Vietnamese xiangqi masters to checkmate world rivals

October 17, 2023 - 17:24
 Lại Lý Huynh and Nguyễn Thành Bảo will travel to the US to defend their xiangqi titles in November.


Lại Lý Huynh of Việt Nam (left) plays Zhao Xinxin of China at the 19th Asian Games. Huynh will compete in the World Xiangqi Championship next month in the US. VNS Photos Quý Lượng

HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam will defend its two titles at the 18th World Xiangqi Championship which will be organised next month in Houston, Texas, the US.

Last year, Lại Lý Huynh and Nguyễn Thành Bảo won gold in the men's standard xiangqi team event before Huynh championed in the men's individual rapid xiangqi category in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia.

In addition to the golds, Bảo also took the bronze in men's individual standard xiangqi. Their junior teammates secured three golds, two silvers and two bronzes in the U16 and U12 boys' and girls' classes. 

They made the 2022 championship the most successful competition of Việt Nam so far at the world level.

Huynh and Bảo will lead the Vietnamese delegation for their stay in Houston from November 19-25.

This is the first time ever such an event is hosted in the United States.

They will compete for the highest honour against more than 120 world-class players from some 30 countries and regions around the world in the men's individual, team, women's individual, and junior events.

The Vietnamese athletes just competed at the 19th Asian Games in China, winning a silver in the mixed team and one bronze in the men's individual events.

Although they could not take a gold as expected, Huynh and Bảo confirmed that they learnt a lot from strong masters, especially the host players, who will also compete in Houston for the world titles.

"Defending a title has never been an easy task. However after each match in Hangzhou Games I enriched my knowledge and sharpened my skills through quality games," said Bảo.

In order to encourage the players to fight for the first place and achieve good results, the total prize of this competition is more than US$70,000.

Nguyễn Thành Bảo is expected to put on a strong performance at the world championship.

"The world championship will see the best players from around the world compete with each other. Our Houston association is very honoured to have the opportunity to host this event," Hu Yushan, co-chair of the organizing committee of the championship and president of the Houston Xiangqi Association, said.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the World Xiangqi Federation, and celebration activities will include a 30-year large-scale photo exhibition.

A series of activities such as xiangqi culture exhibition, artificial intelligence forum, rapid xiangqi competition and exhibition competition will also be held.

Organisers said the competition would attract tens of millions of local and global xiangqi or Chinese chess enthusiasts.

The opening and closing ceremonies and the whole process of the competition will be live broadcast through major online media platforms in both the US and other countries and regions.

"This championship will not only help promote the game, but also increase the understanding and friendship of global citizens," Hu said, noting that the popularity of Chinese chess has been growing in Europe and America.

According to the website, Chinese chess is widely played throughout Asia and has over a billion players globally.

The World Xiangqi Championship debuted in Singapore in 1990 and has been organised every two years since 1991. VNS