Vietnam crack Chess Olympiad top 10

By Xuan Binh   August 3, 2022 | 11:30 pm PT
Vietnam crack Chess Olympiad top 10
Vietnam players (R) play Hungary in the fifth round of the woman's group in Chess Olympiad in Chennai, India, on August 3, 2022. Photo by FIDE
The important win against Hungary on Wednesday night put Vietnam in the top 10 of the women's group in the 2022 Chess Olympiad.

Vietnam got disadvantaged when Hoang Thi Bao Tram and Bach Ngoc Thuy Duong both played black against Ticia Gara and Zsoka Gaal.

In the midgame, Gara made a big mistake that helped Tram find the way to win after 59 moves. However, Duong could not make a comeback and accepted defeat. This was her first loss after six rounds in the tournament.

The highly anticipated match between two former Asian champions Vo Thi Kim Phung and Hungary’s number one player Hoang Thanh Trang ended quickly in a draw. Despite being the favorite to win this game, Trang, a player of Vietnamese origin, played black, and didn't want to take a risk.

The first three games brought the score to 1.5-1.5. The victory was decided in the last game between Nguyen Thi Mai Hung and Szidonia Vajda. Both players entered the endgame with two pawns. Hung's pawn went further and was protected by the white king, giving her the winning advantage.

While time was running out, Hung made a mistake that gave Vajda a chance to take the game to a draw. But because of time pressure, the Hungarian player didn't see her opportunity, handing Hung the win after more than five hours.

Hung's victory helped Vietnam beat Hungary 2.5-1.5. This is the team's fifth win after six rounds. With 10 points earned so far, Vietnam are in 10th place, with only three teams in the top 10 on more points, including India, Azerbaijan and Romania.

This is the first time Vietnam beat Hungary in the women's group at Chess Olympiad. Since 2004, the two teams have met six times in nine tournaments with Vietnam winning one, losing four and drawing one.

2022 Chess Olympiad takes place from July 29 to Aug. 9 in Chennai, India, featuring 1,736 players from 186 countries and territories. This is considered the Olympics of chess and one of the biggest competitions in the sport.

Vietnam didn't send the men's team to this tournament. They are among 162 women's teams.

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