17:37 | 12/10/2015 Society
Vietnam’s chess star Le Quang Liem drew with his Webster University teammate Wesley So in the seventh round of the 2015 Millionaire Chess Open tournament in Las Vegas on October 11 advancing to the final four-player knockout round scheduled for today.
Liem has demonstrated a great improvement compared to his performance at the 2014 competition
After six rounds of play, Liem was the only player to remain unbeaten with five wins and one draw, sitting on top of the rankings with 5.5 points. Meanwhile, So sat in fourth-place with five points.
The Liem-So clash took centre stage of round seven at the recent 2015 FIDE World Chess Cup in Azerbaijan, Liem managed to tie with So in the third round but conceded to a narrow defeat to the world’s no. 9 player in a tiebreaker later.
Liem took advantage of playing white, deploying active attacks in seeking to overwhelm his familiar and higher-rated opponent. However, So proved himself as one of the world’s top chess masters with smart counterattack steps, causing numerous difficulties for Liem to claim the game. After only 30 moves the two players agreed on an aggregate draw.
Earlier, Liem overcame Jacek Stopa of Poland, Conrad Holt of the US, and Vasif Durarbayli of Azerbaijan in the third, fourth and fifth round respectively before drawing with another US player Hikaru Nakamura in the sixth round.
With six points after seven matches, Liem held on to his first-place position in the standings and secured an official place in the finals, which is open to the top four scorers of the qualifying stage.
Aleksandr Lenderman of the US and Yu Yangyi of China concluded the qualification tournament in second and third places respectively, both scoring a total of six points.
Tiebreaker matches are taking place today among seven players with 5.5 points to decide the last finalist./.