Home Page Stories, 2009

Siberian bear in Olympiad promotion

New Zealand Chess Supplies 117th NZ Chess Congress

No late entry surcharge
Congress 2010 will be held at the Alexandra Function Centre, Green Lane, Auckland, January 2nd-14th 2010. It incorporates the NZ Championship, the Major Open, the NZ Women's Championship, Rapid and Lightning Championships, and also the New Zealand Premium Junior Chess Event. Outright winners of the Championship and the Women's Championship will earn the right to represent New Zealand at the Chess Olympiad in October in the exotic Siberian location of Khanty-Mansiysk (where the World Cup is currently being held). Entry forms are available for download now on our Calendar Page.
Photo: the Khanty-Mansiysk bear and his fur-clad girlfriend promoting the 2010 Olympiad.

Graham Banks and the anniversary chess cake

Papatoetoe Chess Club's 75th Anniversary Celebration

During Labour Weekend, Papatoetoe Chess Club held a day of events to celebrate their 75th Anniversary. Leonard McLaren gave a simultaneous display, and there were speakers, matches, and a great deal of food. Graham Banks (photo) is shown cutting the splendid anniversary chess cake. More photos can be found on our Results page.

View of the playing hall in Christchurch

Labour weekend events

Labour weekend saw two Grand Prix Class 1 events take place, in Christchurch and Auckland. English Grandmaster and top seed Gawain Jones won the All-Canterbury Championship (30 players). In Auckland, 13-year-old Daniel Shen outclassed the field in the Open (12 players), while first in the under-1700 section (27 players) was shared by Philip Mukkattu and Leonides Guico. See Results Page for full details.
Photo: the playing hall in Christchurch - in the foreground GM Jones (black pieces) faces Roger Nokes. Gawain is living in Wellington for several months, and is available for coaching.

FM Brian Jones

Sydney International Open 2010 confirmed

Next year's Parramatta Chess Festival will definitely go ahead, confirms Sydney chess impresario Brian Jones (pictured). Dates are 7th-11th April, 2010. Difficulties raising sponsorship had put the event in jeopardy, but a passionate campaign to raise donations from enthusiasts paid off. Sufficient funds were eventually secured after contributions from New Zealand GM Murray Chandler and the NSW Chess Association. As in the previous three years, the Parramatta City Council are generously providing their Town Hall as a venue. For full details on SIO see

George Trundle

George Trundle NZ Masters Tournament

Final scores:
IM Event: Jones 7½; Johansen, Solomon 6; Steadman 5 (Best New Zealander trophy); Watson 4½; Lukey 4; Smith, Reilly 3½; Croad 3; Hart 2.
Qualifier: Shen 6½; Wheeler 6; Bennett 5½; Milligan 5; Gibbons 4½; Forster, Goodhue, Tanoi 4; Stuart 3½; Taylor 2.
Photo: George Trundle at the prize-giving. See our Results page for the game file and more photos.

Mike Steadman and Gawain Jones

George Trundle NZ Masters Tournament

Sponsored by the Auckland Chess Centre and avid local enthusiast George Trundle. Closed 9-round all-play-all tournament where several NZ players will be trying for FIDE (World Chess Federation) IM norms. Players: GM Gawain Jones ENG 2553, GM Darryl Johansen AUS 2477, IM Stephen Solomon AUS 2424, FM Bob Smith NZL 2298, FM Tim Reilly AUS 2288, FM Nic Croad NZL 2285, Ralph Hart NZL 2256, FM Bruce Watson NZL 2256, FM Mike Steadman NZL 2252, FM Stephen Lukey NZL 2233 (September 2009 ratings). Spectators are welcome at the Auckland Chess Centre, 17 Cromwell St, Mount Eden - games at 1pm except last round at 10am.
Photo: Mike Steadman and Gawain Jones shake hands before their game - in which Mike caused a surprise upset! See our Results page for the game file.

David Smerdon and Puchen Wang, with Bruce Pollard

Waikato Open

The Class 1 Millennium Hotels NZ Chess Grand Prix Waikato Open took place in Saint Paul's Collegiate School, Hamilton, 7th-9th August. Fresh from his match victory (4-2) against Puchen Wang, Australia's David Smerdon took first place, dropping only one half point (to IM Paul Garbett) in six games. Second equal on 4½ were Mike Steadman, Daniel Han, Paul Garbett, and Don Eade - see Results Page for full details.
Photo: David and Puchen shake hands at the Australasian Match of the Decade, under the watchful gaze of arbiter Bruce Pollard.

David Smerdon and Puchen Wang

Australasian Match of the Decade begins in Auckland

Australia's in-form David Smerdon (who has recently achieved the Grandmaster title) will take on New Zealand's talented Puchen Wang in a six-game match, starting Saturday August 1st at 4pm. Subsequent rounds at 4pm daily until 6th August. Spectators are welcome at the "Old Boys' Pavilion" at Auckland Grammar School in Mountain Road (off Khyber Pass). For live Internet coverage see the Match Page.
Photo: David and Puchen snapped at the pre-match Meet & Greet event, at the Copthorne HarbourCity Hotel.

Vaness Reid, Natasha Fairley, Sue Maroroa

Kiwi title successes at Oceania Zonal

The Zonal tournament on Australia's Gold Coast was convincingly won by GM-elect David Smerdon (see results page), but in the multiple tie for second were two impressive Kiwi results. Mike Steadman (Auckland Chess Centre) and 13-year-old Bobby Cheng (who only recently changed allegiance to Australia) both qualified for FIDE-Master titles. In the women's event Arianne Caoili (Australia) took the top world championship qualifying spot, but again New Zealand had success - Sue Maroroa's third place won her a WIM title.
Photo: Australian Vaness Reid (who took a WFM title) with Natasha Fairley and Sue Maroroa.

Grandmaster Gawain Jones

Perfect 6/6 in Waitakere for Gawain

English Grandmaster Gawain Jones wiped out the opposition at the 32nd Waitakere Licensing Trust Open over the Queen's Birthday weekend - winning $1000, plus a $150 bonus for his perfect score. Likewise inspired, his New Zealand girlfriend Sue Maroroa took the Women's Prize, scoring 3.5/6, including a notable draw with International Master Paul Garbett. In the B-grade, Dean Zhao (North Shore) won with 5/6. Hans Gao (Papatoetoe) took the C-grade with another perfect 6. Equal first in the Junior section were Harry Cui (Waitakere) and Weber Wang (North Shore) with 5/6.
Photo: Gawain with his trophy.

Check it Out day at Hutt Intermediate Boys School

Check it Out - a record turnout?

Wellington-region officials are wondering if a recent chess day at HIBS - Hutt International Boys' School - has set some sort of numbers record. 288 students participated in the mass competition in mid-May. So popular was the event that Richard Catterall, the teacher in charge of chess at HIBS, had to borrow equipment from the Upper Hutt and Wellington Clubs. "Chess is a worldwide game with well-researched educational benefits" Mr Catterall told the local newspaper, the Upper Hutt Leader. The "Check it Out" day concluded with local junior star Daniel Baider playing a simultaneous display against 16 opponents.

Emeritus Professor Richard Sutton, Faculty of Law, University of Otago

Richard Sutton 1938-2009

Former New Zealand Champion and FIDE Master Richard Sutton passed away last month, on Friday 17th April. As reported in the chess column tribute of the Otago Daily Times, Richard was greatly respected within the New Zealand Chess fraternity, not just for his strength, but for his sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct. Richard won his first NZ Championship in Christchurch in 1963 (equal first with Sarapu) and won two more national titles in 1971 and 1972, as well as the New Zealand Correspondence Championship in 1970. He represented New Zealand at the 1966 Zonal tournament in Auckland and the 1972 Chess Olympiad in Skopje, Yugoslavia.
Photo: Emeritus Professor Richard Sutton, Faculty of Law, University of Otago (

Kiwis at Parramatta

Sydney International Open - funding appeal

In just three years, the Sydney International Open has deservedly become the centrepiece of Australian tournament chess. This year's prestigious tournament (staged in Parramatta's iconic Town Hall, 14th-19th April 2009) featured 102 participants from 17 nations, including 8 Grandmasters. Now it appears the future might be in doubt. "With the end of the Pratt Foundation three-year pledge, we now appear to be in some financial trouble" says organiser Brian Jones. "We need some $8,000 - $10,000 to be able to continue in 2010."
Photo: the Kiwi contingent in Sydney 2009 (left to right): Bruce Pollard, Helen Milligan, Hilton Bennett, Bob Gibbons, Mike Steadman and Bill Forster.

Russell Dive (photo: Justin Davis) and Nathan Goodhue

Millennium Hotels extends Grand Prix sponsorship deal

Chess Federation President Paul Spiller has confirmed that the NZCF Grand Prix sponsorship deal with Millennium Hotels and Resorts has been extended. In a deal worth $10,000 over two years, the sponsorship will now run through to the end of 2010.
Photos: Russell Dive (Wellington) has won the North Island Championship, played in Wellington April 10th-13th . In the B-Grade, Nathan Goodhue (Auckland) was first equal.

Bruce Watson

NZCF March 2009 Newsletter

Click here to read the March newsletter (pdf format) from Paul Spiller, President of the New Zealand Chess Federation.
Photo: Bruce Watson (Auckland Chess Centre) has enjoyed a successful start to 2009. His 2nd place in the MIT Waitangi Rapid in February was followed by 1st equal (along with Mike Steadman) at the annual Howick-Pakuranga Latvian tournament in March.

George Trundle

George Trundle Receives Inaugural President's Award

In 2008 the New Zealand Chess Federation introduced the concept of "President's Awards." A small number of these awards - for outstanding services to chess - may be awarded annually. The first award, fittingly, has been made to 91-year-old George Trundle. A life-long chess enthusiast, George has generously supported a number of chess events in recent years. In particular his annual Trundle Masters provides invaluable title norm opportunites for New Zealand players. Photo: George Trundle accepts his award on February 8th 2009, at the clubrooms of the Auckland Chess Centre. Presenting the award is NZCF President Paul Spiller.

David Smerdon

Great Australian Success at Queenstown

The 2009 Queenstown Chess Classic (incorporating the 116th New Zealand National Championship) proved a wonderful tournament for the visiting Australian players. International Master David Smerdon (photo) comfortably took the $10,000 first prize, ahead of numerous higher-rated European Grandmasters, and no less than five Australian players gained International Master norms. In a clean sweep Wellington's Anthony Ker took all three New Zealand Closed Championship titles on offer (Closed Championship, Rapid and Lightning). For statistics and photos from Queenstown see our Results Page. Download the final PGN file of Queenstown games here (many thanks to Justin Davis for inputting and checking).

Eduardas Rozentalis

Star-studded Queenstown Classic underway

For daily results and live games see For live chat and blogging (starting 3pm daily) see The Closet Grandmaster.
Photo: Lithuanian grandmaster Eduardas Rozentalis sits down for his game in round 2.

Alina Motoc and Gawain Jones

International Grandmasters arrive in New Zealand

Many of the Grandmasters scheduled to play in the Queenstown Classic are now in New Zealand, taking a few days to acclimatise and see the country. Photo (left): 23-year-old Romanian WGM (Women Grandmaster) Alina Motoc bungee jumps 47 metres into the Waikato river, Taupo. Photo (right): English GM Gawain Jones sits on a 2-metre high rock at Rangitoto, Auckland.

Klaus Bischoff and Ingrid Lauterbach

Queenstown Classic begins 15th January

With over 110 entrants - including 39 titled players - participating, the Queenstown Chess Classic is shaping up to be the strongest tournament ever held in New Zealand. The Classic (15th-24th January, followed by two days of quickplay events) is open to all players, and incorporates the NZCF official national NZ championships. Participants are now listed in rating order on
Photo: German chess couple Klaus Bischoff (Grandmaster) and Ingrid Lauterbach (Women's International Master), snapped at the Sky Tower in Auckland. They have arrived in New Zealand early, in order to drive Auckland-Queenstown on a sightseeing trip in advance of the tournament.