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One of the world’s elite chess grandmasters credits a Toronto player for giving him a deeper understanding and appreciation of the game.

Liem Le is currently ranked 21st in the world and is also a former world blitz champion. Earlier this year he defeated Magnus Carlsen on the world champion’s home turf of Oslo, Norway.

But Le says when he was a young player eager to improve his game, he turned to Evgeny Bareev, the top-ranked player in Canada.

Le grew up in Vietnam and became a grandmaster at the age of 15, the best performance ever by a player in his country. While he received strong support from the government and the sports authorities in Ho Chi Minh City and Vietnam, he needed an extra push.

“At that point, no one could tell me how to get my rating higher,” he said. He invited Bareev to Vietnam on two separate occasions to train him and provide insights. “I learned a lot from him.”

Le’s rating gradually improved to the lofty level of 2728, making him one of the world’s strongest players. He spends most of his time coaching players at Webster University in St. Louis, and says he still owes a debt of gratitude to his Canadian mentor.

Liem Le v. David Anton Guijarro, Skilling Online, 2020


How does Le, as White, break through?

Le played 30.f5 and after gxf5 31.Bxf5 Qh6 32.Bg6+ Black resigned.