Vietnam's No. 1 chess player Le Quang Liem barely escaped defeat to Cuba's No. 2 Lazaro Bruzon Batista in the second leg of the third round at the World Cup in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia on Sunday.
Held by the 62nd-ranked Cuban in the first leg on Saturday, the 25-ranked Vietnamese was at a slight disadvantage playing black.
The competitors were on equal terms early in their match on Sunday, until Liem's 17th move put him in a weak position..
Chess software analyses and chess experts said Liem had misplaced his knight in a serious mistake that the 2000 World Junior Chess Champion Cuban took advantage of.
After a series of relentless attacks immediately following Liem's error, chessdom.com predicted that it would be just the matter of time before the 29-year-old Cuban beat the 20-year-old Vietnamese.
However, Liem showed why he is now among the world top 25 by pulling into a draw after 39 moves. Liem and Bruzon will play a tie-breaker on Monday.
In other action, 35-year-old Hungarian woman Judit Polgar, ranked 48th, upset 21-year-old top seed Russian Sergey Karjakin, ranked 5th in the world, to advance to the fourth round of the World Cup 2011 from August 28 till September 20.