Vietnam’s top chess players eye glory at FIDE World Cup

Tuesday, 2019-09-10 11:52:10
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Vietnam's Le Quang Liem (right) and India's Vidit Santosh Gujrathi during their second-round meeting at the 2017 FIDE World Cup. (Photo: FWC)
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NDO – Vietnamese chess stars Le Quang Liem and Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son will start their hunt for glory at the FIDE World Cup 2019 in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia, on September 10, with Liem (Elo 2708) named as the no. 22 seed and Son (Elo 2638) seeded 80th.

In the first round later today, Quang Liem will play white against Aleksej Aleksandrov (Elo 2577), who is the five-time Belarusian champion. A win against Aleksandrov will send Liem through to a second-round meeting with Abhijeet Gupta (India, Elo 2609) or Anton Korobov (Ukraine, Elo 2679).

Truong Son will have to address a tough opening challenge posed by Kirill Alekseenko (Russia, Elo 2671) in order to set up a clash against Radosław Wojtaszek (Poland, Elo 2739) or Johan-Sebastian Christiansen (Norway, Elo 2558) in the next round.

This is the fifth consecutive time the top two players of Vietnam have accompanied each other to one of the world’s most prestigious chess tournaments. As for Quang Liem, he is attending the event for the seventh time in a row. The best performance of the Ho Chi Minh City-born grandmaster was making it to the fourth round in 2013. Meanwhile, Truong Son made it through to the second round in 2011, 2013 and 2015.

Vietnam's no. 2 chess player, Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son.

The biennial FIDE World Cup is a seven-round single-elimination tournament, featuring the participation of 128 leading chess players from around the world. The matches from rounds one to six consist of two classical games with a time control of 90 minutes for 40 moves plus 30 minutes for the rest of the game, with an increment of 30 seconds per move. The finals and the match for third place consist of four classical games.

If the score is tied after the classical games, rapid and, if necessary, blitz tiebreaks will be played the following day to decide the winner.

The 2019 event is taking place from September 10 to October 4, offering a total prize fund of US$1.6 million and a top prize of US$110,000. The two finalists will qualify for the FIDE Candidates Tournament 2020, which aims to decide Magnus Carlsen’s next challenger.

This year’s competition sees the absence of some famous players, including Magnus Carlsen (Norway, Elo 2876), Fabiano Caruana (US, Elo 2812), Viswanathan Anand (India, Elo 2765), Richard Rapport (Hungary, Elo 2752), Vladimir Kramnik (Russia, Elo 2753) and Veselin Topalov (Bulgaria, Elo 2736). China’s Ding Liren (Elo 2811) is the highest-rated participant.