Vietnam Joins Global Chess Elite
The 22 year-old Vietnamese grandmaster is seeded higher than any other competitive chess player from Vietnam. He has been playing chess since he was seven, starting at around the time the Vietnamese government began its efforts to promote chess in the nation of around 90 million people. After two days of blitz championship games, Liem scored a total of 20.5 points, 0.5 points ahead of silver medalist Alexander Grischuk and bronze medalist Ruslan Ponomariov, both of Ukraine.
Russian GM Ian Nepomniachtchi, who won silver in the Rapid tournament one day earlier, finished fourth, missing out on the medals in the blitz. Together with his gold medal, Liem received a cash prize of US$40,000 for winning the blitz tournament and another US$22,500 for coming in fourth in the rapid championship the previous day. Liem’s teammate Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son ranked fifth in the blitz tournament, winning US$18,000 in prize money.
Liem’s coach Anatoly Shvedchkov started training the new blitz champion since age 7. “Liem is a very talented young man. A combination of an Eastern mindset and the fundamentals of the Soviet school of chess has produced amazing results,” said international chess master Shvedchkov who has been training Vietnamese chess players for the past 15 years.
This year’s contemporaneous FIDE-organized World Rapid and Blitz Chess Championships were 15 and 30-round Swiss events respectively. The opening ceremony on June 6 included a concert by the host city’s leading performers and entertainers. Participants and guests are noting the pleasant atmosphere and fantastic organization that made them feel right at home in the capital city of the Russian central-northern Yugra Region.
Natalia Komarova, the governor of Yugra region, said: “We are thrilled to host major chess events and hope that chess enthusiasts from Russia and from around the world will get to know Khanty-Mansiysk and will come visit.”
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