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New Zealand Chess

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A chess calendar giving detailed information on forthcoming chess events in New Zealand, plus Australian events of international significance.

2016 New Zealand Open Championship
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Waikato Open

Waikato Open coming up
The annual Waikato Chess Open will be staged August 7th-9th 2015, at Saint Paul’s Collegiate School, Hukanui Rd, Hamilton. Round 1 begins 7.15pm, with a players meeting 7pm, and if notified in advance a half point bye is allowed in either round 1 or 4. The Open section will be FIDE rated, and both sections will be eligible for Poison Pawn Grand Prix points. Cash and chess book prizes totalling $1400 are on offer - see our tournament Calendar page for entry form and other details.

Gawain Jones & Nigel Short

English Superstars will head 2016 NZ Open
Two regulars in the English Olympiad Squad will be top two seeds at the 2016 New Zealand Congress in January.
Pictured left: Grandmaster Gawain Jones, rated 2647, has been a popular and regular visitor to New Zealand shores, having married WIM Sue Maroroa from Auckland (thanks to John Saunders for the photo).
Pictured right: Grandmaster Nigel Short heads up the field, with a FIDE rating of 2683. Short, a former World Championship Challenger, is a perennial globe-trotter, but this is his first ever tournament in New Zealand.

The New Zealand Chess Federation acknowledges the generous support of Martin Dreyer of D & D Financial Consultants, and Chris Benson of Benson Insurance Brokers Ltd, in bringing these renowned Grandmasters to NZ. The 123rd NZCF Congress will take place 2nd-12th January, in Devonport, Auckland.

Edward Rains & Daniel Gong

CM titles for New Zealand at the Oceania Zonal
Despite a change in the rules that made gaining titles tougher than before, both Edward Rains (pictured left) and Daniel Gong (right) managed to score enough points to qualify for the CM title at the recent Oceania Open Zonal. Alphaeus Ang (already a CM) also put in a fine performance, gaining almost 70 rating points and beating IM Ari Dale in the process. Australian IM Max Illingworth won the event after a tie-break match with felllow countryman Brodie McClymont. Links to full results can be found on our Results page.

Alphaeus Ang: bronze

Asian Schools Chess Championships, Singapore
Several of our juniors put in fine performances at this event: 17th for lowest seed in the under-15 Girls, Sarah Yan; 19th= for Jasmine Zhang and Caroline Yan in the under-13 Girls; 16th= for 28th seed Nicole Qin in the under-11 Girls; 6th= for Allen Fan in the under-11 Open; 13th= for Raivath Mallela in the under-9 Open; 7th= for 16th seed Oscar Qin in the under-7 Open. The best result was CM Alphaeus Ang's bronze medal in the under-13 Open, and he also picked up bronze in the under-13 Blitz. As a result, New Zealand picked up more medals than UAE, Australia, Chinese Taipei, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, or South Korea!
Pictured, the prize-giving for the main event, with Alphaeus on the right.

Paul Garbett

38th Trusts Open
The outright winner of the A-Grade was IM Paul Garbett. After careful inspection of the trophy, it was discovered that this was his 13th title, so he has won about a third of the 38 events!
You can find the full results of this popular tournament on our Results page, along with links to many photographs of the action.

Maisuradze & Fier

Grandmaster couple enter NZ Open Championship
They must be one of the strongest married chess couples on the planet, and in January - courtesy of the New Zealand Chess Federation - they will be playing in Auckland. Grandmaster Alexander Fier (Brazil) and his WGM wife Nino Maisuradze (France) have confirmed their participation in the New Zealand Open, January 2-12th 2016.
GM Fier, 27 years old, has a current FIDE rating of 2632, making him the Brazil number one. WGM Maisuradze has won the French Women’s Championship in both 2013 and 2014.
The 2016 NZ Open will be staged in Devonport, Auckland, as part of the NZCF 123rd New Zealand Chess Congress. Concurrent events will include the Major Open Championship (for players under 2100) and the New Zealand Open Junior Championship (January 5th-10th). See the official web page for the event.

Ben Hague and Viv Smith

NZ Chess Champion wins in Napier
Early riser Ben Hague’s tough determination helped him win the Hawke’s Bay Rapid chess tournament in Napier. Hague, who got up at 5am to catch the plane down from Auckland, came first equal in the national championship in Auckland in January and he finished clear first in the Hawke’s Bay tournament, which is part of the national Poison Pawn Grand Prix series. But it was not easy playing six hard games after a very early start to the day, and he had to get out of serious trouble in at least two of his games. The key game was his clash with visiting Czech player Jaroslav Shanel, who finished second. Hague looked to be losing but never gave up and eventually his persistence enabled him snatch an unlikely-looking victory. He was also two pawns down in the final round against Joy Qin, but wriggled out with a draw and finished with 5½/6. Vivian Smith won the B-Grade, and Napier’s Charlie Li won the junior section.
Pictured: FM Ben Hague (left) and wfm Viv Smith. Thanks to Bernard Carpinter for the report. Full results on our Results page.

 GM Matthieu Cornette (France) and IM Deimante Daulyte (Lithuania)

First Grandmaster Entries for 2016 NZ Open
The New Zealand Chess Federation is delighted to announce that GM Matthieu Cornette (France) and IM/WGM Deimante Daulyte (Lithuania) have accepted invitations to participate in the 2016 Championships. 26-year-old Daulyte is a five-time winner of the Lithuanian Women’s Championship, while Cornette, 29, will surely be one of the tournament favourites with his current rating of FIDE 2588.
The 2016 New Zealand Congress will take place in Devonport, Auckland. The Open and Major Open will run from 2nd-10th January, followed by the traditional Quickplay and Lightning events 11th-12th January. A Junior Open will run in the mornings, January 5th-10th. See the official web page for the event.

Veterans analysis

Oceania Seniors Championship in Devonport
Clear winner of the Oceania Seniors was NZ National Master Leonard McLaren, adding the NZ Seniors title to his share of the NZ Championship at the same venue. There was a hard fight for the Veterans title, which Nigel Cooper could have won outright if he had beaten Hilton Bennett in the final round. That game was eventually drawn, after a very long Q+P ending, leaving the title shared between Cooper and Bob Gibbons. Pictured, Antonio Krstev (standing) shows Nigel how he could have won.
Full results and Vega link on our Results page.

Layla Timergazi & David Vincenti

Surprise winners of the Wellington Open
With IMs Ker and Dive and FM Croad taking part, and a whole load of Wellington stalwarts, it must be admitted that the eventual winners of the event came out of the blue! First equal with 5/6 were WFM Layla Timergazi, one of New Zealand's rising stars, and CM David Vincenti, resident here but a regular member of the Maltese Olympiad team. See our Results page for full details, and a games file.
Pictured: Layla and David.

Zhao Xue & Murray Chandler

2016 New Zealand Championship returns to Devonport
Following the success of the previous Congress, the New Zealand Chess Federation is delighted to announce the 2016 National Championships will once again be staged in Devonport, Auckland, beginning 2nd January. The Championship will again be open to players of all nationalities. In addition to the Open , Rapid and Blitz events, the organisers are adding a separate MAJOR OPEN (under 2100), a separate JUNIOR OPEN, and other subsidiary events.
The 123rd New Zealand Chess Congress will take place from 2nd-12th January 2016. Venue: New Zealand National Chess Centre, Devonport St Paul's, 100b Victoria Rd, Devonport, Auckland.
Photo: Last time's winner GM Zhao Xue, with tournament organiser GM Murray Chandler

Mathew and Mike Steadman

Super Class Latvian
With sponsorship from D&D Financial Consultants, this year's Latvian Rapid was a super class Poison Pawn Grand Prix event, for the first time. The increased prize money attracted a strong field - full results can be found on our Results page, with links to the Vega files. FM Mike Steadman (pictured, right) shared the A-Grade Championship with FM Ben Hague, and was delighted when his son Mathew (pictured, left) made it a double by finishing 2nd= in the C-Grade. Of course, with super class points awarded, there are big changes in the Grand Prix standings - check out our Poison Pawn Grand Prix page too!

50 moves cover

Australia reports on the 2015 New Zealand Open
50 Moves Magazine, the newly established e-magazine from Australia, has featured an extensive report on the NZ Open. The report includes an interview with winner Zhao Xue, game analysis by IM Irene Sukandar and some great photos. The rest of the magazine is well worth a read - over 80 pages of great content!
Full Report:

Zhao Xue & Maggie Barry

China's Zhao Xue wins the 2015 New Zealand Open
A fantastic event - including a 10-player pile up for the NZ Closed Championship Title! Full results and photos are available on our Results page.
Results on Vega: Open; Rapid; Lightning
Left: GM Zhao Xue pictured at the prizegiving ceremony with Maggie Barry MP.

Bischoff versus Howell

High Drama in Devonport
Round 6 of the 2015 New Zealand Open saw three decisive games on the top four boards, including an upset on board 1 when Grandmaster Klaus Bischoff (Germany) defeated pre-tournament favourite David Howell (England). With three rounds to go the leaders are 1-2 Bischoff and Xue Zhao (China) 5½/6, 3-5 Irene Sukandar (Indonesia), Hans Gao (NZ) and Paul Garbett (NZ) 5 points.
Photo: Bischoff versus Howell, just before the start.
Play starts 1.30pm daily at the National Chess Centre in Devonport, with Rapidplay and Blitz events following over the weekend of January 10th-11th.

Playing hall

2015 New Zealand Open
115 entries - including four International Grandmasters - and 15 nationalities represented. The prestigious 2015 NEW ZEALAND OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP is underway! Play starts daily from 1.30 pm at the New Zealand National Chess Centre, Devonport St Pauls, 100b Victoria Rd, Devonport. Spectators are welcome, and there is a chess bookstall selling equipment and literature.
The main event runs January 1st-9th, and there is still time to enter the Rapid (weekend of 10th-11th January) and Blitz (Sunday 11th January), open to all.

Victoria Road, Devonport

2015 New Zealand Open
Last-minute entries are still coming in for the 2015 New Zealand Open Championship, starting January 1st. Top-seed English Grandmaster David Howell (FIDE rating 2670) heads the field of 115 players, from 14 different nations. The Open Championship runs for 9 days, followed by the New Zealand Rapid and Blitz Championships over the weekend of 10th and 11th January.
Photo: A giant tournament banner now graces Victoria Rd, courtesy of the pro-active Devonport Business Association. The NZCF Championships, spanning 11 days, are estimated to bring $200,000 worth of business to surrounding businesses and accommodation providers.

Oceania Chess Confederation logo

2014 Yulgilbar-Think Big Oceania Chess Grand Prix
Thanks to changes in the regulations for the Grand Prix, which meant that New Zealand events qualified for the same points as Australian (and other) events, kiwis were well represented among the prizewinners. Each of the following will receive AUS $1000 as a travel grant if he/she attends the 2015 DATMO – Malaysian Open:
Top New Zealander: Ben Hague
Top Woman: Helen Milligan
Three of the four Top Juniors: Leo Zhang; Alphaeus Ang; Leighton Nicholls.
Full results/links on our Results Page.

Aron Teh and Alphaeus Ang

2015 New Zealand Open - latest titled entries...
IM Anthony Ker (playing his 36th consecutive Congress), IM Russell Dive, FM Nic Croad, IM Herman van Riemsdijk (Brazil), FM Leonard McLaren, FM Tim Reilly (Australia). 13 different nationalities are currently represented, with a group from Gardiner Chess in Queensland bringing the tally of overseas entrants to 34.
There will also be strong competition for the official NZCF Junior Age Group titles. Two recent entrants are 16-year-old Aron Teh (Malaysia; on the left) and our own 12-year-old CM Alphaeus Ang, both pictured here receiving World Amateur trophies in Iasi, Romania, in 2013. The Championship starts 1st January in Devonport, Auckland.

Natasha Fairley and Bob Smith

2015 NZ Open Championship
Latest entries: Bernard Carpinter, Karl Zelesco (Australia), John McRae, Matthew Burke (England), Paul MacDonald (Major Open Winner), WFM Natasha Fairley (pictured left), WFM Layla Timergazi, FM Robert Smith (pictured right), WFM Vivian Smith... The Championship starts on 1st January in Devonport, Auckland - see for details.

Please note a $20 late entry fee applies after 1st November.

National Chess Centre?

NZCF $400 Junior Travel Grants for Open Championship
Grants have been awarded to the following (in alphabetical order): Ethan Every, Jack James, Troy Lamerton, Raivath Mallela, Leighton Nicholls, Timothy Nylund, Oliver Picken, Timothy Rains, Sol Ross, and Layla Timergazi.

South Island Championship

South Island Championship in Ashburton
Australian GM Darryl Johansen (top left) and local FM Stephen Lukey (in the blue t-shirt) tied for first with 7½/8, having beaten everyone except each other. Perhaps a play-off on the giant chessboard in central Ashburton (in the background) is required? Lukey was presented with the Championship trophy by Roy Keeling, president of the Ashburton Chess Club. Full results of the event, and the Rapid Championship, can be found on our Results Page.

Paul Spiller & Keong Ang

George Trundle begins on Saturday
Chief Arbiter Keong Ang (right) and NZCF (New Zealand Chess Federation) President Paul Spiller spotted making last-minute preparations for the George Trundle Masters. The two elite all-play-all tournaments feature many of New Zealand's most experienced players. Games start 2pm daily, running until 5th October. North Shore MP Maggie Barry will officially open the tournament this Saturday, 27th September, at the National Chess Centre, Devonport. Spectators are welcome.

Anton Smirnov

George Trundle Masters & Challengers
The annual George Trundle events are always fascinating battles. This year the Master's section features one GM (Darryl Johansen from Australia) and four IMs, Anton Smirnov (AUS), Vladimir Smirnov (AUS), Gary Lane (AUS) & Paul Garbett (NZ). The remaining five players (Smith, Steadman, Zelesco, McLaren & Polischuk) are fighting for possible International Master norms. In a tight-knit Challengers section, just 126 rating points separate the field of 10 players.
NZCF is hosting this year's event, 27th September-October 5th. Games start 2pm daily at the National Chess Centre in Devonport, spectators welcome.
Pictured: 13-year-old Australian prodigy Anton Smirnov (near right) will be the player to watch in the Masters section.

National Chess Centre?

NZCF $400 Junior Travel Grants for Open Championship
Applications are invited for 10 NZCF travel assistance grants of $400 each, to assist promising NZ juniors to participate in the forthcoming 2015 New Zealand Open Championship being staged in Devonport, Auckland, starting 1st January. To be eligible juniors need to be living outside Auckland, and to be under 20 years old at 1/1/2015.
The New Zealand Chess Federation will announce the list of successful recipients on 15th October.
To apply, please e-mail your name, rating, address and any supporting information to NZCF administrator Helen Milligan on

Layla Timergazi (black) against Elise Jacobsen

WFM title for Layla Timergazi
FIDE has just confirmed the wfm title that Layla Timergazi qualified for at the Tromsø Olympiad, with her impressive score of 7/10. Here she is pictured in our match against Norway 3. Her opponent, Elise Jacobsen, featured in one of the posters advertising the Olympiad all around Tromsø, so her face was already familiar to all of us!

Elise Jacobsen
Zhao Xue

Official titles on offer at NZ Open
The New Zealand Chess Federation has announced eight further official titles are on offer at the New Zealand Open Championships (starting January 1st in Auckland). Players of any nationality will be eligible to compete for:
Top Juniors: trophy/official NZ JUNIOR OPEN CHAMPION title for Under 18, Under 16, Under 14, Under 12, Under 10, Under 8.
Top Woman: trophy and official NZ WOMEN'S OPEN CHAMPION title.
Top Senior: trophy and official NZ SENIOR OPEN CHAMPION title.
The latest confirmed entrant for the Championships is Chinese superstar Zhao Xue, pictured. With a FIDE rating of 2542, GM Zhao Xue is the number 5 ranked woman in the world.

A meeting in Macau

New Zealand Chess Federation announces support for Team Kasparov
Read the full announcement here (pdf document) in which NZCF President Paul Spiller outlines the reasons why New Zealand is supporting Garry Kasparov's challenge for the FIDE leadership, and extends support also to the pro-Kasparov Team Asia, for the Continental elections. The elections take place during the Chess Olympiad in Tromsø in August.
Pictured: one of many meetings that took place in Macau recently. Members of Team Kasparov and Team Asia oversee Guam delegate Leon Ryan, document-signing.
From the left - front row: Prospero Pichay, Ignatius Leong, Leon Ryan.
Back row: Ian Wilkinson, Garry Kasparov, Helen Milligan, Bakyt Omurzakov and Shaker Alafoo.

Alphaeus Ang with Kasparov 
Garry Kasparov

Alphaeus Ang wins Bronze and the CM title
At the ASEAN+ Age Group Championships in Macau in June, Alphaeus Ang finished in bronze medal position in the Open Under-12 section. This carries an automatic CM title, making Alphaeus by far the youngest CM in New Zealand. Alphaeus is shown (left) accepting his medal from Garry Kasparov (also shown below), who was present in Macau to promote Team Kasparov for the FIDE Presidential election, and to meet the members of Team Asia (standing against the incumbent office-bearers of the Asian Chess Federation). IA Keong Ang, an arbiter at the event, represented New Zealand in talks with Kasparov, and Helen Milligan was also present as a member of Team Asia and aspiring General Secretary of Asia.

wgm Irene Kharisma Sukandar

WGM Irene Sukandar confirms for NZ Open
Indonesia's globe-trotting chess star Irene Sukandar (pictured) has accepted a New Zealand Chess Federation invite to the 2015 Open Championship, starting 1st January in Auckland. The 22-year-old Women's Grandmaster is improving fast, and could be a genuine contender for the NZ Open title.

Organiser of the Championship, GM Murray Chandler, said he was delighted the tournament was attracting such international interest. "Irene is the reigning Asian Women's Champion, Klaus Bischoff is the reigning German Champion, and Allan Stig Rasmussen is the reigning Danish Champion. It's going to be quite a tournament."

The event, open to all players, will be staged at the new New Zealand National Chess Centre in picturesque Devonport.

Ingrid Lauterbach & Klaus Bishoff
Allan Stig Rasmussen

European Grandmasters confirm for NZ Open
Two International Grandmasters have confirmed their participation in the 2015 New Zealand Open Championship, starting 1st January in Devonport, Auckland. We welcome back GM Klaus Bischoff (pictured left, with partner Ingrid Lauterbach) from Germany, well known to Kiwis from past Queenstown events. Klaus is a noted quickplay specialist, having won the German Blitz Championship on 11 occasions.

A first-time visitor will be 31-year-old GM Allan Stig Rasmussen (pictured lower left), the reigning 2014 Danish Champion. Allan also won his national championship in 2010 and 2011, and has represented Denmark in three chess Olympiads.

The 2015 NZ Open Championship runs from 1-9th January, with rapid/lightning events 10th-11th January. The $10,000 prizefund and beautiful Devonport location are expected to attract a sizable field- participants can even stay in the Auckland CBD, and commute daily by ferry.

Gawain Jones and Sue Maroroa

IM norm for Sue Maroroa
Just because you move abroad and change nationality doesn't mean that New Zealand forgets about you completely! Outstanding results get noticed. At the final (May) weekend of the UK's 4NCL team tournament, Sue Maroroa clinched an IM norm (which is also a wgm norm) with some excellent results, including an impressive slaughter of GM Mark Hebden. She credits her husband Gawain with the opening preparation for the victory. It's not clear how Mark felt about this, since he was playing in the same team as Gawain!
Pictured: Gawain and Sue.

GM Nigel Short

National Chess Centre opens with popular Short simul
The new National Chess Centre in Devonport, Auckland has successfully staged its opening event. Following welcome speeches by North Shore MP Maggie Barry and NZCF President Paul Spiller, a fascinated crowd watched English Grandmaster Nigel Short take on 25 selected players in a simultaneous exhibition. The final score for Short was 20 wins, 3 draws and 2 losses - described as "a great result for New Zealand" by organiser GM Murray Chandler. Wins were scored by Gino Thornton and 15-year-old William Li, and draws by Judy Gao, Richard Cotty and 13-year-old Richard Jiang. As the last game to finish, Richard Jiang earned a round of applause from the spectators for his fine effort.
Brief video clip from news site Stuff:

GM Nigel Short

GM Nigel Short simul extended to 25 opponents
Due to high demand, English Grandmaster Nigel Short has agreed to take on some extra opponents this Sunday, March 2nd, at the new National Chess Centre in Devonport. He will play the following 25 players simultaneously:
Gino Thornton, Wayne McDougall, Rosa Ryu, Shyamkumar Sampathkumar, Paul MacDonald, Daniel Gong, Grant Kerr, Daniel Runcan, Aaron Wang, Winston Yao, Judy Gao, Brijesh Sivabalan, Emma Salazar, Nicole Tsoi, Richard Cotty, Darrick Pan, Bill Crombie, Leo Zhu, Richard Jiang, Patch Johnson, Tony Booth, William Xiangwei Li, Stan Yee, Paul Morten, Alexander Laughland.
Doors open midday; games begin 1pm. Venue: Devonport St Paul's / National Chess Centre, 100b Victoria Rd: see National Chess Centre. Spectators welcome.

Olympiad logo

Request for Applications: Players
The NZCF is now inviting applications for the New Zealand Open and Women’s Teams to the 2014 Tromsø Chess Olympiad, which is scheduled to take place between 1st August and 14th August 2014 in Tromsø, in Norway. To apply you must complete the Application for Selection form and return it before the 28th February. Receipt of your application document will be confirmed by email. Selections (including up to three non-travelling reserves) will be announced on or before the 31st March.
See our Olympiad Page for more information.

GM Nigel Short

Grandmaster Nigel Short to visit New Zealand
Former World Championship Candidate Nigel Short is scheduled for a brief visit to New Zealand in early March to meet top NZ chess officials. The English super-star is campaigning on behalf of Garri Kasparov in the forthcoming FIDE (World Chess Federation) Presidential elections. On Sunday March 2nd, Short will officially open the new National Chess Centre in Devonport - the brainchild of New Zealand GM Murray Chandler, a former English team colleague of Nigel. Starting 1pm Short will then play a simultaneous exhibition against 20 players - see our Chess Calendar for details of how to apply for one of the coveted playing spots. Spectators welcome - don't miss this unique opportunity to see a world class GM in action. Download more information here (pdf document).

IM Puchen Wang

New Zealand Congress
The New Zealand Annual Congress was held in the Alexandra Function Centre, Green Lane, Auckland, 2nd-12th January, organised by Auckland Chess Centre. IM Puchen Wang, pictured with the Silver Rook, won the Championship, and Rapid, and also the Lightning! Full results can be found on our Results page. The Major Open title was shared by Sean Martin-Buss and Paul Macdonald. President Paul Spiller was there to present the prizes for the Congress events and also the Myer Tan NZ Chess Grand Prix - 1st place in that was won by FM Ben Hague.

Eva and William Lynn

Hamilton City Civic Award for William Lynn
The annual Hamilton City Civic Awards are presented for outstanding community service. William Lynn was one of the winners of the 2013 award for his work in chess: 15 years acting President of the Hamilton Chess Club from 1982, and then 13 years Secretary/Treasurer from 1997, and 15 years promoting Junior Chess in the Waikato. Pictured: William with his wife Eva.

FM Mark Noble

New Zealand Para–Sport Nominations for Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games: Bowls
FM Mark Noble features in the 2014 Para-Sport Nominations. The nominated players will play Australia in the Trans-Tasman Trophy competition in March, while also being nominated to the New Zealand Olympic Committee for selection to the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in July. Mark is 'Skip' in the Para Open Triples, with team-mates Linda Bennett (Lead) and Barry Wynks (Second).

Qi Le Kong-Lim

Chess Scholarship for NZ Junior
Kiwi abroad in Adelaide, Qi Le Kong-Lim, won the Richard Thorne Chess Scholarship to study in year 10 (Australian) next year at Prince Alfred College. Qi Le learned chess in Auckland, and since moving overseas he has continued to receive his chess coaching online from New Zealand. He was the South Australian state junior chess champion last year.

Winston Yao

Gold medals for NZ Juniors!
Not in chess (yet) but in karate, at the 7th Commonwealth Karate Championships in Montreal, Canada, in October. Pictured left is Winston Yao of North Shore CC, who collected a gold medal (Kata Individual male youth Black Belt) and also a bronze (Kumite Individual male Youth +48kg Black Belt). Another gold medal was won by Daniel Gong (pictured right) of Howick-Pakuranga CC (Kumite Individual male children -35kg Brown Black). Congratulations to both!

Daniel Gong
Devonport St Pauls

NZ National Chess Centre - Game On!
After a much-publicised 10-month sale procedure, New Zealand Grandmaster Murray Chandler has succeeded in purchasing the former Presbyterian Church site in Devonport. Settlement occurred on September 30th, and preparations are now underway for chess classes to begin in early 2014. The landmark site is located directly en route to Devonport village, and comprises three venues. It is anticipated that the Upper Hall (adjacent to the Church) will be devoted exclusively to chess. The Lower Hall and the Church will operate as venues for hire, and will be potentially available as chess tournament venues. Information about non-chess activities can be viewed at

Interschools Finals

Interschools Finals
The New Zealand National Interschools Finals took place in Mount Maunganui over the weekend 21-22 September, once again ably organised by Bob and Viv Smith and members of the Mount Maunganui RSA Chess Club. Gold medals went to Westlake Boys High (Secondary; pictured), Auckland Normal (Intermediate) and Hillsborough (Primary).
See our Results page for full results.

International events

International events
First, a reminder to Juniors to get their applications in for the World Junior (Turkey, 12-27 September) and the World Youth (UAE, 17-29 December).
And second, a call for anyone interested in taking part in the Asian Cities Team Championship, Tagaytay City, the Philippines, 19-27 October. We need to decide before 1st September whether we will send a team or not.
See our Calendar page for more information about all the tournaments.

Viv Smith and Louise Cooper

Celebrations at Waitakere CC
There were double celebrations for Waitakere CC at the Trusts Open on Queen's Birthday Weekend. To celebrate the 50th year of the club, a large chocolate cake was shared among the players. Shown cutting it are (right) Linda Cooper, President of the Waitakere Licensing Trust, and (left) wfm Viv Smith, who received the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to chess in the Queen's Birthday Honour List. Congratulations all round!
See our Results page for more information about the tournament.

NZ Chess Academy

NZ Chess Academy™ open for new registrations
After the successful launch of the academy in February this year, there will be a 2nd intake of new students. The 2nd squad will meet on the North Shore of Auckland on Tuesday evenings. There are 12 places available. These places will be filled on a first-in first-served basis and based on the 1st intake, places will fill quickly! The training program on offer is a year-long commitment and may not be suited for everyone. Registrations will close Friday 24 May 2013.
See to register your interest online.

Oceania Seniors: group photo

Oceania Seniors Championships in Canterbury
Thanks to the sponsors, Dancing Water Winery and Benson Insurance Brokers, the international Oceania event went ahead in Christchurch (with only one very small earthquake to distract the players). Pictured, left to right: Paul Glissan, Helen Milligan (seated), Nigel Cooper, Roy Keeling, Arie Nijman, Tony Booth (at the back), Viv Smith, David Lovejoy, and Bruce Dellaca. The Oceania titles went to David Lovejoy (Open) and Helen Milligan (Women's) but the biggest trophy was for NZ Seniors Champion, Arie Nijman.
See our Results page for more details.

FM Bob Smith (left)

Chess champ wins inaugural Hawke's Bay tournament
Former New Zealand champion Bob Smith of Mount Maunganui took top honours at the inaugural Hawke's Bay Rapid chess championship in Napier. He also won a bottle of Vidals Reserve Syrah for the best game. Aucklander Tony Carpinter and Mark Noble from Palmerston North shared second. Noble is a Grandmaster at correspondence chess. Fourth prize was shared by New Zealand Chess Federation president Paul Spiller from Auckland and Hamilton's Michael Freeman, who is also a top correspondence player.
See our Results page for more details.

Scott Wastney and the Silver Rook

New Zealand Champion Scott Wastney
The 120th New Zealand Congress was held in Wellington, and sponsored by New Zealand Chess Supplies. The winner, with the remarkable score of 10/11, was local FM Scott Wastney. Equal second were FM Bob Smith and FM Ewen Green, with 7½. The famous Silver Rook (pictured left) was unable to attend the prize-giving - it is feeling its age, and will be kept safe in a custom-made perspex-fronted box, in a suitable location (to be decided). The Major Open was won by young Australian visitor Max Chew Lee - who also has NZ citizenship, and is therefore eligible to take up his place in the Championship next year.
See our Results page for more details.


New Rapid Tournament in Hawke's Bay
A new Rapid tournament joins the Myer Tan Grand Prix series for 2013. The Hawke's Bay Rapid will be staged in Napier on Saturday 2nd March as a Class One event. It is being organised by the Hawke's Bay Chess Club Inc, a new entity which has developed from the former Napier and Hastings Havelock North Chess Clubs. Since Hawke's Bay is renowned for its fine wine production and Art Deco culture, the prize-winners in both the Open and Under-1800 tournaments will each receive a bottle of gold-medal-winning Hawke's Bay wine, organised Art Deco activities for players' partners and families will be available, and there will be a spot prize of another bottle of wine for the best Art Deco dress-up.
See our Calendar Page for more information.

NZ Chess Academy

NZ Chess Academy
The NZ Chess Academy™ is a specialised chess training centre targeted at talented junior chess players rated between 800 and 1400 (usually aged 8-13). The academy is designed to improve these players' ratings by at least 200 rating points in the subsequent 12 months. The main centre for coaching will be Auckland, but there is an online component so players around the country can take part. ChessPower is currently inviting applications from juniors, to form squads of 12 of similar strength.
See for more information.

National Chess Centre?

National Chess Centre for New Zealand?
St Paul's Church in Devonport may soon be utilised for chess events after a last-minute offer by Grandmaster Murray Chandler to purchase the venue was accepted by Northern Presbytery. The site additionally includes an adjacent large hall and stage, as well as multiple smaller rooms which would be suitable for chess training activities. The sale, conditional on approval from Ministry of Health, is expected to settle in the first quarter of 2013. Local MP Maggie Barry has described the sale as "a very good outcome" following a lengthy sales process.

Chess Puzzles for Kids

Chess Puzzles for Kids by GM Murray Chandler
Just published by Gambit Publications Ltd - a new puzzle book for kids by kiwi GM Murray Chandler. To help with Olympiad fund-raising, Murray offered some hard cash to the Women's team if they helped to test the puzzles. We are not publishing the scores! Clockwise from top left, thinking hard: Helen Milligan, Nicole Tsoi, Judy Gao and Natasha Fairley.

Thorbern Koop and Neil Gunn

North Shore Open
Surprise winner at the North Shore Open, with a perfect score of 5/5, was 10th seed Thorben Koop of Germany, currently resident in Otago. Definitely one to watch for the future! He is taking part in the George Trundle Qualifiers event and also the South Island Championship in October. Pictured: Thorben receiving his prize from the North Shore CC President, Neil Gunn. Full results can be found on our Results page and also on the North Shore CC website.

Luke Li, Chris Wallis, Luke again, then Ralph Hart, Hans Gao and Bob Smith

Plethora of NZ titles in July
July was a good month for Open Olympiad team member Luke Li (pictured, top left and top right). He shared the NZ Junior Rapid title with Hans Gao, then won the NZ Junior Championship and the North Island Championship. Only the North Island Rapid escaped him - it was shared by Ralph Hart, Hans Gao, and FM Bob Smith (pictured, bottom row). Visiting Australian FM Chris Wallis (top, middle) got half a point more than Luke in the North Island event, and took the first prize. Full details on our Results Page, and lots of photos on the NZCF Facebook page, See also and

Women's team and captains

Women's Olympiad Team Meeting
The members of the Women's Olympiad team and the team captains had a meeting in Ponsonby to discuss aspects of the day-to-day organisation for the event (missing was wim Sue Maroroa, who has been working in London for the last couple of years). From left to right: wfm Natasha Fairley, Judy Gao, team manager Hilton Bennett, team captain Peter Hulshof, wfm Nicole Tsoi, and wfm Helen Milligan. See our Olympiad Page for more information and links. You can also follow the team on the NZCF Facebook page,

Nicole Tsoi

Auckland Girls Chess Championship
Olympiad team member wfm Nicole Tsoi made it a clean sweep with 6/6 at the Auckland Girls' Championships, organised by the Waitemata Chess Club. Bob and Viv Smith, who ran the event, reported a record entry of over 150 girls. The press turned out too - see, and also our Results page for full details.

Istanbul Olympiad 2012

Withdrawal from NZ Open Olympiad Team
NZCF has announced that it has received notice of the withdrawal of IM Puchen Wang from the Olympiad Open team for Istanbul. Puchen has been accepted for a job at the completion of his university studies in the U.S. which will unfortunately prevent him from taking his place on board one in the NZ team. An announcement will be made as soon as possible regarding his replacement.

Update: NZCF has confirmed that the Open Team replacement for IM Puchen Wang will be IM Paul Garbett of Auckland. Paul will bring significant previous Olympiad and international experience to the team. The final board order for the revised team will be announced after NZCF has received advice from selectors and it has been confirmed by NZCF council.

Istanbul Olympiad 2012

Olympiad Teams announced
Open team (in board order):
IM Puchen Wang, FM Nic Croad, IM Russell Dive, FM Mike Steadman, Luke Li
Captain and team manager: Hilton Bennett
Women's team (in board order):
wim Sue Maroroa, wfm Helen Milligan, Judy Gao, wfm Nicole Tsoi, wfm Natasha Fairley
Captain: Peter Hulshof
For more details see our Olympiad Page.

Istanbul Olympiad 2012

Istanbul Olympiad confirmed
The Turkish Chess Federation has put up an official Olympiad website at NZCF will continue to offer updates and information at our Olympiad Page.

Nic Croad

2nd IM norm for Nic Croad
Nic, currently resident in the UK, picked up his second IM norm with a round to spare at the e2e4 Chess Brighton International, 15-19 February. See the crosstable and full details at Incidentally, Nic also won the round-robin event, ahead of higher-rated players such as GM Igor Rausis and IM Alexandre Vuilleumier.
Left: Nic at the 2008 George Trundle Masters event.

Istanbul Olympiad 2012

Istanbul Olympiad 2012
The New Zealand Chess Federation is now calling for formal applications from players for both the Open and Women's teams for the Chess Olympiad which is scheduled to take place in Istanbul, Turkey, from 27th August to 10th September 2012. All applicants must sign the Player Agreement (including Code of Conduct) which can be found here. Those who have already expressed an interest will be emailed directly, but at this stage we still welcome all applications. Applications for Team Captains are also invited.
For full details of the application procedure and links to forms see our Olympiad Page.
Applications for Team Captains are also welcomed. There is still no official logo so here is the inside of Hagia Sophia, which can be seen in the previous Olympiad announcement below.

Queenstown Chess Classic 2012

Queenstown Chess Classic
Australian GM Darryl Johansen followed up a fine victory in the Australian Championship with a win on tiebreak at the Queenstown Chess Classic - and the Oceania Open Championship to boot! FM Mike Steadman overtook early leaders to snatch the New Zealand Championship and the famous Silver Rook. Full results can be found on our Results page; see also the QCC site for more photos and links.
Pictured: Mike and the Silver Rook negotiate Queenstown airport; Darryl with his somewhat more portable trophy. See also this New Zealand Herald article.

Puchen Wang

Puchen Wang, Life Senior Master
Puchen Wang has been awarded the USCF title Life Senior Master, for which he needed norms of over 2400 (USCF rating). This is the highest national title awarded by the USCF. Pictured: Dr. Abby Kratz, UT Dallas associate provost, makes the ceremonial first move for IM Puchen Wang at the 2010 Grandmaster Invitational. See the original article here.

Istanbul Olympiad 2012

Istanbul Olympiad 2012
The New Zealand Chess Federation is calling for 'Expressions of Interest' from players and captains for both the Open and Women's teams for the Chess Olympiad which is scheduled to take place in Istanbul, Turkey, from 27th August to 10th September 2012. An Expression of Interest is not an application for selection, but will ensure that those who are interested in selection will be informed directly about news and developments related to the Olympiad. For the Open team, players applying should be 2150+. For the Women's team, female players over 1400.
For more information and contact details see our Olympiad Page.

Screenshot from Chess Fundamentals

Kiwi chess ebooks
If you have an iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch, then check out the new app e+Chess from kiwi company Ltd. Read chess books anywhere, without a set. The app is free and comes with the classic Chess Fundamentals (Capablanca). Other books can be purchased - including the three-volume set The Art of Chess by NZ former national coach, Lev Aptekar. The members of are NZCF patron Jim Benson, super-GM programmer Craig Anderson, Hilton Bennett, Helen Milligan, and well-known American author IM Jeremy Silman.
Pictured: a screenshot from the iPad, of Capablanca's Chess Fundamentals.

Pigeon Mountain Primary

Interschools Finals in Mt Maunganui College, 24-25 September
Bob & Viv Smith and Mt Maunganui RSA Chess Club organised a very successful Interschools Final event. Full details can be found on our Results Page. Auckland Grammar won the Secondary,dropping only a couple of points on the way. Takapuna Normal won the Intermediate, with the same remarkable score. Pigeon Mountain from Auckland won the Primary.
Pictured l to r in front: Pigeon Mountain Primary: Yiwei Qi, Eugene Ngoi, Jonathon Ngoi, Richard Jiang and Judd Zhan.
Back: Bob Smith, Carol Frear (team manager), Peter Moss (General Manager of Mt Maunganui RSA), and Viv Smith.

wim Christin Andersson

Juniors to challenge Masters at Queenstown Chess Classic
Experienced players from 16 different nations - many of master and grandmaster strength - have so far entered the Queenstown Chess Classic (15th-23rd January 2012). Potentially this sets up some fascinating clashes with the top New Zealand and Australian junior players who are also scheduled to play. The latest Queenstown entrant is 18-year-old Australian super-talent Max Illingworth, already with one GM-norm under his belt after a sensational win at the recent First Saturday event in Budapest.
Photo: Christin Andersson, a women's international master from Sweden, is one of the confirmed entries from Europe.
See for full tournament details.

Genesis Potini

Genesis Potini - RIP
From Ross Jackson:
I'm extremely sad to advise the death of Genesis Potini. I'm informed Genesis died of a heart attack, aged 46. Genesis founded the Eastern Knights Chess Club, in Gisbourne, the story of which was powerfully presented in the award-winning 2003 documentary "Dark Horse." Genesis' achievements in promoting the educational benefits of chess, particularly for a poor community, were phenomenal.
Messages may be left at
There is a Dark Horse clip on Youtube:

William Zhang

NZ Junior and Junior Rapid Championships
Luke Li dominated the NZ Junior Championship, winning with a perfect 7/7. William Li finished 2nd on 6, Alex Huang 3rd on 5½, and William Zhang 4th on 5. In Luke's absence, William Zhang also made it a perfect 100%, 6/6 in the Rapidplay event. Full details of all the age awards can be found on our Results page.
Games available here (pgn file).
Thanks are due to the sponsors, Oasis Education, Kingsland Print, Negotiation Plus and Quality Student Diaries, for making this such a successful event.
Pictured: William Zhang at the North Shore Interschools, August 11th.

Luke Li and Bobby Cheng

George Trundle NZ Masters and Qualifiers 2011
Youth triumphed at the George Trundle event this year - Bobby Cheng, former World under-12 Champion, won the Masters with a score of 6½/9 which qualified him for an IM norm. In the Qualifiers, Luke Li swept all the competition aside to win with 8½/9, setting him well on the way to a high enough FIDE rating to compete in the Masters next year. Full results and more photos can be found on our Results Page.
Pictured: Luke Li on the left and Bobby Cheng on the right.

Queenstown Chess Classic 2012

Junior Grants for 2012 Queenstown Chess Classic
We can now announce the remaining three successful applicants for the junior grants of $400 each, made available thanks to generous sponsorship from The Friends of Chess and The Steel Trust. They are (in alphabetical order):
Edward Rains, Nicole Tsoi, and Winston Yao.

GM Zong-Yuan Zhao

Best Game Prize boosts Queenstown Prizefund
The forthcoming Queenstown Classic (15th-23rd January 2012) will now feature a $700 Best Game prize, courtesy of generous sponsorship from former New Zealand international Grant Kerr. To date the Queenstown field includes 12 confirmed Grandmaster entries, the two highest-ranked being GM Li Chao (China, FIDE rating 2669) and GM Surya Ganguly (India, FIDE rating 2627). Also vying for a share of the $30,000 overall prizefund will be top Australian Grandmaster GM Zong-Yuan Zhao (pictured), winner of the 2011 Oceania Zonal tournament in Rotorua. The Queenstown Chess Classic is open to all players, of any nationality and playing strength - for details see

Nic Croad

IM norm for Nic Croad
Nic Croad scored the requisite 7/9 at the Big Slick International for an IM norm. The event was an all-play-all organised by the 'Ginger GM,' Englishman Simon Williams. The event is notable also for being perhaps the only chess event to suffer a suspension of play due to rain - see the Results Page for a link to the official website, and blogs telling the whole story.
Left: Nic at the 2008 George Trundle Masters event.

Junior Development Training Scheme

34th Waitakere Licensing Trust Open
The A-grade was won by Leonard Mclaren (pictured right) with 5/6. Full results and photos can be found on the Results Page.
During the event, the NZCF announced its new Junior Development Squad. Six top juniors, all of whom were playing here, were invited to take part in a training session with GM Darryl Johansen, later in the year. On the left: Judy Gao, Alan Ansell, Luke Li and Hans Gao. The other two in the initial A-Squad are Daniel Shen and Alex Huang.

Leonard McLaren
Queenstown Chess Classic 2012

Junior Grants for 2012 Queenstown Chess Classic
We can now announce the first four successful applicants for the junior grants of $400 each, made available thanks to generous sponsorship from The Friends of Chess and The Steel Trust. They are (in alphabetical order):
Alan Ansell, Hans Gao, Luke Li and Daniel Shen.
The remaining three grants will be awarded after the completion of the New Zealand Junior and South Island Championships in late July.

THINK BIG New Zealand Chess Grand Prix

THINK BIG New Zealand Chess Grand Prix
The New Zealand Chess Federation is pleased to announce the appointment of a new Grand Prix sponsorship partner for the 2011 season. The THINK BIG horse-racing stud located in New South Wales, Australia and owned by Malaysian businessman and chess enthusiast Dato' Tan Chin Nam (pictured left) will become the new sponsor partnering with NZCF to support this series of events. Effective immediately the New Zealand Chess Grand Prix will become known as the THINK BIG New Zealand Chess Grand Prix.

Alan Ansell and Luke Li

Kiwis abroad
Several kiwi players made the annual trip to the Doeberl Cup in Canberra and the Sydney International Open in Parramatta. The best performer was FM Mike Steadman, with 5½/9 in Canberra and an impressive second equal with 6½/9 at the SIO (sadly, just short of an IM norm, on a technicality). Juniors Alan Ansell and Luke Li showed great promise for the future, with 5/9 apiece at the SIO. Links to full results can be found on our Results Page.
Photo: Alan Ansell (left) and Luke Li in Parramatta.

Graham Haase

Graham Haase - RIP
Graham Haase was a former NZ chess champion (1961/62), South Island chess champion and many times Otago chess champion. He held the title of New Zealand chess master and was a former Otago chess club president, New Zealand Chess Association councillor and held roles as patron of the New Zealand Chess Friends Trust and vice-patron of the New Zealand Chess Federation. Graham was much admired for his sportsmanship and leadership over many years. He will be sadly missed by his chess friends throughout New Zealand.

George Trundle

George Trundle - RIP
George Trundle sadly passed away on the evening of March 29th. George was a vice-patron of the New Zealand Chess Federation and a dedicated chess enthusiast. George had a passion for chess, financially supporting many chess events over the years including the annual "George Trundle Masters" held during July in Auckland. George first learnt chess as a POW during the Second World War and continued to play throughout the rest of his life. He was a true gentleman and will be sadly missed by all those who knew him.

Queenstown Chess Classic 2012

Junior Grants for 2012 Queenstown Chess Classic
The New Zealand Chess Federation has $2800 in grants available to assist junior players to participate in next January's prestigious Queenstown Chess Classic. Thanks to generous sponsorship from The Friends of Chess and The Steel Trust, there are seven grants available of $400 each. Any New Zealand junior player under 18 on the date Queenstown begins (15th January 2012) is eligible to apply. Please e-mail your name, rating and a brief supporting paragraph to the NZCF Secretary Helen Milligan, Initial applications will close on May 15th 2011. In June the selectors will announce the first four successful applicants, and the remaining three grants will be awarded following the NZ National Junior Championships in July 2011.

Hamilton Rookies under-1700: Prizewinners

WGM wins Hamilton under-1700 event
WGM Lara Stock (Croatia, 2346) won the Hamilton Rookies Shield on 20th February with 7 points, ahead of her father Michael Stock (Germany, 2275) with 6. Presumably some kind of trans-oceanic misunderstanding led them to enter the event as Carmen Lempert and Matteus Wagner (both unrated, Switzerland). Good joke folks - now please donate your prizes to the Christchurch Earthquake appeal. Full results - see the Hamilton CC website (
Pictured: back row Benjamin Symon, Christopher Symon, Richard Dare, Michael Stock; front row Alphaeus Ang, Daniel Gong, Lara Stock, David Chen.
See also:

New Zealand Chess Clubs
Correspondence Chess in NZ
Cover of New Zealand Chess Magazine
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Hire of NZCF Equipment
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