'Being a university coach improves my level': Vietnamese chess grandmaster

By Xuan Binh   August 23, 2021 | 06:36 pm PT
'Being a university coach improves my level': Vietnamese chess grandmaster
Le Quang Liem during a game of St. Louis Rapid & Blitz in August 2021. Photo courtesy of Grand Chess Tour
Le Quang Liem said his coaching job at Webster University in the U.S. has helped strengthen his skills by continuous practice.

"Most students in the Webster University chess team have an Elo rating of over 2,600, which is higher than some of the players in Vietnam's national chess team. Practicing and exchanging ideas regularly helps everyone improve their level, including me," Liem said.

The 30-year-old also talked about his competing experience at St. Louis Rapid & Blitz in mid-August. It’s his first direct chess competition after one-and-a-half years playing in online tournaments.

"Playing face to face is more enjoyable than online because it’s more intense," Liem said.

Wearing a face mask while playing is a little bit inconvenient but one just has to get used to it. For some players with glasses, they can fog up with masks and affect their vision, but not their mind, he said.

Liem said the match he's most satisfied with is the win against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Azerbaijan) in the rapid chess competition. "I’m disappointed about my performance against Hikaru Nakamura (U.S.) in both rapid and blitz chess games. I played white in both but couldn’t get a win."

After St. Louis Rapid & Blitz, Liem was invited to play Sinquefield Cup but he refused because of conflict in schedule.

"The new semester at Webster starts this week. I have many things to take care of so I couldn’t take days off to play the tournament. A few days ago, I welcomed new students to the team and I have to support them to settle. In addition, I also agreed to compete in the online tournament Aimchess U.S. Rapid last week. If I play Sinquefield Cup, it will take me nearly a month to finish.

"At the moment, my target is to give my best in every tournament and every game. Increasing my Elo rating is a long-term goal, I have to accumulate them gradually."

In August, Liem finished second in Chessable Masters and fifth in St. Louis Rapid & Blitz, pocketing $27,500 in total.

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