Interview with Wang Hao and Game Review

Grandmaster Wang Hao is the highest rated player from China and one of the best chess players in the world. He is one of only 4 chinese players to ever cross the FIDE 2700 barrier. In this game he requested we cover he was only 18 years old but was already rated 2650. In this “China vs. Russia” tournament, the game open with a Sicilian and ends up with some WILD piece sacrifices. I’m sure you’ll enjoy.

The chess interview with Wang Hao

When did you learn chess and who taught you?

When I was 6 years old, I started to learn chess from a local trainer, whose name is Fan. At that time I was planning to learn Chinese chess (Xiangqi), so my parents and I went to the local young center where you can learn some kinds of art and sport. The trainer of Chinese chess wasn’t there and the chess trainer was. He introduced chess to me and suggested that I learn it. So you can say that I play chess only by chance.

When did you begin playing chess tournaments and how did you do?

After learning about 1 year of chess, I played a local young tournament and finished it well, but I have already forgot how did I play, second or first…

When did you begin making legitimate progress in your game and How?

It’s difficult to answer this question as it was so natural. I don’t remember when, but I was quite hard-working and of course, I am just a lazy guy now.

Can you recall a specific turning point? (a game, event, working with a chess coach, etc..)

Probably it’s the Olympiad in 2004 if I have to say one.

What are your top book recommendations for advanced chess players? (2200+)

Garry Kasparov on My Great Predecessors, you understand the book better when you have 2350+

How did you become a Grandmaster? (What tournaments, did you have a chess coach, etc..)

I gained my GM norms through 3 tournaments that all have played in 2005, Aeroflot Open,
Dubai Open, and Malaysian Open. I did not have any chess trainer but still got support by other players. Actually, I realized that the GM title was not difficult to me after the Aeroflot Open, so I became very confident in next tournaments and played brilliantly.

What was your exact study regimen when you were working towards GM? (What exactly
did you study, what study materials do you recommend, how much were you working with a chess coach to prepare, etc..)

Well, it’s hard to tell, as it was long long ago. I remember that I have read annotations of chess magazines (Informat, NIC, 64, etc…) seriously for quite a long time, now I read them only for fun. That time I did not spend too much time with chess engines but they did help. But, playing tournaments, analyzing, and making discussions with other players were more important to me at that time.

What is your study routine now? (how is it different?)

Of course the difference is quite obvious, because I am currently studying in Peking University and I need to spend a lot of time on my subject. Since I still don’t have a chess trainer and I am working alone, I have to train chess with my computers. Recently I have bought a desktop computer, which is very powerful, and my engines become stronger with that one. My working efficiency is much better than before thanks to this. But still, I don’t train much as the lack of time.

What is next in your chess career – what are your aspirations as a player/instructor/
promoter/organizer, etc..?

I would like to be a chess player if I don’t choose other professions. As a chess player, things are quite simple to me – make better moves and good games.

Do you have any charity causes that you would like to promote? (chess-related or not…)

Yes, I do. I would like to help poor and uneducated people, and give basic education to
them. I believe that education is one of the most important things of the society.

Nature or Nurture: Do you think top chess players are born with a natural ability/gift or do
they become so talented through hard work and the right environment?

Both. I think the nature and the nurture are equally important to a top chess player. And I
don’t think that anyone can become a top chess player without one of them.

How do you feel about cheating in chess? (specific deterrents/punishments?)

I hate cheating. Obviously cheating is very unfair to the opponents and it spots the reputation of chess. Players who cheat or try to cheat, don’t deserve respect and should be banned from formal tournaments.

Who is your favorite player and why?

My favorite player is Vishy Anand, as he is the best Asian player ever. I like his playing style and his calmness during all the stages of the game. And the games of my friend Levon Aronian also impress me very much.

Bonus Game!

This is an old game I did of Wang Hao a while back when I was covering the Russian Team Championships, I figured it’s pretty relevant to the interview so please enjoy.

How to be a Grandmaster Series

People always want to know how Grandmaster’s achieved the extraordinary feat of becoming a GrandMaster. I noticed most Grandmaster interview’s focus more on recent and upcoming tournament’s and do not focus on how they became a GrandMaster. While most people assume that becoming a GrandMaster is simply a formula of natural talent and hard work, we’ve discovered there is more to the secret formula. Our interview series hopes to unlock these “GrandMaster secrets” so we can learn to not only work harder, but smarter as well. Our GrandMaster Interview series includes both audio and video interviews on our YouTube as well as text interviews with corresponding games on our site. We hope you enjoy these grandmaster interviews. Comments are appreciated and if you have questions you’d like to ask future grandmasters, let us know.

By Chess Coach Will Stewart (USCF 2256, FIDE 2234). Follow William on Facebook and Twitter Thank you to for letting us use their interface.

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