Home Page Stories, 2011

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.


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 Team and Leonard McLaren

34th Waitakere Licensing Trust Open

The A-grade was won by Leonard Mclaren 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.

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:

Zong-Yuan Zhao and Jim Benson

Oceania Zonal 2011 - victory for GM Zong-Yuan Zhao

Zong-Yuan Zhao (AUS) outshone the competition to finish clear first on 8½/9, only dropping half a point to FM Bobby Cheng (AUS). Andrew Brown (AUS) was second and claimed the IM title with a performance well above the usual rating requirement. Top kiwi was FM Stephen Lukey, fifth equal.
Because of the small and inconvenient number of players (11) there was no choice but to run the Women's Zonal as an all-play-all, which meant some extra mornings in the tournament hall. IM Irina Berezina-Feldman and wfm Emma Guo (both AUS) will play a match for the Women's World Championship place, later in the year. Top kiwi, and now wfm, was Nicole Tsoi. See full details on the Oceania Zonal page.
Pictured: Zhao with NZCF patron Jim Benson, who presented the prizes.

Advance arrivals for Oceania Zonal 2011

Advance arrivals for Oceania Zonal 2011

These four Australian chessplaying friends were unfazed by the changeable weather of Auckland yesterday - from left to right: Tristran Stevens, Andrew Fitzpatrick, Sherab Guo-Yuthok and Grandmaster David Smerdon. The four have arrived a week early for sight-seeing en route to Rotorua, where they will compete in the Oceania Zonal, January 25th-31st. GM Smerdon (winner of the 2009 Queenstown Chess Classic) is one of the favourites in Rotorua, where the winner will qualify for the next round of the FIDE World Championship Cycle.

Anthony Ker & Roy Seabrook

118th NZ Congress

Yet again, Anthony Ker went home with the Silver Rook and the title of New Zealand Champion. A whole 1½ points behind him were Antonio Krstev, Bob Smith and Bruce Watson. Ker also won the NZ Rapid Championship with 8/9, but the Lightning event was won by Noel Pinic. Roy Seabrook won the Major Open with 9/11. Many thanks to Lin Nah for maintaining live game coverage.
Pictured: Anthony Ker (left) and Roy Seabrook. Full results and photos on the Results page.