Gustafsson Moves Into Clear Lead

With only one round to play, Jan Gustafsson is just one good game away from winning his second Bangkok Chess Club Open title.

The German Grandmaster and commentator for chess web site, who has competed in the BCC Open for a decade and took the title in 2011, won a spectacular eighth round game against Vietnam’s The Anh Duong. Gustafsson, 39, now takes a half point lead into the final round, ahead of 200 other competitors at the 19th edition of Thailand’s best tournament being held at the Centara Grand Hotel in Central Plaza.

Gustafsson’s co-leader going in to the penultimate round, Nigel Short, saw his chances of a fourth BCC Open title disappear when he was outplayed by India’s Deep Sengupta. The top seed, who caused a worldwide sensation at the 2015 BCC Open when he gave a series of interviews claiming that men were hardwired to play better chess than women, sacrificed a piece, as he has done in almost every game in this tournament. However his opponent’s extra knight proved decisive after 58 moves and more than four hours play. The Indian Grandmaster, 30, has never finished in the top 3 of a BCC Open but now sits just behind Gustafsson.

Gustafsson is also being chased by Filipino International Master Haridas Pascua (who scored an upset win against Indian Grandmaster Babu Lalith), and Indian Dhopade Swapnil (who beat fellow Grandmaster Bong Villamayor of the Philippines).

Thai hopes for a grand victory in the Challengers division came to an end today when our great mind Theemathas Chirananthavat, who had won every game until today, was bested by Ric Portugalera of the Philippines.

The final round of the Bangkok Chess Club Open begins on Sunday at the Centara Grand Hotel in Ladprao at the special early time of 9.00am and will be broadcast live on

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Songkran Celebrations at BCC Open

Nigel Short and Jan Gustafsson discovered the joys of Thailand’s famous Songkran Festival on Thursday at the Bangkok Chess Club Open.

On the first day of Songkran in Bangkok, Short and Gustafsson were asked by organisers to preview their game by sitting for a photo shoot in local costume in the gardens of the Centara Grand Hotel in Ladprao. However following Songkran tradition, the players were sprinkled with water and then covered in water by the spectators, which appeared to surprise both players and upset Short.

The Englishman then had revenge on his tormentors by pouring water on as many as possible – a perfectly acceptable reaction during Songkran.

Short, who as a young man played guitar in a band he described as “very, very bad”, then faced the music against Gustafsson in their real seventh round encounter on first board in the Centara Grand ballroom, and was allowed to sacrifice a knight and a rook before the players agreed to a draw by perpetual check.

The draw between the two leaders allowed Vietnamese International Master The Anh Duong to join them on six points from seven games by defeating Australian Grandmaster Zhao Zong Yuan. Duong, 32, defeated his second Grandmaster in a row and has now won more games than any other player in the tournament.

A new Thai chess talent became visible today when our own Prin Laohawirapap defeated Australian FIDE Master Tim Reilly. Laohawirapap, 12, who was one of the youngest members of Bangkok Chess Club when he first appeared, has reached four points from seven games, just two points behind Short.

Round 8 of the Bangkok Chess Club Open begins on Friday at 2.00pm and will be broadcast live on

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Favourites take the lead

Nigel Short and Jan Gustafsson, the top two seeds at the 2019 Bangkok Chess Club Open, are tied for the lead with just three rounds to play.

The two top seeds, who have won four BCC Open titles between them, survived a crucial day which saw two Grandmasters lose their games to non-Grandmaster opponents.

Short once again thrilled the crowd at the Centara Grand Hotel with a slashing attack against the king of his Indonesian opponent Andrean Susilodinata. The 53-year-old, who was awarded the title of Member of the British Empire six years after finishing second in a World Championship match, has been the tournament’s greatest showman. 

Short will have a chance to again demonstrate his attacking magic in the next round against Gustafsson, who kept a share of the lead after drawing a solid game against Indian Grandmaster Babu Lalith.

The sixth round saw two big upsets, with Italian Grandmaster losing to Vietnamese rising star The Anh Duong, while Indian Grandmaster Dibyendu Barua lost to his much younger compatriot Khherdekar Sauravh..

Two local players moved to within just a point and a half of the lead. Our hero of the tournament, Poompong Wiwatanadate, as well as Saphong Hansing, both won to reach four points.

Round 7 of the Bangkok Chess Club Open, featuring a game between the two top seeds, will begin on Thursday at 2.00pm and will be broadcast live on

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Brilliant Gustafsson Alone at the Top of Bangkok Open

German Grandmaster Jan Gustafsson found a brilliant queen sacrifice to beat India’s Karthik Venkataraman and take the outright lead at the 19th Bangkok Chess Club Open.

Gustafsson, 39, broke away from his 200 rivals with a game against a fellow Grandmaster that will strike fear into the heart of his coming opponents. He has now scored a perfect 5/5 and is on track to repeat his BCC Open success from 2011.

Round 5 also saw only the second defeat of a Grandmaster by a non-Grandmaster in the 2019 BCC Open when Indonesian FIDE Master Andrean Susilodinata outwitted Moulthun Ly of Australia. Susilodinata is now just half a point behind Mr Gustafsson, a position shared with two Grandmasters: India’s Babu Lalith and legendary veteran Nigel Short, who was a very strong player in the 1990s.

In the Challengers division, one of our greatest brains is leading the tournament. Theemathas Chirananthavat, 20, played for the Thai Olympic team in 2012 at age 14, but soon after retired from chess and went on to win gold medals for Thailand at mathematics and informatics competitions.

Playing seriously for the first time since 2015,  Chirananthavat has won every game so far this year at the Centara Grand and is making Thailand proud.

Round 6 of the Bangkok Chess Club Open will begin on Wednesday at 2.00pm and will be broadcast live on

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For results and games, please visit

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Grandmasters Dominate at Bangkok Chess Club Open

The 17 visiting Grandmasters showed why they are a class above by scoring 16.5 points in the third round of the Bangkok Chess Club Open on Monday. Thailand has no Grandmasters yet but one of our players, Poompang Wiwatanadate, played a draw against English Grandmaster Nigel Short on Sunday.

On the third day of the BCC Open at the Centara Grand Hotel in Central Plaza, only one Grandmaster was held to a draw: Hungarian Jozsef Horvath against Malaysian Looi Xin Hao. On the first board German Grandmaster Jan Gustafsson had a hard fight before defeating India’s Anup Deshmukh.

Before today there were two Thai players leading the tournament but Wisuwat Teerapabaisit, who has played six Chess Olympics for Thailand, lost to Australia’s Moulthun Ly, and Faris Rashid Alriyami, only 12 years old and by far the lowest rated player to reach the tie for first place after two rounds, was defeated by Woman International Master Phuong Hanh Luong from Vietnam.

Nigel Short, who finished second in a World Championship match in 1993, bounced back from his upset draw against Wiwatanadate to brilliantly defeat Alekhine Nouri of the Philippines. Mr Short said that he had played 13 World Champions in his career but was not sure if a win against Alekhine meant that he had played a 14th. Short has now moved up into 15th place.

Today also saw the first round of the Challengers Tournament with 100 players, bringing the total number at the 2019 BCC Open to 301.

The fourth round of the Bangkok Chess Club Open will begin on Tuesday at 11.00am and will be broadcast live on the chess web site

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Local Hero Stops Top Seed at Bangkok Open

In 2016 Poompong Wiwatanadate was working as an arbiter at the Bangkok Chess Club Open, collecting results and ruling on disputes. Three years later the 29-year-old has become the toast of Bangkok by holding a draw against – and almost beating top seed and former world title challenger Nigel Short.

Wiwatanadate had twice lost to Short in earlier BBC Opens, an event Short has won thrice, but said before today’s game that he would not be scared. At various points during the game Short seemed to be gaining the upper hand but Wiwatanadate fought hard and eventually the veteran Englishman started to go wrong.

However just when Wiwatanadate had the game at his mercy he missed a winning breakthrough and Short managed to hang on and force a repetition of position. The draw was a career-best result for Wiwatanadate and forced Short down outside the top 30 in the 201 player field.

Short was not the only high profile casualty in the second round of the BCC Open, being held at the Centara Grand Hotel in Ladprao. Third seed Babu Lalith drew with 13-year-old Filipino rising star Alekhine Nouri.

The upsets leave German Grandmaster Jan Gustafsson in the box seat to win his second BCC Open, although with seven rounds remaining and more than 30 players on a perfect score, plenty of players still have hopes to secure the 100,000 Baht first prize.

One Grandmaster was defeated in the second round – India’s Dopade Swapnil beaten by Australian journeyman Colin Savige. Swapnil lost on time on move 61 in a difficult position but one which he would nonetheless have expected to draw. The top Chinese player in the BCC Open, International Master Lou Yiping suffered the biggest upset of the round, losing to German veteran Mick Tobor, with the 68-year-old launching a decisive attack to beat the 12th seed.

The Bangkok Chess Club Open, often known as the Thai Open, is Thailand’s most popular open tournament and alternates between Bangkok and other major Thai cities. It is held through the period of Songkran, formerly Thai New Year and now a traditional water festival washing away bad moves and bad luck.

The BCC Open will be held daily until April 14th at the Centara Grand Hotel in Central Plaza, Ladprao, Bangkok. The third round of the Open division and the first round of the Challengers section begin on Monday April 8th at 15.00. Spectator entry is free.

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