Election Year: 2018
Election Constituency: China
Scholar Status: Scholar Alum
Rhodes Identifier: China & St Hilda's 2018
Yifan Hou is completing her BA in international studies at Peking University, where she has twice placed first in a comprehensive department ranking. As impressive as Yifan's academic record is, it is outside the classroom where she has excelled the most: she is the world's top-ranked women's chess player and a four-time world champion. In 2010 she became the youngest world champion, female or male, in chess history. ESPN, the American sports network, has lauded her 'exceptional genius'. Gary Kasparov, the great chess champion who is now a human rights activist, describes Yifan as 'someone who has a vision for having a broader impact on society beyond chess'. Along with serving as a cultural ambassador for China, she is a member of the World Chess Federation's 'chess in school' commission, encouraging students to take up the sport. She hopes to focus on the education of China's disadvantaged children and on making Chinese schools more innovative.