«16th Bangkok CC оpen». The Thai quintet

In the fight for the main trophy at the «Bangkok Open» the Russian Ildar Khairullin make a major step forward in the penultimate round, by beating the leader for most of the tournament, Jan Gustafsson. 


Khairullin had taken a pawn sacrificed by his opponent at move 16 and then systematically exchanged pieces, damping down the enemy initiative. 48…Qe4? – His nerves could not stand it, although this desperate raid offers few hopes of relief. Maybe Jan just decided he had suffered enough and wanted to end it as soon as possible?  49.Qd7 – Now comes a mathematically calculated series of checks. 49…Kg8 50.Qe8 Kg7 51.Qe7 Kg8 52.Qe6 Kg7 53.Qf6 Kh7 54.Qf7 Kh8 55.Qf8 Kh7 56.Qh6 – Finally the pawn will be taken with check!  56…Kg8 57.Qxg6 Kf8 58.Qh6 Ke7 59.g6  Black resigned (1:0).

Thus, going into the final round, there is a quintet of leaders, four of whom meet one another. The fifth is Vallejo Pons, who faces the ever young and resilient Sir Nigel. Despite two painful defeats, the English GM has compensated with six wins and retains chances if not of winning (his Bucholz made this difficult) then, at least, of sharing first place. Tomorrow sees his first and last GM opponent in the event. 

Today the experienced matador had a great chance to lead outright, but slipped up just one step from the target:

Vallejo - Ganguly

It was time to start taking material. Stockfish offers the convincing variation 41.Rxg5 Rxb3 42.Rxg4 Rc3 43.c5 Rxc5 44.Rxb4 Kd7 45.Rb2  Kxd6 46.Kf2 Ke5 47.Kxf3, but Francisco decided instead to push his other passed pawn and miscalculated!  41.c5 Rc3 42.Ra8 Kd7 43.Ra7 Kd8 44.Ra8 Kd7 45.Ra7 Kd8 46.Rc7 Rxb3 47.Rb7 Rc3 48.Rxb4 Rxc5 49.Rxg4 Kd7 50.Kf2 Kxd6 51.Re4 Rc2 52.Kxf3 Rxh2 – the distressed favourite tried for another 30 moves but had to agree to the inevitable. Draw ( ½:½ ).   The official site writes that it was Ganguly's esxceptional knowledge of theoretical rook endings that enabled him to draw. But more likely it was the lack of any choice that forced him to find the only path…

Van Wely - Bok. The minor Dutch championship ended in a tie and the ex-champion retained chances to fight for first prize.

Anton Smirnov missed out on a GM norm, because of too weak a field in Bangkok. But the title will not run away and he will soon obtain it. Of that there can be no doubt at all, and meanwhile, by way of compensation, he can fight for the main prizes.   

The last round will decide who leaves the Thai capital happiest.

As often happens in Asian events, the players' ratings do not correlate at all with their true strength. Note the position high in the table of the Indian Yashas, rated just 2182. He is unlikely to beat Stephen Gordon with Black, but if by chance he does, the unknown Eastern player will be among the top prizewinners - a remarkable thing! 

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