Vietnamese players off to promising start at HDBank int’l chess tournament

Monday, 2017-03-13 05:29:00
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Vietnam's Le Quang Liem (right) is one of the favourites for this year's crown.
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NDO – Vietnam’s Grandmaster Le Quang Liem made light work of India’s Aydka Pitra in the first round of the 2017 HDBank International Chess Tournament, which opened at De Nhat Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City on March 12.

Liem, seeded second in the Masters section with a superior elo rating of 2,712, only needed 31 moves to beat much lower rated Pitra (Elo 2,390).

Top seed Wei Yi of China (Elo 2,725), who is considered Liem’s toughest opponent for this year’s title, also enjoyed a good start, defeating Vietnam’s Le Hoang Thong with ease.

Vietnam’s top female player Pham Le Thao Nguyen (Elo 2,351) tied with seed no. 8 Lu Shanglei (China, Elo 2,624), while Nguyen’s female teammates, Nguyen Thi Mai Hung and Hoang Thi Bao Tram, also started off well with respective draws against seed no. 10 Zhou Jianchao (China) and seed no. 12 Rozum Ivan (Russia).

The annual tournament is taking place from March 12 to 17, with over 230 chess masters from across the world competing in the two divisions of Masters (for top players) and Challengers (for players rated below 2,100).

Host Vietnam is being represented by 2015 champion Le Quang Liem and outstanding masters Dao Thien Hai, Tran Tuan Minh, Nguyen Anh Khoi, Pham Le Thao Nguyen, Vo Thi Kim Phung, and Nguyen Thi Mai Hung.

2014 champion Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son, who recently won a place in the 2017 Chess World Cup, was forced to withdraw from the tournament due to illness.

A total of US$45,000 in prize money is up for grabs, with the first prize winner receiving US$13,000.