Bliss, just like the devil, is in the details.  

Running a tournament like the Bangkok Chess Club Open successfully is, first and foremost, about getting all sorts of details right.   A comfortable playing venue with ample space for every board is a trademark of the event.  

As are the quirky photo opportunities staged by the organisers year after year.  Former world championship contender Nigel Short playing chess with both feet deep in seawater while wearing formal attire. Grandmasters Gustafsson and Vallejo dressed up as traditional Thai boxers.  Chess on a fishing boat, under a waterfall or on a rooftop.  Or with an elephant handling the pieces.  

Speaking of important details, the Challenger section is run just as smoothly and professionally as the main event.  With a similar level of comfort, too.  The row with the top boards is an exact replica of the one in the open section, giving those players the same feeling one would experience while facing a seasoned master.  

Just like elsewhere, many of the rating favourites had a tricky first half of the tournament as the youngsters take over.  One may expect many of those to join the ranks of the Open group next year, many of them from well-established chess powers like the Philippines and India, but, perhaps more surprisingly, also Kazakhstan.  

Interviewed by the BCC press team for the occasion, all three Challengers tournament referees collectively described the event as uneventful, which is probably just how they want it to unfold. 

Yesterday’s blitz tournament qualifiers were equally impressive in their organisational efficiency, with eight groups of fourteen players facing off in a round robin – a system that gives any rank amateur the opportunity to play against several top class opponents.  All complete with a designated referee, ensuring that the pairings are communicated quickly and accurately.  Considering the quality of play observed last night, the blitz finals which will take place this Wednesday promise to be quite spectacular.

As we reach the main tournament’s halfway mark, the number of co-leaders has dwindled to just four, including Vietnamese aces Trang Gia Phuc Pham and Nho Kiet Dinh as well as Chinese underdog Qingfeng Cao, who stands to gain more than a hundred rating points in just four games:  

They, too, would certainly agree that good chess is all about little details.

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