Youth triumphed over experience as 19-year-old Sok Lim Heng outmoved two-time champion Chheav Bora in the final round of the 2018 Angkor Sangkran Khmer Chess Championship.
The final battle to crown the new ‘King of Chess’ was a highlight of the traditional Khmer New Year festivities at Angkor Wat on Monday.
After Bora and Lim Heng smoothly made their way through a select field of eight qualifiers to set up the pieces for the championship game, there was lively anticipation that the fast emerging Phnom Penh prospect Lim Heng and Kampong Cham’s Bora would produce a game of high quality.
And chess enthusiasts and onlookers including tourists were not disappointed as a confident Lim Heng handled his pieces tactically better than his rival to be crowned the King of Khmer chess.
The champion received a gold medal along with prize money of 10 million riel (around $2,500), and additional rewards for Lim Heng also came from Prime Minister Hun Sen, who offered 20 million riel, and Siem Reap Governor Khim Bunsong, who added another 10 million riel.
Runner-up Bora had to be content with a silver medal and 18 million riel in total, including 12 million riel from the Prime Minister.
Third-placed Thim Dy from Kampong Cham was compensated for his efforts with a bronze medal and a prize of 12 million riel, out of which the Prime Minister’s personal contribution was 8 million riel.
In the lead-up to the grand final, 24 players from seven cities and provinces – Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville, Kampong Speu, Kampong Cham, Siem Reap, Kratie and Battambang – vied to qualify for the eight places in the Angkor Sangkran finals.
The final field of candidates included Chheav Bora, Dim Dina, Keo Vathana, Bun Kea Seng, Bou Pon Malika, Eng Sengheak, Siv Sin and Sok Lim Heng.