Chess player Nhật bags International Master's norm in Hà Nội

September 11, 2022 - 07:36
Eighteen-year-old Đào Minh Nhật has become the first Vietnamese chess player to gain an International Master (IM) norm via the International Master Chess Tournament 2022 held recently in Hà Nội
Đào Minh Nhật has recently become the first Vietnamese chess player to earn an International Master (IM) norm in an event held in Việt Nam. — Photo courtesy of Nhật

Eighteen-year-old Đào Minh Nhật has just become the first Vietnamese chess player to achieve an International Master (IM) norm via the Hà Nội International Master Chess Tournament 2022. Nhật is the No 1 U20 player in the country. Thanh Nga chats with him.

Inner Sanctum: Congratulations on becoming the first Vietnamese player to earn an International Master norm via the Hà Nội International Master Chess Tournament 2022. How do you feel?

After a long time of not being able to participate in chess tournaments due to the COVID pandemic, I felt very happy to compete and achieve the goal I set out for myself.

Inner Sanctum: Can you tell me a bit about this tournament? Before, no Vietnamese player achieved any IM norm in an event held in Việt Nam, right?

The round-robin tournament, the Hà Nội International Master Chess Tournament 2022, was organised by the president of the Future Masters Club, International Grandmaster Bùi Vinh and the Việt Nam Chess Federation, bringing together 10 players from four countries, of which I was one of six Vietnamese players. I won the event to gain one more IM norm.

In Việt Nam, there have not been many tournaments that have met the conditions for obtaining international standards according to FIDE regulations, so no athlete has obtained the IM standard in the country. The International Chess Federation is commonly referred to by its French acronym FIDE.

International Master is the second highest official chess title, after International Grandmaster (GM). Previously, Vietnamese players who wanted to win the IM or GM title generally had to go abroad for competitions. However, the Hà Nội International Chess Tournament can help them save time and travel costs.

The event also helped increase the international Elo rating for Vietnamese chess players and determine the international standard for referees and tournament organisers.

Inner Sanctum: You earned an additional 41 Elo points after this event, raising your Elo to 2,310 to become FIDE Master (FM). Can you tell me about this?

Titles are achieved through conquering a certain level of Elo or being promoted through tournaments. Specifically, with an Elo level of 2,200, the player will be awarded the Candidate Master (CM) title. With the Elo rating of 2,300, the player will be a FIDE Master (FM). In the two higher titles, IM and GM, players need to add norms and have a higher Elo level.

Inner Sanctum: To be honoured an IM title, you must get two more norms and raise your Elo to 2,400?

Currently, I already have two IM norms, so I just need one more norm to reach the requirement of three norms and increase my Elo rating to 2,400 to be awarded the IM title.

Before the Hà Nội International Master Chess Tournament, I won one IM norm in the Southeast Asia U16 Chess Championship in Myanmar 2019. And I will participate in the upcoming Asian U18 Chess Championship in Indonesia to earn the remaining norm.

According to the rule of the International Chess Federation, to qualify for the IM title, I must compete and gain norms in three different countries.

Inner Sanctum: Can you talk about your passion for chess?

I played chess from the age of six. When I was eight years old, I started playing professionally. I think chess is so good that I can't give it up. At first, I didn't have many achievements, but thanks to my efforts and perseverance over a long period of time, I have continued to stick with this passion until now, and the achievements are quite good.

Inner Sanctum: What achievements have you gained?

In the international events, I won a gold medal at the 2019 Southeast Asian Youth Chess Championship, and a silver medal at the 2018 Asian Youth Chess Championship. As for the domestic tournaments, I won the 2017 and 2020 tournaments.

Inner Sanctum: Did you have any interesting or difficult experiences during training and competition?

My training and competition always face certain difficulties and challenges regarding facilities and limited investment resources. However, chess also gives me many valuable life experiences.

Inner Sanctum: Do training and competition affect your study at school?

To be able to practise and compete, I have to find a way to balance my time between sport and study. This also affects my learning a lot.

Inner Sanctum: Vietnamese No 1 chess player GM Lê Quang Liên studied in the US. What about you, do you intend to study abroad?

I have no plans to study abroad, but if I have the opportunity, I will consider it.

Inner Sanctum: How do you evaluate Vietnamese players and the chances of Vietnamese chess in international tournaments?

Vietnamese players are very strong but have little chance to win titles and gain higher Elo rankings because the number of tournaments is limited. The Vietnamese team used to be in the top 10 teams of the Olympiad event, which is a biennial chess tournament with teams representing nations the world over, so we can certainly compete well in international tournaments. For example, GM Liêm is currently in the top 30 chess players in the world. VNS