Vietnamese GM to play chess king in Airthings Masters quarterfinals

By Xuan Binh   February 23, 2022 | 12:05 am PT
Vietnamese GM to play chess king in Airthings Masters quarterfinals
Le Quang Liem (L) plays Magnus Carlsen in the World Rapid Chess Tour in 2019. Photo by FIDE
Le Quang Liem made it past the first stage of 2022 Airthings Masters and will face Magnus Carlsen in the quarterfinals.

Liem entered the top eight, climbing from 11th to 7th thanks to two wins and one draw in the last day of the round-robin stage. He played white and defeated Russian player Alexandra Kosteniuk in the first game. In the second game, Liem played black but still beat his direct competition in the top eight Vincent Keymer. A draw in the third game was enough for Liem to advance to the quarterfinals.

Vietnam’s top player earned 22 points after 15 games, placing above world top 10 players, American GM Levon Aronian and Dutch GM Anish Giri.

"Good news: I qualified for the quarterfinals! Bad news: I am playing Magnus Carlsen tomorrow," Liem tweeted.

In the seventh position, Liem will face Carlsen, who is second, behind Russian GM Ian Nepomniachtchi.

Airthings Masters is the first tournament of the grand series 2022 Champion Chess Tour. The event, which takes place from Feb. 19 to 26, has 16 players and six of whom are in the world's top 10. Eight players will advance to the knockout stage.

This is the third time that Liem made it to the knock-out round of a tournament in Champion Chess Tour. The last two times were in 2021.

Advancing to the quarterfinals of Airthings Masters will help Liem secure a spot in the next Tour event.

Liem is 30th on the classic chess ranking and 46th in rapid chess, while Carlsen tops both. In the previous 10 encounters with Carlsen, Liem could only get one draw and lost nine.

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