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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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.

For complete results, visit

19th Bangkok Chess Club Open Begins with Upsets

The 19th Bangkok Chess Club Open, described as “arguably, the tournament of the year,” by respected web site, began on Saturday in the luxurious ballroom of the Centara Grand Hotel with a near-record attendance, which included 17 Grandmasters.

The field of 201 from 34 countries in the Open division includes three previous BCC Open titleholders: Nigel Short (England, winner in 2012, 2015 and 2017), Jan Gustafsson (Germany, 2011) and Zhao Zong Yuan (Australia, 2013).

All three won their first round comfortably against lower rated opposition, with Short launching a spectacular checkmating attack involving the sacrifice of a rook and then a queen, with his opponent resigning four moves later.

However the top seeds did not have matters all their own way, with Chilean Grandmaster Rodrigo Vasquez drawing with 13-year-old Singaporean talent Hariharan Ashwin. India has the biggest foreign delegation in Bangkok, with 44 representatives in the Open division alone.

The local fans also had something to cheer about with Chiang Mai junior Kavin Nattavutthisit holding Singaporean veteran Grandmaster Bong Villamayor to a draw despite a 600 point rating differential. Another Thai, Thoetsak Wongsawan, almost pulled off an even greater upset before spoiling a defensible endgame and losing to the sixth seed, 25 year old Italian Grandmaster Andrea Stella.

The Bangkok Chess Club Open is Thailand’s most popular tournament and one of the largest opens in South-East Asia. The tournament alternates between Bangkok and other major Thai cities.

The BCC Open will be held daily until April 14th at the Centara Grand Hotel in Central Plaza, Ladprao, Bangkok. The second round of the Open division begins on Sunday April 7th at 14.00, with the Challengers division beginning on April 8. Spectator entry is free.

The tournament web site is

For complete results, visit

World Champion in Bangkok?

Following his outstanding performance at Tata Steel, Magnus Carlsen gave an in-depth interview with Bangkok Chess Club Open regular GM Jan Gustafsson. 32 minutes into the interview Jan asked him about his plans:
Magnus Carlsen: I would really love to play something before late April… I’m very open to suggestions.”
Jan Gustafsson: “Thailand Open is early April, I can put in a good word for you.”
MC: (laughing) “Sure.”
Watch the whole interview on chess24 (

Whether the World Champion comes or not, there will be some great players there including regulars Jan Gustafsson and Nigel Short. At time of writing there are 20 Grandmasters registered. Join them and other players from more than 28 different countries for Asia’s finest open tournament, this April in Bangkok’s luxury Centara Grand Hotel.