After the incredible endgame in our previous blog post, the Filipino veteran Grandmaster continued his fine run with wins over IM Wan Yun Guo of China and GM Levente Vadja from Romania. Both games featured speculative sacrifices and displayed Antonio's fine sense of the initiative and a refreshing disregard of material. His round 5 masterpiece against the Romanian super GM is one such example:
This win propelled Antonio to sole first place with a score of 5.5/6 but his fine run was ended in round 7 by the well known Danish GM Hansen Sune Berg who was also caught up by Gerhard Schebler, a German Grandmaster currently residing in Thailand, and Australian number 1, Grandmaster Zhao Zong Yuan on 6/7.
Round 8 would prove to be the decisive round which more or less determines the outcome of the tournament. The board 1 encounter between Schebler and Hansen was a quiet affair and ended in a relatively quick draw. On board 2, the legendary Nigel Short took the white pieces against Zhao and a win by the Englishman will bring him into a tie for first place going into the last round, an unlikely comeback after his round 3 debacle. Outrated by 160 points, the odds were not in favor of the Australian but he turned in an exceptional performance which left most of the live followers in amazement and delight:
I know Zong-Yuan personally and he has easily one of the most likeable personalities around in the chess scene. His medical studies might have deterred him from realising his full potential in chess but it is displays like this that shows that he will be leading Australia's charge in the global chess scene for a very long time.
Going into the last round, Zong Yuan is in the sole lead with 7/8 and face Wan Yunguo who needs a draw to secure a GM norm. Sune Berg Hansen (6.5) takes the white pieces against German super GM Jan Gustafsson (6.5). The only other player who can catch Zong Yuan is Schebler (6.5) who faces an uphill task with Black vs Vadja.
UPDATE: The round is still in progress but both games on the top 2 boards have finished in quick draws while Vadja has beaten Schebler which means GM Zhao Zong-Yuan is the new Bangkok Open Champion with an outstanding score of 7.5/9. A well deserved win and sincere congratulations!
Full results and updates can be found here: