the moment. It is a very long path. For the time being, the result at the Olympiad is all that matters.


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