Earlier this month, Ju Wenjun secured her title as the 17th Women's World Chess Champion. In the tenth and final game of the championship match against Tan Zhongyi, Zhongyi had to win the game and looked desperately for opportunities, but she could do nothing against the cautious play of Wenjun.
The final match found the former champion, Zhongyi, in a tough situation – needing to win at all costs with black. She gave it her all, but as with Fabiano Caruana against Sergey Karjakin in the final round of the 2016 Candidates, or Vladimir Kramnik against Vassily Ivanchuk in 2013, her attempts to play aggressively backfired. You can watch the full game here.
Wenjun's reign may be short though since the next Women’s World Chess Championship knockout is scheduled to be played in November this year. Wenjun will start the tournament as one of 64 players, with no privileges as champion.
FIDE granted the 27-year-old, Shanghai resident, grandmaster status in 2014. She is China’s 31st grandmaster and the 31st woman worldwide to hold the title. She started playing chess when she was seven in 1998 and became a professional player in 2004.
She says the key to becoming a grandmaster is to keep working on your chess and to play more international tournaments. She usually trains by herself and follows top chess events, but says that when you reach a certain level, it's essential to get advice from other masters to guide you to avoid mistakes and widen your vision.
For the moment she doesn't have any plans apart from playing chess. She says, "Chess is fun. If you want to become a professional chess player, remember it is not just work, but also interesting."