Beach Boys and Chandeliers

Round one of the 21st edition of the Bangkok Chess Club Open is underway at the Sheraton Resort and Spa in Hua Hin, Thailand.

Hua Hin, while not quite exactly on the same footing as the French Riviera, the Bahamas or other locations popularised by the Beach Boys and related artists, has become a magnet for local tourists and Western retirees alike.

The open and challenger sections of the tournament are hosted separately in two dazzling ballrooms boasting huge chandeliers, not dissimilar from the Hua Hin beach sunrise. Hyperbolic? Maybe, though not that much if you are, like most chess aficionados, used to playing chess in taverns, school cafeterias or multi-sport halls. But we digress.

This year, a total of over 300 participants hailing from close to fifty different countries have congregated to Thailand, making the BCC open once more a staple of Asia’s chess calendar.

While this number is not in itself a record, what is remarkable about the 2024 edition is the sharp increase in players representing India. More than a hundred showed up in Hua Hin, representing the bulk of titled players in attendance.

Good thing is, we are told, this particular hotel specialises in large Indian weddings. Although it can be expected that, in this particular instance, most participants will have slightly different mating patterns on their minds.

As a fairly uneventful first round unfolds, one is tempted to reflect on the event’s longevity and consistency, over a period of 23 years only briefly interrupted by the Covid pandemic. Or receive an initiation to the local variant of chess, which is endemic to Thailand and Cambodia, courtesy of the Makruk Association. Or get ready for happy hour by the pool bar. Take your pick, and join us at this year’s Bangkok chess club open. Or if you can’t, do check out the games from the top boards on

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