February 18, 2010 8:57

Le Quang Liem wins Aeroflot, qualifies for Dortmund

Le Quang Liem does it again, wins Aeroflot straight and qualifies for DortmundLe Quang Liem Wednesday won the Aeroflot Open in Moscow. Like at the Moscow Open, the grandmaster from Vietnam finished on an undefeated 7/9, which this time was enough for clear first and qualification for the Dortmund tournament later this year.

Le Quang Liem | Photo © Eldar Mukhatemov

The 9th Aeroflot Open took place February 9-17 2010 in Moscow, Russia. It's one of the biggest tournaments (and certainly the strongest) of the calendar, and as always sponsored by airline company Aeroflot and organized by the Russian Chess Federation in cooperation with the Committee on Tourism of the Municipality of Moscow. The festival had the same prize fund as in 2009 amounting a total of 180,000 EUR (which includes the prizes for the World Blitz Qualification Tournament which will be held afterwards).

Hotel Gamma - DeltaAs always, the players are divided by rating over four open tournaments (A1, A2, B and C). Naturally, the greatest interest is aroused by the A1 tournament, in which a rating above 2550 is required. Already for the fifth time, the Aeroflot Open is held outside the city centre, in hotel "Gamma - Delta" of the tourist complex “Izmailovo", where almost all participants also stay.

In our previous report on the Aeroflot tournament we already wrote a paragraph about 18-year-old Le Quang Liem, who became World Youth Champion Under-14 in July 2005. He "continues to improve rapidly", we said last week, and this was even more true than we thought.

In September last year he won the 4th Kolkata Open ahead of 13 higher-rated players and two weeks ago he finished shared first at the Moscow Open with an undefeated 7/9. At the Aeroflot Open he again finished on an undefeated 7/9, and this time that meant a sole first place.

Ukrainian GM Anton Korobov finished on sole second place with 6.5 points, followed by four players who scored 6 points: Alexander Motylev (Russia), Zhou Jianchao (China), Boris Grachev (Russia) and Le Quang Liem's compatriot Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son from Vietnam.

See if you can find how Bacrot quickly decided matters in his game against Bareev in round 6. White to play and win, solution in the game viewer.

Aeroflot Open 2010
Position after 19...Qxd4

Aeroflot Open 2010 | Group A1 | Round 9 (Final) Standings
Aeroflot Open 2010 | Round 9 Standings

Games rounds 4-9 (top boards)

Game viewer by ChessTempo


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Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers


Jagdish Dube.'s picture

Chessbase ascertains that Liem will cross 2700 points.He has gained 16.2 points
in Moscow Open.25 points gain here in Aeroflot All added together with his last rating of 2647 comes to 2688.2.Can anybody recalculate & post to this column.

CAL|Daniel's picture

You better learn to read. the [8] means he inactive and has been for close to a year's time. That means he was 3602 at this time last year. No way to know if that was good enough to top the blitz list. Nakamura has been rated as high as 3750. So yea its utter bullshit. Maybe when Le was active he was 3602 and Nakamura was 3750? As it is right now, he's inactive and not in the best list period.

sweng's picture

Very exciting times in Chess!

Jens Kristiansen's picture

Wonderfull to see a comparatively new chess nation now producing great players. After especially running through Liem´s game against Nepomniatschi from AeroFlot Open I must acknowledge it: His play very much resembles Carlsen´s, as his trainer also points out.
But those with an eye for that have seen it coming, these vietnamese have made steady progress for years.
I watched them for the first time at the OL in Novi Sad, 1990, where they with a very young team put up a strong and dedicated fighting performance. Among other results they drew with USA and came very close to winning. During the match it prompted an american GM to remark: "I think we should offer them a draw, but perhaps we are 30 years too late!"

test's picture

ChessBase says: "It is obvious that he will be the first Vietnamese to top 2700 on the FIDE rating scale."

That does not necessarily mean next list, although it is indeed easy to read that into it, especially because he's already very close.

Jens Kristiansen's picture

By the way: In Vietnam, as in most East-Asian countries the familyname/patronyme comes first. So it could be we should refer to this young, rising chess star - Le Quang Liem - as "GM Le"?
Well, at least to avoid the widespread confussion on the chinese mashters names, I think someone should ask the young man personally what he prefers his chess name to be.
But of course it could be in vain anyhow to explain this to the highly ethnocentric westerners. Even WCh Wiswanathan has given up on it years ago.

Thomas's picture

Stop press (just posted on the German blog schach.twoday.net) - the following players will join Le Quang Liem in Dortmund: Kramnik, Aronian, Vachier-Lagrave, Meier and Gustafsson. "Local local" Naiditsch (living in Dortmund) will be Georg Meier's second!? And Dortmund will also have Sofia rules, maybe a reaction to the large number of draw in previous years [personally I have mixed feelings about it].

Methinks it's an interesting mix, at the expense of striving for a higher category than 19. Others can start complaining about only six players and about the wrong ones being invited - though IMO it would be both off-topic and premature.

ebutaljib's picture

I don't know about the east asians but calling the current World Champion Viswanathan is completely wrong. That is his fathers name! You have to call him either by his full name, Viswanathan Anand, or just Anand. Or you can call him by his nickname "Vishy". Anand said that he is fine with that nickname.

Viswanathan is NOT an equivalent to a surname. You just can not call him Mr. Viswanathan, because if you do you are actually refering to his father and not him. It's Mr. Anand. There is no other way.

Castro's picture

An almost very good "Swiss".
They are SO right in spliting the players in groups! (That or using mixed systems, to avoid false swisses).
One more round would make it "perfect", with the top group players having surely played a lot of important games among them, namely the 1st played the 2nd, and the tie-breaking criteria results having real and full meaning.

British fan's picture

"Le Quang Liem – a new star in the Vietnam sky
18.02.2010 – Every so often a player has a run for the ages, and this incredible series inevitably ushers in a new name to be reckoned with at the highest echelons of chess. 19-year-old Vietnamese GM Le Quang Liem has just had such a run, passing through the fiercest trial by fire the chess world has to offer, coming first or equal first in two super-strong Russian tournaments." Chessbase

Do you guys agree with Chessbase that he is "a new name to be reckoned with at the highest echelons of chess" or do you think he'll just be another very good player such as Motylev, Alexander, Rublevsky, Sergei, or Nielsen, Peter Heine? I can't wait to read your opinions.

ebutaljib's picture

Le Quang Liem is not SUCH a new name. He has been toping the ICC blitz rating list (over 100 points above Nakamura) for quite some time now.

Jens Kristiansen's picture

@ ebutaljib: Thx for your informations and it could very well be you are right. Just one question: If the WCh was living in Chennai, India (which he is not), how would you look him up in the telephone book?
In the earlier part of his career the present WCh did grumble a little about the westerners way to name him. But, as a friendly and polite man, he seems to have come to terms with that. On the ChessBase-DVD he tells about how Daniel king was the first to nickname him "Vishy", around 1989. And his autobiography/game collection has the author name "Vishy Anand".
So that is it: A man has the right to decide how others should name him. The WCh is Vishy Anand.
So, please, someone ask Le Quang Liem how he wants us to name him. And maybe you should ask some of the chinese masters too.
And he has been very active at the ICC? What is his handle? I have played there regurlarly for some 13-14 years. Could be I have played him as one of the steps on the ladder he had to climb to the summit? :)

Thomas's picture

I don't care that much about ICC blitz ratings (cf. below), but the first "exclamation mark" of Le Quang Liem, as well as Vietnam as a rising chess nation, was already at the Dresden Olympiad in 2008: he scored 8/11 on board 2 (TPR2695) including draws against Karjakin, Bruzon and Ni Hua.

Now, with the rating points gained at the Moscow and Aeroflot opens, he may overtake more well-known juniors as Wesley So, Nepomniachtchi and Caruana. Dortmund will be his next serious test - in particular the games against fellow junior Vachier-Lagrave (I wouldn't yet expect him to compete with Kramnik and Aronian). In any case, as he is still young (to say the least) it wouldn't surprise me if he rises above the level of Motylev, Rublevsky and Nielsen.

About blitz: Le Quang Liem just finished 27th at the Aeroflot blitz. Maybe he couldn't really motivate himself, but it may still say something about claims that Nakamura would "automatically" qualify for the World Blitz Championship if only he bothered to participate? The six qualifiers are Vachier-Lagrave, Bu Xiangzhi, Nepomniachtchi, Mamedov, Savchenko and Grachev.

CAL|Daniel's picture

"# ebutaljib on February 18th, 2010 9:05 pm

Le Quang Liem is not SUCH a new name. He has been toping the ICC blitz rating list (over 100 points above Nakamura) for quite some time now."

Complete and utter Bullshit?!

3504 Nakamura is number 1 on icc blitz.
Followed by
3460 Gabriel Sargissian
3458 Safarli Eltaj

Violiniste's picture

To CAL|Daniel:

You better do a search before writing Bull---t:


Blitz 3602 [8] 555 331 107 993 3602 (23-Oct-2009)

CAL|Daniel's picture

The top of the blitz list is as follows (for the time of this posting):
3504 Smallville(GM)
3452 severomorskij(GM)
3436 ViscaelBarca
3389 GGuseinov(GM)
3375 azerichess(GM)
3309 Mateus(GM)
3308 bxz(GM)
3293 LastKeks(GM)
3264 chaozz(GM)
3244 tapuax(GM)
3241 norival(GM)
3229 K-Georgiev(GM)
3228 avantage(GM)
3225 Infernal-XaM(IM)
3220 Skriabin(IM)
3208 peluvarius(IM)
3193 Porter(GM)
3187 YaacovN

point out where you see: quangliem(GM) ?

FYI to become active again (to top out the list) he would have to play one of the people on the list above about 20 games without losing 98 points. That means roughly he has to go about +14 ie its not possible for him to maintain his current rating which is probably why he decided OVER a year ago to stop playing blitz with that name.

CAL|Daniel's picture

FYI pstat Nakamura and Le you will see nakamura has 12 wins and one loss vs him at blitz. Not a very good record. If Le tried to activate his rating by playing nakamura 14 games... he would lose 228 pts and nakamura would gain 228 pts. So you could expect Nakamura to go to 3732 and Le to go to 3374.

ebutaljib's picture

OK, I admit my data is a bit old (I don't play on ICC), but how is October 2009 over one year back for you??? Le Quang Liem was toping the blitz list, and he did it with comfortable lead over Nakamura who was at that time only 4th or 5th.

Yes at one point Nakamura had 2750, but what happened to him to sheed those 250 points? A stronger opposition perhaps???

Thomas's picture

To me the whole thing suggests that ICC blitz ratings are not only inflated, but also rather meaningless. If you can gain 15 points in a single blitz game, all it takes to (re)claim a #1 spot is playing all night long against carefully chosen opponents - reportedly, this actually happens ... .

Vietnam man's picture

I'm Vietnamese. In Vietnam, we call his name that "Liem". Please call him "GM Liem". The name "Le Quang" is his family name.

ebutaljib's picture

Of course they are meaningless. And they don't even correspond to players real blitz strength. In recently finished Aeroflot blitz (first 6 qualify for World Blitz Championship) Le Quang Liem finished 27th. Also Gabriel Sargissian (currently number 2 on ICC blitz) finished only on place 63!

Perhaps this is why Nakamura year after year refuses to take part, because it is not at all certain that he would qualify. And the myth of him being the best blitz player on the world would disintegrate ;)

ebutaljib's picture
suplexer's picture

seriously u guys i think you inspired an article on chessbase ebutaljib! :)

flshsatr's picture

Nakamura maybe be good in USA and ICC. But he is not tested on OTB blitz chess against world's top grandmasters. There is a reason why he refused to participate or try to qualify to play in World's Blitz Championship. He is afraid He'll get expose of just a very good blitz player and not the best in the world like some of his fans claimed him to be.

Peter Doggers's picture

Nonsense, he didn't refuse to play there; he wasn't invited. This year he is, and he'll play.

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