Blitz at the 15th BCC Open

The 15th BCC Open Blitz Championship was hotly contested by over 100 players, with two players from each of 8 groups qualifying for the finals to be held tonight (Wednesday 15th April).

Those qualifying were: GM Darwin Laylo (PHI 2465), GM Bartosz Socko (POL 2623), GM Oliver Barbosa (PHI 2610), Isuru Alahakoon (SRI 2152), FM Ivan Gil Biag (PHI 2328), FM Michal Bartel (POL 2381), IM Oliver Dimakiling (PHI 2422), Ravi Teja S (IND 2368), Sander Severino (PHI 2355), Franz Robert Grafil (PHI 2156), Roy Prantik (IND 2308), Arnulfo Gavilan (PHI 2244), GM Wang Hao (CHN 2705), GM Kamil Dragun (POL 2537), Hemant Sharma (IND 2325), FM Deniel Causo (PHI 2401).

DOWNLOAD: PGN file of blitz games from the 6 live boards (79 games total) click here

GM Oliver Barbosa, Thailand Blitz Champion 2 years running

Oliver Barbosa with the Bangkok Chess Club Blitz Trophy
GM Oliver Barbosa is Champion of the winner-takes-all Open Blitz Championship, here with Chief Arbit Markku Kosonen and Tournament Director Kai Tuorila

An interview with GM Oliver Barbosa, runner-up of the 14th BCC Open 2014

Interview by Alexander J. Klemm

Shortly after the tournament I sat down with runner-up GM Oliver Barbosa from the Philippines to talk about his great performance and his impressions of the tournament, coming 2nd Place in the main draw and BCC Open Blitz Champion for the second year running.

First, here’s a profile: Oliver Barbosa (b. 1986) is a Filipino chess grandmaster. He earned his International Master title in 2008 and his Grandmaster title in 2011. Barbosa won the 10th Parsvnath International Grandmasters Tournament in New Delhi, with 9.5/11 and an astounding performance rating of 2710. He has trained with Wesley So and John Paul Gomez. Barbosa played in the 42nd Chess Olympiad and scored 7/10, with an overall performance rating of 2668. Fide rating: 2580 (April 2014). Peak rating: 2596 (May 2012). (source:

And here is a key game from the eighth round between GM Barbosa and GM Atalik. Their epic battle was captivating for the viewers and certainly nerve-wrecking for the players.

Oliver Barbosa (Phi, 2580) vs. GM Suat Atalik (Tur, 2562)

1. d4Nf6 2. c4e6 3. Nf3c5 4. d5d6 5. Nc3 exd5 6. cxd5 g6 7. Bf4 Bg7 8. Qa4 Bd7 9. Qb3 b5 10. Bxd6 c4 11. Qa3 Qb6 12. Bc5 Qb7 13. Bd4 b4 14. Ne4 bxa3 15. Nd6 Kf8 16. Nxb7 axb2 17. Bxb2 Nxd5 18. Ne5 c3 19. Ba3 Kg8 20. O-O-O Nb6 21. Nxd7 N8xd7 22. e3 Ne5 23. Rd4 h5 24. h3 Nc6 25. Re4 a5 26. Bc5 Rb8 27. Ba6 Nb4 28. Rxb4 axb4 29. Bxb6 g5 30. Bd4 Bxd4 31. exd4 Rh6 32. Nc5 Rd8 33. Rd1 Rhd6 34. Be2 Rxd4 35. Nb3 Rxd1 36. Bxd1 Ra8 37. Kb1 Re8 38. Kc2 Re1 39. Nc1 Rg1 40. Bf3 g4 41. hxg4 hxg4 42. Bc6 Re1 43. Bd7 g3 44. fxg3 Re3 45. Bc6 Rxg3 46. Bf3 Rg6 47. Nd3 Rb6 48. g4 Ra6 49. Bd5 Rg6 50. Nxb4 Rxg4 51. Kxc3 Rg3 52. Nd3 Kf8 53. a4 Ke7 54. a5 Kd6 55. Bxf7 Kc6 56. Bc4 Rg5 57. Kb4 Rh5 58. Nf4 Rg5 59. Nd5 Rg1 60. Nc3 Rg4 61. Na4 Kb7 62. Kb5 Rg5 63. Nc5 Ka7 64. Bd3 Rh5 65. Kc6 Rh1 66. Ne4 Rd1 67. Bc4 Ra1 68. Kb5 Rb1 69. Kc5 Ra1 70. Kb4Rb1 71. Bb3Ka6 72. Nc5Ka7 73. Ne6Ka6 74. Nd4Rb2 75. Ka4 Rb1 76. Bc4 Ka7 77. Nc6 Kb7 78. Nb4 Ra1 79. Kb5 Rb1 Since his 54th move, white has made some progress, but it is hard to see how he can queen his pawn on a5 any time soon. Atalik’s rook keeps pestering him very effectively. We’re in the fifth hour of the game and both players have little time on the clock. White now attacks the rooks with 80. Bd3, after which black could continue his resistance with 80… Rb3. However, he responded with 80… Rb2??


In this position white has a decisive blow. How did GM Barbosa finish the game? Find the solution after the interview.

AKJ: Congratulations for your impressive achievement. You are the runner-up with the same number of points as the winner GM Vallejo Pons. How do you feel now that the tournament is over? How do you see your performance?

OB: I feel very relieved that this tournament is over because my last four or five games were very long and hard-fought. I was quite tired during these games. I’m happy with the way I played here. I only lost one game against GM Schebler, but I won against compatriots Laylo and Torre, two strong grandmasters from the Philippines. In the penultimate round I won against GM Atalik, which was not a clear win for me until the end. Luckily I won that game. Today in the last game against Vallejo Pons I just tried to equalize. Luckily I managed to do that, and when he offered a draw I readily accepted it. I didn’t play against the second and third seed, maybe that’s why I managed to become co-champion.

AJK: What went wrong in your game against GM Schebler?

OB: I didn’t think that black would be better after some exchanges in the middle game. I thought it was just going to be equal and black has a slight push, but after the exchanges it became very hard for me. That’s when I thought I shouldn’t have exchanged some pieces and noticed I’m in trouble.

AJK: What was your most interesting game?

OB: Maybe the one against GM Atalik in the penultimate round. I’ve checked the game and the engine says it’s equal until the end. I thought the position could be won because I had two pieces and a pawn for his rook. I wasn’t quite sure how to win this, but luckily in the end he made a mistake. It was a very tiring 5-hour game.

AJK: What do you think about the Dusit Thani Hotel, the organization of the tournament, and the overall strength of the competition?

OB: I want to congratulate the organizers for putting together this tournament. I think it’s well organized, and thanks also to the Dusit Thani Hotel for this beautiful venue. There was one minor problem because the lighting was a bit dim, but it was fine with the additional lamps next to the boards. This is a strong tournament with 13 grandmasters and also strong international masters like Liu Quingnan who is over 2500 and a World Cup qualifier. There are three or four 2600s, and Vallejo Pons came down from 2700, so he plays at that level.

AJK: You’ve played in Bangkok this year and last year in Pattaya. Do you have any preference?

OB: I prefer to play near the beach because it’s pretty relaxing. You can walk in the afternoon or evening and get some fresh air.

GM Oliver Barbosa and GM Suat Atalik at the Bangkok Chess Club Open 2014
GM Oliver Barbosa and GM Suat Atalik at the Bangkok Chess Club Open 2014

AJK: What are your professional plans for the rest of the year?

OB: This year we have the national championship in July, which also counts as the elimination for our Olympiad team. I need to reach a top-four spot in order to qualify for the team. Then, I would like to play the Annual Washington International in August but am not sure yet whether I can actually go to the US. And for next year I’m planning to start a chess school in Manila so that I can share my talent with kids.

AJK: Do you intend to come back to Thailand next year.

OB: Definitely. As I’ve already said, it’s a well-organized tournament and an excellent venue.

AJK: Thank you so much for your time and best of luck.

OB: Thanks too.

Bangkok, 19 April 2014

Soon to come: An interview with third-placed GM Jan Gustafsson.

(Solution: 81. Bc2!! traps the rook. 81… Kc7 82. Ka4 1-0. With this win GM Barbosa could be sure of finishing at or near the top.)


GM Vallejo Pons beats GM Atalik

Bangkok Chess Club Open 2014

GM Vallejo Pons beats GM Atalik in round 6 and takes lead at 14th Bangkok Chess Club Open 2014
Report by Alexander J. Klemm

Round six saw an exciting matchup on board one between number one seed GM Francisco Vallejo Pons and number five seed and tournament leader GM Suat Atalik. After a less than optimal opening, GM Vallejo Pons had to dig deep to squeeze out a win against his Turkish opponent. ‘Paco’ is now in the sole lead with 5½ points, while GM Atalik stays in contention with 5.

On board two Filipino GM John Paul Gomez and 3rd seed GM Jan Gustafsson, repeated moves early in an equal position. While their draw keeps both players in close contact with ‘Paco’, it may prove to be too little to reach first place in the end. In a matchup between spouses on board 3, Mr. & Mrs. Socko battled it out until only the king’s were left standing. Playing with the black pieces, GM Eugenio Torre had a slightly better position against GM Oliver Barbosa, but in time trouble the veteran went wrong several times and soon lost to his fellow countryman. In the game on board eight between Pattaya-based German GM Gerhard Schebler and Thai FM Wisuwat Teerapabpaisit, the former player came out on top. GM Schebler has recovered from his round 5 loss against GM Atalik and has a good chance for a strong finish.

Round 6 results at top boards:

  1. GM Francisco Vallejo Pons (4 ½) 1 – 0 GM Suat Atalik (5)
  2. GM John Paul Gomez (4½) ½ – ½ GM Jan Gustafsson (4½)
  3. GM Monika Socko (4) ½ – ½ GM Bartosz Socko (4)
  4. GM Oliver Barbosa (4) 1 – 0 GM Eugenio Torre (4)
  5. GM Darwin Laylo (4) 1 – 0 Rolando Andador (4)
  6. Hamed Nouri (4) 0 – 1 IM Qingnan Liu (4)
  7. GM Marat Dzhumaev (4) 1 – 0 Yan Liu (4)
  8. GM Gerhard Schebler (4) 1 – 0 FM Wisuwat Teerapabpaisit (4)

Ranking after round 6:

  1. 5½ pts.: GM Francisco Vallejo Pons
  2. 5 pts.: GM Suat Atalik, GM Jan Gustafsson, GM John Paul Gomez, GM Oliver Barbosa, GM Darwin Laylo, GM Gerhard Schebler, GM Marat Dzhumaev, IM Qingnan Liu

Top pairings of round 7:

  1. GM Jan Gustafsson (5) vs. GM Francisco Vallejo Pons (5½)
  2. GM Darwin Laylo (5) vs. GM Oliver Barbosa (5)
  3. GM Suat Atalik (5) vs. GM Marat Dzhumaev (5)
  4. IM Qingnan Liu (5) vs. GM John Paul Gomez (5)
  5. GM Bartosz Socko (4½) vs. GM Gerhard Schebler (5)

Here is the round six game GM Vallejo Pons vs. GM Atalik
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0–0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0–0 8.c3 d5 9.exd5 Nxd5 10.Nxe5 Nxe5 11.Rxe5 c6 12.d3 Bd6 13.Re1 Bf5 14.Qf3 Qf6 15.Bxd5 cxd5 16.Be3 Qe5 17.g3 Bxd3 18.Nd2 Rfe8 19.Kg2 Be4 20.Nxe4 dxe4 21.Qe2 Bf8 22.Rad1 Qe6 23.a3 Rad8 24.Rxd8 Rxd8 25.Rd1 Rxd1 26.Qxd1 f6 (weakening the e6-square) 27.a4 Qc4 28.a5

VallejoPons-Atalik Diagram 1

The position is roughly equal, yet with his 3-2 pawn majority on the left side of the board white can put pressure on black. Now black should keep his queen on white squares in order to protect his pawns on a6 and e4, for example: 28…Qc6 29.Qd8 Kf7 30.Qb6 Qc8 31.Qd4 Qc6 32.Qa7+ Kg8 33.Qb6 Qc8 34.Qa7 Qc6 =

However, Atalik went for the weak 28… b4 (?). After this mistake, white missed the strong continuation 29.cxb4 h6 30.Qd7 Qxb4 31.Qe6+ Kh7 32.Qxa6 Bc5 33.Bxc5 Qxc5 34.Qe6 Qxa5 35.Qxe4+ f5 36.Qb7. This would have given white a winning position, as the b-pawn is unstoppable and perpetual checks impossible.

However, Vallejo Pons opted for the imprecise but still sufficient 29. b3 (?!) Qb5 30.c4 Qxa5 31.c5 Qc7 32.Qd5+ Qf7 33.Qxe4 f5 34.Qxb4 g5 35.h3 f4 36.gxf4 gxf4 37.Qxf4 Qxf4 38.Bxf4 Bxc5.

VallejoPons-Atalik Diagram 4The queens are off the board and white is a pawn up. Black can’t defend his weak pawn on a6 from attacks by the white king and stop white’s f-pawn at the same time. Vallejo Pons makes the rest look easy: 39.Be3 Bb4 40.Kf3 Kf7 41.Ke4 Ke6 42.f4 Bc3 43.Bd4 Be1 44.Be5 h5 45.f5+ Kf7 46.Kd3 Ke7 47.Kc4 Kd7 48.Bc3 Bf2 49.Kd5 Bh4 50.f6 Bg5 51.Ke5 Bh6 52.Bb4.

In the final position, black will soon be forced to give up his bishop for white’s f-pawn. 1 – 0

A short profile of the new leader and nominally the strongest player at the BCC Open is indicative of the great caliber of professionals the tournament has managed to attract year after year.

Player’s profile: GM Francisco Vallejo Pons (nickname ‘Paco’)
The top seed at the 14th Bangkok Chess Club Open 2014 was born on 21 August 1982 in Es Castell, Minorca, Spain. His current Elo-rating of 2693 puts the 31-year-old at 52nd place on Fide’s World ranking. Over the last few years Vallejo Pons has consistently reached ratings of over 2700, peaking at 2724 in July of 2011.

This is the second time that he has participated in the BCC Open, the first time being in Pattaya in 2011, where he reached third place on tiebreak behind champion GM Jan Gustafsson and runner-up GM Nigel Short, all three players scoring 7½/9.

Naturally, the Spaniard’s opening repertoire is rock solid. Playing with white he favors 1.e4, with the Sicilian being the opening he encounters most often. Playing with the black pieces against 1.e4 he regularly chooses the Sicilian or the French Defense, and against 1.d4 he prefers the Semi-Slav.
His professional successes include, among many, the following:

  • 20th youngest player to become grandmaster (at the age of 16 years and 9 months)
  • winner of the 2000 Under-18 World Youth Chess Championship
  • a solid showing at the Linares Super GM tournament in 2002
  • Spanish champion in 2006 and 2009
  • wins against GM Magnus Carlsen, GM Hikaru Nakamura and GM Vassily Ivanchuk at the 4th Bilbao Masters
  • 2nd place (8th on tiebreak) at the 13th European Individual Championship 2012
  • 3½ – 2½ victory against GM Veselin Topalov at the 25th Ciudad de Leon, 2012
  • 1st place (6th on tiebreak) at the 12th European Individual Championship 2013
  • 1st place with OSG Baden Baden in the 2013/14 season of the German chess league (Schachbundesliga), scoring 6 ½/8 (15 rounds in total).

After six rounds of play, with three rounds to go, and having beaten one of his closest rivals, ‘Paco’ has put himself in a good position to win the tournament, yet all of his next opponents will surely put up a fight. The round 7 matchup between GM Gustafsson and GM Vallejo Pons promises more great chess.

The top six boards in the Open section can also be watched live with computer analysis at

The latest results, standings and fixtures can be accessed at