VietNamNet Bridge – Le Quang Liem defeated two players from Singapore and China on the first day of the HDBank Cup International Chess Tournament in HCMCity on January 4.


As the first seed, Liem, Vietnam’s leading chess player and ranked 41st in the world, easily trounced Fernandez Daniel Howard from Singapore in the morning. In the second game in the afternoon, he defeated Chinese player Lou Yiping.


“My goal is winning the championship at this tournament before I go to Russia to defend my Aeroflot championship,” Liem said.


Two Vietnamese masters Nguyen Duc Hoa and Nguyen Thanh Son also had two winning games like Liem.


In the third game, Liem will face Bitoon Richard while Son and Hoa will compete with Zhao Jun and Zhou Weiqi from China.


After a draw against Vietnamese female player Thao Nguyen in the first match, grand master Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son, the second seed, defeated Merben Roque from the Philippines in the second game.


Another member of the Vietnamese national chess team – Cao Sang – was the winner in the game against Southeast Asian female champion Nguyen Thi Thanh An. However,  his second match, against Singapore’s Wei Ming Kevin, ended in a draw.


The biggest surprise in the first day was Nguyen Thi Mai Hung, the champion of the chess category of the Sports Games 2010. Hung, 16, defeated both Nguyen Anh Dung and Tu Hoang Thong, her seniors.


Another surprise was the victory of Vietnamese female chess Ton Nu Hong An from Lam Dong province over the top female player of Southeast Asia – Sukandar Irine Kharisma from Indonesia. However, she lost in the second game against Oliver from the Philippines.


This is the largest annual chess event in Vietnam, which belongs to the competition system of the International Chess Federation (FIDE). The tournament takes place from January 4-9 at RexHotel in HCMCity.


The event attracts 65 players, including 35 from eight countries like China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, the Philippines, Ukraine, South Africa, etc.