Tran Minh Thang – golden boy of Vietnamese chess
By Gia Bao

Nhan Dan – Vietnam successfully hosted the World Youth Chess Championships for the first time in Vung Tau from October 19 to October 31 with ‘phenomenon’ Tran Minh Thang regarded as one of the most outstanding sport events of Vietnam in 2008.

The tournament featured 1,500 competitors from 72 countries and territories including 120 grand masters from Russia, France, the US, Hungary, India, China…

8 year-old Tran Minh Thang became a phenomenon when he surpassed 94 other competitors in U-8 category to win the sole gold medal for Vietnam.

As a host, Vietnam set a goal of winning at least one gold but wasn’t expecting young master Thang to do it over the favourite veterans. At this tournament, grand master Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son only grabbed a silver in U-18 category.

Thang had an easy victory over Jonah Lee from Canada in the final round on October 30. And after 11 rounds of the Swiss-style tournament, he secured 10 points for gold medal. His only loss was in the fifth round to Alireza Olamaei from Iran.

Everyone who once met Thang must agree that this boy was born to play chess.

Born in Dong Ngac commune, Tu Liem district, Hanoi in a poor family, Thang, inspired by his brother and sister found his true passion in chess when he was only four.

His talent was soon discovered by coaches in Hanoi who provided him a systematic training. This gifted and hard-working boy really amazed the coaches with his ability of knowing by heart over 100 sample chess games of world grand masters.

Becoming the world champion at 8, the new hope for Vietnamese chess, Tran Minh Thang, did really make a strong impression on international competitors. He also helped the host country complete its gold collection in every category from U-8 to U-20 after 15 years of participation at the World Youth Championships.

For this talented young master, that is his 16th gold medal in addition to his other 15 golds already won at the national and international competitions.


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Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar
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