Liem, Perez in close race for SPICE Cup

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Chess ace Le Quang Liem and Cuban rival Leinier Dominguez Perez are locked in a race for the championship at the SPICE Cup in Texas, US.

After a draw in the seventh round on Saturday with the 100th-ranked German GM Georg Meier, the 25th-ranked GM Liem with 12 points lost his top position to the 38th-ranked Perez, who beat the US's GM Ray Robson to raise his points to 13.

Liem was leading Group A, with six GMs, for the first four rounds, but lost his top spot to the Cuban after losing to him in round five.

He regained his top position after round six on Friday after beating GM Yury Shulman of the US, while Perez drew with Meier. Perez's victory in round 7 has put him ahead again.

SPICE is the abbreviation of Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence at Texas Tech University. Susan Polgar is a Hungarian-American chess player, and one of the strongest female players ever, having been Women's World Chess Champion from 1996 until 1999.

She defeated the odds back in 1986 when she made history by being the first ever female player to qualify to compete in the Men's World Chess Championship.

SPICE Cup is the 17th category event with competitors' elo ranging from 2651 to 2675 while the Casablanca event in Cuba is the 19th category and the Dortmund contest in Germany is the 21st category. The contests play in the round robin format in two legs. A win earns them three points while a draw earns them one point.

Players at the fifth edition of SPICE Cup this year are competing in three groups, Group A consisting of six players: Liem, elo 2717; Perez, elo 2710; the 77th-ranked French GM Sebastien Feller elo 2668; Meier, elo 2648; GM Shuman, elo 2608 and Ray Robson, elo 2583.

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