Zhang, grandmaster in chess, learned the rules of chess as an eight year old. He finished second in the 1996 World Youth Championships. Since 1996 he plays at chess Olympiads, from 1996 to 2006 for the Chinese national team and since 2010 for the national team of Singapore. In 2001 he won the Chinese Championship and reached the same year at the KO world championship of FIDE in Moscow the third round, where he lost to Veselin Topalov with 0.5:1.5. In 2003, he won the B tournament in Wijk aan Zee by three points and took a year out at the traditional elite tournament at the same point in part. He became Asian champions in 2005.
His current Elo rating is 2613 (as of July 2009), that he has been ranked as Singapore's largely at. He would be with this rating number on the eighth of China's Elo ranking. His previous highest Elo rating was 2667 in July 2001.
He is married to WGM Li Ruofan.