06/05/2015 16:58 GMT+7 Email Print Like 0

Le Quang Liem Placed First in HD Bank Cup

Living up to all of the expectations, Vietnam’s No.1 chess player Le Quang Liem won the 5th HD Bank Cup International Open Chess Tournament which was held in Ho Chi Minh City from March 18 to 22, 2015 for the second time.
The 5th HD Bank Cup International Open Chess Tournament 2015 was a 9-round Swiss-system competition with the participation of 85 players from Vietnam and many other chess powers, including India, Russia, Germany, Switzerland, China, Hungary and Indonesia. Competing in the tournament were Chinese grandmaster Li Chao (elo 2.721), ranked 31st worldwide and being the 2013Asian Chess Champion; Russian grandmaster Rakhmanov Aleksandr (elo 2,639); and Filipino grandmaster Torre Eugenio (elo 2,449) who was born in 1951 and was the oldest competitor. He became Asia’s first grandmaster at the age of 22 and served as President of the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) before coming back to competition.

Li Chao of China had the starting rank of no. 1 while two local grandmasters Le Quang Liem (elo 2,676) and Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son (elo 2,659) were seeded second and third, respectively. In this competition, female players competed with males but their scores were calculated separately.

Starting with continuous wins Le Quang Liem then lost his match with Li Chao during the 6th round, which made the last rounds more unpredictable. Prior to the last round; Li Chao, Le Quang Liem and Zhang Zhong (Singapore) all had 6.5 points; Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son had 6 points. If all three leading competitors had won in the final round, they would have had the same scores and auxiliary tie breakers would have been employed to choose the champion, which was in Li Chao’s favour.

The 5th HD Bank Cup International Open Chess Tournament attracts the participation of
85 chess players from many countries worldwide.


The 5th HD Bank Cup International Open Chess Tournament is highly appreciated by experts.

A match between Vietnamese and Swiss players.

 Le Quang Liem in his match with Filipino Pascua Haridas.

Vietnamese Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son (right) in his match with Singaporean Zhang Zhong. 

A German player calculates his moves.

Chinese player Li Chao (left) in his match against Filipino Gomez John Paul.

Chess players take photos after the competition.

From left: Chinese Li Chao (male second runner-up), Vietnamese Le Quang Liem (male champion),
Vietnamese Le Kieu Thien Kim (female champion), and Singaporean Zhang Zhong (male first runner-up).


Le Quang Liem during an interview after the competition.

However, Li Chao unexpectedly lost to Philippine rival Gomez John Paul and Zhang Zhong had a draw with Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son while Le Quang Liem beat Indian female player Padmini Rout. Accordingly, the final scores after 9 rounds were: Le Quang Liem 7.5 points; Zhang Zhong 7 points; Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son, Pascua Haridas, Gomez John Paul and Li Chao all had 6.5 points.

After his defeat by Li Chao, Le Quang Liem made three successive wins to take the winner’s trophy of the 5th HD Bank Cup for the second time, living up to his fans’ expectations. The reward for the champion was 12,000 dollar, first runner-up Zhang Zhong received 5,000 dollar while the female player with the highest score Le Kieu Thien Kim got 3,000 dollar.

According to Lam Minh Chau, coach of Vietnam’s chess team, Le Quang Liem’s style had been bolder when he actively played offense against his rival to gain wins instead of tenaciously playing in defence as before. It was his change of approach that changed him completely and gave him new strengths. After a dull year of hardly any success in 2014, Le Quang Liem won two champions at the 5th HD Bank Cup International Open Chess Tournament and the FIDE (World Chess Federation) Zonal 3.3 Championship.

Story: Nguyen Vu Thanh Dat – Photos: Le Minh