LE QUANG LIEM WINS VIETNAM OPEN AND SOUTH AMERICANS HAVE GOOD RESULTS
The outstandingly strong HDBank Cup International Open took place from the 11th to the 18th of this month, in Vietnam. The tournament had 236 players – divided in two categories: Masters (main) and Challengers. In the main category, with 103 players, much more than half of the participants had titles (28 of them were grandmasters!).
THE PRODIGY AND THE CHAMPION
The number one of the event was the young Chinese prodigy Wei Yi (2725) – to many, challenger to the world title in a not too distant future. Will he rise so high? Anyway, if you still do not know Wei Yi, we made a special article about him: click here and check it out (in Portuguese).
(The prodigy Wei Yi, number one of the Vietnam Open, in action.)
Despite all, Wei Yi did not have an easy way in the competition. In the second round, for example, he was defeated, with black, in less than 20 moves by the Russian MI Viacheslav Diu (click here and see the analysis of our GM Rafael Leitão). But this did not prevent Wei Yi from having a great tournament – as he finished in the fourth position and half a point from the champion. Moreover, after the defeat, in general, the strength of his chess did not suffer practically any shock. The elegant victory in the fifth round (here), combined with the violent victory in the seventh (here), are there to testify – and to reinforce the hypothesis of Wei Yi in the fight for the maximum title of chess a few years from now. But, this time, who stole the spotlight was the Vietnamese Le Quang Liem (2712).
Owner of “a classical pretty positional style”, according to GM Leitão, Le Quang Liem, isolated champion, had 7 points in the nine rounds (5 victories and 4 draws) – and put on a performance of 2784. The mentioned beauty of Le Quang’s game can be observed in the superb victory (here) that the Vietnamese GM conquered in the second round over the MI Vo Thanh Ninh (2414) – his compatriot. The victory of Le Quang Liem in the last round, with black, against the Ukrainian GM Stanislav Bogdanovich (2602) was also a highlight.
THE SOUTH AMERICANS
Seven players had 6.5 points – half a point short of the champion. In order of classification: the Chinese GMs Bu Xiangzhi (2711), Wang Hao (2683), and the already mentioned Wei Yi (2503); the Vietnamese MI Mihn Tran Tuan (2503); the Russian GM Ivan Rozum (2600); the Indian GM Vishnu Prasanna (2534) and, for the joy of our crowd, the Argentinian Sandro Mareco (2664) – yes, the rivalry Brazil and Argentina, at least in chess, is a lot more amicable.
(Sandro Mareco: on his way to 2700?)
The Argentinian GM started the tournament with a scare: defeat in the first round to the Singapore MI Li Ruofan (2352). After the comeback with two wins, three consecutive draws came – which seemed to imply that it would be difficult for him to fight for the first places. But we could not be more mistaken: Sandro won the three last rounds and was able to stay in the elite group. And despite the tournament having turned out mathematically far from ideal, as Mareco lost 9.0 rating points, it was undoubtedly worth it to highlight the recuperation capacity of the Argentinian GM – who seems determined to seek the 2700. Which, by the way, is also the golden goal of another South American GM: the Venezuelan Eduardo Iturrizaga (2673).
The Venezuelan GM, despite having finished unbeaten (6.0 points: 3 victories and 6 ties. 9th place), also left with some damage – minus 8.8 rating points. Anyway, Iturrizaga is another one of the big promises (actually, realities) of the South American chess. His dynamic style still promises to yield good results – like in the victory on the sixth round (here) against the Filipino GM John Paul Gomez (2481).
So the question remains: what will come first? Wei Yi as a challenger of the world title or a new South American player beating the 2700 mark?
Official Site (in Vietnamese)
Chess Results (in Vietnamese)
Written by Equipe Academia de Xadrez Rafael Leitão 20-03-2017