Short Takes Clear Lead at Thailand Chess Open

11-17th of April in Dusit Thani Resort and Spa, Pattaya, Thailand

Legendary English Grandmaster Nigel Short has become the clear leader of the 2011 Thailand Chess Open in Pattaya after a hard-fought victory over Burma’s only Grandmaster, Zaw Win Lay.

Second-seeded Short moved clear of the field after his main rival, Spain’s Paco Vallejo, was held to a draw by Abhijit Kunte, the highest ranked of the 21-strong Indian contingent in Pattaya. Vallejo now sits in a pack of five players half a point behind Short.

Zaw gained plenty of time in the opening by using the Short system against its inventor, but once both players became short of time at around move 30, the Englishman took control, winning a piece and the game in 47 moves.

Thailand Zaw Short

Zaw Win Lay and Nigel Short

Short, 47, finished third in the 2009 Thailand Open and second in 2010, but the veteran English star may be believing that 2011 will be his year to win Thailand’s most prestigious tournament.

Local fans were deflated as their two best performers in the Open, Jiripak Pitirojirathon and 15-year-old Warot Kananub both suffered defeats, when a victory would have placed them only a point behind Short.

The Thailand Open, with a first prize of 100,000 Baht, is being played at the Dusit Thani Resort and continues until Sunday, with round 7 beginning at 2pm local time on Friday. Games may be followed live via bangkokchess.com.

Thailand Open Press Office