Vietnamese GM Liem wins Aeroflot Open 2010

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Vietnamese Grand master Le Quang Liem won the 2010 Aeroflot Open tournament in Moscow on Thursday.

Liem, who topped the tournament with five wins and four draws, has become the first Asian chess player to win the tournament being held for the fifth year in succession.

This victory, along with third place at the Moscow Open earlier, earned Liem a total cash prize of US$30,000 and will put him among the world’s top 50 rankings to be released next month by the World Chess Federation (FIDE).

Speaking to Thanh Nien on Friday, Liem said his victory was a dream come true for him because the competition attracted all the best players in the world.

“I still feel extremely happy,” Liem said. “I am even happier than when I won the Under-14 world championship (in 2005).”

He said he was happy not just because of the $21,000 cash prize. “More importantly, this win together with the third place at the Moscow Open earns me 42 Elo points to raise my total Elo points to 2,689 to be among the world’s top 50.

“I feel more honored to be the first Asian player to win the championship of this highly prestigious tournament.”

Asked what helped him achieve the result, Liem said he had prepared very well before going to Russia.

He said beating French grand master Bacrot Etienne (who won the 2009 Aeroflot Open) in the second match was very encouraging and helped him win other games.

“I also had a very interesting win over China’s best player Bu Xiangzhi,” Liem said.

Liem said he would stay in Russia for a few more months to train with Russian coach Alexander Valeryevich Khalifman, a former FIDE champion.

It is a great honor for any player to train with the Russian coach, Liem said.

“I will compete in a contest in Dortmund in Germany in June,” Liem said. “My goal is to be among the world’s top 20.”

Reported by Quang Huy

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