About a month ago I accidentally came across an interview of Hou Yifan in Chinese TV Channel. I tried to record but with device nearby me, it was only seconds can be recorded. The interview talked a lot about off-chess-topic such as her hobbies and childhood background.
I can understand small portion of it, since my mandarin is really on class room level, and Hou Yifan spoke with her native slang and dialect. Here some translation on this video:
When asked is playing chess give her anxiety or feeling always in rush, when she was on junior / primary school.....
Hou : "Not very so, I still able to do other thing , other relaxing activities"
Is her parents allowed her to watch television...
Hou : "I like watching cartoon. When I back from the school I do chess practicing, daily. After around 6 o'clock (not sure what time she went back from school) I can watch television, I watched when there is a cartoon..."
How about school lesson? Homeworks?
Hou : "It done after I watched tv, not very worry. The homeworks also not many. About in third year I move to "Jing Nan", I take the third and fourth year in Jing nan.
Around age 7, Hou won first place in Jiangsu province junior tournament. Defeating 11 male opponents out of 14. To increase her chess skill, her father take her to Sandong.
Hou : "My parents went back earlier and I stayed in house of chess player friend for one week."
Were you feeling worried at that time? How old are you (at that time)?
Hou : "7 years old. I was worried, but my parents need to work. No choice."
So how did you spend your week there?
Hou : "Not very well, because I was too young I always called back home. Everyday trying to find excuses, like my shoe string broke, feeling not well etc. After a week my mother join me, and until now my mother always accompanied me, never leave me."
How can she do it? (as she need to work also)?
Hou : "Her job (also) have some travelling. The local goverment know my requirement (to travel) so that my mother can have some special permit to do it (so the mother most likely worked in goverment)."
When asked it is chess is "ancient" / oldies sport/games?
Hou : "Yes, it is an ancient stuff. (But) When we like something we will feel interesting to do it. Everyday we must practice, a lot of memorizing, something like from Monday to Friday around 4-5 hours. On weekend it can be shorter period. So not everyday our energy spend on chess"
About activities outside chess.....
Hou : "Reading a book, listening to music, and if there is a time, swimming.
When asked about her favorite book, Hou mentioned some book titles, unfortunately I have no idea on what book it is since they are titled in mandarin.
See captured videos, some waiting for translation, or please let me know if you can translated (and better than mine) :