The Bangkok Chess Club meets every Tuesday evening at The Bull’s Head Pub & Restaurant on Sukhumvit Soi 33/1 – just round the corner from Phrom Phong skytrain station (take exit 5 and turn into the lane beside The Robin Hood pub). Players begin to arrive from 6:30pm and tournaments usually begin at about 8:00pm. With over 200 active players of every standard from beginners to masters, you are bound to find players to give you a good game – all are welcome. And it is free (though nobody would object if you bought the organiser a drink 😉 )
If you’re new to Bangkok, the Bull’s Head is one of the longest established English pubs in town, with a charismatic manager (Billy), excellent service and that famous British pub food (great steaks), popular with expats (perhaps because of that cute waitress with the silky black hair). They are also shortlisted for the World’s Best British Pub! You can find more information at their website
The Bangkok Chess Club also meets every Friday evening at Woodstock Bar and Grill. Great food and special prices on the drinks. Take the skytrain to Thonglor station, and then bus, motorcycle, taxi or a good walk to Thonglor Soi 13: Woodstock Map. You can find more information at their website.
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Untitled Xiu Deshun of China played sensational chess to win the Thailand Open Chess Championship 2009 again, with 8/9 points, ahead of a strong field of 9 grandmasters including GM Nigel Short. Iranian GM Elshan Moradiabadi was second with 7.5, followed by Short with 7 points. 8 players were “thaied” for 4th place. FM Wisuwat becomes the new local champion with 5.5/9 points. IM norms were acheived by Shen Siyuan and M S Thejkumar, plus a WGM norm for Zhou Guijue.
7th BCC Open, Phuket Thailand. Report by Ian Rogers.
The Bangkok Chess Club Open is arguably the world’s best open tournament.
That definition can be readily challenged – the Aeroflot Open has hundreds more Grandmasters, the Pardubice Open attracts thousands more players and the World Open has far higher prize money.
However the BCC Open, held in various cities around Thailand over the past six years, has a number of features which few other tournaments can match.
Primary among them is the playing hall, always a spacious and lavish ballroom in a five star hotel. The organisers provide water and sometimes peanuts or other snacks for the players and, most importantly, the games are always played within 50 metres of a swimming pool.
The 2007 BCC Open was held on the island paradise of Phuket at the end of March. Phuket was badly hit by the tsunami two years ago but has more or less fully recovered, the only signs of the tragedy were frequent signs advising the best escape path in the case of a new tsunami.
Casting fears of a tsunami aside, 109 players from 30 countries arrived in the luxurious Graceland Resort and Spa for the tournament, among them four GMs. The event boasted a long list of sponsors, including Thailand’s oldest bank, the Siam Commercial Bank, and the Thai tourist authorities, who organised the visit of a baby elephant to the tournament to promote the event.
With the temperature well above 30 degrees every day, the pool or the beach less than 150 metres away from the games – became an essential stop between rounds and, among the Europeans, sunburnt faces soon outnumbered normal pale chessplayers. In particular, Ukrainian Grandmaster Dmitri Komarov’s lobster-like appearance indicated that the second seed was not spending too much time in his room preparing for games.
After nine rounds it was an IM, Australia’s David Smerdon who dominated the tournament, defeating top seed Rogelio ‘Joey’ Antonio in the fifth round and conceding only three draws, to the other GMs, in the nine rounds.
Antonio recovered from his defeat to finish second while most of the other top seeds finished tied for third, including Komarov, Smerdon’s main rival for the first half of the tournament, Indian GM RB Ramesh tournament leader and this writer.
In the final round Smerdon needed only a draw for his second GM norm, but a win would give him outright first place and the 36,000 Baht first prize. Fortunately Smerdon exhibited nerves of steel in the decisive game below.
Otherwise Black succeeds in exchanging his light-squared bishop without penalty usually an achievement in the Modern Benoni.
#9…Bxf3 10.Qxb7 Nbd7 11.gxf3 Bg7 12.Qb3#
Smerdon had pleasant memories of this line; in the last round of the 2006 Torino Olympiad he beat Peru’s rising star Emil Cordova after 12.Qc6 0-0 13.Qxd6 Nh5 14.f4 Re8 15.Bg2 Ra7 16.a5 Qh4 17.Ne2 Rc8! 18.e5 Bf8 when White’s queen was trapped.
Here Smerdon realising that he was walking into his opponent’s preparation and not exactly playing a safe line , offered a draw, immediately declined.
Tirto’s new idea.
#13…Qh4 14.Ne2 Rb8 15.Qf3! 0-0#
Not 15…Bxb2 16.Bxb2 Rxb2 17.Qc3!.
Now Smerdon realised that his position was hanging by a thread. After long thought he found an inspired way to achieve counterplay.
#16…f5!! 17.Nxh5 fxe4! 18.Qh3 Qxh5 19.Qxh5#
19.Qxd7? would be met by 19…Qf3 20.Rg1 Bd4! 21.Rg2 Bxb2 with a crushing attack.
#19…gxh5 20.Bxa6 Bxb2 21.Bxb2 Rxb2 22.Bb5?#
Finally White starts to go astray, allowing the Black knight to gain activity. 22.a5 was necessary after which the White a pawn will be insurance against any problems.
With most Thais preferring Thai chess to international chess, it has always been an uphill struggle for the organisers to attract large numbers of local players to the BCC Open. However the recent appointment of a senior diplomat, the enthusaistic Dr Kantathi Suphamongkhan, as head of the Thailand Chess Association is likely to help chess in Thailand considerably. Suphamongkhan’s first jobs will be to encourage international chess among juniors and to find an experienced coach willing to come to work in Thailand both tasks which have defeated Thai administrators in the past.
The top Thai player, Wisuwat Teerapabaisit, enjoyed some success in Phuket but was unlucky to miss out on a high placing by losing the following endgame in the final round.
(W Kb3, Rg5, Ph4, a4
B Ke3, Rh2, Ph2)
#47.a5 Kf2 48.a6?#
The natural move, but it seems to lose by force. After the immediate 48.Rxg2+! Black’s king is one tempo too slow in returning to stop the a pawn.
Now the White king is cut off from defending the a pawn if it advances too far.
55.Rf5+ was perhaps a better try but after 55…Kg4 56.Rf7 Rg8! White is helpless.
#55…Rxa7! 56.Rxa7 g1Q#
and Black, aware of the problems which some top players have had with queen versus rook in recent times Svidler and Morozevich spring to mind and therefore having subjected the endgame to some extra study, converted the queen versus rook without difficulty.