The Chief Organiser of the Asian Youth Chess Championships is IO Sahapol Nakvanich who is also the Thailand Chess Association (TCA) Secretary.
An avid chess player, Sahapol is a long time member of the TCA Board and in the two years since he has resumed the position of Secretary under the leadership TCA President Kittiratt Na-Ranong, chess in Thailand has grown in leaps and bounds.
Last year saw a very well received Asian Amateur Chess Championships, also held at this very same venue in Chiangmai but it is not only organising at international level which sums up Sahapol’s contributions.
So far 2,000 chess sets have been distributed to schools across Thailand as part of a grassroots program to bring chess to all of Thailand and from just three national championships, there are now 12 in all formats and categories of play and well distributed beyond the capital city of Bangkok.
While the focus is very much on building the base, the aspirations of a national team has not been neglected.
Last year’s participation in the Asian Indoor Games saw a team selected to give as many players the opportunity to play and get training and both the selection process and the foreign coaches employed full-time for six months leading up and during the games reflected this intention.
Selection for this year’s World Chess Olympiad is inclusive but also broad based to ensure selection of the very best available, with two each from last year’s and this year’s national championship, the national junior championship, national rapid championships and even national team championships from which a final selection tournament will be held to determine the final five.
The Asian Youth Chess Championships this year has broken all participation records, with over 527 players from 26 countries and more than 1,100 in total when including officials, coaches and accompanying persons.
Well done Thailand! Wonderful Chiangmai! Congratulations TCA and the Asian Chess Federation