Vietnamese chess star publishes weekly blog on TuoiTreNews
Updated : Wed, February 29, 2012,9:32 AM (GMT+0700)

Starting this week, Vietnamese grandmaster Le Quang Liem will have his English blog entries published on TuoiTreNews’s new section “Blog Le Quang Liem” on our Sports News page:

The entries, all written by Liem in English, will share the chess talent’s thoughts and feelings from the course of his career with his fans.

Every Saturday, Vietnam’s number 1 chess player will send his entry in Vietnamese to newswire Tuoi Tre Online (, and an English version to TuoiTreNews, sharing with readers his chess-related stories, and his memories and views about sports and life.

Inaugurating this new section is his latest piece of writing, reflecting his thoughts about the simultaneous chess game in Ho Chi Minh City last Wednesday preceding the HD Bank International Open Chess Tournament.

The Vietnamese version of his blog entry can be read at:

Remembering my childhood

>> Read in Vietnamese

On the sidelines of the press briefing ahead of the HD Bank International Open Chess tournament’s in Ho Chi Minh City last Wednesday, I joined in the simultaneous chess event, and played with fans. It was really a very enjoyable challenge, although it is still quite new and has been only organized a few times in Vietnam.

Simultaneous Chess is a game in which a player plays against various opponents. This kind of exhibition is pretty popular throughout the chess world. Fans take their seats with chess boards in front of them, while the main player has to move from board to board, and makes his moves with each walking turn.

Simultaneous Chess is even regarded as a Guinness world record. Over the last few years, many chess players from around the world have broken records in this kind of event. The latest attempt was made by an Iranian grandmaster in February 2010 — Ghaem Maghami played simultaneously against 604 competitors (over half of them were adults).

The multiple games lasted for 25 hours, with the grandmaster winning 580 games, drawing 16 and losing 8 games (97.35 percent), which broke the previous world record of an Israeli grandmaster, who played agains 523 opponents. In these events one might have to walk more than half a kilometer each turn only to make a move on all boards. Therefore, these record-breaking attempts require months of serious preparation , especially in terms of physical health, in order to be ready for the extremely long chess games.

Apart from the detail mentioned above, simultaneous chess is often organized as a friendly activity, where it can build up new relationships and also offer an interesting playing-field for those sharing the same hobby. It can help popularize the game of chess as well.

At the International Congress of Mathematicians (ICM) in Hyderabad (India) in August 2010, World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand played simultaneous games against 40 mathematicians in more than three hours. Other grandmasters from all over the world have also played simuls many times, normally versus 20 to 30 opponents, with the main intention of sharing experience with other chess enthusiasts.

In this photo, I was playing a simul with 20 fans

Back to the event that I attended, I played a simul on 20 chessboards. The number of opponents was not great, but my task was not easy in any way. Walking many rounds is an energy-consuming activity, and you cannot concentrate on the games as intensively as you usually do; moreover, the average time spent for each board is also limited. These are the objective difficulties for anyone who is willing to play Simultaneous Chess.

After nearly two hours, all the games finished. I was pleased to see the other players happy and joyful. Some people who are interested in chess also talked to me and we exchanged a few ideas on the methods to study and perform better in chess tournaments.

Looking at the young players concentrating on each move, I felt like I was looking at myself more than 10 years ago, when I was just getting acquainted with this mental sport. I always hope that with strong passion and determination to study and work on chess seriously, these young players can improve their skills quickly. They will continue to achieve more and more successes and devote their enthusiasm to chess development in Vietnam.

Written by Le Quang Liem


Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar
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