1st Johor International Chess Open 2014

By , September 10, 2014

Johor Bahru City Square

A new tournament for the committed traveller – the First Johor International Chess Open – takes place in Johor Bahru City Square, Malaysia, 1-6 December 2014. More details and online registration at JohorChessAssociation.com . Alternatively you can download the registration form here


Myanmar International Open 2014

By , September 3, 2014

Organized by Myanmar Chess Federation
Generously funded by Kasparov Chess Foundation Asia-Pacific

1. Organization
This event is organized by Myanmar Chess Federation under the auspices of the Myanmar National Olympic Council.

2. Schedule
23rd November : Arrival of Players (After 1200 hour) : Technical Meeting – 2000 hour (Absent players shall not be paired for Round 1)
24th November : Opening Ceremony – 0900 hour : Round 1 – 0930 hour; Round 2 – 1600 hour
25th November : Round 3 – 0900 hour; Round 4 – 1530 hour
26th November : Round 5 – 0900 hour; Round 6 – 1530 hour
27th November : REST DAY
28th November : Round 7 – 0900 hour; Round 8 – 1530 hour
29th November : Round 9 – 0900 hour; Closing Ceremony – 1630 hour
30th November : Departure of Players (Before 1200 hour)

3. Time Control and Format

  • 90 minutes for the whole game with 30 seconds increment for every move starting from the first move
  • Zero-Start shall be applied
  • Swiss System; FIDE-rated and titled; Swiss Manager shall be used for pairing

4. Prizes

  • Open: 1st US$ 3,000; 2nd US$ 1,600; 3rd US$ 1,400; 4th US$ 1,200; 5th US$ 1,000; 6th US$ 700; 7th US$ 500; 8th US$ 300; 9th to 12th US$ 200 each
  • Best Myanmar Players: 1st US$ 700; 2nd US$ 500; 3rd US$ 300
  • Best Women Player and Best Junior Players (U-18, U-14, U-10): US$ 100 each
  • Players must have minimum score of 4 points to qualify for the prizes. Prize money shall be shared equally among the tied-players

5. Entry Fees

  • Rated Players: Myanmar Chess Federation Members – US$ 60; Others – US$ 120
  • Unrated Players: Myanmar Chess Federation Members – US$ 80; Others – US$ 160
  • Entry fee is non-refundable. Entry Fees are waived for GMs, WGMs, IMs and WIMs.
  • There will be a discount of 25% of entry fees for those who register on or before 30th September, 2014.

6. Registration

Registration form shall be completed and sent back to the organizer by email via mgmglwin25@gmail.com by 15th October, 2014.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: FIDE regulations do not allow us to accept any entries without an official FIDE ID number. The rating of this tournament depends on this rule and any player who wishes to participate must obtain his/her FIDE ID from their own federations.

  • Extra charges of late entry fees (US$ 50) shall be applied to the players, who register from 16th October to 15th November, 2014
  • No registration shall be accepted after 15th November, 2014
  • 10 GMs who register first will be provided with free hotel room on twin sharing basic including breakfast

7. Souvenirs

Souvenirs are to be distributed free for the participants by the organizer.

8. Playing Venue & Official Hotel

Central Hotel, Bogyoke Aung San Road, Yangon.
Tel: (95-1)241001to241020; Fax: (95-1)248003; Email: centralreservationygn@gmail.com

Central Hotel, Yangon

The hotel is located in the center of Yangon. There are many places of interest such as the landmark of Myanmar; Shwedagon Pagoda, Sule Pagoda, Bogyoke Aung San Market, Central Railway Station, Yangon Port, National Museum within the walking distance. More information can be found at www.myanmar.com.

Room rates (Inclusive of breakfast & Free Wi-Fi)
Superior – US$ 80; Deluxe – US$ 95; Junior Suite – US$ 120; Executive Suite – US$ 195
Reservation can be made directly to the hotel by fax or email.
There are a number of budget hotels within walking distance from the venue. They can be found at Agoda

9. Payment

Myanmar Chess Federation members shall pay their dues upon registration. Foreign players shall settle payment upon the arrival.

10. Entry Visa

This is necessary to have the entry visa before entering Myanmar. The players from foreign countries have to apply and get the entry visa from the nearest Myanmar Embassy in their countries. Information is available here.

11. The organizers have the right to reject any entry without giving reasons.

Tournament Journal for the Thailand Open 2014

By , July 30, 2014
BCC Open 2014 Tournament Journal

A 54-page eulogy to the 14th BCC Open. Is your picture in it?


The tournament journal is now available for free download (right-click here – 14.2Mb file size). Thanks to our sponsor the Tourism Authority of Thailand for making it possible.

GM Jan Gustafsson, 11th BCC Open Champion

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By , May 17, 2014
GM Jan Gustafsson interviewed for the Bangkok Chess Club

Despite suffering from an early start for the last round, GM Jan Gustasson was in a good mood for his interview with Alexander Klemm

An interview with German Grandmaster Jan Gustafsson, by Alexander J. Klemm

GM Jan Gustafsson won the Bangkok Chess Club Open in 2011. This time he finished with a strong seven points out of nine games, reaching shared 3rd to 5th place. After the tournament he gave an interview, talking about his performance, the website chess24.com, and Vishy Anand’s chances against Magnus Carlsen in the upcoming world championship rematch.

AJK: Congratulations for your achievement. How do you feel now the tournament is over?

JG: Well, I’m tired and [smiling] I blame it on Kai, the tournament director, for starting the last round at 9 am. That’s a tough one for me. I think the jetlag goes away but still I could never manage to fall asleep before 4 am, which is also self-imposed but it’s just hard to change the rhythm. I wish the tournament wasn’t over just yet. I always enjoy coming to Thailand, and I’m not so desperate to go back to work in Germany.

AJK: What was your best game and is there a game with which you were not so satisfied?

JG: That’s hard to tell. I won five games but all against weaker players, and against the four strong players I got unexciting draws. I was unhappy with myself for making too early draws both against GM Marat Dzhumaev and GM John Paul Gomez. If I want to win the tournament I have to try to win these games. Well, I won some games, but those were more business as usual and nothing to brag about.

AJK: What do you think about the overall strength of the competition this year?

JG: I hope it doesn’t get too strong because I also want to have a chance to compete here. The great thing about this tournament is that you see a lot of returning players. This is my fourth year in a row and there are a lot of familiar faces. It’s a strong open. The special situation is that there are 80 or 90 percent foreigners while in most other opens I’ve played there are 80 to 90 percent locals. So it’s interesting for me because I don’t get to play against people from countries such as India or Australia all that often.

AJK: What are your impressions of the playing venue and the overall tournament organization?

JG: I’ve been playing here for four years now – if I didn’t like it I wouldn’t return. The Dusit Thani Hotel is a fantastic venue both here and in Pattaya, and the tournament is very well organized. Kai knows my complaints about double rounds, having the tournament during Songkran, and starting the last game at 9 am, but those are minor complaints. I think it’s a fantastic tournament and recommend it to anybody.

AJK: What are your plans for the rest of the year? Do you have any tournaments or chess projects lined up?

JG: I’m a fulltime employee. I have twenty days of holidays per year and have just taken ten of those, so there won’t be much further travelling for me this year. I work in a company that has a chess project called chess24.com, which we launched just a couple of months ago. I’ll be working on this project providing a lot of content. Now I’m going back to Hamburg to do a live commentary on this super-tournament in Baku. It has a very sad cause: Vugar Gashimov, a very talented grandmaster and beloved guy, died this year at age 27, so they’re having this tournament in his honor. [The Vugar Gashimov Memorial was held in Shamkir, Azerbaijan, 20-30 April 2014, and won by GM Magnus Carlsen.] GM Peter Svidler is going to join me. That should be fun.

And other than that, as boring as it sounds, I’m going back to the office and work. I won’t be playing that much chess. But maybe you could start a second Thailand Open. Then I’d have a good reason to use the remainder of my holidays.

AJK: Please tell me more about chess24.com. How did it start, what is your involvement, and what are the future plans?

JG: It’s quite an ambitious project. I’ve been working for them for two years now. I believe the plans started a bit earlier even. The goal is to create an all-in-one chess platform that offers learning techniques, coaching opportunities for players of all levels, and a zone where you can play games. Then we also have some fancy tools for following tournaments live. That is the part I really enjoy, following and doing live commentaries on big events. That’s pretty much it. I’m quite happy with the site. It’s a serious project with a lot of people working on it. The great thing is that we’re live now and no longer in the planning stage.

AJK: Who are the other people involved in it?

JG: The people you might now are all chess players from around the world. ‘Paco’ Vallejo, the tournament winner, has been working with us. He’s been providing content in Spanish. Vishy Anand and Peter Svidler have also been contributing material. We’re trying to do something high-class, ambitious, and hopefully entertaining in English, German and Spanish.

AJK: Since you have just mentioned Anand. Many people were surprised that he won the candidates …

JG: … everyone was surprised!

AJK: What do you think about his chances?

JG: It’s hard to say. He was basically written off after losing that match against Magnus Carlsen. Actually, ‘written off’ is probably too strong. But many people didn’t believe he could come back so strongly and win the candidates. His chances will be better than last time because first of all by winning the candidates he proved to himself and everyone that he still has it in him to win such a tournament. He will have a lot more confidence, and he has the experience of having played against Magnus. But then again, Magnus isn’t the world number one and dominator for nothing. Against him everybody is an underdog. I think Vishy will have a better chance and we’ll get to see a better match, but I still consider him the outsider against Carlsen.

AJK: Final question. Are you planning to return to Thailand next year?

JG: Yes of course I am. I’m very worried though because Kai looks tired and he’s always teasing he will quit – but I’m always planning to return.


Most Frequent Overseas Visitors

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By , May 16, 2014
Timo Tuomala at the 14th Bangkok Chess Club

Timo Tuomala probably looked more enthusiastic when he collected his complimentary bottle of wine

There have been many people returning to the Bangkok Chess Club Open tournaments year after year, from places such as Australia, Denmark, England, Finland, India and Japan. This year we rewarded our regular visitors with a certificate accompanied by a bottle of fine Australian wine or, for the teetotallers, a box of Belgian chocolates.

FM Tim Reilly deserves a special mention, having competed at 11 of the 14 BCC Open Tournaments!

Regular international visitors helping with the running of the tournaments include Chief Arbiter Markku Kosonen and IA Peter Long.

GM Oliver Barbosa, Thailand Blitz Champion 2 years running

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By , April 29, 2014
Oliver Barbosa with the Bangkok Chess Club Blitz Trophy

GM Oliver Barbosa is Champion of the winner-takes-all Open Blitz Championship, here with Chief Arbit Markku Kosonen and Tournament Director Kai Tuorila

An interview with GM Oliver Barbosa, runner-up of the 14th BCC Open 2014

Interview by Alexander J. Klemm

Shortly after the tournament I sat down with runner-up GM Oliver Barbosa from the Philippines to talk about his great performance and his impressions of the tournament, coming 2nd Place in the main draw and BCC Open Blitz Champion for the second year running.

First, here’s a profile: Oliver Barbosa (b. 1986) is a Filipino chess grandmaster. He earned his International Master title in 2008 and his Grandmaster title in 2011. Barbosa won the 10th Parsvnath International Grandmasters Tournament in New Delhi, with 9.5/11 and an astounding performance rating of 2710. He has trained with Wesley So and John Paul Gomez. Barbosa played in the 42nd Chess Olympiad and scored 7/10, with an overall performance rating of 2668. Fide rating: 2580 (April 2014). Peak rating: 2596 (May 2012). (source: Wikipedia.org)

And here is a key game from the eighth round between GM Barbosa and GM Atalik. Their epic battle was captivating for the viewers and certainly nerve-wrecking for the players.

Oliver Barbosa (Phi, 2580) vs. GM Suat Atalik (Tur, 2562)

1. d4Nf6 2. c4e6 3. Nf3c5 4. d5d6 5. Nc3 exd5 6. cxd5 g6 7. Bf4 Bg7 8. Qa4 Bd7 9. Qb3 b5 10. Bxd6 c4 11. Qa3 Qb6 12. Bc5 Qb7 13. Bd4 b4 14. Ne4 bxa3 15. Nd6 Kf8 16. Nxb7 axb2 17. Bxb2 Nxd5 18. Ne5 c3 19. Ba3 Kg8 20. O-O-O Nb6 21. Nxd7 N8xd7 22. e3 Ne5 23. Rd4 h5 24. h3 Nc6 25. Re4 a5 26. Bc5 Rb8 27. Ba6 Nb4 28. Rxb4 axb4 29. Bxb6 g5 30. Bd4 Bxd4 31. exd4 Rh6 32. Nc5 Rd8 33. Rd1 Rhd6 34. Be2 Rxd4 35. Nb3 Rxd1 36. Bxd1 Ra8 37. Kb1 Re8 38. Kc2 Re1 39. Nc1 Rg1 40. Bf3 g4 41. hxg4 hxg4 42. Bc6 Re1 43. Bd7 g3 44. fxg3 Re3 45. Bc6 Rxg3 46. Bf3 Rg6 47. Nd3 Rb6 48. g4 Ra6 49. Bd5 Rg6 50. Nxb4 Rxg4 51. Kxc3 Rg3 52. Nd3 Kf8 53. a4 Ke7 54. a5 Kd6 55. Bxf7 Kc6 56. Bc4 Rg5 57. Kb4 Rh5 58. Nf4 Rg5 59. Nd5 Rg1 60. Nc3 Rg4 61. Na4 Kb7 62. Kb5 Rg5 63. Nc5 Ka7 64. Bd3 Rh5 65. Kc6 Rh1 66. Ne4 Rd1 67. Bc4 Ra1 68. Kb5 Rb1 69. Kc5 Ra1 70. Kb4Rb1 71. Bb3Ka6 72. Nc5Ka7 73. Ne6Ka6 74. Nd4Rb2 75. Ka4 Rb1 76. Bc4 Ka7 77. Nc6 Kb7 78. Nb4 Ra1 79. Kb5 Rb1 Since his 54th move, white has made some progress, but it is hard to see how he can queen his pawn on a5 any time soon. Atalik’s rook keeps pestering him very effectively. We’re in the fifth hour of the game and both players have little time on the clock. White now attacks the rooks with 80. Bd3, after which black could continue his resistance with 80… Rb3. However, he responded with 80… Rb2??


In this position white has a decisive blow. How did GM Barbosa finish the game? Find the solution after the interview.

AKJ: Congratulations for your impressive achievement. You are the runner-up with the same number of points as the winner GM Vallejo Pons. How do you feel now that the tournament is over? How do you see your performance?

OB: I feel very relieved that this tournament is over because my last four or five games were very long and hard-fought. I was quite tired during these games. I’m happy with the way I played here. I only lost one game against GM Schebler, but I won against compatriots Laylo and Torre, two strong grandmasters from the Philippines. In the penultimate round I won against GM Atalik, which was not a clear win for me until the end. Luckily I won that game. Today in the last game against Vallejo Pons I just tried to equalize. Luckily I managed to do that, and when he offered a draw I readily accepted it. I didn’t play against the second and third seed, maybe that’s why I managed to become co-champion.

AJK: What went wrong in your game against GM Schebler?

OB: I didn’t think that black would be better after some exchanges in the middle game. I thought it was just going to be equal and black has a slight push, but after the exchanges it became very hard for me. That’s when I thought I shouldn’t have exchanged some pieces and noticed I’m in trouble.

AJK: What was your most interesting game?

OB: Maybe the one against GM Atalik in the penultimate round. I’ve checked the game and the engine says it’s equal until the end. I thought the position could be won because I had two pieces and a pawn for his rook. I wasn’t quite sure how to win this, but luckily in the end he made a mistake. It was a very tiring 5-hour game.

AJK: What do you think about the Dusit Thani Hotel, the organization of the tournament, and the overall strength of the competition?

OB: I want to congratulate the organizers for putting together this tournament. I think it’s well organized, and thanks also to the Dusit Thani Hotel for this beautiful venue. There was one minor problem because the lighting was a bit dim, but it was fine with the additional lamps next to the boards. This is a strong tournament with 13 grandmasters and also strong international masters like Liu Quingnan who is over 2500 and a World Cup qualifier. There are three or four 2600s, and Vallejo Pons came down from 2700, so he plays at that level.

AJK: You’ve played in Bangkok this year and last year in Pattaya. Do you have any preference?

OB: I prefer to play near the beach because it’s pretty relaxing. You can walk in the afternoon or evening and get some fresh air.

GM Oliver Barbosa and GM Suat Atalik at the Bangkok Chess Club Open 2014

GM Oliver Barbosa and GM Suat Atalik at the Bangkok Chess Club Open 2014

AJK: What are your professional plans for the rest of the year?

OB: This year we have the national championship in July, which also counts as the elimination for our Olympiad team. I need to reach a top-four spot in order to qualify for the team. Then, I would like to play the Annual Washington International in August but am not sure yet whether I can actually go to the US. And for next year I’m planning to start a chess school in Manila so that I can share my talent with kids.

AJK: Do you intend to come back to Thailand next year.

OB: Definitely. As I’ve already said, it’s a well-organized tournament and an excellent venue.

AJK: Thank you so much for your time and best of luck.

OB: Thanks too.

Bangkok, 19 April 2014

Soon to come: An interview with third-placed GM Jan Gustafsson.

(Solution: 81. Bc2!! traps the rook. 81… Kc7 82. Ka4 1-0. With this win GM Barbosa could be sure of finishing at or near the top.)


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