Rui Naiwei

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Rui Naiwei (Chinese: 芮迺伟[1] Hanyu Pinyin: Ruž Nǎiwěi, Korean Hangul: 예내위 RR and M-R: Ye Nae-wi, born December 28, 1963) 9-dan was considered the strongest female player in the world for much of the 1990s and 2000s, and remains one of the top female players today.

In China, 1963-1990

Born in Shanghai, China, Rui Naiwei began to play Go in 1975 and turned professional in 1985, becoming a 7 dan the same year. She was promoted to 8 dan in 1986 and 9 dan in 1988, the first woman to ever be promoted to this level.

In Japan, 1990-1996

Rui left China in 1990, moving to Tokyo, Japan where she studied Go as a student of Go Seigen and worked as a go teacher at a life insurance company. However, she was not allowed to enter any of the Japanese professional go association (Nihon Ki-in and Kansai Kiin) and so was unable to play professionally ([ext] reference:Japan Times article) except for some unofficial magazine sponsored games.

She married Jiang Zhujiu in 1992, becoming the only 18-dan married couple in the world. In the same year she also was invited to the quadrennial Ing Cup. Despite that this was Rui's first tournament since she left China, she got through to the semi-finals where she was beaten by Otake Hideo 9-dan of Japan, but not before registering one win against him--to that point the greatest achievement by a female player in the game. (This was surpassed only recently; Choi Jung reached the final of the Samsung Cup in 2022.)

In the USA, 1996-1999

In 1996, Rui moved to the Bay Area of California, USA together with her husband, Jiang. The couple established the American Professional Go Association. She reached the final of the North American Masters Tournament in 1996, 1999 and 2000 (each time lost to her husband with 1-2 score).

In Korea, 1999-2011

In 1999, Rui and Jiang became Guest Professionals of the Hankuk Kiwon, moved to Korea and began participating in professional tournaments. She took, among other titles, the 43rd open (mixed gender) Kuksu title in 1999, beating Cho Hunhyeon 2-1, thus becoming the first woman to ever hold a major open title. In 2001, they became regular professionals of the Hankuk Kiwon. She won another open title, the 5th Maxim Cup in 2004, beating Yu Ch'ang-hyeok in the final. (In the 4th edition in 2003, she had reached the final and lost to her husband Jiang.)

In China, Again, 2011-

In 2011, Rui and Jiang returned to China where she plays in Chinese and international tournaments.

She has also occasionally been seen playing on IGS.


Open titles in bold.


Among the books written by Rui Naiwei are


[1] (from an article [ext] posted on "Rui Naiwei's persistence was on display: Every Go friend who asked for an autograph received a carefully written "芮迺伟". Regarding the 迺 character, Rui Naiwai was unsure when it started, but at some point reporters began using the character "乃", which is similar in both meaning and sound. She said that this causes problems every time she goes to the post office."

Rui Naiwei last edited by on December 11, 2022 - 00:50
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