Rui Naiwei

    Keywords: Culture & History, Go term

Rui Naiwei (Chinese: 芮迺伟[1] Hanyu Pinyin: Ruì 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. She dominated female players for much of her career, and has beaten some of the top males, and won titles open to both sexes.

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.

Reason Rui left China

In 1989, during a China-Japan international match, they cruised through the Three Gorges of the Yangtze River. Yoda Norimoto invited players to play fast go in his room. Rui and another female player on the team accepted Zhang Xuan. But the Chinese team had a temporary rule against female players entering the rooms of male players. Both players were sanctioned, banned from the national Championship that year. Rui admitted a technical violation of a minor rule, but was insulted by the accusation of misbehaviour. So she decided to leave China and play go abroad. (See Links below, [ext] Chinese Wikipedia article on Rui Naiwei)

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.) She is the only woman to have won major titles open to both sexes.

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.

Ratings and Head-to-head against other female rivals

According to [ext] GoRatings historical female list, Rui was #1 on the new-year rating lists 26 times, 1986–2012, with only Cho Hyeyeon topping it in 2005 with Rui second. Even on the [ext] 2023-12-22 rating list at the age of 60, Rui is the #20-rated female player in the world, and #356 overall.

  • Choi Jung, 9p, current Korean and World #1 female: 3–4
  • Yu Zhiying, 8p, #2 female in world, #1 female in China: 7–11
  • Kim Eunji, 9p, #3 female and #1 female teenager in world, #2 female in South Korea: 0–0
  • Zhou Hongyu, 7p, #4 female in world, #2 female in China: 6–2
  • Ueno Asami, 5p, #5 female in world, #1 female in Japan: 1–1
  • Lu Minquan, 6p, #6 female in world, #3 female in China: 6–8
  • O Yujin, 9p, #7 female in world, #3 female in South Korea: 2–4
  • Fujisawa Rina, 7p, #8 female in world, #2 female in Japan: 0–1
  • Kim Chaeyeong, 8p, #9 female in world, #4 female in South Korea: 3–2
  • Li He, 5p, #10 female in world, #4 female in China: 11–9
  • Wu Yiming, 4p, #11 female and #2 female teenager in world, #5 female in China: 2–3
  • Cho Seunga, 6p, #12 ranked female player and #304 overall, and #5 ranked player in Korea: 0–2
  • Tang Jiawen, 5p, #13 female in world, and #6 female in China: 4–1
  • Wang Chenxing, 5p, #16 female in world, #8 female in China: 10–10
  • Cho Hyeyeon, 9p, #19 female in world, once #1 and many years #2 female in world: 37–15
  • Ueno Risa, 2p, #21 female and #3 female teenager in world, #3 female in Japan: 0–0
  • Kim Hye-min, 9p, #25 female in the world, #8 female player in Korea: 7–1
  • Kim Dayoung, 5p, Kim Chaeyeong's younger sister, #27 ranked female in the world and #9 female in Korea: 1–1
  • Nakamura Sumire, 3p, #28 ranked female and #4 female teenager in the world, #4 ranked female in Japan: 0–0
  • Xie Yimin, 7p, #30 ranked female in the world, #5 ranked female in Japan (#1 for many years): 2–0
  • Joanne Missingham aka Hei Jiajia, 7p, #39 female in world, #1 ranked female player in Taiwan: 6–1
  • Suzuki Ayumi, 7p, twice Female Strongest, once Female Kisei: 1-1


Open titles in bold.


Among the books written by Rui Naiwei are



wu qingyuan rui naiwei 1997 (Image credit: 0)
wu qingyuan rui naiwei 1997 (Image credit:

rui naiwei wu qingyuan 2013 (Image credit: 4)
rui naiwei wu qingyuan 2013 (Image credit:

rui naiwei 2020 (Image credit: 8)
rui naiwei 2020 (Image credit:


[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 Jono64a on March 1, 2024 - 20:10
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