Cook bacon pieces in large heavy bottomed pot over medium heat. Cook about 5-8 minutes, or until bacon is crisp. Use a slotted spoon to remove to a paper towel lined plate and set aside.
Use a clean paper towel to absorb some of the bacon grease, reserving about 1 Tbsp of grease in the pot. Add butter and melt over medium heat.
Add diced onions and cook about 5 minutes, until soft and translucent. Add garlic and flour and cook about 1 minute, stirring often.
While whisking, pour in water and increase heat to medium. Add in corn, potatoes, thyme, smoked paprika, and salt and pepper. Stir and bring to a low boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer.
Simmer, stirring every so often, for 15-20 minutes, until potatoes are fork tender.
Use an immersion blender to blend about half the soup until smooth. Alternatively, remove about 3 cups of the soup to a blender and blend until smooth. Stir the blended soup back into the pot.
Add in half and half, reserved corn juice, and about half the chives. Stir in and heat through.
Serve, top with cooked bacon.
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