Vietnamese chess ace gathers pace at international tournament

By Hoang Nguyen, Xuan BinhApril 25, 2021 | 07:51 pm PT
Vietnamese chess ace gathers pace at international tournament
Le Quang Nam has entered the top four of the New in Chess Classic after a successful match day on April 26, 2021. Photo courtesy of International Chess Federation.
Le Quang Liem picked up four points from five matches at the New in Chess Classic online tournament Monday.

Liem won three and drew two games on the second day of the tournament, helping him finish the day in the top four. After two days, Liem has six points from 10 games.

The 30-year-old is one point away from the top spot occupied by Norwegian grandmaster and world champion Magnus Carlsen, who he lost to on the first day. He has just 0.5 points more than the ninth placed player.

Liem started the day with a win over Indian chess prodigy Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa. The 16-year-old made a mistake at the start and lost the game quickly after 30 moves.

After drawing with Filipino-American Wesley So, Liem beat Azerbaijani grandmaster Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. Despite being eighth in the world, rapid chess is not Mamedyarov’s strength and he gave in after 60 moves.

Liem next drew with Russian Sergey Karjakin and went on to beat English player Gawain Jones in his last match of the day. Despite playing black, Liem ended the game in 32 moves.

The last day of New in Chess Classic will take place Tuesday. Liem's opponents will be Cuban GM Leinier Domíguez, Indian GM Vidit Gujrathi, Azerbaijani GM Teimour Radjabov, Norwegian GM Aryan Tari and Armenian GM Levon Aronian. All of them are placed behind Liem in the tournament.

The New in Chess Classic is a tournament of Champion Chess Tour, a 10-month long series of 10 online chess tournaments featuring top world players, with a prize money pool of $1.5 million. All games are held on the website and broadcast on streaming site Twitch. The series runs from November 22, 2020 until October 3, 2021.

Among the 10 tournaments in the series, six are labeled as regular, three as major and one as the final. Each tournament takes place over nine days.

The New in Chess Classic is the third regular and fifth tournament overall in the series. Filipino-American GM Wesley So won both the previous regular tournaments. The two major tournaments were won by Azerbaijani Teimour Radjabov and Dutchman Anish Giri.

Liem competed in the first regular tournament that took place from November 22 to 30 last year. He got eight points and finished 10th among the 16 contestants.

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