Vietnam's No.1 chess player Le Quang Liem beat Moroccan player Karim Ismael in the first match at the 2012 edition of the Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival on Tuesday.
Liem, ranked 29th in the world, is the fifth seed at the tournament.
The top seed is Russia's Peter Svidler, Elo 2749, ranked 13th in the world. The current Russian champion won the Gibraltar championship in 2009.
The second seed is 14th-ranked Azerbaijani Shakhriyar Mamedyarov , Elo 2747, followed by Englishman Michael Adams (ranked 25th, Elo 2724) and fourth-seeded Hungarian Zoltan Almasi (ranked 27th, Elo 2717).
Behind the 20-year-old Liem, Elo 2714, is the female Hungarian player Judit Polgar, ranked 32nd with Elo 2710, whose great success in 2011 put her among the men's super Grand Master list.
All the six top players won their first round matches at the 10th edition of the annual Gibraltar Open from January 24-February 2.
Liem will next clash with Spanish player Salvador G., Elo 2531.