Vietnamese chess player closes in on world's top 15

By Xuan Binh   July 25, 2023 | 11:19 pm PT
Vietnam number one chess player Le Quang Liem reached his career-high position of 16th on world ranking after a victory over China's Yu Yangyi at the 2023 Biel Grandmaster.

Liem is on fire at Biel Grandmaster in Switzerland with four wins after five games. His efficiency is equivalent to a player that has an Elo rating of 2,944.

After five games, Liem earned 13.3 more Elo points, bringing his rating to 2,741.3, the highest so far in his career. In the past, his highest Elo rating was 2,739, achieved in 2017.

Lê Quang Liêm (phải) trong ván đấu với Dư Ương Y tại vòng năm cờ tiêu chuẩn Biel Grandmaster ngày 24/7/2023. Ảnh: BCF

Le Quang Liem (R) plays China's Yu Yangyi at Biel Grandmaster on July 24, 2023. Photo by Biel Grandmaster

This new rating also helped Liem reach his career-high position of 16th in the world, above other grandmasters like Maxim Vachier-Lagrave, Leinier Dominguez, Alexander Grischuk and Jan-Krzysztof Duda. Before the 2023 Biel Grandmaster, his highest position was 20th.

Liem's results are even more impressive because he has not played standard chess for a year. The 32-year-old must compete in this tournament if he does not want to be removed from world ranking after 12 months of not playing. He was invited to the tournament after winning the title in the last edition.

In the remaining two games against France's Jules Moussard and Czech Republic's David Navara, Liem can crack the world's top 15 if he gets at least a win and a draw. If Liem can do so, he also has a great chance to defend his title.

The Biel Grandmaster consisted of eight players with an average Elo rating of 2,699, and seven of them were or are super grandmasters. After five standard chess games, Liem won against Bogdan-Daniel Deac, Bassem Amin, Arjun Erigaisi and Du, and only lost to Vincent Keymer.

The victory over Yu was unexpected because the Chinese player was the number one seed of the tournament. Liem also had to play black in this game, but prevailed right from the start and won after 36 moves. At the end of the game, Liem still had more than 38 minutes left to spare, while Yu only had less than 10 minutes.

Liem has been the number one chess player in Vietnam for the past 15 years. He became the world blitz chess champion in 2013 and Asian champion in 2019.

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