Revenge For Ganguly, Wins Bangkok Open On Tiebreak

Revenge For Ganguly, Wins Bangkok Open On Tiebreak

Sweet revenge. Last year he beat the tournament leader in the final round but came second on tiebreak. This year Surya Shekhar Ganguly won the 16th Bangkok Open on tiebreak, ahead of Francisco Vallejo Pons after both players scored 7.5/9.

Justice doesn't exist in sports, but sometimes it feels like there is some. Indian grandmaster Surya Ganguly returned to Bangkok after just missing out on the title last year, and this time he was successful thanks to a strong finish. 

After six rounds GMs Loek van Wely (Netherlands) and Jan Gustafsson (Germany) were leading, with 5.5 points. They drew a rather boring game to secure pole position for another day, with the knowledge that some players could catch them. Three grandmasters did.

The first was Paco Vallejo, who played a rather pretty game against Wynn Zaw Htun of Myanmar. The latter played a losing novelty which was refuted nicely. Vallejo spent half an hour calculating and then went for a spectacular line.

A great game by Vallejo. | Photo courtesy Bangkok CC Open.

Ganguly won a smooth game as his opponent, Sharma Himanshu of India, started to panic when the pressure was growing. That Nc6-a7 possibility must have been a blind spot in his calculations.

The all-Indian clash between Ganguly and Sharma
Himanshu. | Photo courtesy Bangkok CC Open.

The third player to join the leaders was Benjamin Bok of the Netherlands. The 21-year-old GM played a rather instructive Sicilian against Indonesian FIDE Master Ervan Mohamad:

That meant a five-way tie with two rounds to go. The crucial game in the penultimate round was Vallejo vs Ganguly, where the Spanish player missed a win in a rook endgame. See if you can find it; it's a rather tough one and Vallejo failed to solve it. (It must be noted that Ganguly defended perfectly after this moment. Also instructive!)

Vallejo misse a tough win against Ganguly. | Photo courtesy Bangkok CC Open.

Bok played a solid Grünfeld and drew his black game with Van Wely comfortably.

Their Thai boxing match was more violent (and won by Van Wely). | Photo courtesy Bangkok CC Open.

So that's four players on 6.5 points. Gustafsson was not among the leaders anymore; he dropped back after losing to Russian grandmaster Ildar Khairullin, who wisely avoided the Marshall.

Khairullin snatched a pawn and sat on it.| Photo courtesy Bangkok CC Open.

Board one in the last round was the fight between Ganguly and Van Wely. In the topical 6.h3 e6 Najdorf/Scheveningen the players reached an endgame with a powerful knight on d5, but Black's dark-squared bishop wasn't so bad. Shortly before the time control Van Wely made a mistake and went on to lose his first game in the tournament.

Ganguly was the only player to beat Van Wely. | Photo courtesy Bangkok CC Open.

Bok and Khairullin drew their game so they were out of contention. The only player to catch Ganguly was Vallejo, who beat Nigel Short as Black. At many moments the British GM could have sacrificed a knight on f7, but he didn't and then his attacking chances evaporated.

Short played the tournament with the U.K. flag instead of the English one.

This meant that Ganguly and Vallejo both finished on 7.5 points. Because they drew their mutual game, the second tiebreak rule decided matters by narrowest of margins: the Buchholz system. Vallejo commented about this on Facebook:

“I had best performance, I played more black [games], had better progressive [score], I played against the [number] 2,3,4 and 7 of the tournament!! (3 of them with Black) but I lose by Buchholz. (...) It's not for nothing, but the Buchholz is a system totally absurd, a result [depending] on who [played] someone at table 40 is an absolute joke. In any case, great tournament of Ganguly, too, and I wish I always lose for Buchholz tying to first place!”

For Ganguly the win made up for last year, when he defeated tournament leader Wang Hao in the final round only to see Nigel Short edge him out on a tiebreaker.

It didn't matter as far as the money was concerned: the players shared first and second prizes and each took home 85,000 Baht (2,147.42 or U.S. $2,435.50).


2016 Bangkok Chess Club Open | Final Standings (Top 25)

Rk. SNo Title Name Typ FED Rtg Pts. TB1 TB2 rtg+/-
1 4 GM Ganguly Surya Shekhar IND 2647 7,5 0,5 53,5 6,9
2 1 GM Vallejo Pons Francisco ESP 2691 7,5 0,5 52,5 8,2
3 7 GM Bok Benjamin NED 2604 7 0 53,5 7,2
4 6 GM Khairullin Ildar RUS 2629 7 0 53 -1,4
5 10 GM Sunilduth Lyna Narayanan U18 IND 2501 7 0 52,5 5,8
6 5 GM Gustafsson Jan GER 2629 7 0 50,5 -0,6
7 14 IM Sipila Vilka FIN 2440 7 0 48 2,5
8 12 GM Gordon Stephen J ENG 2496 7 0 48 -0,1
9 3 GM Van Wely Loek NED 2654 6,5 0 58,5 2,1
10 23 IM Dimakiling Oliver PHI 2372 6,5 0 51 9,1
11 19 IM Roy Prantik IND 2402 6,5 0 48 0,9
12 59 Hirthickkesh PR U18 IND 2185 6,5 0 47,5 84
13 25 IM Stokke Kjetil NOR 2354 6,5 0 47,5 8,2
14 9 GM Kunte Abhijit IND 2505 6,5 0 45 -9,6
15 46 Gotel Michael PHI 2234 6,5 0 43,5 4
16 11 GM Swapnil S. Dhopade IND 2499 6 0 55,5 1,5
17 20 FM Yeoh Li Tian U18 MAS 2400 6 0 53 10
18 39 FM Pitra Andika INA 2260 6 0 52 24
19 16 IM Liang Awonder U18 USA 2410 6 0 51,5 -1
20 29 FM Dang Hoang Son VIE 2325 6 0 51 43,8
21 33 FM Mohamad Ervan INA 2301 6 0 51 34
22 2 GM Short Nigel D ENG 2671 6 0 50 -16
23 13 IM Smirnov Anton U18 AUS 2479 6 0 49 -4,2
24 35 Arjun Kalyan U18 IND 2299 6 0 48 46,8
25 8 GM Halkias Stelios GRE 2553 6 0 47,5 -14,8

(Full final standings here.)

Some 325 players from 43 countries played, including 13 grandmasters. The tournament was held in the centre of Bangkok at the Dusit Thani Hotel.

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