||Born: 31 January 1991, Shanghai, China
FIDE Title: WGM
FIDE ID: 8603006
Rating: 2532 (Jun 2014)
Peak rating: 2557 (March 2012)
World rank (women): 8
When your fateful friends, the watch, phone, tablet and computer display different times and you don't know which one to believe, when consulting your body clock is of no help, either – as a professional chess player, who always has to travel around the globe, it is clear you've got company: the uninvited guest called “jet lag”. If most of us try to keep up by consuming our own weight in coffee, usually to no effect, there are very few lucky ones who can cope better with acclimatisation.
Ju Wenjun is one of them, shining home or abroad alike, although she still prefers playing in China. “A lot of competitions are held in Europe, so the trip is rather long and acclimatisation is not always easy. Besides, I have a lot of friends in China who always support me during tournaments.”
Indeed, some of her success were attained in her homeland. Ju Wenjun claimed the national women crown twice: in 2010, with 8/11, and in 2014, with an even better score 8.5/11. The year 2011 marked yet another outstanding performance, when the Chinese won the 1st Hangzhou Women Grand Master Chess Tournament, ahead of the reigning women world champion, Hou Yifan, with an undefeated 6.5/9.
But Ju Wenjun didn't limit herself to great results within Chinese territory. Forced to get out of her comfort zone, she reached the quarterfinals in the 2010 Women World Championship and the semifinals in 2012, when she lost against Ushenina. She also shone in team events, especially in 2013, where she defended the 1st board during the Women World Team Championship from Astana. She won the individual gold medal for her remarkable performance, 7/9, which didn't yield more than the 5th place for the Chinese team, though.
Ju Wenjun continued displaying her excellent shape in the Dubai Open 2013, where she finished 2nd with yet another 7/9 and a 2683 performance. All these results, combined with more than just 2500 rating, clearly assure the Chinese the GM title, however her title application has yet to be finalized.
To be able to breath again after a tough game, many chess players opt for turning off their brain via the-watching-movies-technique; Ju Wenjun subscribes to this method, recently having discovered and enjoyed movies like Terminator or Forrest Gump.
Life of a chess player is full of unexpected and so it is for Ju Wenjun. After having played the famous Gibraltar Open, she was not allowed to return to China, due to bureaucratic reasons. With the help of the organizers and authorities support, the incident was solved and we can only hope for one symbolic conclusion of this experience: that Europe wants the talented Chinese more often and certainly longer on our grounds! And this will happen here, in Lopota, Georgia, where the Chinese star has the chance to strike back and add another important result in her Curriculum Vitae.
A small example of Ju Wenjun's strength (Ju Wenjun – Huang Qian, CHN Team CH, Beijing 2012):
White to play
The ingenious plan the Chinese employed in this position involves the sacrifice of...two full pawns:
20.h5! gxh5 21.f5! nothing is too much when it comes to activating and coordinating your pieces; obviously, 21...exf5 fails to 22.Nh4 with complete domination, where the black pawns resemble the teeth of an old lady – ready to fall! (Romanian expression)
The dynamic play of Ju Wenjun caused too many weaknesses in Black's camp and, soon enough, the 20 and 21 moves 'offerings' gave her a full point in return.