With Vietnam's top-seeded Grandmaster Le Quang Liem suffering his first defeat on Jan. 6, the HDBank Open Cup chess tournament has been thrown wide open.

At the Rex Hotel in HCM City, Liem, the world No 79, surprisingly lost to eighth-seeded Filipino GM Gomez John Paul in the fifth round.

Paul now tops the table with five points.

He is followed by Chinese GM Yu Yangyi with 4.5 points and Vietnamese GM Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son, who is on four points after beating another Chinese GM Zhou Weiqi on Jan. 6.

The loss has left 20-year-old Liem on 3.5 points. With just four more rounds to go, Liem may have left himself with too much to do to win his first title of the year.

Earlier, he had beaten Singapore 's Fernandez Daniel Howard in the first round and China 's GM Lou Yiping in the second round, drew with Bitoon Richard of the Philippines, and beat compatriot Nguyen Duc Hoa in the fourth.

Also on 3.5 points are GMs Cao Sang and Tran Thanh Tu of Vietnam, Richard, GMs Laylo Darwin and Salvador Roland and IMs Barbosa Oliver and Dimakiling of the Philippines, GMs Wen Yang, Zhao Jun, and Wang Chen of China .

The week-long tournament has attracted 30 Vietnamese players and 35 others from China, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand and Ukraine.

It concludes on Jan. 9./.