A Chess News Agency report this week speaks volumes about the potential of one of the world’s most dynamic frontier markets: 22-year-old Vietnam grandmaster Le Quang Liem won the World Blitz Championship, not only establishing his country as a global chess power but also calling attention to its brainpower.
Along with the gold medal, Liem’s defeat of the silver and bronze medalists from Ukraine earned him $40,000 in prize money. He started playing chess 15 years ago, about the time Vietnam started gearing up to be a player in the global economy.
The achievement at the chess table is the latest of many signs Vietnam’s population of nearly 100 million has the capacity to be a global economic leader. It remains to be seen whether the country will cultivate its human capital — or stifle its people’s creative energy.
Unleashing Vietnam’s brainpower and creative energy depends on development of social infrastructure — especially health and education. that will require, as one wry Hanoi visitor from the countryside observes, less attention to gleaming skyscrapers that adorn the capital city and a greater focus on better schools and hospitals.