The Government appears to have backed away from any further confrontation – if their intention was to test the redshirts resolve, I think they have their answer. Now we are in a kind of stand-off while some kind of compromise solution is hammered out. Most likely the government will bring forward the elections without dissolving the house immediately. Time for Songkran festivities.

Meanwhile our star player, GM Nigel Short has arrived in Bangkok, and us organisers have no time for a holiday!

What affect will the redshirt protest have?

"Justice is universal"

As the demonstrations continue, many people are getting worried about the affect this will have on the Thailand Open 2010. From my own experience living and working in Bangkok, I have no problems with the demonstrators, as my home and office are not in the affected areas. Neither is the Hotel.

No matter what happens, we are committed to make this tournament every bit as good and better than previous years. Century Park Hotel is not close to the confrontation at the government offices and the business/shopping district.

A piece of good news is that many of the demonstrators will return home as is traditional in Thailand for the New Year (Songkran) holidays. The tournament is on, and we will not let the remaining demonstrators disrupt the Thailand Open.

We are looking forward to welcoming all of you to Bangkok. My advice is “Don’t worry, play well” !

Songkran Festival

The biggest danger is to get caught out in the water festival!

This year’s biggest danger during the tournament is that you will get wet: of all the feasts and festivals in Thailand, which are many, the Songkran Festival is the most striking, as during the afternoons in the hottest part of the year, Thailand cools off with water games.

Songkran is a Sanskrit word in Thai form which means the entry of the sun into any sign of the Zodiac. But the Songkran in this particular instance is when the sun enters the sign of Aries or the Ram. Its full name is Maha Songkran or Major Songkran to distinguish it from the other ones. But the people call it simply the Songkran for it is the only one they know and in which they take interest. It is their traditional New Year. Songkran begins on the 13th April and ends on the 15th April, but occasionally in certain years on the 16th April. The Songkran is in fact the celebration of the vernal equinox similar to those of the Indian Holi Festival, the Chinese Ching Ming, and the Christian Festival of Easter.

Redshirts’ rally

Demonstrators bring their whole families

Some people are asking about the demonstrations in Bangkok and if they will affect the tournament. The answer is no, other than perhaps some traffic problems. The demonstrators are avowedly peaceful and democratic, and the targets of the demonstrations are government buildings and army compounds.

They are not visiting the airports or having anything to do with visitors to Thailand.

Sasin simul

Thailand Junior Chess Championships
Photo courtesy of ThaiBG.com

Sasin organised a fantastic event over the weekend with the Thailand Junior Chess Championships, followed by a spectacular double simul featuring the current Thailand Champion, Krisdayut Plengsap, and Croatian GM Dražen Sermek, who lives in Phuket. Each champion had to face not only 20 boards, but met in the middle to play each other at the same time.

While the GM had to face more challenging opponents, it was also tough for Krisdayut as it was his first simultaneous exhibition match, and he had to spend more time at each board and to complete the gruelling match.

Congratulations to the top-notch Sasin business school for their great organisation of the events.