Xiangqi Greats : Zhao Guorong
赵国荣
 

Name: Zhao Guorong 赵国荣 Dec 1961-present
Birthplace: Hei Long Jiang province, Shandong ethnicity
Titles: GM (1987) , IGM

Summary of achievements: (another long list)

1. 4 time winner of the Chinese National Xiangqi Singles Championship 1990,1992,1995 and 2008.
2. Key player on the 1990 team that represented Hei Long Jiang Province in the Chinese National Xiangqi Team Championships, also key player on the team when they obtained favourable results.
3. 1999 winner of the Five Rams Cup (undefeated)
4. Winner of the 1991 World Xiangqi Singles Tournament
5. Key player on the Chinese Team when they won the World Xiangqi Championships in1993
6. First champion of the “大棋圣” Xiangqi Sage Tournament in 1995  

Nicknames: Young Tiger from the Northeast. 新东北虎. ( The “old” tiger was Zhao’s master, GM Wang Jialiang)

Zhao Guorong was born in Hei Long Jiang province in 1961. Sources say that he loved Xiangqi when he was very young. By the age of 12,  he was the Harbin City elementary school Xiangqi champion. For his achievements, he was selected to represent Hei Long Jiang in the National Youth Championships. Although he did not obtain good results, it was the first time he gained national exposure. 

He continued to play Xiangqi, shouldering the responsibility of the 4th board in the National Xiangqi Team Championships ( in this year, it was ruled that the fourth board was to be represented by a young player).  His talent was becoming more and more evident and he was promptly selected to train with the Hei Long Jiang Xiangqi Team in 1977, thus becoming a professional Xiangqi player. He also came under the guidance of Xiangqi GM Wang Jialiang, one of the best of his time.  

The training paid off dividends as early as January 1978, when Zhao won a tournament held for competitors in the 3 northeastern province. Zhao was promoted to the 3rd board in that same year and contributed to Hei Long Jiang winning the 2nd place in the national team championships that year.

1982 was another turning point in his life. He won the first ever “避暑山莊杯” or Summer Retreat Xiangqi Tournament held in Hubei province that year. It greatly boosted his confidence and prepared him for the National Singles Xiangqi Championships that year. He came in 5th place and according to the regulations, was officially made a Xiangqi Master that same year.

Zhao continued to improve his game, coming in 3rd place in the same tournament in 1984, and then runner up in 1985 and 1987, For his achievements, he was bestowed the title of Xiangqi Grandmaster in 1987.  

1990 was another good year for Zhao. In fact, it was the beginning of a decade of excellence for Zhao. He won his first Chinese National Singles Xiangqi Championships in 1990, and then repeating the feat again in 1992 and 1995. And to everybody’s amazement, he won the same tournament again in 2008. It is interesting to note that with his crowning of champion, the trophy was finally brought out of the constraints of the Great Wall to Hei Long Jiang. And to cap off his achievements, Zhao added the Five Rams Cup Trophy to his collection of championships in 1999 with an undefeated record.  

His achievements were not limited to China. In 1991, he won the World Xiangqi Singles Championship and was a key member on the team representing China in the team championships in the early 80’s-90’s.  

Zhao’s style is very much like his master. His play has been described as very bold and yet meticulous and very balanced. Zhao has been known for creating many flying daggers in his openings. In mid-game, Zhao’s attack is often fierce and unrelenting. This is very similar to his mentor, Wang Jialiang  

In recognition of his abilities, GM Zhao was made head of the division of promoting Xiangqi in the WXF. Together with GM Hu Ronghua, he coached the Chinese team in the Asian Championships in 2010. Currently, he is also an active coach on the Hei Long Jiang team. 

Last updated: 10th May 2011 
Acknowledgement: Chris Hankinson for the nice photo.

Reference:
1. In Chinese, http://www.dpxq.com/hldcg/qishou_7.html 
2. <<特级大师 赵国荣 巧手妙着>> by 孙志伟 刘海亭
3. <<象棋辞典>> by 屠景明 杨柏伟 

 

 

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