Home Page Stories, 2014

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.

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!

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

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

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!

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.