Home Page Stories, 2012

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
Pictured: Mike and the Silver Rook negotiate Queenstown airport; Darryl with his somewhat more portable trophy. See also this New Zealand Herald article.