Vietnam's chess ace Le Quang Liem Friday beat two players from the Philippines on the first day of the HD Bank International Open Chess Tournament 2012 in Ho Chi Minh City.
The top seed Vietnamese, ranked 29th in the world with an elo of 2714, beat the underdog Legaspi Rhobel, elo 2273, in the first round in the morning and went on to defeat Rhobel's compatriot Senador Emmanuel, elo 2357, in the second round in the afternoon.
Vietnam's No.2, Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son, elo 2662, beat Ukrainian rival Mikhail Vasilyev, elo 2270, after 76 moves.
There were some surprises on the first day of the event in the women's matches. Vietnam's Nguyen Thi Mai Hung, elo 2259, upset Filipino Barbosa, elo 2585; and Hung's compatriot Le Kieu Thien Kiem, elo 2230, beat Vietnam's former number one Dao Thien Hai, elo 2516.
Ignatius Leong, Secretary General of the World Chess Federation (FIDE) who attended the opening ceremony of the March 1-8 contest, told Thanh Nien, "Your country has a precious treasure of a large number of chess players who are young, talented and passionate."
Vietnamese men and women have proved their talent through their recent international achievements that made them the leading players in the region, the continent and the world, Leong said.