«16th Bangkok CC оpen». In the ring and at the board

 

In the round just completed, which ends the "middlegame" section of the tournament, Germany's Jan Gustafsson leads. Loek van Wely and Paco Vallejo kept the public enthralled, but in the end, their game finished in just a perpetual check, leaving the spectators wondering if this was a violent collision or just a forced variation whose outcome was already known in advance. It would be strange if one of those chasing them did not take this chance, as behind Loek there is a group of five pursuers. 

How many times have friends Loek and Paco sat opposite each other?

The German GM is excellent at dealing with youngsters, who prefer tactics, especially the Chinese, who sometimes choose strange set-ups for their pieces. This was another case: 

Gustaffson, Yan – Nie, Xinyang

28…Nd7 29.Nxg5 Nxc5 30.Nxf7 Kxf7 31.dxc5 Bxb2 32.Re1 Bd4 33.Qf4 Qxc5 34.Qc7 Qe7 35.Rxe6 Qxc7 36.bxc7 Rc8 37.Re4 and, as they used to say in the old Park of Culture in Moscow, it's time to set them up for the next game. Black resigns (1:0).

The leading duo could have become a trio, had Loek's compatriot Benjamin Book not amnestied the tenacious Indian Dhopade Swapnil:

Dhopade Swapnil – Bok, Benjamin

It was enough to secure a nice outpost on c4 for the knight (34… b5), and no amount of tenacity would have saved White from the combined attack by the Dutchman's heavy pieces. But Benjamin played less decisively, allowed the enemy pawn to get all the way to e7 and in the end, failed to exploit his chances. Draw! ( ½ : ½ ).

The former world championship challenger Nigel Short will not be retaining his title, as the official site points out. Probably he failed to use his energy rationally, bowing to the entreaties of the organisers and doing a photo session with the national Thai boxing team and French player, Sophie Milliet. 

First Thai boxing

Then chess 

And the winner is announced...

Of course, it is hard to play a second game after that, but at first Nigel looked like a youngster and continued the Thai boxing with success over the board: 

Wynn, Zaw Htun – Short, Nigel

18…cxb5 19.axb5 Rxc4 20.Rxc4 Nxf2 21.Rc3 Ne4 22.Rd3 Rc8 23.Bf3 Nd2 24.Rb4

And now the prosaic queen move 24…Qd6, setting up a pin and the threats of Bh6xe3 and Nd2-c4 would have left the Malaysian's position very, very unpleasant. That would probably have led to a technical realisation, but perhaps still under the sharp impressions of the boxing encounter, Short played 24…Nxf3 25.exf3 Rc7 26.Rb1 Bf8 – and now all the fruits of his previous excellent play have come to nothing. A couple more inaccuracies and the game entered the technical phase, but already with colours reversed and Htun realised his extra exchange convincingly. (1:0). Even in one's 6th decade, such losses cause great disappoointment, as Sir Nigel revealed. Incidentally, Sophie won her game and caught up her sparring partner. 

Before the three final rounds, these are the leading positions :

Links: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5