Top international chess players will compete for a prize pool of US$45,000 at the seventh HDBank International Open Chess Tournament to open this Sunday in Ho Chi Minh City.
The annual tournament, sponsored by Ho Chi Minh City Development Bank (HDBank), will run from March 12 to 17 at De Nhat Hotel in Tan Binh District, Ho Chi Minh City.
More than 230 chess players from 25 countries have registered to take part in the nine-round Swiss-style contest, including Russia, Ukraine, China, India, Switzerland and Vietnam.
Host Vietnam will be sending its best lineup to the competition, led by grandmasters Le Quang Liem (Elo 2712) and Pham Le Thao Nguyen (Elo 2351), who are the national men’s and women’s champions respectively.
Top professional players will compete in the Masters bracket, while those with an Elo of less than 2100 will be sorted into the Challengers bracket.
In the men’s division, Liem will face tough competition from Chinese champion Wei Yi (Elo 2725), whose participation in the tournament has forced Liem into the second seed position.
“Competition will be fierce and unpredictable,” commented Lam Minh Chau, head coach of Vietnam’s team at the tournament.
“While Liem pulled off a draw with Wei Yi at last year’s Asian Chess Championship and defeated Bu Xiangzhi at the Aeroflot Open 2010 in Russia, the chances of winning are even at the start of each game.”
“Liem seemed excited to be the second seed, as it would pose more of a challenge for him to overcome,” said Nguyen Phuoc Trung, general secretary of the Vietnam Chess Federation.
Meanwhile, Liem’s female teammate Pham Le Thao Nguyen will be defending her championship against former world champion Antoaneta Stefanova (Elo 2533) from Bulgaria, as well as world’s 18th best female chess player Lei Tingjie (Elo 2480) from China.
This year’s event will feature a record total prize pool of $45,000, of which the winner of the Masters division will receive $13,000.