English Grandmaster Nigel Short is the 2015 Thai Open Champion after a nail-biting final round in which the top two seeds crashed to their only loss of the tournament.
A large crowd at the Dusit Thani in Pattaya watched top seed Wang Hao fall to Indian sixth seed Surya Ganguly in an exhausting 69 move encounter where Wang spoiled an endgame which appeared headed for a draw.
Instead of tying for first and winning his first Thai Open title, Wang dropped to fourth place, overtaken by Ganguly plus Short, who ground down Diptayan Ghosh, and Poland’s Kamil Dragun who upset second seed Paco Vallejo.
The top three players share 220,000 Baht, with Short edging out Ganguly for the title thanks to the strength of his opposition during the 9 day tournament.
For Short the win was his second Thai Open title, following his 2012 triumph In Bangkok. Short’s expectations were low after he lost in the fourth round to Filipino Oliver Barbosa but the English veteran responded by scoring 4.5 points from his final five games.
This would still not have been enough had Wang continued his winning ways, but Ganguly showed great endgame skills to outplay the top seed, paving the way for Short to take the title.
Thailand’s challenge for the top placings ended in a whimper, Boonsueb Saeheng losing his final game to India’s P. Kartikeyan but still taking the prize for best Thai player on a tiebreaker from Wisuwat Teerapabpaisit.
The Thai Open, organised by the Bangkok Chess Club, attracted 299 players from 42 countries to the Dusit Thani, one of Pattaya’s most luxurious resorts. Next month the Dusit Thani will host almost twice as many players at the 2015 World Schools Championship.
Top seed Wang Hao took a huge step towards becoming the 2015 Thai Open Champion by beating Germany’s Jan Gustafsson in the penultimate round of Thailand’s biggest and richest tournament at the Dusit Thani Hotel Pattaya on Saturday.
With 380,000 Baht of prizes on the line on the final day, nothing is certain, but the Chinese top seed has become the first outright leader of the tournament, with a score of 7/8, at the right end of the event.
Wang’s victory over Gustafsson came after 60 moves and almost five hours play, with Wang Hao using an original Duke of York strategy with his king to win the endgame.
Five players sit half a point behind Wang, including the man who could pose the biggest threat to Wang, ex-world title challenger Nigel Short. The Englishman ended Jozsef Horvath’s unbeaten run in the tournament with a long-term pawn sacrifice resulting eventually in a winning attack.
Other players to reach six and a half points were second seed Paco Vallejo, who ended Australian Max Illingworth’s hopes for earning a Grandmaster title in Pattaya, plus India’s Surya Ganguly, who fought back to defeat compatriot Deepan Chakkravarthy. Poland’s Kamil Dragun won a long endgame against Dane Allan Rasmussen, and Diptayan Ghosh provided another Indian success – and moved the Indian International Master closer to his Grandmaster title – with an upset win over Bartosz Socko.
Thai hopes for a podium finish ended on Saturday when Boonsueb Saeheng was held to a draw by Pattaya’s resident Grandmaster Gerhard Schebler of Germany. Saeheng retains hopes for a top ten finish, remarkable for a player seeded 69th at the start of the tournament.
The final round of the Thai Open, begins at 9am on Sunday at the Dusit Thani ballroom. Spectators are welcome and admission is free.
Two players – China’s Wang Hao and Germany’s Jan Gustafsson – have broken away from the pack and are now favourites to win the 2015 Thai Open in Pattaya.
After an extended photo-shoot in the morning, Wang and Gustafsson might have been expected to be tired but both won convincingly, the Chinese top seed beating India’s Abhijit Kunte with a powerful attack and fourth seeded Gustafsson grinding down Kunte’s compatriot Sharma Himanshu to join Wang on 6/7.
The chasing pack, just half a point behind the leaders, includes all other top seeds – Vallejo, Short, Socko, Ganguly, Dragun and Horvath – with a winner almost certain to come from the top two score groups.
The Thai challenge continued from an unexpected quarter with an upset win by Boonsueb Saeheng over Indian International Master Somak Palit. 48-year-old Saeheng, seeded only 69th at the start of the tournament, showed outstanding endgame technique to win a lengthy rook endgame and move to within half a point of third place.
The Thai Open, continues at the Dusit Thani Resort in Pattaya until Sunday April 19. The tournament is organised by the Bangkok Chess Club and the 2015 edition features 299 players from 42 countries in two divisions, with a first prize of 100,000 Baht.
The eighth and penultimate round of the Thai Open begins at 14.00 local time on Saturday. Games may be followed live via chess24.com with full results at chess-results.com. The tournament may be followed on Twitter @thaiopchess
With just three rounds to play, the name of the winner of the 2015 Thai Open in Pattaya remains a mystery.
With none of the pacesetters winning their games in Thursday’s sixth round at Thailand’s premier tournament, an incredible 12 players are now tied for first place. The leading group includes 10 Grandmasters and two International Masters, with top seed Wang Hao perhaps slight favourite to pull away from the pack. India is the best represented nation at the top with four of the 12 tournament leaders.
With the top two boards finishing as draws, the most significant result came on table three where Poland’s Bartosz Socko put a dent in the title hopes of Filipino Oliver Dimakiling, though Dimakiling remains a chance to secure a Grandmaster norm in this tournament.
Nigel Short, the 49-year-old Englishman who looked out of contention after his fourth round loss to Oliver Barbosa, has reacted with two consecutive wins. On Thursday Short had few problems with Pattaya’s strongest player, Grandmaster Gerhard Schebler.
Only one Thai player remained in contention for the top prizes, Wisuwat Teerapabpaisit staying within a point of the leaders thanks to a fine sacrificial attack against Chinese talent Wang Jiaqi. Of the Thai female players, Ruja Phitchayarom – seeded 187th from 194 players in the main event – continued her rise towards mid-field with a draw against a player ranked 62 places above her. Phitchayarom is now only half a point behind Thai stars such as Warot Kananub and Uaychai Kongsee.
The Thai Open, which continues until April 19, is organised by the Bangkok Chess Club. The 2015 edition features 299 players from 42 countries in two divisions, with a first prize of 100,000 Baht.
Round 7 of the Thai Open begins at 14.00 local time on Friday. Spectators are welcome and admission is free. Games may be followed live via chess24.com with full results at chess-results.com. The tournament may be followed on Twitter @thaiopchess
Five Grandmasters have moved to the front of the Thai Open Chess Championship as the tournament, being played at the Dusit Thani Resport in Pattaya, passes the halfway mark.
Two of the overnight leaders, Jan Gustafsson and Paco Vallejo, played out a speedy, friendly draw to maintain a share of the lead, and were soon joined at the head of the field on 4.5/5 by Chinese top seed Wang Hao, now fully recovered from illness and showing top form in defeating giant-killer Oliver Barbosa.
While these players make up three of the four top seeds, the fourth member of the leading pack was a surprise; the Philippines’ Oliver Dimakiling, seeded only 24th at the start of the tournament, defeated higher rated Indian International Master Diptayan Ghosh to take a share of the lead.
One more player reached the tie at the top, Hungary’s Jozsef Horvath, though only after a titanic 75 move battle against Finland’s Tapani Sammalvuo.
The fifth round was also a good one for veterans Nigel Short and Eugene Torre, who both stayed within half a point of the leaders.
However Thai players struggled to stay in touch with the race for first place, with Warot Kananub and Uaychai Kongsee both losing and being joined on three points by Wisuwat Teerapabpaisit. These three players will need to win all their remaining four games if they are to hope for a podium finish.
The Thai Open, which continues until April 19, features 299 players from 42 countries in two divisions, with a first prize of 100,000 Baht in the top section. The Open, is the first of two major chess events to be held this year at the Dusit Thani Resort in Pattaya. Next month Pattaya will host the World Schools Individual Championship.
The World Schools Championship, complements the related World Youth Championships with divisions from Under 17 to Under 7. Already almost 500 children have entered this competition.