NZCF logo

New Zealand Chess

Chequered kiwi logo

This is the official website of the NEW ZEALAND CHESS FEDERATION INC, the governing body of chess in New Zealand.
For information on forthcoming chess events click on our Chess Calendar.


Chess Calendar
Results page
2018 Olympiad
Poison Pawn Grand Prix in Association with D & D Financial Consultants Ltd
2019 Interschools Calendar
Contact us
Go to the Resources Page for NZCF information, including Registrations, Ratings, Fee Payments, Vega, Arbiters, Titled Players, the Handbook, Master Points, etc.

A Couple of NZCF Announcements

1) Interschools Finals 2020 – Expression of Interest invited

NZCF Council invites Expressions of Interest from organisers wishing to stage the Interschools Finals, 26-27 September 2020. The Interschools Finals is the premier team event for junior players in New Zealand. School teams qualify for the national finals from Regional competitions played throughout New Zealand, in which over 2000 individual pupils traditionally take part.

Expressions of interest may be emailed to the NZCF Secretary by 15th October 2019, for consideration at the NZCF Council meeting end of October.

2) Measles Advisory

Please check the NZCF Measles Advisory.

Oceania Youth 2019

Titles for NZ Players

They've taken a while to come through, but thankfully new direct titles from the Guam Oceania Zonal, and the Auckland Oceania Junior Championship events have now been awarded. From the Guam event, John Duneas is now an FM and Tony Dowden a CM. From the Oceania Junior Alphaeus Ang and Allen Fan are now FMs. There are also a number of titles pending achievement of rating minimums, as follows;

  • Meng, Richard - FM title Conditional 2100 rating
  • Renjith, Sravan - FM title Conditional 2100 rating
  • Qin, Oscar - CM title Conditional 2000 rating
  • Zhang, Kendrick - CM title Conditional 2000 rating
  • Zhang, Jasmine - WIM title Conditional 2000 rating
  • Braganza, Nadia - WFM title Conditional 1900 rating
  • Yuan, Kimberley - WCM title Conditional 1800 rating
  • Ning, Isabelle - WCM title Conditional 1800 rating
  • Xu, Hannah - WCM title Conditional 1800 rating

These titles now appear on the lists in the Resources page. Keong Ang reports that Jasmine Zhang should achieve the rating threshold this Sunday September 1 when the next FIDE rating list is announced (Update: Confirming that Jasmine reached the threshold and her WIM title is now officially confirmed on the FIDE website).

Felix Xie with Neil Gunn


The North Shore weekender is a long standing fixture on the chess calendar. Now renamed for its late founder, the Peter Stuart Memorial was held this year on the weekend of 24th and 25th August, and the Open Tournament finished in a three way tie between Alphaeus Ang, Evan Capel and Ben Hague. The photo (credit: Helen Milligan) shows Felix Xie receiving a prize from club Vice President Neil Gunn. Felix was the lowest rated player in the Open, but scored very well. See the Results page and also the new Archives pages.

The NZ Chess History project is slowly making progress. Not only are the Archives pages taking shape, the first tranche of 23 issues of the impressive New Zealand Chessplayer magazine is now complete, it can be viewed here. Thanks to Philip Hair for the hard work of scanning these magazines.

Last but not least Michael Freeman has delivered a Grand Prix progress report (see the GP Page).

Heritage Hotel, Hamner Springs

South Island Championships in Hamner Springs

New Zealand’s most picturesque spa town will be the location of this year's South Island Championship, October 5th-10th. Open to all (including overseas players), the event features $5000 in prizes, thanks to generous support from NZCF and Benson Insurance Brokers.

The venue is the fine Heritage Hotel in the Hanmer Springs town centre. The top South Island Player will be crowned 2019 Champion, while all New Zealand players will be eligible to win New Zealand National Master Title Points for coming in 1st-4th place. For Entry form and further details see the Calendar page.

Solomon Islands

FIDE Arbiters' Seminar in the Solomon Islands

A FIDE Arbiters' Seminar is going to be organized from 4th to 6th September 2019 in Honiara, Solomon Islands, by the Solomon Islands Chess Federation, under the auspices of FIDE.
The venue of the Seminar will be the National Olympic Committee of Solomon Islands Conference Room in Honiara.
The Lecturer will be IA Press, Shaun (PNG), FIDE Lecturer.
The Seminar will give norms and titles of FIDE Arbiter, according to the Regulations for the titles of Arbiters.

For more detailed information:
Anthony Maelasi
Phone: +677 7246165

All Oceania Federations are invited to send participants to this seminar. The Oceania Chess Confederation may be able to offer some funding to assist with expenses.

Mike Steadman, Alphaeus Ang, and Dr Tony Booth

Senior, Junior and Oceania Senior Champions

The Howick-Pakuranga Festival tournaments are complete, and the trophies and prizes have been distributed. All the results are on the Results page. The photo montage shows NZ and Oceania Senior Champion Mike Steadman and NZ Junior Champion Alphaeus Ang along with organiser and Howick-Pakuranga stalwart Dr Tony Booth.

See also the NZCF Facebook page.
Special thanks to sponsors Poison Pawn and D & D Financial Consultants.

NZ Junior Champs Panorama

Howick-Pakuranga Festival of Chess

Howick-Pakuranga Chess Club are marking their 50th anniversary in appropriate fashion by running a series of important tournaments, as can be seen on the Calendar. First up is the NZ Junior Championship, shown in our action shot here. Next comes the Oceania & New Zealand Senior Championship, update: which is now underway, liveboard link here.

The tournaments are being held at the Howick Bowling Club and spectators are welcome. So if you're in Auckland, why not drop in and check out the action. Thanks to sponsors Poison Pawn and D & D Financial Consultants.

New Zealand Chessplayer Magazine

Peter Stuart NZ Database Update

After negotiating some initial speedbumps the Peter Stuart NZ Chess Database is now being smoothly updated. This project has its home on the History page. The latest update includes all the A Grade games from the 2019 edition of NZ's biggest Open, the 42nd Trusts (thank you Bob Smith - see another contribution from Bob here).

There's also now a complete collection of 2018 North Island Championship games, plus Bob Mitchell's World Amateur Championship games and other games from recent NZ Chess Bulletins. There's not only some very recent Auckland Interclub games, there's also a game from the 1947 Auckland Interclub. From the 2nd grade fixture between the Dominion Road and Papatoetoe chess clubs to be precise. That might not sound very exciting, but it was actually a fabulous game with a beautiful mating finish. One of the great things about our game is how amazing action highlights can be preserved in perfect fidelity forever.

The 1947 game was transcribed from the first issue of The New Zealand Chessplayer magazine. We are steadily scanning and uploading all 23 issues of this excellent older magazine. All the chess from the first issue has been transcribed and made live and interactive. And of course all the NZ games that were transcribed are in the latest version of the Peter Stuart NZ database. Some excellent Bob Wade games that don't appear in the standard databases are amongst the gems here.

Bob Mitchell


The latest issue of the experimental NZ Chess Bulletin interactive magazine is now available. It features a report from Bob Mitchell (pictured) on his remarkable victory in an Amateur Senior World Championship tournament last year! Amongst other things we learn that as the wins rolled in Bob allowed himself a dram or two. A must read!

One of the benefits of an online magazine is that past mistakes can be rectified, and a small article from Bob Smith that was inadvertently omitted from he June issue has been added in July.

The traditional Upper Hutt tournament was won by Scott Wastney, completing a Wellington Open Rapid double after his recent Kapiti win. One of Scott's wins features in the NZ Chess Bulletin discussed above (thanks Brian Nijman for happily annotating a loss!).

Check the Calendar for an exciting new venue for the North Island championships in July next year.

Finally a plea from Stan Yee for tournament organisers to make sure they're using the latest Vega (v8.1.1.1 currently). Download instructions are on the Resources page.

Peter Stuart Training Tourney Promotion

Peter Stuart Training Tournament

Eagle eyed visitors to our tournament Calendar will have noticed a new event was recently added for the weekend of July 20th and 21st.

The Peter Stuart training tournament is an innovation from North Shore Chess Club. As the name suggests, the emphasis of the tournament is on training and improvement. The tournament is funded by Peter Stuart's bequest to North Shore chess club and the goal is to further Peter's vision of promoting junior chess and instilling love for the game.

The key innovation in this tournament is on-site coaching from GM Dejan Bojkov and others for immediate feedback between rounds. Truly striking while the iron is hot and helping players improve their thinking process while their game thoughts are still fresh in their minds! North Shore are promising more initiatives in a similar vein so stay tuned. All the details are on the Calendar Page.


Revamp of the New Zealand National Master Title

NZCF Council has drawn up new rules for qualifying for the title of New Zealand National Master, and is inviting public consultation before they come into effect in July. The structure will remain the same as previously, where 100 Master Points (gained from good results in tournaments) will qualify for the National Master Title, or 40 Master Points will gain the Candidate Master Title. However the range of events whereby players can qualify for master points has been greatly broadened. Previously master points could only be won in a handful of official NZCF events. Under the new rules all significant Open and All-Play- All events staged in New Zealand can now potentially qualify for the awarding of Master Points.

Any Master Points that players have previously won shall continue to be valid.

More detailed information is available in this document.

Comments or suggestions for NZCF Council to consider may be emailed to by 25th June.

Evan Capel wins the 42nd Trusts
Evan Capel, photo courtesy of NZ Chess News

42nd Trusts Open

Evan Capel took care of business in the 42nd Trusts Open to win New Zealand's biggest weekend prize. With multiple winner Ben Hague absent, and top seed and defending champion Anthony Ker out of form, Evan did what he needed to do conceding just two draws and scoring a solid FIDE 2300 performance. Others to impress included dark horses John Duneas (2nd= with upset wins over Ker and Steadman), David Vincenti (2nd= and undefeated) and Bob Gibbons (6th, upset 1st round win over Ker, +44 FIDE points and U2200 1st).

Some games are available from the Vega page (see the Results page), others are still currently available from the weekend's live link (thanks Ying Wang), and many more will appear in the Peter Stuart NZ Database as soon as possible.

Kapiti Rapid, juniors at the front
Photo credit: Gordon Lyall

Tournaments Small, and Big

The annual Kapiti Rapid is an important event in the Wellington region. This year's version featured a happy and surprisingly large (see photo) crowd for what is usually a small affair. A new generation competed in a both the main event and a separate junior tournament. FM Scott Wastney held off rivals IMs Dive and Ker for first prize, and Aucklander Romie Guerro slipped through the gap to take second (see Results). Thanks to Gordon Lyall and the re-energised Kapiti Club management for a very successful event.

By way of contrast, the Trusts Open is by far the biggest weekend tournament, and the 42nd annual tournament is taking place on Queens Birthday weekend June 1st-3rd, so act quickly and secure your place. All the details are on the Calendar.

Feet up on chess board
The simplifying changes means that organisers and officials can now hopefully put their feet up a little more

New NZCF Constitution

At the NZCF AGM in January a new Constitution was approved by member clubs to simplify administration. Regular tournament players are no longer required to be individual direct members of NZCF at a cost of $20 each. Henceforth simply being a member of any NZCF Affiliated or Associated Club now entitles a player to participate in NZCF rated tournaments.

As a result the charging system for Clubs to be registered for 2019 is now also changed, with Clubs paying a flat-rate charge of $10 per club member as follows:

NZCF Affiliated Clubs: Will declare their Club Membership figures (emailing the list of names to NZCF) on 15th November 2019. Affiliated Clubs will be invoiced $10 per Club Member to retrospectively cover the year 2019, with payment due by 31st December 2019.

NZCF Associated Clubs: Will declare their year 2019 Club Membership figures (emailing the list of names to NZCF) no later than 31st January 2020. Associated Clubs will be invoiced $10 per Club Member to retrospectively cover the year 2019, with payment due by 28th February 2020.

This new system removes a great deal of needless bureaucracy that was affecting tournament organisers and Club officials, and it also supports Members Clubs by making club membership compulsory.

Jennya Charomova

Jennya Charomova vs The Public

Paul Spiller reports on some welcome coverage of chess in the mainstream media. Jennya Charomova represented NZ at the 2002 Bled Olympiad and was NZ Women's champion in 2005 (see the NZ Chess report). After many years away from NZ, she's back, studying in Christchurch, and playing chess. This NZ Herald story tells the story, including an upcoming (at the time) public simul in Christchurch. Paul tells us that the simul went well with Jennya scoring 14-2 against the public.

Kiwi chess logo

Bids invited for staging NZCF official events in 2020

NZCF invites all member Clubs and any other interested parties to consider bids for organising the following official events in 2020:

  • North Island Championships
  • South Island Championships
  • New Zealand Junior Championships
  • New Zealand Senior Championships
Please send expressions of interest by 15th June 2019 to the NZCF Secretary Winsome Stretch: email

Mike Steadman wins 2019 North Island Champs
Mike Steadman receives the trophy from chief tournament organiser Ross Jackson

North Island Championship

Mike Steadman won last year's North Island Championships in Palmerston North in dominating fashion with a picket fence scoreline. To his credit, Mike is travelling south again to defend his title. This time he will have to get past each of the four "big dogs" (this is Mike's own idiosyncratic term) from the nation's capital, as well as perennial contender Bob Smith and a host of other worthies if he wants to hold onto his title. The tournament (which incorporates the traditional Wellington Easter Open) is being held at the CQ Hotel in downtown Wellington over all four days of Easter.
Follow on Vega here.

Update: Fifth seed Mike delivered in emphatic fashion, scoring 7.5/8 against a much stronger field than last year, with a FIDE 2448 performance rating and a gain of 40 FIDE Elo points as rewards to go with the prize money and trophy.

Thames v Franklin

Interclub Chess Match between the Franklin Chess Club and the Thames Chess Club

A report from Ron Lanning of the Franklin CC: On Saturday 23rd March the Franklin CC travelled to the Thames CC to play an interclub match. The event was accompanied by a morning tea of biscuits, chocolate eggs, tea and coffee. The Match was officially won by the Franklin team by 6-4 but it was a close run thing, it was 3 games each after 6 games! The Games were played in tremendous spirit and the day was a very enjoyable one for all involved. Interclub matches between the two clubs will be run twice a year. Contact details for both clubs are on the Chess Clubs page.

Many thanks to Russell from the Thames Club for organising the match and to Age Concern Thames for allowing us to use their premises.


JETS Junior Training

The New Zealand Chess Federation is pleased to announce that we have the opportunity for two young New Zealand players to attend the Australian JETS (Junior Elite Training Squad) camp to be held in Adelaide from July 10th to 14th 2019. Note: Applications close April 15th.

For more information and to apply for one of the spots please download the application form.


2020 Congress Entry Form

A comprehensive entry form containing all the details about the exciting Tauranga Congress in January 2020 is now available. See the Calendar page.


NZ Chess Bulletin, March 2019

A second issue of the experimental NZ Chess Bulletin online magazine is now available here.

Poison Pawn Grand Prix logo

2018 Grand Prix Results

2018 Grand Prix Standings are now available on the Grand Prix page. A total of $6520 of prizes are to be distributed amongst 31 players competing in 10 categories. The Grand Prix is designed to reward consistent good performance in tournaments throughout New Zealand.

Ben Hague once again takes out the top prize of $1500.

NZCF would like to once again thank the Grand Prix sponsors, Poison Pawn and D & D Financial Consultants, and the people behind those organisations Michael Freeman and Martin Dreyer for their continuing generous support.

The official prizegiving will once again be at the Latvian Rapid on March 16th (see the Calendar). If you've won a prize email the NZCF Treasurer Winsome Stretch at to discuss collecting your prize.

Guam Opening
Photo credit: Paul Spiller

Guam Oceania Zonal

The picture shows FIDE president Arkady Dvorkovich playing the ceremonial first moves against Lt. Governor Josh Tenorio of Guam to mark the opening of the 2019 Zone 3.6 Championships being held there from February 18th to 23rd. As revealed in the pilot (trial?) issue of The New Zealand Chess Bulletin the tournament featured a massive upset in round 1.

Hawkes Bay Winners
Happy prize winners set to enjoy some fine Hawkes Bay produce. L to R; Tobey Hughes, Bob Smith, Felix Xie, Evan Capel, William Duncan, Stephen Lukey, Viv Smith and Bernard Carpinter. No doubt Felix will be cellaring his prize for ten years or so.

Hawkes Bay Rapid

Weekend tournaments in two of the most beautiful parts of the country are a perennial highlight of this time of year. A visitor from the south swept in to pick up first prize at the Hawkes Bay Rapid, see the Results page. Next up is the Bay of Plenty Rapid on February 23rd, see the Calendar page.

GM Gareyev Simul
GM Gareyev puts in the miles as he takes on twelve locals in Wellington. The joint NZ Champions can be seen carefully studying their empty boards. Club Captain Phil Rossiter handles the move calling duties.

Blindfold Clock Simul in Wellington

Blindfold king Timur Gareyev took on twelve players in a hastily organised evening exhibition on the first Wellington club night of 2019. Juniors Ryan Winter and Michael Sole managed a win and a draw respectively, while the grandmaster scored eight wins. The other two games were also draws, and were distinguished by the novelty feature of IMs Ker and Dive playing blindfold themselves. On the plus side they did have scoresheets and empty boards but playing without increment was a significant handicap, especially as Russell tried to convert a winning ending. Down to less than a minute, Russell sportingly continued to write down his moves before pressing his clock, and a gentlemen's draw was really the only satisfactory conclusion. Coverage (including a short video) on here.

Congress Blitz
The spirit of chess on display as congress wraps up (this is round 8 of 9 in the Blitz Championships). Locals Ralph Hart and Evan Capel are about to beat a Russian GM and an Australian IM respectively

A Successful 126th Congress

Thanks to Chief Organiser Paul Spiller, hosts Howick-Pakuranga Chess Club, chief sponsor Kasparov Chess Foundation Asia Pacific, Grand Prix sponsors Michael Freeman and Martin Dreyer, plus arbiters Bruce Pollard, Craig Hall and Ying Wang for putting on another great tournament at a great location. The overseas marquee players showed their class. GM Gareyev followed up his unbeaten equal first in the NZ Open with dominant 8.5/9 and 9/9 scores in the Rapid and Blitz respectively. Amongst the locals, the established elite showed they aren't ready to relinquish their grip in classical chess, but a new generation shone in rapid and blitz. All results on the Results Page.


Summer of Chess in Full Swing

The George Trundle and the Oceania Youth Championships are finished. Full results are available on the Results Page.

Congress is now complete as well. In the Open Championship Clarke draws in the last round, Gareyev wins to join him as 1st= on 7/9. IMs Ker and Dive both draw to finish as NZ leaders and so joint NZ champions on 6/9. For more see the Results Page.

The Rapid and Blitz championships were held on the last two days. Links:
NZ Rapid Championship Vega page
NZ Lightning Championship Vega page

Rowan Wood on sums up the Rapid Tournament. "GM Timur Gareyev has won the NZ Rapid tournament with 8.5 points after he defeated Anthony Ker in the last round. He finished one and a half points clear of three players, including the new NZ Rapid title winner, Ralph Hart. Hart won the title with a win over David Notley. Congratulations. In a surprising second place for the NZ title is Sravan Renjith with 6.5 points. He was undefeated with 4 wins and 5 draws. GM Gareyev was the only other unbeaten player. Renjith won his last round game against Johnson Li. On 6 points, Anthony Ker and Russell Dive."

NZ Open Championship PGN rounds 1 to 9 here
NZ Major Open PGN rounds 1 to 9 here
NZ Open Championship Vega page
NZ Major Open Championship Vega page
NZ Open Junior Championship Vega page Results
George Trundle PGN rounds 1 to 9 here
Oceania Juniors Open U20 PGN rounds 1 to 9 here

Lodhi v Spiller
Paul was chief organiser of the 2017 Asian Senior Championships in Auckland, and managed to play as well. He had a tough draw in round 1, but held 2nd seed and eventual outright winner IM Mahmood Lodhi of Pakistan to a draw.

Paul Spiller becomes a Member of the NZ Order of Merit

Paul has been at the heart of New Zealand chess administration since the 1970s. He has been instrumental in three Oceania Zonals and many congresses, including the memorable triplet of Queenstown congresses. Paul is chief organiser of the upcoming 126th NZ Congress, hosted by Howick Pakaranga, Paul's longstanding club. Starting with the Burroughs GM tournament in Wellington in 1978, Paul has helped bring international competition and a host of colourful international competitors to our shores. Paul has served as Editor of NZ Chess, and was NZCF president for eight years. He is currently FIDE Oceania Zone president. Listen to a a short Radio New Zealand interview here.


Congress on the Chessbase Home Page

The front page of is one of the very highest profile online spots in the chess world. It's rare to see New Zealand chess featuring there, so make sure you check out this article, anticipating the 126th NZ Congress coming up soon!

GM Timur Gareyev
Photo by Lennart Ootes, for Chessbase

Summer of Chess

New Zealand chess fans, especially Aucklanders or people prepared to jump on a plane, are in for a fantastic holiday season.

First up comes the prestigious George Trundle family of tournaments (January 4th-12th). These tournaments are highly regarded by the purist, and showcase classical chess at its best, with a superb one round a day, round robin format. The top players play in the George Trundle Masters grade, there are always interesting visiting masters involved (one of the main ideas of the tournament is to create IM Norm opportunities for the local contingent). One of the players this year is GM Timur Gareyev, pictured during one of his famous blindfold simultaneous exhibitions (yes he is pedalling a stationary bike at the same time).

Amazingly Auckland Chess Centre are also running a huge Oceania Youth Championship at essentially the same time (January 5th-13th), at the larger Alexandra Park venue not far away. This is an opportunity for local fans to see the stars of tomorrow.

Last but definitely not least is the NZ Open Championship that follows these events, allowing players to play in two big tournaments back to back. GM Gareyev, GM Vasily Papin (Russia), and strong IM Kanan Izzat (Azerbaijan) are amongst those playing in two tournaments. The Howick Pakuranga chess club are organising this tournament as part of the 126th NZ Congress to be held from January 14th to 24th at the popular Waipuna Hotel.

Details of all these events are of course on the Calendar page.

NZ Chess Mag October 2018
The last issue

NZ Chess Magazine Archive

The October 2018 issue of New Zealand Chess is on its way to subscribers, and sadly it's the last issue. There are some silver linings though. Firstly a large and growing collection of the magazines are now freely available to view electronically on this website. Thanks to Philip Hair for labour and Michael Freeman for funding. A permanent link to the collection is now in place on the right, underneath chess clubs.

Additionally, if you take a look at the new October 2018 issue as it appears in the electronic archive, you will see that not only can you look at the PDF, you can enjoy all the chess in the issue using an "Interactive" button. The interactive button takes you here. This is homegrown, bespoke technology. It is actively under development and will improve over time. In particular some more work is needed before the interactive edition looks as good and works as well on all screen sizes.

If there is sufficient interest shown, this facility will be retrofitted to older issues. And (again, assuming support from the chess community) this will perhaps be a preview of one of the ways New Zealand chess content will be delivered in the future.

Oceania Youth 2019

NZ Oceania Youth Official Representatives

New Zealand will play host to the OCEANIA YOUTH & OCEANIA UNDER 20 CHAMPIONSHIPS, January 5th-13th 2019 in Auckland. This is an official FIDE (World Chess Federation) competition. New Zealand's Official Representatives have been selected as follows;

Age Open Girls
U8 - -
U10 Kendrick Zhang Isabelle Ning
U12 Sravan Renjith Anya Doris Wu Thurner
U14 Richard Meng Nadia Braganza
U16 Ryan Winter Nicole Qin
U18 Daniel Gong Caroline Yan
U20 Alphaeus Ang Sarah Yan Ying

Note that applications are still being accepted for the three vacancies. Although these players are the official NZL representatives, other NZL players can of course pay their entry fees and play in the tournaments. Further details, including for example eligibility for direct titles can be seen on the Calendar Page.



Prolific veterans Mike Steadman and Stephen Lukey were the winners of the recent North Island and South Island championships respectively (results page). It was Lukey's 10th such victory. Both players are providing annotated games for the NZ Chess magazine, which will be made available online here. Currently the most recent ten years of magazines are available, soon there will be many more as Philip Hair is scanning in older copies. Older results have now been restored to this website (see the bottom of the Results page), and Michael Freeman has provided material from the preceding years that will soon be added. Ross Jackson has found some information about the early European career of Ortvin Sarapu that eminent chess historian Edward Winter has published here. Ross McKerras reports that he has made some simple 'chess teaching life' Youtube videos here and here. The website editor would be interested to know if there are any other Kiwi chess youtubers out there.
Update: Ryan Winter pointed out this effort from Mark Noble. It's instructive and entertaining.

You should consider playing in next year's South Island Championship, it's in beautiful Hanmer Springs. Planning is advanced and an entry form is already available on the Calendar. At the other end of the time spectrum, the popular Merv Morrison weekender was held in mid October, see the Results Page, and the Summit Rapid, a new Auckland one day rapid tournament is now on the calendar, it's being held on November 18th.

Tauranga Deputy Mayor
Tauranga Deputy Mayor Kelvin Clout makes the first move

Interschools Finals 2018

One very significant New Zealand Chess event that inexplicably didn't get a mention in the 'Peak Chess' item a week or so ago is the National Interschools Finals, held at Mt Maunganui on the weekend of 29th-30th of September.

This annual event is the culmination of a huge program of regional qualifiers. Organisers Bob and Viv Smith report on the event, and present a heap of photographs on the Interschools Results Page.

Olympiad Open Team Round 3 vs Wales
Round 3 vs Wales

NZ at the 2018 Olympiad

Some brief commentary was posted here as the event progressed and can still be seen on the Olympiad Page. New Zealand's final performances were very close to par expected scores. China scored a rare double Gold, winning both events on tiebreak.

Open NZ ranked 77th out of 185
Final place 87th, Match points 5.5 from 11, Game points 24/44
Round 1 NZ 3.5 - 0.5 Seychelles (ranked 170)
Round 2 NZ 1.0 - 3.0 Algeria (57)
Round 3 NZ 3.0 - 1.0 Wales (114)
Round 4 NZ 2.0 - 2.0 Costa Rica (68)
Round 5 NZ 1.0 - 3.0 Ireland (66)
Round 6 NZ 1.5 - 2.5 Slovenia (26)
Round 7 NZ 1.0 - 3.0 Panama (89)
Round 8 NZ 4.0 - 0.0 Bermuda (146)
Round 9 NZ 4.0 - 0.0 Trinidad and Tobago (104)
Round 10 NZ 0.0 - 4.0 Indonesia (69)
Round 11 NZ 3.0 - 1.0 Angola (98)

Women NZ ranked 78th out of 151
Final place 94th, Match points 5 from 11, Game points 20/44
Round 1 NZ 0.0 - 4.0 India (5)
Round 2 NZ 4.0 - 0.0 Lesotho (128)
Round 3 NZ 0.5 - 3.5 Moldova (46)
Round 4 NZ 3.5 - 0.5 Netherlands Antilles (111)
Round 5 NZ 0.5 - 3.5 Turkmenistan (54)
Round 6 NZ 3.0 - 1.0 Venezuela (55)
Round 7 NZ 2.5 - 1.5 Iraq (95)
Round 8 NZ 0.5 - 3.5 Jordan (85)
Round 9 NZ 1.5 - 2.5 Montenegro(70)
Round 10 NZ 2.5 - 1.5 Nicaragua (101)
Round 11 NZ 1.5 - 2.5 Sweden (59)

Final PGN file of all NZ games here
Useful links: Official Site Chess Results Chess24 Open Chess24 Womens

Batumi Georgia

Peak Chess

A period of intense chess activity looms up. On the international stage our intrepid Open and Women's teams front up in Batumi in Georgia (pictured) for the 43rd Chess Olympiad. The official site is currently extraordinarily useless (it doesn't even tell us when the tournament is going to be held - September 23rd - October 7th), but will no doubt improve during the event.

Domestically both the North Island and South Island championships are coming up. The South Island version is being held by the Canterbury Chess Club from 29th September to 3rd October (ironically I got the dates wrong when this item was first posted - sorry) and is sponsored by Benson Insurance Brokers. The North Island event is part of a complete chess festival being organised by the Manawatu Knights Chess Club in Palmerston North from 1st to 11th October. The chess festival is sponsored by Millennium Hotels. See the Chess Calendar for more details.


Another NZ Games Database Update

Helen Milligan has provided Peter Stuart's final NZ Games Database work-in-progress file (thanks Helen!). The first NZCF supplement to the NZ games database (see previous article) has been completely reworked around this contribution, it's now much more compatible with the conventions of Peter's database. One highlight: Peter included 17 games from a 1979 blindfold simul by Ewen Green in Hamilton. Unsurprisingly it seems this is the Australasian record. Ewen scored an excellent +13 =1 -3.


NZ Games Database Update and a Games Email Address

The first serious NZCF supplement to Peter Stuart's NZ games database is now available. See the History Page for more information about the database, and for download links for the database itself and the new supplement. Reaching and then maintaining the curation standards Peter achieved will remain a major challenge, but it is vital that we try and that everything possible is done to record and store for posterity the games played in important tournaments in New Zealand.

The current supplement includes games from 21 tournaments in 2017 and 2018. There are missing tournaments and not all tournaments are complete. Some of the gaps might be fixable, but a particular concern is the 2018 NZ Open. Congress is our premier event each year, and it seems that nearly half of all games in the Open (top) grade have been lost forever. Only games that were electronically recorded are available. Fortunately ten electronic boards were deployed, but games on boards 11-19 are missing. If the reader participated in any of these missing games, please help out by sending in a scan of the scoresheet or (preferably) a pgn of the game to

This is a new NZCF email address, and has been setup to make it as easy as possible for people to send in games (not just missing games from the last congress!). Players and tournament organisers are encouraged to send in everything from individual games to whole tournaments. Please use .pgn and/or .cbv format if at all possible. All games received will be considered for future editions of the NZ games database. Annotated games will be considered for publication on a new facility on the NZCF website which will be developed to compensate for the cessation of the NZ Chess magazine at the end of the year.


NZ Player Registration Change Proposal

NZCF Council have released a consultation document for member Clubs, with a proposal to greatly simplify the way individual players are registered each year. The plan is to abolish $20 player registration fees - from 2019 simply membership of a Club will be sufficient to enable a player to participate in NZCF and FIDE rated tournaments throughout New Zealand.

Murray Chandler, NZCF President, said: "Reform has been talked about for years, and I’m pleased we now have a firm proposal on the table. This system is designed to reduce administration all round, and will result in many more players being eligible to participate in rated events, at a lesser cost".

The consultation document can be viewed here.

Interschools Action

Expressions of Interest invited: Interschools Finals 2019

The New Zealand Chess Federation is calling for expressions of interest from Clubs or individual organisers to stage the Interschools Final, 28-29 September 2019.

The long-running NZCF Interschools competition is a team event comprised of Regional Competitions staged throughout New Zealand. Around 2500-3000 school children take part each year. The event culminates in the prestigious National Finals staged in the last weekend of September.

Peter Stuart Memorial

The Peter Stuart Memorial Tournament

The North Shore Chess Club has chosen to rename the North Shore Open to the Peter Stuart Memorial. A nice gesture that will no doubt be widely appreciated. Peter was the founder and motivating spirit of this important and popular tournament. The 46th edition, and its first without Peter is in just four weeks time (25th-26th August). You can find the details you need to get your entry in in a timely fashion on the Calendar Page.

Souvenir Mug

Bids invited for NZCF Congress 2020 and 2021

NZCF Council is inviting bids / expressions of interest from Clubs or individual organisers interested in staging the New Zealand Chess Championships as follows:
127th NZ Chess Congress - to be staged in January 2020
128th NZ Chess Congress – to be staged in January 2021

Please submit bids or expressions of interest by 1st September 2018 to with as much detail as possible on the proposed event, such as intended venue, prize fund, playing schedule and subsidiary events.

The annual New Zealand Chess Congress has a rich history, dating back to 1879. The Waipuna Conference Centre (Auckland) will be the venue for the upcoming 126th Congress in January 2019, hosted by Howick-Pakuranga Chess Club.

Photo: souvenir mug from the well-organised Congress in Palmerston North, hosted by Manawatu Knights Chess Club last January.

Gordon Morrell and Mike Steadman

Another Successful George Trundle Masters

This year's Masters grade was keenly contested as always. The tournament ended on a dramatic note. The fate of Ben Hague's IM Norm and first prize depended on Gong-Hague, the final game to finish. Playing Black Ben needed a win for the Norm and lone first place. But for most of the game Daniel looked the likely winner. Daniel let his winning chances slip and eventually it was he who was fighting for a draw. Entering the sixth hour of play the draw was finally clear to all. Daniel to play simply needed to swap queens and the handshake would be inevitable. No doubt demoralised at his missed opportunities, Daniel made an incomprehensible blunder apparently thinking he could delay the trade. But allowing Ben to trade instead made a vital tempo difference to the resulting pawn ending. Game over and a bemused but happy Ben Hague wins the tournament and gets the IM Norm he should have got in last year'e event. See the Results Page for full results.

Photo: Tournament organiser Mike Steadman and Gordon Morrell at the prize giving. They were in dominant form in the Qualifers Grade - each scoring +7 =2 -0.

Poison Pawn Grand Prix logo

Grand Prix Sponsorship Renewed for 2019

NZCF is delighted to announce that our Poison Pawn/D & D Grand Prix sponsorship is now confirmed for the year 2019. The popular year-long competition rewards consistent good performance in tournaments throughout New Zealand. Regional tournaments also benefit, as the lure of GP points helps encourage the participation of top players.

Many thanks to our two sponsors for their generous ongoing support: Michael Freeman (Poison Pawn) and Martin Dreyer (D & D Financial Consultants). Both of these individuals also do a great deal of voluntary work behind the scenes for New Zealand chess.

The Grand Prix prize fund for 2019 will remain unchanged at $6500 per year, with first prize in the Open section $1500.

Nora and Helen

Upper Hutt Rapid

The Upper Hutt Rapid, held on Saturday 30th June, attracted 75 players, the most for over twenty years. Four of NZ's very best competed in the A Grade, Ben Hague just managed to get over the line. The big four were kept honest by promising local juniors. Layla Timergazi drew with Scott Wastney in the last round and Ryan Winter looked ominously at home on the top boards, playing three of the top four, holding Ben comfortably and nearly tipping over Anthony Ker. Full results on the Results Page.

Photo: Anton Reid's wife Nora and daughter Helen have been helping out at this tournament for over forty years. The Upper Hutt is old fashioned, in a good way. Where else in NZ chess do you get endless free coffee and tea poured for you? - with a generous assortment of Kiwi favourites like Mallowpuffs, Toffee Pops, and Tim Tams to boot!

The Hotel in Guam

Official selections for Oceania Zonal, Guam, 18-24 February 2019

Although anyone from a FIDE Zone 3.6 Federation can participate, there are two "official" places available to New Zealand at this World Championship qualifying tournament (one place for the Open Championship and one for the Woman's Championship). These two official representatives are entitled to free entry and free room-share accommodation.

New Zealand players who wishes to apply for selection for one of these official spots can do so by emailing by 30th September 2018. Selection results will be notified by 15th October.

For details on how to enter the Guam Zonal, see our tournament calendar page.
Photo: The hotel where the tournament is taking place. Nice.

2017 Winner

Upper Hutt Rapid - Coming Soon!

One of New Zealand's most popular and long standing tournaments is fast approaching. The tournament is on Saturday 30th June but entries after Monday 25th incur a late fee. The tournament is a Class 1 Grand Prix event, and features four separate grades and a $1400 prize fund. See the Calendar Page for more details.

Thanks to Anton Reid and his team for putting on the tournament so successfully, for so long.
Photo: Last year's A Grade winner Scott Wastney collecting his cheque.

Auckland East Primary Interschools

Interschools 2019 – Regional Organiser Applications Invited

The New Zealand Chess Federation Interschools competition is expanding rapidly, and for 2019 the NZCF Council is seeking organisers willing to stage Regional Qualification events around the country. Areas of particular interest are:
Northland, Gisborne, Nelson/Tasman, Marlborough, West Coast and Southland.
Applications from both clubs and individuals are welcome, to be sent to by June 30th 2018. Existing regional organisers will be contacted automatically.

Last year over 600 school teams participated in the official NZCF Regional Qualification events. Top teams qualify for the New Zealand Chess Federations National Finals, staged each year at the end of September.
Photo: 132 pupils in action last month, at the East Auckland Primary qualifier

Trusts Winner and Trophy

41st Trusts Open

A near record breaking 113 players turned up for New Zealand's biggest weekender in West Auckland on Queen's Birthday Weekend June 2nd-4th.

The picture tells the story as many time NZ Champion Anthony Ker took the A Grade trophy back to Wellington. Anthony's tournament room-mate Russell Dive had brought the trophy up for the weekend. The organisers sensibly didn't trust Anthony to get the trophy engraved, so it does stay in Auckland for a short while longer. Anthony was the first to admit his tally of 5/6 owed a lot to a supremely well judged Swiss Gambit as you can see in the full results via the Results Page.

The picture also features Trusts Community Foundation representative Linda Cooper, Waitakere Chess Club President John Francis, and founder and chief organiser Bob Smith (who shrugged off the burden of organisation to make a very impressive result as 2nd= with Mike Steadman, Ben Hague and Alexei Kulashko on 4.5/6).

Combined logos

North Shore Chess Club are in the Money

Helen Milligan of the North Shore Chess Club has got in touch to report that the club has received $3985 from Pub Charity Limited. They plan to spend the money on a computer, printer, and 60 LEAP FIDE-approved clocks. This will expand North Shore's ability to run Interschools and other large junior (and indeed all other) events.

Club officials elsewhere should take note. There are many other trusts and charitable organisations that make grants to worthy community initiatives, and chess clubs can make a good case that they are deserving recipients of this kind of largesse.

Bob Smith

41st Trusts Open

New Zealand's biggest (and best? - perhaps we shouldn't be the judge) weekend open is coming up fast. You can't enter on the day, so don't leave it to the last minute, get your entry in right now. All the details are on the Calendar Page.

The picture shows founder and chief organiser Bob Smith cutting the 40th Birthday cake last year. (Shouldn't that be 39th birthday? - there are only two fundamental problems in the universe; death, taxes and off by one errors). Bob and Viv haven't lived in Auckland for several years, yet this great tournament is still very much their baby. Chess in New Zealand is absolutely dependent on the hard work of dedicated people like Bob and Viv.

Gawain and Sue

Gawain Jones Simul

English GM Gawain Jones, pictured here with wife Sue Maroroa, is of course a great friend of New Zealand Chess. These days Sue plays for England too. At least she still supports the All Blacks :-) Who knows, maybe the change from NZL to ENG is temporary and eventually Gawain and Sue will come home and live in New Zealand!

In the meantime we'll happily settle for occasional visits to family and friends. One is coming up this month and during their time here Gawain will be playing a simultaneous exhibition at the Howick Bowling club on May 29th. If you get in quick you can play! Details are on the Calendar Page.

The silver rook in 2008

New Zealand Chess History Project

Eagle-eyed visitors to this site may have noticed a new section. The NZ Chess History Page is a new project. The idea is to create a digital archive that captures the most important history of chess in New Zealand in one well organised place.

The page as it exists at the moment serves just to establish a starting point. As the old story says, the longest journey begins with the smallest step. Hopefully in time we will have very complete records of major tournaments in New Zealand, a great collection of photographs, PDFs of recent NZ Chess magazines and scans of older magazines, and a host of other material.

Making this possible will require some newer website technology, some wider collaboration, some things we haven't even thought of yet. Stay tuned.

Important Update: NZCF has obtained permission to make the games database curated by the late Peter Stuart freely available. Check the history page for more information.

The ultimate chess professional

Appointment of Women’s Team Captain for Batumi

NZCF is pleased to announce that Brazilian IM Herman van Riemsdijk has agreed to take the role of Women's Team Captain for Batumi 2018. Herman is a frequent visitor to NZ and is very familiar with the NZ chess scene. Many NZ players have had the opportunity to meet him or play against him during his visits here. He has had considerable Olympiad experience as a player for Brazil and we are sure that his input will be invaluable to the Women’s team, both before and during the Olympiad.
There's more Olympiad information on the Olympiad Page.

Poison Pawn Grand Prix logo

First 2018 Grand Prix Results

A new Grand Prix season is under way and 2018 GP administrator Michael Freeman (also a sponsor let's not forget) has posted the first report here (pdf document).

Amongst the cast of "usual suspects" some notable performances catch the eye. Ben Hague (of course!) jumps out ahead to his customary leading position in the Open field. Alphaeus Ang is his closest challenger in the Open and heads the Junior section. A less familiar name to many will be Wellington 15 year old Ryan Winter who locals have enjoyed watching take giant strides recently.

Actually enjoyment isn't really the right word for it when you're on the wrong end of defeat as your web administrator found at the Wellington Open. Ryan is second in the U2100 section and near the top of the Junior section.

There's more information about the Grand Prix on the Grand Prix page. There's also pictures of 2017 prizewinners picking up their prizes on the Facebook page. Thanks as always to the Grand Prix sponsors, Poison Pawn and D & D Financial Consultants, and the people behind those organisations Michael Freeman and Martin Dreyer for their continuing generous support.


Older Items....

An archive of all NZCF website front page stories since 2007 is being prepared here.

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