The Young and the Old *

Round number four got underway 2 1/2 hours early in Hua Hin this Tuesday, so as not to interfere with the all-important blitz tournament scheduled in the same evening.  All top games are, as always, available at

One third of this 21st Bangkok Chess Club Open is now behind us, and a few trends are beginning to emerge.  Thirteen players remain with the maximum score, of which almost half are under 18 years old.  As a fellow pundit astutely observed the other night, something definitely happened during those Covid years.  Kids used to play quickly and leave pieces hanging.  Nowadays they eat IMs for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

At a cautious distance from the tournament leaders we find the first two Thai players, who could hardly be more different from one another.  

Young Prin Laohawirapap is the reigning Thai champion as well as the first Thai national to hold the title of International Master.  He combines his schooling with an intensive study of chess, whipping up a chess book or checking out online resources at every opportunity.  Aided by professional coaching and steadfast support from his family, he appears well on his way to become Thailand’s first ever GM.

FM Wisuwat Teerapabpaisit, on the other hand, is the quintessential Renaissance man, if such a thing may apply to the world of chess.  His areas of interest range from numerous chess-like games in addition to go, backgammon and more, all of which he practices at a competitive level.  He is also one of the few active players who remain from the early days of the Bangkok chess club, some 25 years ago.    

Back then, Thailand’s team for the Olympiads were essentially drawn from the elite echelon of the local Makruk (Thai chess) league.  Most of them were also regulars at the BCC’s blitz tournaments, while some foreign residents returned the favour by taking part in the national championship on a few occasions.  Chess, back then, was a different kind of game.  A post-mortem analysis wasn’t all about asking Stockfish.  It was, instead, a social affair typically involving (around the Din Daeng suburb at least) much revelry around a chess board and, more often than not, lots of cigarette smoke as well as a half-empty bottle of Mekong whisky.  

Now.  How cool was that, kids?

*With apologies to the great English band Madness for the misappropriation of their song’s title.

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