Vietnam GM scores big advantage at Prague Masters

By Xuan Binh   June 8, 2022 | 03:00 am PT
Vietnam GM scores big advantage at Prague Masters
Vietnam's number one chess player Le Quang Liem. Photo by Grand Chess Tour
Le Quang Liem will play white five out of nine times when he competes in 2022 Prague Masters, his first standard chess tournament after 29 months.

Liem will start his first match at 8 p.m. (Hanoi time) against the defending champion, American GM Sam Shankland. This is Liem’s first standard chess match since the draw against Russian GM Mikhail Kobalia at Gibraltar Masters on Jan. 20, 2020. It’s been 860 days since then and for that reason, Liem was removed from the FIDE standard chess ranking despite having an Elo rating of 2,790.

Shankland is a reserve member of the U.S. team in the 2022 Chess Olympiad. Shankland's Elo is 2,718, ranked sixth in the U.S. and 25th in the world. In 2021, Shankland also attended Prague Masters and won the title with 5.5 points after nine games.

In chess, playing white will give players the advantage of moving first. According to data from Chessgames, playing white has a win rate of 37.5 percent, draw rate of 34.9 percent, and a 27.6 percent chance of losing.

Liem's goal at the Prague Masters is to accumulate standard chess Elo to return to the world’s top 20.

Prague Masters will take place in the Czech Republic from June 8 to 17 with one match played daily. It will consist of four groups of different levels. The lowest is the Open and anyone can register for it. The next three levels are Futures, Challengers and Masters. Liem is invited to play in the Masters group.

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