The Czech Grandmaster who is seeded No 3 yesterday defeated GM Swapnil Dhopade of India to earn his third victory in a row and jump to the top of the ranking with three points.
His next opponent will be three-point Zhao Jun of China.
Chinese GM Wang Hao, the No 1 seed, is in second position after pocketing his third win yesterday against Russian GMAnton Shomoev in 49 moves.
GM Zhang Zhong of Singapore secured third place with a victory over Vietnamese GM Nguyen Anh Dung.
Zhong and Wang will meet in the fourth round play-off today at De Nhat Hotel.
Vietnam’s best hope Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son unexpectedly drew his third round match against International Master Stanislav Bogdanovich of Ukraine.
In a match that Bogdanovich intentionally played defence Son agreed to share the points after 34 moves.
The tie dropped him to the second group in fifth position. Son will face Indian IM Ghosh Diptayan next.
No 2 seed, GM Ni Hua, also from China gained his second win beating Vietnamese FIDE Master Dang Hoang Son to bounce back to the upper half of the table.
Another Vietnamese in the top 10 is Vo Thanh Ninh who has earned 2.5 points. He is in eighth position.
Female GM Nguyen Thi Thanh An continued her outstanding performance when she forced IM Diu Viacheslav of Russia into a draw after 43 moves.
An, who is the only female master not to lose at the event, will face U16 master Tin Jingyao of Singapore next.
The sixth edition of the annual tournament sees a disabled athlete in Nguyen Manh Hung competing in the Challenging category.
Hung is a visually impaired master. He did not win in the first rounds but was pleased to make his second international competition.
“Losing is normal in tournament, especially when my rivals are at a higher level. I have to work harder for more experience and Elo points,” said the 33-year-old master who hopes to win at least one game here.
Hung, who wrote a book to introduce chess to visually impaired people, is one of several players with the same disability that can compete in events for normal athletes.
He was a member of Vietnam’s chess team at the ParaGames in Thailand in 2007.