|Your move: Ngo Lan Huong (left) of Viet Nam will come to Australia this weekend to defend her Asian xiangqi champion title. — Photo thegioicotuong.com
HA NOI (VNS)— Viet Nam will leave for Sydney, Australia tomorrow to defend their titles at the Asian Xiangqi (Chinese chess) Individual Championships starting this Sunday.
"Our goal is to maintain our trophies in men's and women's individual events," said coach Hoang Dinh Hong.
"However, this will be a difficult task as our rivals have become more powerful. China will be our toughest opponents." Hong said Ngo Lan Huong was still a title candidate on the women's side but she had to try her best and be careful in making every move because there would be many surprises during the competition.
The coach was not confident about Vietnamese male masters, saying that they only had a 50-50 chance.
"Viet Nam and China equally share the opportunity to win. Things will be up to chance when they face each other. I think that the team with white pieces will have a higher chance of winning," Hong said.
Two of those competing for Viet Nam are national champion Lai Ly Huynh and Minh Nhat, neither of whom competed at last year's championships.
"Last year winner Nguyen Hoang Lam and bronze medallist Bui Duong Tran joined the Asian tourneys, so they could adapt to the difficult situation. Huynh and Nhat are young and lack international experience. But they played best in a July tournament held to select athletes for the Sydney competition. They are at their peak at present and at the same level as Chinese masters," Hong said.
The 16th championships will wrap up on September 27. — VNS