|Lại Lý Huynh of Việt Nam (left) plays Meng Chen of China during the 19th World Xiangqi Championship which wraps up in the US over the weekend. — XINHUA/VNA Photo
HÀ NỘI — Grandmaster Lại Lý Huynh successfully defended his rapid xiangqi (Chinese chess) title at the World Xiangqi Championship which closed on November 26, Hà Nội time, in Texas, the US.
The Vietnamese reigning champion defeated Chinese powerhouse Meng Chen in the last round match. He secured six wins and three draws to have 15 points, the best score among all participants.
Malaysian Li De Zhi took silver and Vietnamese Nguyễn Minh Nhật Quang earned bronze.
Last year saw the debut of the rapid xianqi category at the world championship. Huynh emerged as the victor, beating strong rivals to take his title in Malaysia.
It was his second medal at the Texas event. Earlier, Huynh missed his gold in the standard xiangqi category.
Huynh stormed to win all matches to secure a place in the men's final match against Chinese Grandmaster Meng.
In a game brimming with skilful plays and opportunities, Huynh appeared poised to clinch his first world championship title, dominating the early stages of the match.
However, a pivotal error in the endgame led to a draw, pushing the match into a high-stakes sudden-death tiebreaker.
|Lại Lý Huynh of Việt Nam (left) receives silver in the 19th World Xiangqi Championship's standard event. — XINHUA/VNA Photo
Meng's persistence and skill shone through. Despite the challenge of moving second, he managed a stunning comeback to defeat 33-year-old Huynh.
In the team standard event, Việt Nam's five-time champion Huynh and Quang secured the silver medal, failing to defend their title as Quang did not reach his peak. His 12th place overall was not enough to help Việt Nam hold the top podium.
The winner was the team of Singapore, and Malaysia placed third.
Vietnamese female competitors Nguyễn Hoàng Yến and Lê Thị Kim Loan could not make the top three.
The champion was Tang Sinan of China, followed by her fellow Chinese Liu Huan, and Vietnamese-origin Ngô Lan Hương of Singapore.
The week-long competition, together with the fourth World Youth Xiangqi Championship being held concurrently, attracted a total of more than 80 participants from 13 countries and regions.
In the junior competitions, Việt Nam sent 11 masters to the U12 and U16 boys and girls categories.
Trần Nguyễn Minh Hằng championed in the U12 girls. Đinh Trần Thanh Lam secured bronze in the U16 girls and Lê Thế Bảo bagged bronze in the U12 boys.
As stated on the Xiangqi.com website, Chinese chess dates back to at least 700 AD. Boasting over a billion players, it has evolved into a global game and attracted die-hard fans worldwide.
This was the first time the event was organised in the US. The inaugural tournament took place in Singapore in 1990 and has been held biennially by the WXF. — VNS