Vietnam’s top player Le Quang Liem lost to Magnus Carlsen in the quarterfinals of Airthings Masters on Thursday.
In the first game, Carlsen played white and easily beat Liem. During the other three games, the Norwegian world champion didn’t make any mistake, culminating in a draw. In the last game, though Carlsen could have easily won, he forced an intentional draw, which was enough for him to advance, while Liem got eliminated.
The key to this quarterfinal lay in the first match, in which Liem failed to spot a combo that would put him into a better position as Carlsen pushed forward. After Liem missed his chance, Carlsen enjoyed a huge endgame advantage, which he used to win.
In the following matches, Liem played white but couldn’t create an advantage for himself and accepted more draws.
Carlsen will play Russian GM Vladislav Artemiev in the next game. The other semifinal will be between Ian Nepomniachtchi and Andrey Esipenko.
Airthings Masters is the first tournament of the grand series 2022 Champion Chess Tour. The event, which takes place from Feb. 19 to 26, has 16 players and six of whom are in the world’s top 10. Eight players will advance to the knockout stage.
This is considered a successful tournament for Liem, as he made it into the top eight, which guaranteed him a spot in the next event of Champion Chess Tour. He received prize money of $7,500.
In May, Liem will return to Vietnam to compete in SEA Games 31.
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