Vietnamese grandmaster survives Armageddon to reach Chessable Masters final

By Xuan Binh   August 7, 2021 | 01:03 am PT
Vietnamese grandmaster survives Armageddon to reach Chessable Masters final
A screenshot of Le Quang Liem (L) and Levon Aronian in the Chessable Masters semifinal on August 7, 2021.
Le Quang Liem defeated world number five, Iranian-French Levon Aronian, on the second day of the Chessable Masters semifinals Saturday.

On the first day, Liem had already leading 3-1 and only needed to draw all four remaining games on the second to score overall victory. He had a perfect start with a draw and a win in the first two games.

At the time, Aronian would have had to win the last two games to level the score, which was what he did.

According to tournament regulations, if two players have the same score after eight games of rapid chess, they will enter a tie-break and play two more games of blitz chess. If the score remains a draw, an Armageddon match would be set up, where white has five minutes and black four, with a draw counting as a win for black.

Liem and Aronian dragged the semifinal into Armageddon after drawing in the tie-break. In this decisive game, Aronian chose black. After 69 moves, he was out of time and lost.

In the final, Liem will battle his familiar opponent Wesley So. The American grandmaster is ranked ninth in the world, while Liem is 32nd. The final format will be similar to the quarter- and semifinal, including eight games of rapid chess over two days.

Chessable Masters, the eighth tournament of the prestigious Champion Chess Tour, a 10-month long series of 10 online chess tournaments featuring top world players, with a prize pool of $1.5 million. All games are held on the website and broadcasted on streaming site Twitch. The series runs from Nov. 22, 2020 to Oct. 3, 2021.

Liem has previously played in the first and fifth series events, failing to reach the final of both.

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