Chess on the Beach

This week marks the start of Songkran, the water festival that is the biggest holiday of the year in Thailand.

It is also when the most popular chess tournament in Southeast Asia takes place in the beautiful setting of the Sheraton Hua Hin. More than 300 chess enthusiasts, young and old, are traveling from nearly 50 countries to test their wits against the Grandmasters that will be taking part.

“This will be our 21st edition of the Bangkok Chess Club Open, and it is shaping up to be the best yet,” notes Kai Tuorila, the Tournament Director. “After all the difficulties over the past few years, we are delighted to see so many of our regulars as well as new visitors coming together in a spirit of friendship and competition.”

The tournament takes place over 9 days, with all players taking part for the whole tournament. There is also a short Blitz Tournament taking place, with games that take only ten minutes to complete.  “The Open is not a knockout tournament, all participants will have chances right to the end of the tournament,” Kai added. “In the Blitz, the Juniors can really challenge the older players, even the Grandmasters.”

Nicolai Mitchell, General Manager at the Sheraton explained that this a unique new experience for them. “We are very popular for weddings and corporate events, and this new sporting event should help us reach a wider audience via the Marriott Bonvoy programme, particularly as there are more than 100 chess players coming from India.”

The tournament runs from 13-21 April, and spectators are welcome – but should note that no electronic devices including mobile phones are allowed in the playing hall. Games from the top boards are broadcast live on the international chess website 

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