Liem inches closer to retaining Aeroflot title

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Vietnam's Le Quang Liem beat Kobalia Mikhail of Russia in his seventh game at the Aeroflot Open 2011 in Moscow on Monday evening.

The victory keeps Liem, the defending champion, on top of Group A with five wins and two draws. He now has six points, one point ahead of seven other players.

Speaking from Moscow, coach Lam Minh Chau said the 76th-ranked Russian (elo 2666) might have been a bit nervous, so he made several mistakes, enabling 79th-ranked Liem (elo 2664) to win the game after 28 moves.

In the eighth game, 19-year-old Liem will clash with 77th-ranked 24-year-old Bulgarian Cheparinov Ivan who has five points.

Liem, the only Vietnamese to enter the world's top 100, has a very good chance to retain the championship. "If things go right, Liem will be the first player to win the Aeroflot championship twice," Chau said.

However, Liem was cautious. "Now I have an advantage but a minor mistake will make all the hopes evaporate. Seven other players are close, right behind me."

If Liem wins the championship at the February 7-18 event, he will win a cash prize of EURO20,000 and become the first player to retain the title in the tournament's 10-year history.

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