Filipino-American player Wesley So appreciated Le Quang Liem before the two players clashed in the final of the Chessable Masters online fast chess tournament.

After eliminating Vladislav Artemiev in the semi-finals on the evening of August 6, Wesley So gave an interview to Chess24. At that time, the remaining semi-final between Quang Liem and Levon Aronian had not ended. When asked who he would prefer to meet in the final, So said: “Before the match Levon was rated higher, but Liem destroyed him in the first semi-final. I think of course Levon is stronger, when he is standing. 5th in the world, so I’d rather see Liem, but Liem is doing great at this tournament, with the same performance as Elo 2.850. Liem has also just taken over as Webster’s chess coach. The player is strong and can help him prepare for the tournament. Levon is good, but Quang Liem is very unpredictable.”

So used to be Quang Liem’s ​​teammate at Webster, but the Filipino chess player’s chess career improved when he was ranked ninth in the world and was often invited to the super tournament. Regarding the relationship with his teammates, So said: “I have a good relationship with Liem, because we are about the same age. A few years ago we used to play together online. We also competed together at Webster. I remember entering the school in 2012, and Liem in 2013. At that time he passed the Elo 2,700 mark. Liem was once the most likable player in the team, and probably still is now.

Quang Liem (left) and So first clashed in the final of a super tournament, even if it was just an online fast chess game.

Quang Liem (left) and So first clashed in the final of a super tournament, even if it was just an online fast chess game.

So and Quang Liem both received scholarships at Webster. If So only studied for two and a half years and then dropped out to become a professional chess player, Quang Liem graduated from Webster with two bachelor’s degrees: Financial Science and Management Arts. So is in the group of the strongest players, and is often invited to the super tournament. Quang Liem rarely participates in standard chess tournaments. “Liem is living in St Louis, and I’m in Minnesota,” So added. “If we were closer, we would have practiced together more. I think Liem hasn’t played chess in almost two years. So I’m glad he took the coaching job at Webster.”

After five hours of wits with Aronian, Quang Liem won armageddon because his opponent ran out of time. The number one player in Vietnam expressed his happiness after reaching the final. He said: “I should have finished the match much earlier. In game three, when I lost the game, I was very embarrassed. After that defeat, I had a hard time playing the fourth game. Even though I had the advantage at times. victory, but running out of time prevented me from finding the best move The armageddon win wasn’t complete, because I wanted to win the game more.

Quang Liem once missed the chance to win, then lost to Aronian in the fourth round of the 2019 World Cup. When Aronian equaled the score in the Chessable Masters semi-finals, Quang Liem was embarrassed. He said: “I had to walk around the room, stay calm and tell myself that everything was still under control. I almost beat Aronian a few times but somehow he still fought back. So I’m very happy. Because of this win, it means a lot to me.”

Quang Liem entered the semi-finals after overwhelmingly defeating world number 12 player Alireza Firouzja. In the semi-finals, he again surpassed the Aronian world number five. In front of Quang Liem is world number nine So. “I did not expect to be able to defeat these opponents,” added the HCM City player. “I’ve been training and preparing seriously, but I see them on another level so far. I think maybe this is just a bad day for Aronian, but for me it’s a good day.”

Quang Liem and So have clashed many times in the past, recently the victory is in favor of the American player. Last month, So beat Quang Liem 5.5-0.5 in the quarterfinals of San Fermin Mudial. In the Banter Series semi-finals in September 2020, So also won 6-3.

The final match of Chessable Masters will take place from 10pm on August 7, Hanoi time

Xuan Binh

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