Grandmaster Wenjun Ju

Wenjun Ju

Wenjun Ju is a Chinese chess player, who holds the FIDE title of Grandmaster.

She plays for Shanghai chess club in the China Chess League.

Wenjun rated at 2580 as of September 27,2016 is one of the strongest female players in the world.

Looking to improve her rating to over 2600 would put her in an elite class of the few female chess players to achieve this goal.

Questions from and author Wendy Oliveras of “LET’S PLAY SHESS” for Wenjun Ju.

Wendy – It is such a pleasure and honor to have the opportunity to discuss your incredible chess achievements and most recent win at the Baku Olympiad on behalf of China.
As an avid chess player myself, I can’t imagine what it must feel like being the Top 2nd WGM in the world?
Can you briefly share with us what that personally feels like for you?

Wenjun – thank you! well it feels pretty good ,it gave me lot of confidence, sometimes while playing I just become brave and I am not afraid of losing:)
and also my family and friend they are proud of me.

Wendy –  Who or what circumstance influenced you to start to play chess?
Wenjun –  I started playing chess since I was 7,then had some chess lesson in primary school, and I beat my classmates, grew very fond of chess.
Also my father is a very strong amateur Chinese chess(Xiangqi) player, maybe I got some birth gift .

Wendy –   Since learning the game, what would you say was your biggest challenge then and now?

Wenjun – When I was a kid, I’ve always wanted to be national champion of under 8,10,12 ,but the group of my age is pretty strong and did not achieve it.
Now I just try to play as good as I can, challenge myself to have a higher rating and try to win more tournament.

Wendy –   As a woman, can you describe some of the hurdles you may have had to face generally in the competitive world of professional chess?

Wenjun -I think men are more concentrated in chess and are more rational than women, For instance on a lost game women may get very upset and sensitive.
When playing tournaments women need to bring 2 coaches, a female coach for emotional support.

Wendy –   If you could change one thing about women in professional competitive chess, what would that be and why?

Wenjun – I don’t like to change things, I think it would be nice to have more rapid or blitz tournament,it would be more fun for chess player and chess fans.

Wendy –   Who do you admire in your chess circles and why?

Wenjun – Vasilly Ivanchuk, he is very talented, powerful and original, he also speak 6 languages.

Wendy –    Do you believe that chess has helped you to become a better thinker and planner in your personal life? If so, how?

Wenjun – Yes chess helped me become a better thinker, and good at planning. always be calm, make a list of things to be done, and do it one by one.

Wendy –    Can you describe a few rewards you have gained in playing chess and share how important the game can be for women of all ages and backgrounds as well?

Wenjun – I won Olympiad women 2016,World women team champion on 2009 – 2011,2 times Chinese individual champion,2 times FIDE Women Grand Prix champion.
Sometimes you can’t play game just for pleasure, for instance in Olympiad, it is also national pride and responsibility, make sure not to become a burden for your team.
Especially when meet your main rival, you will become more nervous than usual you must learn how to overcome it.

Wendy –     If a girl or woman wants to play chess for fun, would you encourage it and why?

Wenjun – Of course I wish more girls and women got into chess.It is very easy to learn the rules, and believe me when you win a game the pleasure is enormous.

Wendy –   What are your next goals or plans for chess?

Wenjun – My next plan is to break through 2600 so far only four women ever done it, and I also want to be world champion, I understand there is still a lot of things
I need to study,but I will do my best.

Wendy –  What are your educational and/or professional career goals outside of chess?
Wenjun – I went to Shanghai University of Finance and Economics 2011 and graduated 2015.It’s a bachelor degree. I didn’t have another career.

Wendy –   If you could share with us three top tips that girls and women should consider in playing chess or setting goals in life, what would they be?

Wenjun – 1. Always playing active 2. Find what you really like and don’t waste time.3. Have a positive attitude and work hard.

Ernesto – You did very well in the Chicago chess open 4 draws and 5 wins.Are these the sort of tournaments that help or have hurt your rating?

Wenjun – About open tournament, generally I gain ratings from it. I think when a male player meets a female player , style will become more fierce , which is double edged that
leads possibility of both win or lose.

Ernesto – What is your favorite music, band or song?

Wenjun –  I love music,there is so many I like,and I recently  like Jay Chow very much,he is good at hip-hop Chinese style music.

Ernesto – You played the chess Robot. A human playing a machine with chess engines is very unfair these days.One of the weapons in chess could be human emotion.
How was it playing a soulless opponent that did not fear you?

Wenjun – If you mean I played a robot game in Sochi 2015, It didn’t fear me. I just have fun with it, actually I must admit the robot or machine they calculate much faster than human, but against a human the first option of an engine is not always the best.

Ernesto – In time trouble situations.How do you deal with time trouble stress, do you have a survival mode plan in your mind when it happens?

Wenjun –  In time trouble even the strongest chess player in the world would simply make a mistake.If I am under time pressure I become panicked and just make a move before clock goes to zero.

Ernesto – How many Woman’s Grand Prix have you attended?

Wenjun –  Many times Women Grand Prix since 2009 one time, 2011-2012 2013-2014 2015-2016 seasons.

Ernesto – How many Olympiads have you attended.?

Wenjun –  Olympiad is 5 times,since 2008 and 2010 2012 2014 2016.

Ernesto – What is the most memorable game you have played?

Wenjun –  This Chess Olympiads Valentina Gunina – Wenjun Ju 2016 is my most memorable game.

Ernesto – You are an inspiration world wide to many young girls and chess students what inspires you to push forward?

Wenjun – I set some goals and worked hard to achieve them.Always trying to
make myself better.
Ernesto – Thank you Wenjun for your time and for granting us this interview.

Wendy –  We are proud of you and we thank you Wenjun for your time and great responses.

Wenjun – Thank you so much, the pleasure is mine.