The 19th Bangkok Chess Club Open, described as “arguably, the tournament of the year,” by respected web site Chess24.com, began on Saturday in the luxurious ballroom of the Centara Grand Hotel with a near-record attendance, which included 17 Grandmasters.
The field of 201 from 34 countries in the Open division includes three previous BCC Open titleholders: Nigel Short (England, winner in 2012, 2015 and 2017), Jan Gustafsson (Germany, 2011) and Zhao Zong Yuan (Australia, 2013).
All three won their first round comfortably against lower rated opposition, with Short launching a spectacular checkmating attack involving the sacrifice of a rook and then a queen, with his opponent resigning four moves later.
However the top seeds did not have matters all their own way, with Chilean Grandmaster Rodrigo Vasquez drawing with 13-year-old Singaporean talent Hariharan Ashwin. India has the biggest foreign delegation in Bangkok, with 44 representatives in the Open division alone.
The local fans also had something to cheer about with Chiang Mai junior Kavin Nattavutthisit holding Singaporean veteran Grandmaster Bong Villamayor to a draw despite a 600 point rating differential. Another Thai, Thoetsak Wongsawan, almost pulled off an even greater upset before spoiling a defensible endgame and losing to the sixth seed, 25 year old Italian Grandmaster Andrea Stella.
The Bangkok Chess Club Open is Thailand’s most popular tournament and one of the largest opens in South-East Asia. The tournament alternates between Bangkok and other major Thai cities.
The BCC Open will be held daily until April 14th at the Centara Grand Hotel in Central Plaza, Ladprao, Bangkok. The second round of the Open division begins on Sunday April 7th at 14.00, with the Challengers division beginning on April 8. Spectator entry is free.
The tournament web site is http://bangkokchess.com/19th-bcc-open/
For complete results, visit http://chess-results.com/tnr429651.aspx?lan=1&art=2&rd=1