chessbase india logo

Your chess tutor with a double major in Economics and Statistics!

by Sagar Shah - 14/05/2020

The biggest two problems that every beginner faces in a game of chess are - starting out right and not blundering pieces! Openings and Tactics are truly the two most essential cornerstones of becoming better at chess. And there is no one better than WGM Qiyu Zhou to be your trainer! Qiyu is not just a WGM and a former World under-14 champion, she is also doing her double major in Economics and Statistics, with a minor in Mathematics from the University of Toronto. Zhou is an intelligent and charming presenter and if you are a beginner then these two DVDs are just what you need to improve at chess! 

ChessBase has had several interesting authors in the last few years who have recorded DVDs. They include top players like Fabiano Caruana, Rustam Kasimdzhanov, Erwin l'Ami among many others. While all of them are well-known personalities in the world of chess, the most recent author who recorded two DVDs at the ChessBase studio is in a class of her own! She is a WGM, a former world youth champion, she is doing a double major in Economics and Statistics with a minor in Mathematics, she is involved in several philanthropic causes, writer for ChessBase and a chess streamer! Meet Qiyu Zhou, a multi-skilled personality, who has a Midas touch! She excels at just about everything she does! Recently she visited the ChessBase studio in Hamburg and recorded two DVDs on Fundamentals of Chess - Tactics and Openings. In this interview Qiyu Zhou tells us more about these products, what inspired her to do this project and also reveals the secret of how she is able to manage so many things at the same time!

Openings and Tactics are two most important things for beginners

Sagar Shah (SS): Qiyu, how was your experience of visiting Hamburg and recording DVDs for ChessBase?

Qiyu Zhou (QZ): I really enjoyed visiting Hamburg and recording the DVDs for ChessBase. It was my first time in Hamburg, and I spent about two weeks recording and exploring the city. I had a lot of fun being a tourist, canoeing in the canals and visiting the beautiful downtown area. I even caught up with an old classmate and visited the carnival! Recording the DVDs itself was an amazing experience, and I found it extremely satisfying to go back to my place after each day of recording because I felt like I had done great work.

Qiyu Zhou at the recording studio in Hamburg with Pascal Simon and Frederic Friedel

SS: How did you decide to record two DVDs?

QZ: I believe that openings and tactics are the two most important things for beginners to learn, which is why I wanted to make sure I covered them. To get a successful start in a chess game, one needs to be able to get out of the opening and know when and how to take one’s opponent’s pieces. I’m definitely hoping to also record DVDs on all the other important basic chess skills.

Qiyu Zhou's DVDs aim at the basics of chess - strengthening you fundamentals

SS: What level of players would your lectures cater to?

QZ: My DVDs are catered for the beginner level. This DVDs cover the basic skills necessary for winning in chess, and I believe they’re a very good introduction for the more advanced ChessBase DVDs because they cover general material which is applicable to practically every game.


SS: The topics that you chose are so extensive and vast. Like covering almost all the openings and all the common tactical themes. Wasn't it too ambitious?

QZ: I think to make a good introduction for viewers to chess, it was necessary to cover as much material as I could in the two-week time frame I had while in Hamburg. The Fundamentals of Tactics DVD was mostly fully planned out by the time I was recording it, but I definitely kept adding material as I went along because there is always that one more theme of tactic that can happen in our games. I am extremely happy and proud with the final outcome and hope that everyone who uses the DVDs are able to improve their chess skill. 

Qiyu Zhou after winning the World under-14 title

SS: What can the people expect to learn if they bought both the products?

QZ: I formatted the DVDs so that users can expect to learn the most important skills one needs for starting out in chess. Making the opening moves correctly and getting a decent middlegame is important since it’s very easy to get caught out in the opening. The most common mistake that many who start out is losing material. I always like to say that the person with the extra piece will win the game, which means therefore, learning tactics, and most importantly to be able to identify hanging pieces and how to protect your own hanging pieces as well as how to capture your opponents will win you the game.


(Editor: Qiyu shares with us one of her favourite opening lines in the DVD below with some analysis. It arises from the Chigorin variation in the Ruy Lopez):

SS: Seeing some of your articles on ChessBase we notice that you are interested in statistics as well and you harbour a scientific approach towards things. Tell us a bit about your education and what are you studying right now?

QZ: I am doing a double major in economics and statistics, with a minor in mathematics. Writing the articles for ChessBase definitely opened a new world for me, as it introduced me to statistics. 

Qiyu backs her claims in the articles on ChessBase with thorough investigation and statistics! You can read all of her ChessBase articles here.

SS: You are brilliant in your education. You are a WGM and under-14 World Champion, you also are interested in social service and philanthropy. Tell us how do you manage to balance all of these?

QZ: After winning the U-14 World Championships, I prioritised high school over everything else. Of course, it was quite a challenge because I was still aiming for WGM at that time. But I believe now that I have accomplished everything I’ve set out to do in chess (keeping in mind I set the goal of becoming a world champion when I was 5) I’ve mostly put aside competitive play for now as I focus on completing my undergraduate degree. It’s very difficult to balance everything, while also having extra-curriculars, which is why I focus on a few things at a time and make clear what my priorities are. While I haven’t played competitive tournaments much in the last few years, I have started teaching and streaming chess.

Extreme focus at everything she does is the way in which Qiyu has achieved so much at this young age!

SS: What is your future aim? Will you pursue chess actively or some other career?

QZ: Currently, I want to become an investment banker and work in mergers and acquisition or take on a role of a quantitative analyst in finance. However, choosing a career is less simple than stating what I wish to do, and I am very open to everything. 


SS: In these troubled times of Corona virus, what is your advice to all the budding chess players out there?

QZ: I believe that it is very difficult to stay focused during these times, but if you’re able to study, study with all your heart because these might be one of those rarer periods in which you may have some extra time to study. However, I want to say that if one doesn’t recognize immediate progress there is no need to be disappointed. Living during these troubled times is difficult, and chess is also a difficult game. 

"Living during these troubled times is difficult, and chess is also a difficult game."

Qiyu Zhou's products on ChessBase India:

If you would like to get better at chess openings and tactics, we believe Qiyu Zhou's products on chess tactics and openings on ChessBase India are excellent starting points. You can get them individually for Rs.999 + GST or you can buy them both together in a combo and save Rs.200.

Contents of the Opening DVD:

A sample of the Opening video

1. Introduction
2. Intro
3. Intro to development
4. Intro to center
5. Why you don’t move the queen a million times
6. Intro to king safety
7. Don’t neglect development
8. Why you should put development first
9. Pawn or development
10. Please develop!
11. How do we get a strong center?
12. Space with IQP (isolated queen pawn)
13. Control of center and then attack on flank
14. Another way of preventing castling
15. Open Games
16. Fried Liver Attack
17. Italian Game
18. Italian Game – Pianissimo
19. Spanish Basics
20. Spanish Basics 2
21. Spanish - Chigorin with d5
22. Spanish - Breyer
23. Spanish - 5.d3 - Intro
24. Spanish - Berlin Defence
25. Spanish - 5.d3
26. Spanish - 5.d3 d6
27. Spanish - 5.d3 b5
28. Semi-Open Games
29. Caro-Kann 1
30. Caro-Kann 2
31. French
32. French exchange variation
33. French advance variation
34. Sicilian
35. Introduction
36. Dragon - Intro
37. Dragon
38. Dragon - 9.Bc4
39. Dragon - 9.0-0-0
40. Dragon - 9.0-0-0 d5 10.Qe1
41. Dragon - 9.0-0-0 d5 10.exd5
42. Sveshnikov
43. Closed and Semi-Closed Games
44. Introduction
45. Queen's Gambit Declined 1
46. Queen's Gambit Declined 2
47. Queen's Gambit Declined 3
48. Semi-Slav
49. Nimzo-Indian Defence 1
50. Nimzo-Indian Defence 2
51. Nimzo-Indian Defence 3
52. Nimzo-Indian Defence 4
53. Queen's Indian Defence
54. Conclusion
55. Conclusion 1
56. Conclusion 2
57. Conclusion 3


Contents of the Tactics DVD

A sample of the Tactics DVD

1 Introduction
2 Tips
3 Tip 1
4 Tip 2
5 Tip 3
6 Tip 4
7 Tip 5
8 En Prise
9 En Prise 1
10 En Prise 2
11 En Prise 3
12 En Prise 4
13 En Prise 5
14 En Prise 6
15 En Prise 7
16 Candidate moves
17 Candidate moves introduction
18 Candidate moves 2
19 Candidate moves 3
20 Candidate moves 4
21 Candidate moves 5
22 Candidate moves 6
23 Candidate moves 7
24 Candidate moves 8
25 Candidate moves 8 part 2
26 Intermediate moves
27 Intermediate moves
28 Fork
29 Fork 1
30 Fork 2
31 Fork 3
32 Fork 4
33 Fork 5
34 Fork 6
35 Fork 6 part 2
36 Fork 7
37 Fork 8
38 Fork 9
39 Fork 10
40 Fork 11
41 Pin
42 Pin 1
43 Pin 2
44 Pin 3
45 Pin 4
46 Pin 5
47 Pin 6
48 Pin 7
49 Pin 8
50 Pin 9
51 Skewer
52 Skewer 1
53 Skewer 2
54 Skewer 3
55 Skewer 4
56 Skewer 5
57 Skewer 6
58 X-ray
59 X-ray 1
60 X-ray 2
61 X-ray 3
62 X-ray 4
63 Discovered attack
64 Discovered attack 1
65 Discovered attack 2
66 Discovered attack 3
67 Discovered attack 4
68 Discovered attack 5
69 Discovered attack 6
70 Discovered attack 7
71 Discovered attack 8
72 Discovered attack 9
73 Discovered attack 10
74 Discovered attack 11
75 Discovered attack 12
76 Discovered attack 13
77 Discovered attack 14
78 Discovered check 1
79 Discovered check 2
80 Discovered check 3
81 Discovered check 4
82 Distraction
83 Distraction 1
84 Distraction 2
85 Distraction 3
86 Distraction 4
87 Distraction 5
88 Distraction 6
89 Distraction 7
90 Distraction 8
91 Decoy
92 Decoy 1
93 Decoy 2
94 Decoy 3
95 Decoy 4
96 Decoy 5
97 Decoy 6
98 Decoy 7
99 Promotion
100 Promotion 1
101 Promotion 2
102 Promotion 3
103 Promotion 4
104 Promotion 5
105 Promotion 6
106 Promotion 7
107 Promotion 8
108 Promotion 9
109 Promotion 10
110 Promotion 11
111 Promotion 12
112 Promotion 13
113 Promotion 14
114 Promotion 15
115 Greek gift
116 Greek gift 1
117 Greek gift 2
118 Greek gift 3
119 Greek gift 3 part 2
120 Greek gift 4
121 Greek gift 5
122 Exchange sacrifice
123 Exchange sacrifice 1
124 Exchange sacrifice 2
125 Exchange sacrifice 3
126 Exchange sacrifice 4
127 Exchange sacrifice 5
128 Exchange sacrifice 6
129 Trapped pieces
130 Trapped piece 1
131 Trapped piece 2
132 Trapped piece 3
133 Trapped piece 4
134 Trapped piece 5
135 Trapped piece 6
136 Trapped piece 7
137 Trapped piece 8
138 Back rank mate
139 Back rank mate 1
140 Back rank mate 2
141 Back rank mate 3
142 Back rank mate 4
143 Back rank mate 5
144 Back rank mate 6
145 Back rank mate 7
146 Back rank mate 8
147 Back rank mate 9
148 Back rank mate 10
149 Checkmate
150 Checkmate 1: Smothered mate / Philidor's mate
151 Checkmate 2: Epaulette mate
152 Checkmate 3: Arabian mate
153 Checkmate 4: Damiano's mate
154 Checkmate 5: Anastasia's mate
155 Checkmate 6: Reti's mate
156 Checkmate 7: Greco's mate
157 Checkmate 8: Swallow's Tail mate / Gueridon’s mate
158 Checkmate 9: Opera mate
159 Test yourself
160 Test yourself intro
161 Test yourself 2
162 Test yourself 3
163 Test yourself 4
164 Test yourself 5
165 Test yourself 6
166 Test yourself 7
167 Test yourself 8
168 Test yourself 9
169 Test yourself 10
170 Test yourself 11
171 Test yourself 12
172 Test yourself 13
173 Test yourself 14
174 Test yourself 15
175 Test yourself 16
176 Test yourself 17
177 Test yourself 18
178 Test yourself 19
179 Conclusion/Bonus