25/05/2012 15:46 GMT+7 Email Print Like 0

Chess Grandmaster Le Quang Liem

In Vietnamese chess circles, Le Quang Liem is a chess phenomenon and has been recognized as a super grandmaster and now is listed as one of the world’s 30 best chess players at the age of 21. Le Quang Liem was born in March 13, 1991 into a family who had no tradition of playing chess. His parents work in the construction field. However, when he was 7 years old, he showed his talent and great passion for this intellectual game.
He first learned how to play chess from his brother and then attended a chess course at a culture centre. Liem made rapid progress and was selected to participate in chess competitions in the district and city and won many prizes.

At the age of 10, he competed overseas for the first time and brought the country a silver medal in the boy’s U-10 age group at the Asian Youth Chess Championship in 2001. In the same year, he also won a silver medal for this age category at the World Youth Chess Championship.

Liem said that his success is greatly attributed to his parents who always take care of and encourage him at each tournament. “My parents do not put any pressure on me when I compete in chess tournaments. In contrast, they teach me how to win by myself, encourage me to compete using my best ability and advise me not to satisfied with my victory,” Liem said. For this reason, when participating in a series of tournaments he sometimes can not avoid failures, but he always knows how to overcome his losses and faced the challenges to continue to win next time. In 2006, at the 37th Chess Olympiad held in Italy, after having won five international grandmaster championships and tied with three others, Lien was bestowed the title of grandmaster by the World Chess Federation (FIDE). It is the title for chess players achieving Elo of at least 2,500.

Grandmaster Le Quang Liem (middle) is runner up at the HDBank International Open Chess Tournament 2012.

Grandmaster Le Quang Liem at the HDBank International Open Chess Tournament 2012.

Grandmaster Le Quang Liem simultaneously competes with 20 foreign chess players at the HDBank International Open Chess Tournament 2012.

Grandmaster Le Quang Liem gives an interview to reporters at the HDBank International Open Chess Tournament 2012.
- Wining the championship in U-14 age group at the World Chess Championship (2005), the Kolkata Open (2009), Aeroflot Open (2010, 2011), SPICE Cup (2011); and two gold medals at SEA Games 26 (2011).

- Winning the second prize at Dortmund (2010, 2011) and the Capablance Memorial Chess Tournament (2011), and the third prize at the Moskva Open (2010), and a silver medal at ASIAD 2010.

- One of the 10 excellent players of Vietnam in 2010 and 2011.

- In March 2012, reaching Elo of 2702.

Success followed success in his career. He had high achievements at the World Chess Cup and the Asian Chess Team Championships in India in 2009. In January 2010, for the first time Liem was ranked 93rd on the list of the world’s top 100 chess players and the world’s top 10 young chess players by FIDE with Elo of 2647. It was the highest Elo that a Vietnamese chess player had ever achieved.

At Aeroflot Chess 2010, one of the world’s most prestigious open chess tournaments, Liem became champion with seven points in nine rounds (winning five matches and tying four) and became the first Asian champion at this tournament. That year, due to his victory in Russia, he was qualified to attend the Dortmund Sparkassen Chess Meeting in Japan in 2010.

For Liem, Dortmund 2010 was the most memorable event in his life. He said: “At this tournament, I competed with Hungarian Peter Leko who had Elo of 2735. It was the longest match that I ever had. We competed in a theatre so there was a large number of audiences and at that time I felt that the audiences was more tired than us because the match lasted from 3pm to 10:30pm”. The match finally ended in a tie and Liem was ranked second at the tournament, after Russian super grandmaster Vladimir Kramnik.

In September 2010, Liem attended the Campomanes Memorial Chess Tournament in the Philippines and was runner-up. After this tournament, his Elo reached 2701, helping him become super grandmaster, an unofficial title of the International Chess Federation for chess players who have Elo of over 2700. In July 2011, Liem’s Elo reached 2715 and became the world’s number one young chess player.

He has been competing for over 10 years and his excellent achievements are the result of a long process of hard work and drawing experiences from competitions with talented chess players, such as Super Grandmaster Athur Kogan from Israel, Evgeny Bareev from Russia (ranked fourth in the world) and former world chess champion Alexander Khalifman from Russia. He has also learned by himself by exchanging information and competing on the internet with international chess players and studying magazines and newspapers.

Grandmaster Le Quang Liem always is encouraged and taken cared of by his mother at every tournament.

Le Quang Liem practices with his brother Le Quang Long.

Le Quang Liem often competes with many foreign chess players on the internet.

Unlike the world’s leading chess grandmasters who are supported by a group of experts and doctors, Liem is only taken cared of by his parents. Despite difficulties, Liem always tries his best to feel confident at every competition.

At present, Le Quang Liem is studying Banking and Finance at Sai Gon University. He dreams of becoming a businessman and sharing his knowledge and experience on chess to the next generations. Hopefully, his dream will come true and he will continue having more success to glorify the country.
Story: Nguyen Vu Thanh Dat - Photos: Le Minh