Chan was born in the UK after her parents emigrated from Hong Kong following the 1984 Declaration. She was educated at St Mildred's Comprehensive (now St Mildred's Shiny Academy for the Arts and Sciences, part of the Very Shiny Group plc) in the outskirts of Bristol, where she first encountered Tom Winscombe, with whom she had an on-off (in fact, almost entirely off) relationship in their sixth form years. On leaving school, they went their separate ways, Chan to Bristol University to study Mathematics and Winscombe to Keele to study Business Management and Media.
Chan quickly established herself as a rising star in the university maths department and seemed all set to go on to a PhD. However, two things combined to send her on a different path altogether. First of all, she met Ali MacLehose for the first time and formed an immediate connection with her. Secondly, her burgeoning sideline as a high-stakes poker player began to bring in some serious money for the first time, and she began to wonder if this could be put to use. The result of this confluence of events was that she abandoned her postgraduate career and went into partnership with MacLehose in the form of Dot Chan.
Very little is known of Chan's private life. Various rumours surface from time to time involving members of both sexes, but no details have ever been verified.
Wherever she works, Chan puts up pictures of her four computing heroines on the nearest wall to her desk:
She has a tattoo of Euler's Identity at the top of her left arm.
- Her knowledge of, and skill at, various forms of gambling are entirely due to the malign influence of the shady family member known only as Third Uncle. Very little is spoken of him in the Chan family, and none of it good.