Phuket is back – an invitation to paradise

by ChessBase
2/22/2007 – Phuket is ready and prepared to host the next Bangkok Chess Club Open at the opulent Graceland Resort & Spa. The sights of crystal clear blue-green water, white sand beaches, and tropical island flora and fauna should be enough to entice anyone to visit, but throw in the weighty GM-billed tournament and this one simply can’t be resisted.

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Seventh Bangkok Chess Club Open 2007

Report by William Campi

The tournament venue is in Phuket, Thailand [image courtesy of Google Maps]

The Bangkok Chess Club’s strongest open to date, with six GMs, six IMs, and 16 titled players so far, will take place on one of the most spectacular island locations in Asia, Phuket Thailand. The island is the imagination’s ideal in beauty and tropical form. Located off the west coast of Thailand in the Andaman Sea, Phuket is home to a rare variety of stunning limestone shoals, coral gardens, lush rainforests and idyllic beaches.

On this large island of almost 600 sq km, rice paddies and rubber tree plantations intermingle with ocean vistas and hilly rainforests. Coconut, tapioca, cacao, and pineapple are harvested by the bulk and local vendors sell them cold and fresh to order around the island. The local population of around 250,000 people is mostly Buddhist, and in and about the grounds of grandly adorned temples, orange-robed monks can be seen praying peacefully. Amongst the tropical fruits, quiet contemplation and calmness of the ocean, you’d be hard pressed to find a more tranquil location for an international chess tournament.

Nearby Phi Phi island is just a short boat ride away

Thai Style

Thailand is well-known for its fiery palette of flavors. It is not uncommon to mix salty, spicy and sweet flavors all in one rice-based dish. When done right, there are few countries whose cuisine can compare with the complexity (and tastiness) of Thai food.

Traditional Thai arts are also unique in their sounds and styles. Thai dance is an elegant art form of slow, careful movements gracefully performed to an orchestra of wooden xylophones, gamelans, gongs, bamboo flutes and a variety of peculiar stringed instruments. The rhythm is a rich, hypnotizing affair.

Two Thai women show off some traditional Thai dance

Is it safe?

Many people may remember that Phuket was hit by the 2004 tsunami and there may still be a question of safety for some. However, Phuket was declared safe to travel by the US, France, UK and Germany in early January 2006 as nearly all of the damage has been repaired and little evidence of the tsunami’s impact remains. In fact, there were 4.7 million tourist arrivals to the island in 2006 which was up 87% from the year before.

The Tournament

The tournament will run from March 27th to April 1st, 2007 and players of all strength are officially welcome! So far, the tournament has registered 130 players from 27 different countries, including six GMs, six IMs and 16 additional titled players. It is shaping up to be a very strong and interesting field.

The tournament is split into two groups. Group A is open to all players rated or unrated, while Group B is only for players rated under 2000. Standard FIDE time controls of 90 minutes plus 30 second increments will be used. Group A will have a total 9 rounds of play and 7 rounds for group B. With two rounds per day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, the evening will be open for players and families to relax around the island or enjoy the somewhat raucous nightlife in Phuket City, Patong and Kata beach.

The site of the 7th Bangkok Open: the luxurious Phuket Graceland Resort & Spa located in Patong

The resort overlooks the Andaman Sea

Graceland Resort & Spa at sundown

Dining at Graceland

The playing hall


Getting to Phuket is fairly straightforward. Many major airlines fly direct to Bangkok and so it is convenient for those coming from abroad to connect through to Phuket airport (HKT). Reservations with Graceland Resort can be made through their website, or by calling +66 (0)76 370 555. If you’re not staying at Graceland Resort, then there are a large number of hotels of every kind to choose from in Phuket, is a recommended site.

Sunset in Phuket – the experience of a lifetime

Registration for the tournament can be made online at and we also welcome you to play in our twice weekly blitz tournaments in Bangkok (details on the website).

Other Asia-Pacific tournaments

European players may wish to combine the Bangkok Chess Club Open with two other tournaments to form an Asia-Pacific Chess Tour – many air tickets to Australia will include a free stopover in Bangkok.

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