Chess players Pham Thanh Phuong Thao and Ton Nu Hong An won the first gold medal for Vietnam at the 2023 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games after topping the Ouk Chaktrang women’s doubles event on Tuesday.
Ouk Chaktrang, or Cambodian chess, is the first sport that opens for competition at the 2023 SEA Games, which is hosted by Cambodia in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap Province, Preah Sihanouk Province, Kampot Province, and Kep Province until May 17, with the opening ceremony scheduled for May 5.
The Ouk Chaktrang competitions are taking place from April 29 to May 9 with seven events.
In the women’s doubles event, which was competed by seven countries, Thao and An won their match against the Philippine players, their fifth win in a row, to take the top spot.
On their way to the gold medal, they beat Cambodia, Myanmar, Malaysia, and Thailand at the Royal University of Phnom Penh.
The impressive performance of the duo makes them early champions even though they still have one match to play against Laos on May 6.
This is the first time Ouk Chaktrang, the traditional chess of Cambodia, has been held at the SEA Games. It is widely known among Khmer communities, including those in Vietnam.
The Vietnamese players have only been learning Ouk Chaktrang for about eight months in preparation for this tournament, according to the Vietnam News Agency.
Following Thao and An’s gold medal, Pham Van Tien, chairman of the Vietnam Chess Federation, decided to reward each gold medal winner with a prize of US$2,000.