Thailand Chess introduces the brand new Pattaya Open 2018
When someone speaks about Thai chess, the first thing that comes to your mind is the Bangkok Open. The tournament visited by players like Nigel Short, Jan Gustaffson and many other world class players has become an annual destination for chess fans all over the world. But for the growth of chess in Thailand, just one event is not enough. That's the reason why former Thai national player Jarunpol Sajjapronthep and his wife Phuttarak Khampliw decided to organize the Pattaya Open from 20th to 31st of October 2018. What started as just plan for one tournament turned into an entire festival with youth and senior tournaments as well as an amateur section. In the first part of this report by Peter Long brings you the youth events and also an interview with the organizer.
From 20-31 October, Thailand and the ASEAN region is witnessing the birth of a new event - the Thailand Pattaya Open Chess Championship 2018 - which is already successfully forging its own identity - with an offering of a mixture of Youth, Senior, Amateur and International Opens.
For almost two decades now Thailand chess has been defined by the long running Bangkok Chess Club Open and a seemingly never ending series of ASEAN Age Group Championships. For these and the other occasional official FIDE or ACF event held in this Land of Smiles, it is the beach resort city of Pattaya that has always been the preferred venue. Thailand chess is however still very much in its infancy with just a couple of FIDE Masters to show in all this time, but it has a sound base to build from.
What Thailand also has, is a large expatriate community and a tourist friendly environment which has welcomed chess masters and enthusiasts to visit and stay and this has helped both popularise and gain broader acceptance for the game from a large middle class. It is no surprise then that in recent years, several chess schools in Thailand's major cities have sprung up to tap into an increasing demand from international and private schools and so are able to offer locals and foreign chess players employment as chess teachers.
At the time of writing this report, the Youth and Senior Championships have now concluded and the Open and Amateur started, the Thailand Pattaya Open Championship 2018 boasting over 200 players from 24 countries.
Final rankings in under-8 section
|1||4||Cabatian Clark Jemuel||U08||PHI||0||7,5||0,0||42,5||35,5|
|5||1||Anup Kumar Vihaan||U08||AUS||1387||6,0||0,0||42,5||35,0|
Final rankings in under-12 section
|1||4||Ventura Gio Troy||U12||PHI||1464||8,0||0,5||47,5||39,5|
|4||24||Castro Josh Edmar||U12||PHI||0||6,0||0,0||50,0||42,0|
|5||40||Sta. Maria Earl Siegfrid||U12||PHI||0||6,0||0,0||48,0||40,0|
Final Ranking in under-16 section
|1||7||Alriyami Faris Rashid||U14||THA||1406||7,0||0,0||41,5||35,0|
Final ranking in the seniors section:
Interview with the organizer of the Pattaya Open 2018
Q1: We all know about the long standing Bangkok Club Open Chess Championship and now we have he Thailand Pattaya Open Chess Championship which is already looking to be a huge success. Tell us about your chess connection?
I myself am a Makruk (Thai Chess) player and also play international chess as well, like many other Thais. I participated in the Bangkok Chess Open Chess Championships many times, including Thailand Open Chess Championships organized at Sirikit Convention Centre. I was quite impressed with the serious organizing of those chess events and felt excited and enjoyable while appreciating the excellent and extraordinary quiet conditions of the playing venues. That encouraged me to train more seriously the game of international chess so as to do well in the next tournaments.
Q2: Getting big (cash) sponsorship in chess in this region is always a problem, and I think it is no different in Thailand, so how did you manage to do the Thailand Pattaya Open?
The idea of organizing an international chess event came to my mind when I had an opportunity to help Mr. Panupand Vijjuprabha to provide chess equipment and other logistics during the FIDE World School Chess Championships in Pattaya City in 2015, where I also took a FIDE Trainer Seminar Course. I again witnessed the organizing of the ASEAN+ Age Group 2016 and took a FIDE Arbiter Seminar Course. I was fascinated with the organizing of chess events where there were youths from numerous countries participating, including young Thai players, which enabled Thai players to compete against foreign players while exchanging traditions among those from abroad. If the FIDE World School and the ASEAN+ Age Group had not been organized in Thailand, Thai players must have travelled abroad and shouldered a lot of expenses. And even for a neighbouring country, the costs are still high for Thais.
As for the Thailand Junior Chess Championship, there usually are only Thai players and it is held only once a year, far too less, I think. And this is why the development of chess skills of Thai young kids seems to be quite slow. I came up with an idea of how to hold an international chess event in Pattaya City, which is a famous and well-known tourist spot. I then raised this matter with Mr. Panupand during the ASEAN+ Age Group 2016 that whether it would be possible to organize an international chess tournament in Pattaya and he said it was more than possible and gave me some advices in holding such an event. I then gave it lot of thought and consulted senior TCA Board Members and some even paid interest in being a partner to organize the event. In 2016, I had an opportunity to play in the World Chess Olympiad in Baku where I also witnessed the organizing of a world-class chess tournament and gained some experience which I could add to my idea in organizing the Pattaya Open Chess Championships.
However, there are some difficulties which made many prospective partners to withdraw from the partnership. Still, I was determined to go ahead with this project. I then asked my wife, Bowtie, about her opinions. She replied to me that if we did not start it today, we would never know when we could pull it off. We then approached Mrs. Chutima Tantipura, the owner of the Bay Beach Resort Hotel during the Thailand Open Chess Championships 2018 in February and the conditions of the hotel seemed to be within the realm of possibilities. We also consulted Mr. Kittiratt Na-Ranong, President of Thailand Chess Association and he agreed to render support and asked for the inclusion of youth tournament as well. And this is how the Pattaya Open Chess Championships started.
After several meetings with Mr. Panupand and my wife, I reached the conclusion in all details and quickly published brochures and posters for distribution during the Asian Youth Chess Championships 2018 in Chiang Mai Province. I also distributed brochures during the BCC Open 2018 in Cha-am City and there I received some applications from quite a few foreigners which made me happy. Once there were applications, it meant that the Pattaya Open Chess Champsionships officially started. The budgeting problems are always a big issue of every tournament, particularly a tournament held for the first time. With great supports from Mr. Bhasit Sevikul, Head of Technical Development Section of Thailand in soliciting sponsors, I obtained more and more sponsorship money. When the President of TCA learnt about this, he was kind enough to allocate big budgets to support the tournament, especially the Best Thai prize money. He also recommended where I could get more sponsorships, like, Government Savings Bank, Stock Exchange of Thailand, etc., which I did and eventually I had sufficient funds to run this tournament.
Q3: I can see here that this is a very well run event with excellent conditions.You seem to have successful taken all the best of the Bangkok Club Open and various other international youth events held in Thailand over the years and even improved on it. Can you share your secret?
This is not really a secret. If you want to achieve success in life, you must follow the footsteps of those who have achieved great accomplishments. I have chosen to follow the model of people who have done this before and met considerable achievements, for example, Mr. Panupand, Vice President of TCA, Mr. Bhasit Sevikul, Head of Technical Development Section of TCA, Mr. Kai Tuorila, Organizer of BCC Open, and Mr. Kittiratt Na-Ranong, President of TCA, and most importantly, my wife.
Q4: I understand that you yourself are not only an avid chess player who regularly participates in tournaments but are also Secretary of the Pattaya Chess Club and run a very successful local chess academy.
Before this tournament, chess people in Thailand only knew me as a chess player and I have become more well-known when I qualified to play for Thai national team. And when my wife set up the 101 Chess Academy, many parents sent their kids to my school. As such, more and more people started to know me. As for chess tournament organizing, a good number of parents in Thailand know me for such a role, but notably only the rapid games. On the contrary, I am nobody in the international scene as a chess organizer. Fortunately, my wife used to help Mr. Panupand to organize chess tournaments abroad and many players and parents know her then. I wish to thank Mr. Peter Long as well for having promoted my tournament abroad.
Q5: We thank you for your time and would like to end with the big question for you! So, will there be another Thailand Pattaya Open Championship next year?
Of course! We received good response and many players seemed to have had wonderful time here. I can assure everyone that there will definitely be the 2nd Pattaya Open in October 2019.
The open tournament is in progress right now and after five rounds these are the standings:
|1||2||GM||Tran Tuan Minh||VIE||2506||5,0||0,0||14,5||10,5|
|3||5||GM||Nguyen Huynh Minh Huy||VIE||2410||4,5||0,0||13,0||9,5|
|8||15||Grafil Franz Robert||PHI||2219||4,0||0,0||10,5||7,0|
|10||44||Chan Yi Meng Ryan||MAS||1938||3,5||0,0||14,0||9,5|
A full report will follow after the tournament ends on 31st of October 2018.
About the author:
Peter Long (left) heads the Institute for Chess Excellence which is also the National Chess Academy of the Malaysian Chess Federation (MCF) and a Regional Asian Chess Federation Academy. He is also MCF Secretary and Press Officer for the Asian Chess Federation as well as Features Editor for American Chess Magazine.