GM Vallejo Pons and GM Barbosa lead 14th BCC Open 2014, clash in final round

By , April 18, 2014

IM Quingnan Liu and Marat Dzhumaev

Report by Alexander J. Klemm

Rounds 7 and 8 of the 14th Bangkok Chess Club Open 2014 saw again exciting and some very long-fought games at the top boards. In the much anticipated round 7 clash between German GM Jan Gustafsson and Open leader GM Francisco Vallejo Pons, the players drew after solid play on both sides. Obviously, the teammates of German chess league winner OSG Baden Baden know each other very well and may find it hard to surprise each other in the opening. Playing with white, GM Gustafsson put pressure on ‘Paco’, but the Spaniard’s choice of the Nimzo-Indian Defense proved to be a good one. He equalized in the middle-game and a draw was agreed on move 34. This result made it possible for several players to close the gap.

GM Oliver Barbosa won against fellow Filipino GM Laylo Darwin on board two, GM Suat Atalik had obviously recovered from his defeat against GM Vallejo Pons in the previous round and won against GM Marat Dzhumaev in a 92-move marathon match. IM Qingnan Liu also used the opportunity to stay on track to success with a fine win against GM John Paul Gomez.

Round 7 results at top boards:

  1. GM Jan Gustafsson (5) ½ – ½ GM Francisco Vallejo Pons (5 ½)
  2. GM Darwin Laylo (5) 0 – 1 GM Oliver Barbosa (5)
  3. GM Suat Atalik (5) 1 – 0 GM Marat Dzhumaev (5)
  4. IM Qingnan Liu (5) 1 – 0 GM John Paul Gomez (5)
  5. GM Bartosz Socko (4 ½) 1 – 0 GM Gerhard Schebler (5)
  6. IM Alexsandar H. Wohl (4 ½) 1 – 0 GM Monika Socko (4 ½)
  7. FM Paulo Bersamina (4 ½) 1 – 0 IM Roy Saptarshi (4 ½)
  8. Rishi Sardana (4 ½) ½ – ½ FM Shinya Kojima (4 ½)

In round 8 the four leading players of the tournament were paired against one another, as were the four players on their heels. GM Vallejo Pons reached a clear advantage early in the game, but IM Qingnan Liu was tough and fought on until he finally had to resign in a rook vs. 2 pawn endgame. GM Suat Atalik again played a five-hour game, but this time lost against GM Oliver Barbosa. The Turkish GM must be commended for his outstanding fighting spirit. He has won six and lost two games with no draws to his account.

Round 8 results at top boards:

  1. GM Francisco Vallejo Pons (6) 1 – 0 IM Qingnan Liu (6)
  2. GM Oliver Barbosa (6) 1 – 0 GM Suat Atalik (6)
  3. GM Bartosz Socko (5 ½) 1 – 0 IM Alexsandar H. Wohl (5 ½)
  4. IM Roy Saptarshi (5 ½) 0 – 1 GM Jan Gustafsson (5 ½)
  5. IM Mahmood Lodhi (5) 0 – 1 GM John Paul Gomez (5)
  6. Hamed Nouri (5) 0 – 1 GM M.R. Venkatesh (5)
  7. Ellan Asuela (5) 0 – 1 GM Darwin Laylo (5)
  8. GM Marat Dzhumaev (5) 1 – 0 Rishi Sardana (5)

Ranking of top players after round 8:

  • 7 pts.: GM Francisco Vallejo Pons, GM Oliver Barbosa
  • 6½ pts.: GM Bartosz Socko, GM Jan Gustafsson
  • 6 pts.: GM Suat Atalik, GM Marat Dzhumaev, GM John Paul Gomez, GM M.R. Venkatesh, GM Darwin Laylo, IM Qingnan Liu

GM Barbosa and GM Vallejo Pons are the two leaders before the ultimate round tomorrow. They will cross swords in what promises to be a nail-biting finish to the tournament. While GM Barbosa has the small advantage of playing with white, GM Vallejo Pons had the much shorter game today and may be more refreshed going into the last round. The winner will be new BCC Open champion. But if they draw, either GM Jan Gustafsson or GM Bartosz Socko may pull even with the two leaders in their matchup on board two. Both players are trailing the leaders by only half a point.

Top pairings of (final) round 9:

  1. GM Oliver Barbosa (7) vs. GM Francisco Vallejo Pons (7)
  2. GM Jan Gustafsson (6 ½) vs. GM Bartosz Socko (6 ½)
  3. GM Suat Atalik (6) vs. GM Darwin Laylo (6)
  4. GM John Paul Gomez (6) vs. GM Marat Dzhumaev (6)
  5. GM M.R. Venkatesh (6) vs. IM Qingnan Liu (6)

In the Challenger category, things have been heating up as well, and the last round has to decide over who will be the new champion. In round 5 the sole leader Behrang Kaboodi (4 pts., Elo 2064) lost against Andrej Vospernik (3½, 2053), which made the latter player tournament leader. Leandro Alidani (3½, 1959) won against Ko Khin (3½, 2087) on board 2. In the round 6 clash between leaders Andrej Vospernik (4½) and Leandro Alidani (4½), the Filipino player kept the upper hand and is now the sole leader before going into the final round.

Round 6 results at top boards:

  1. Andrej Vospernik (4½) 0 – 1 Leonardo Alidani (4½)
  2. Marvin Ting (4) 1 – 0 Behrang Kaboodi (4)
  3. Trong Binh Phan (4) 1 – 0 Michael Williams (4)
  4. Arnulfo Gavilan Jr. (4) 0 – 1 Buragohain Nandan (4)

Top pairings of (final) round 7:

  1. Leonardo Alidani (5½, 1959) vs. Trong Binh Phan (5, 2064)
  2. Buragohain Nandan (5, 1924) vs. Marvin Ting (5, 1962)
  3. Kumar Samuel (4½, 1850) vs. Ko Khin (4½, 2087)
  4. Andrej Vospernik (4½, 2053) vs. Thotsaporn Thanatipanonda (4½, 2074)

The top six boards in the Open section can also be watched live with computer analysis at

The latest results, standings and fixtures can be accessed at


GM Vallejo Pons beats GM Atalik in round 6

By , April 17, 2014

Bangkok Chess Club Open 2014

GM Vallejo Pons beats GM Atalik in round 6 and takes lead at 14th Bangkok Chess Club Open 2014
Report by Alexander J. Klemm

Round six saw an exciting matchup on board one between number one seed GM Francisco Vallejo Pons and number five seed and tournament leader GM Suat Atalik. After a less than optimal opening, GM Vallejo Pons had to dig deep to squeeze out a win against his Turkish opponent. ‘Paco’ is now in the sole lead with 5½ points, while GM Atalik stays in contention with 5.

On board two Filipino GM John Paul Gomez and 3rd seed GM Jan Gustafsson, repeated moves early in an equal position. While their draw keeps both players in close contact with ‘Paco’, it may prove to be too little to reach first place in the end. In a matchup between spouses on board 3, Mr. & Mrs. Socko battled it out until only the king’s were left standing. Playing with the black pieces, GM Eugenio Torre had a slightly better position against GM Oliver Barbosa, but in time trouble the veteran went wrong several times and soon lost to his fellow countryman. In the game on board eight between Pattaya-based German GM Gerhard Schebler and Thai FM Wisuwat Teerapabpaisit, the former player came out on top. GM Schebler has recovered from his round 5 loss against GM Atalik and has a good chance for a strong finish.

Round 6 results at top boards:

  1. GM Francisco Vallejo Pons (4 ½) 1 – 0 GM Suat Atalik (5)
  2. GM John Paul Gomez (4½) ½ – ½ GM Jan Gustafsson (4½)
  3. GM Monika Socko (4) ½ – ½ GM Bartosz Socko (4)
  4. GM Oliver Barbosa (4) 1 – 0 GM Eugenio Torre (4)
  5. GM Darwin Laylo (4) 1 – 0 Rolando Andador (4)
  6. Hamed Nouri (4) 0 – 1 IM Qingnan Liu (4)
  7. GM Marat Dzhumaev (4) 1 – 0 Yan Liu (4)
  8. GM Gerhard Schebler (4) 1 – 0 FM Wisuwat Teerapabpaisit (4)

Ranking after round 6:

  1. 5½ pts.: GM Francisco Vallejo Pons
  2. 5 pts.: GM Suat Atalik, GM Jan Gustafsson, GM John Paul Gomez, GM Oliver Barbosa, GM Darwin Laylo, GM Gerhard Schebler, GM Marat Dzhumaev, IM Qingnan Liu

Top pairings of round 7:

  1. GM Jan Gustafsson (5) vs. GM Francisco Vallejo Pons (5½)
  2. GM Darwin Laylo (5) vs. GM Oliver Barbosa (5)
  3. GM Suat Atalik (5) vs. GM Marat Dzhumaev (5)
  4. IM Qingnan Liu (5) vs. GM John Paul Gomez (5)
  5. GM Bartosz Socko (4½) vs. GM Gerhard Schebler (5)

Here is the round six game GM Vallejo Pons vs. GM Atalik
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0–0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0–0 8.c3 d5 9.exd5 Nxd5 10.Nxe5 Nxe5 11.Rxe5 c6 12.d3 Bd6 13.Re1 Bf5 14.Qf3 Qf6 15.Bxd5 cxd5 16.Be3 Qe5 17.g3 Bxd3 18.Nd2 Rfe8 19.Kg2 Be4 20.Nxe4 dxe4 21.Qe2 Bf8 22.Rad1 Qe6 23.a3 Rad8 24.Rxd8 Rxd8 25.Rd1 Rxd1 26.Qxd1 f6 (weakening the e6-square) 27.a4 Qc4 28.a5

VallejoPons-Atalik Diagram 1

The position is roughly equal, yet with his 3-2 pawn majority on the left side of the board white can put pressure on black. Now black should keep his queen on white squares in order to protect his pawns on a6 and e4, for example: 28…Qc6 29.Qd8 Kf7 30.Qb6 Qc8 31.Qd4 Qc6 32.Qa7+ Kg8 33.Qb6 Qc8 34.Qa7 Qc6 =

However, Atalik went for the weak 28… b4 (?). After this mistake, white missed the strong continuation 29.cxb4 h6 30.Qd7 Qxb4 31.Qe6+ Kh7 32.Qxa6 Bc5 33.Bxc5 Qxc5 34.Qe6 Qxa5 35.Qxe4+ f5 36.Qb7. This would have given white a winning position, as the b-pawn is unstoppable and perpetual checks impossible. (diagram 3)

However, Vallejo Pons opted for the imprecise but still sufficient 29. b3 (?!) Qb5 30.c4 Qxa5 31.c5 Qc7 32.Qd5+ Qf7 33.Qxe4 f5 34.Qxb4 g5 35.h3 f4 36.gxf4 gxf4 37.Qxf4 Qxf4 38.Bxf4 Bxc5.

VallejoPons-Atalik Diagram 4The queens are off the board and white is a pawn up. Black can’t defend his weak pawn on a6 from attacks by the white king and stop white’s f-pawn at the same time. Vallejo Pons makes the rest look easy: 39.Be3 Bb4 40.Kf3 Kf7 41.Ke4 Ke6 42.f4 Bc3 43.Bd4 Be1 44.Be5 h5 45.f5+ Kf7 46.Kd3 Ke7 47.Kc4 Kd7 48.Bc3 Bf2 49.Kd5 Bh4 50.f6 Bg5 51.Ke5 Bh6 52.Bb4.

In the final position, black will soon be forced to give up his bishop for white’s f-pawn. 1 – 0

A short profile of the new leader and nominally the strongest player at the BCC Open is indicative of the great caliber of professionals the tournament has managed to attract year after year.

Player’s profile: GM Francisco Vallejo Pons (nickname ‘Paco’)
The top seed at the 14th Bangkok Chess Club Open 2014 was born on 21 August 1982 in Es Castell, Minorca, Spain. His current Elo-rating of 2693 puts the 31-year-old at 52nd place on Fide’s World ranking. Over the last few years Vallejo Pons has consistently reached ratings of over 2700, peaking at 2724 in July of 2011.

This is the second time that he has participate in the BCC Open, the first time being in Pattaya in 2011, where he reached third place on tiebreak behind champion GM Jan Gustafsson and runner-up GM Nigel Short, all three players scoring 7½/9.

Naturally, the Spaniard’s opening repertoire is rock solid. Playing with white he favors 1.e4, with the Sicilian being the opening he encounters most often. Playing with the black pieces against 1.e4 he regularly chooses the Sicilian or the French Defense, and against 1.d4 he prefers the Semi-Slav.
His professional successes include, among many, the following:

  • 20th youngest player to become grandmaster (at the age of 16 years and 9 months)
  • winner of the 2000 Under-18 World Youth Chess Championship
  • a solid showing at the Linares Super GM tournament in 2002
  • Spanish champion in 2006 and 2009
  • wins against GM Magnus Carlsen, GM Hikaru Nakamura and GM Vassily Ivanchuk at the 4th Bilbao Masters
  • 2nd place (8th on tiebreak) at the 13th European Individual Championship 2012
  • 3½ – 2½ victory against GM Veselin Topalov at the 25th Ciudad de Leon, 2012
  • 1st place (6th on tiebreak) at the 12th European Individual Championship 2013
  • 1st place with OSG Baden Baden in the 2013/14 season of the German chess league (Schachbundesliga), scoring 6 ½/8 (15 rounds in total).

After six rounds of play, with three rounds to go, and having beaten one of his closest rivals, ‘Paco’ has put himself in a good position to win the tournament, yet all of his next opponents will surely put up a fight. The round 7 matchup between GM Gustafsson and GM Vallejo Pons promises more great chess.

The top six boards in the Open section can also be watched live with computer analysis at

The latest results, standings and fixtures can be accessed at

Turkish GM Suat Atalik takes sole lead after round 5 of the 14th Bangkok Chess Club Open

By , April 16, 2014


Report by Alexander J. Klemm

After 5 rounds of play the Thailand Open Chess Championships 2014 / 14th Bangkok Chess Club Open, taking place in Bangkok 12-19 April 2014, is well under way.

As in 2012 this year’s tournament is hosted by the beautiful 5-start Dusit Thani Bangkok Hotel, which is located in Bangkok’s business district Silom. During the last few years the BCC Open has been hosted either by the Dusit Thani Bangkok Hotel or by the Dusit Thani Pattaya Hotel. Thanks to the great cooperation with these outstanding venues, the BCC Open one of the most attractive chess events in Asia, with established a loyal base of strong amateurs and professionals, and keeps attracting new players from around the world.

As is tradition the tournament features an Open (9 rounds) and a Challenger (7 rounds) category. With over 200 players in both categories combined, the tournament has again drawn a big and internationally diverse crowd. The number of participants is lower than a year ago when the tournament took place in Pattaya, which may be due to some players’ concerns about lingering political tensions in Thailand. Nevertheless, the first half of the tournament has shown that the chess is as strong and the event is as competitive as ever.

The Open section includes a tough field of 55 titled players (!), among them 13 grandmasters and 12 international masters. Obvious favorites for the title are first-seed GM Francisco Vallejo Pons (Spain, ELO rating 2693, =1st place in 2011), GM Bartosz Socko (Poland, 2635), and GM Jan Gustafsson (Germany, 2634, winner in 2011, 3rd place 2013). Their closest rivals GM Oliver Barbosa (Phi, 2580) and GM Suat Atalik (Tur, 2562) certainly also have a shot at the championship. GM Zong-Yuan Zhao, last year’s champion and Australia’s strongest player, has not returned to Bangkok to defend his title.

Notable is the solid number of female players fighting for accolades in both categories. The strongest among them this year are GM Monika Socko (Pol, 2450), WGM Anda Safranska (Fra, 2286), WGM Xiaobing Gu (Chi, 2265), IM Nisha Mohota (Ind, 2253) and WGM Kulkarni Bhakti (Ind, 2246). For the first time in several years British GM Nigel Short, winner in 2012, is absent, yet with veteran GM Eugenio Torre (Phi, 2427), Asia’s first GM, one of the world’s strongest players of the 1970s/80s and the most successful player to herald from the Philippines, the BCC Open has welcomed back an outstanding veteran of the sport. Torre reached second place in the 2005-edition of the tournament, and with his great experience he can beat any of the younger masters of today. The Philippines is the nation with the strongest representation in the Open section. Alongside Barbosa and Torre, other Filipino players are battling for ELO points and good results. They include GM John Paul Gomez (2524), GM Darwin Laylo (2511), IM Rolando Nolte (2417), and a good dozen of their countrymen. Thailand’s strongest players FM Jirapak Pitirotjirathon (2274), Uaychai Kongsee (2271), FM Wisuwat Teerapabpaisit (2250) and FM Boonsueb Saeheng (2200) are also participating. While they may not have the consistency to break into the top ranks, they all have the ability and experience to beat higher rated opponents.

After four rounds GM Francisco Vallejo Pons, GM John Paul Gomez (Phi, 2524), GM Suat Atalik, and GM Gerhard Schebler (Ger, 2451) were the remaining players with a clean sheet.

In hard-fought battles, the former two players drew their game, while in the latter encounter GM Atalik kept the upper hand against GM Schebler in a marathon match.

Round 5 results at top boards:

  1. GM Francisco Vallejo Pons (4) ½ – ½ GM John Paul Gomez (4)
  2. GM Suat Atalik (4) 1 – 0 GM Gerhard Schebler (4)
  3. GM Jan Gustafsson (3 ½) 1 – 0 IM Lodhi Mahmood (3 ½)
  4. Yan Liu (3 ½) ½ – ½ GM Darwin Laylo (3 ½)
  5. IM Qingnan Liu (3 ½) ½ – ½ GM Marat Dzhumaev (3 ½)

Ranking after round 5:

  1. 5 pts.: GM Suat Atalik
  2. 4 ½ pts.: GM Francisco Vallejo Pons, GM John Paul Gomez, GM Jan Gustafsson

His win in round 5 has made GM Atalik, the second seed of the tournament and Turkey’s second strongest player, the sole leader, confirming his role as a favorite to win the tournament. Yet much can still happen in the remaining four rounds. The competition is heating up and the stakes are high. GM Atalik is on a roll, but now he is facing top-seed GM Vallejo Pons, who will do everything to stop him.

Top pairings of round 6:

  1. GM Francisco Vallejo Pons (4 ½) vs. GM Suat Atalik (5)
  2. GM John Paul Gomez (4 ½) vs. GM Jan Gustafsson (4 ½)
  3. GM Monika Socko (4) vs. GM Bartosz Socko (4)
  4. GM Oliver Barbosa (4) vs. GM Eugenio Torre (4)
  5. GM Darwin Laylo (4) vs. Rolando Andador (4)
  6. Hamed Nouri (4) vs. IM Qingnan Liu (4)
  7. GM Marat Dzhumaev (4) vs. Yan Liu
  8. GM Gerhard Schebler (4) vs. FM Wisuwat Teerapabpaisit (4)

In the first three rounds of the Challenger category, only 3 players won all their games and are leading the standings: Arnulfo Gavilan Jr. (Phi, 2031), Behrang Kaboodi (Iri, 2064) and Buragohain Nandan (Ind, 1924). The top encounters of round 4 are Gavilian vs. Kaboodi and number one seed Ko Khin (Mya, 2087, 2 ½) vs. Nandan.

Players and visitors of the BCC Open can follow the top four boards live on a big screen in the playing hall, which is a much appreciated addition to the event.

The top six boards in the Open section can also be watched live with computer analysis at

The latest results, standings and fixtures can be accessed at

Visit for PGN files of the games and further updates about the playing action.

And if you can read Japanese, check out Shinya Kojima’s lengthy blog.

Thailand Open – PGN games

By , April 15, 2014

PGN files are now available for download (not all games are complete).

round1 round2 round3

round4 round5 round6


(Click image to download).

Thailand Open live on Chess Bomb

By , April 14, 2014

Games from the top 6 boards can be viewed live with computer analysis at

Thailand Open first day

By , April 12, 2014

The first day of the 14th Bangkok Chess Club is upon us. When the registrations are formalised, pairings will be posted at

Games from the top boards can be followed live at this link: livegames


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