Vietnam's Liem takes early lead at chess tourney in Russia

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Vietnam 's top chess player Le Quang Liem led the field after the first day of the two-day World Blitz Chess Championship held in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia on Sunday.

After finishing fourth at the World Rapid Chess Championship at the same location on Saturday, the 30th-ranked Vietnamese Grandmaster did not lose momentum in the blitz chess event.

After 16 games in the first day, Liem, 22, and the 25th-ranked Russian Ian Nepomniachtchi, 23, both had 12 points but Liem was technically on top due to tiebreak points. Liem beat the world rapid chess runner-up Nepomniachtchi in Round 8 of the tournament.

Ukranian GM Ruslan Ponomariov, 30, ranked 16th by the World Chess Federation (FIDE), was in third place after the first day with 11.5 points.

Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son, Vietnam's No. 2 player, who finished 16th in the World Rapid Chess Championship, played impressively on the first day of the World Blitz Championship.

Son, who drew Liem in the 9th and 10th games of round 5, is in fifth place, tied with the group of four GMs with 10.5 points, including the World Rapid Chess Champion Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan, who is currently in the 6th position behind Truong Son.

The competitors will battle through another 14 matches played in the remaining seven rounds on of the World Blitz Championship, set to take place June 9 and 10. The US$200,000 cash prize event follows the Swiss system of 15 paired matches.

 

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