Vietnam surpassed Thailand in the SEA Games' medal tally to take second place with 56 golds, 55 silvers and 59 bronzes after a great competition day on Nov. 16 in Indonesia.

Host Indonesia remained firmly on top with 87 golds while Thailand reached a new total of 52.

Le Quang Liem claimed a gold medal for Vietnam when he triumphed over Malaysian master Mok Tze Meng in blindfold chess.

It was the first time the event was included in the SEA Games and also Liem's first trial, but the Vietnamese International Super Grandmaster had no difficulty in defeating his rivals.

Liem drew with his teammate Nguyen Anh Dung in the opening match before winning his next six contests. His only loss was to Dawwin Laylo of the Philippines in the fourth game.

"I was like a fish out of water when I first played blindfold chess. But when I became familiar with it, it was no longer difficult to me," said world No 25 Liem.

In the coming days, Liem will be vying for another individual title in the rapid chess event.

Liem's gold medal was the second for Vietnam on Nov. 16. Earlier, mixed pair Dao Thien Hai and Nguyen Thi Thanh An won in the standard chess event with 10 points after 5 rounds.

In swimming, teenager Hoang Quy Phuoc pocketed his second title in the men's 100m freestyle with a time of 50.79sec. The swimmer surged ahead of the Singaporean rival Yeo Kai Quan in the last metres to win gold.

With this performance, Phuoc set a new national record and earned Vietnam its second gold medal in swimming.

Wrestler Nguyen Huy Ha also tasted glory in the men's 55kg category. Ha defeated a Thai opponent 2-0 in the final match.

"My opponent was young so I was able to stay calm and confident during the competition. My skill, technique and experiences helped me beat him. I am happy because it is my second SEA Games gold medal in a row," said Ha.

His teammate Nguyen The Anh also took home a gold in the men's 60kg after defeating a Filipino rival 2-0 in the final.

The rowing team also joined the medal tally list after winning in the women's doubles W2 and women's quartet 2,000m events.

According to coach Pham Thi Ngoc La, there are six events to be organised on Nov. 17 and Vietnamese athletes have a shot at winning them all.

The marksmen on Nov. 16 brought home two more golds in the men's rifle three positions and 10m mobile target pistol events.

The shooting team successfully exceeded their target of five gold medals, winning in seven out of 14 events organised in Indonesia .

The first medal of the day went to marathon runner Pham Thi Binh who came in third for a bronze, the first ever for Vietnam in SEA Games.

Making her debut at the Games this year, Binh had no expectations of taking home a gold, although her coach Nguyen Tuan Anh predicted that she will place in the top three based on her statistics in training.

Vietnam are expected to get more gold when judo event starts on Nov. 17.

Queen Van Ngoc Tu will attempt her fifth SEA Games crown.

The 24-year-old will compete in the women's 48kg category and, in the case of her winning this year's title, will have a record breaking day.

Tu first triumphed at the 23th SEA Games in the Philippines , her international debut, and has dominated the regional tournament ever since.

The Soc Trang Province-born athlete is also the only in the Southeast Asia to grab a [bronze] medal from the Asian championships.

The fifth SEA Games gold medal will make her the richest judokas. She will rank among other national icons such as wrestler Man Ba Xuan, taekwondo artist Nguyen Van Hung and pencak silat fighter Trinh Thi Mui.

In this SEA Games, Tu will have a chance to earn more of the points she needs for a ticket for the London Olympics next summer./.