Liem leads with 5 straight wins at Gibraltar Chess contest

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Vietnam's chess ace Le Quang Liem's win over Venezuelan contestant Eduardo Iturrizaga at the 2013 Tradewise Gibraltar Chess keeps the local grandmaster in first place and undefeated with five straight wins.

The 8th-seeded Liem won the duel Saturday local time.

The masters' event has attracted 150 competitors around the world including eight super grandmasters with elo ratings of more than 2700.

The match against Iturrizaga, elo 2650, had been expected to be hard for Liem, elo 2705, standing 39th in the World Chess Federation (FIDE)'s rankings.

However, the 21-year-old Vietnamese whiz-kid launched his trademark relentless attacks, just like he had done during his previous four games.

By 30 moves, Liem was closing and his Venezuelan rival went on the defensive.  Iturrizaga made a few quick but key errors and lost the game after 49 moves.

There is only one other player with five wins out of five matches: Russian competitor Nikita Vitiugov, elo 2694, standing 54th in the FIDE rankings.

As a rule, players of similar points in the top spots are to play against each other. Nikita Vitiugov is scheduled to play against Liem in the 6th round.

The event this year has been a real challenge for the top seeds. US player Kamsky Gata (elo 2740) played black and fought to a draw with Indian player Chanda Sandipan (elo 2590) while Britain's No.1 player Michael Adams (elo 2725) had his second consecutive draw against Argentine rival Ruben Felgaer (Elo 2557); so they are not among the leading players.

The greatest challenge for Liem on his road to the championship will be top seed Ukrainian Vassily Ivanchuk (Elo 2758). He has had 4.5 points after five games and will clash with French contestant Vladislav Tkachiev (elo 2650). Liem and the globally 13th-ranked Ivanchuk are likely to clash with each other in the seventh round.

In other action, Vietnam's second best Grandmaster Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son jumped back to the top of the Asian Zonal 3.3 Chess Championships (World Cup qualifier) in the Philippines after beating host Mark Paragua in the sixth round. The Philippines' No.1 player So Wesley, standing 66 in the FIDE rankings, has the same 5 points as Son but is in second place because of fewer tiebreak points.

In the women's event, Nguyen Thi Thanh An is still on top with 5.5 points, 1 point ahead of the second group of competitors.

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