Home Page Stories, 2015

The Poison Pawn Grand Prix

Everything to play for in Poison Pawn Grand Prix

The 2015 Grand Prix remains up for grabs in all divisions, as the final event approaches – the 123rd New Zealand Congress in Devonport. In the top section Auckland’s Ben Hague has the first prize of $700 in his sights, having amassed 100 points (ahead of Steadman 76.4 and Noble 75). But even he can be caught, now that the annual NZCF Congress counts as both the first and last event of the season.
The Poison Pawn Grand Prix measures results of New Zealand players over multiple tournaments during the year. For 2015 the Prize Fund totals $5470. Current scores can be found on our Grand Prix page.

Scarecrow cafe

Casual chess in the Auckland CBD

Spotted at the trendy new Scarecrow café and artisan grocer (corner of Victoria and Lorne St): a chess set for customer use. Great coffee and well worth a visit!

Congress 1896

Grant from Grant rescues historic photos

The New Zealand Chess Congress has an illustrious history, dating back to 1879. Now thanks to the generous support of Auckland chess benefactor Grant Kerr, the NZ Chess Federation is currently restoring a series of classic Congress photos which had fallen into neglect.
After expert work by the specialist Conservation Research Centre at the Auckland Art Gallery, the photos will be framed with conservation glass by John Leech Framing to ensure their preservation for decades to come. The photographs will be on display at the 2016 Congress in Devonport.

GM Ju Wenjun

Entries for New Zealand Congress, January 2016

Players are reminded to get their entries in by 31st October, to avoid a late entry surcharge. This applies to the three main tournaments:
NEW ZEALAND OPEN 2nd-10th January;
MAJOR OPEN 2nd-10th January;
The Open Championships will take place in Devonport, Auckland.
Photo: Fast-improving 24-year-old Chinese Grandmaster Ju Wenjun, rating 2542, is the sixth seed. But emulating the success of last year’s winner Zhao Xue will not be easy, in a field which this year includes English Grandmasters Nigel Short and Gawain Jones.

GM Nigel Short

20 Women v Nigel Short - in Aotea Square

Now this is going to be fun! On Wednesday 13th January (following the New Zealand Open), English Grandmaster Nigel Short (pictured left) will play a 20-board simultaneous exhibition with a difference – his opponents will all be women. The “Beauty v the Beast” simul will take place from 11am-2pm in the heart of the Auckland CBD, thanks to kind assistance from “Summer in the Square.” If you are female and interested in playing, please contact Helen Milligan.

North Shore Chess Club

42nd North Shore Open, Devonport

Prizes of $2,400 will be on offer over the weekend 19th-20th September 2015 at the annual North Shore Open tournament, organised by North Shore Chess Club. The event comprises an Open, B-Grade and separate junior tournament, and will be staged at the New Zealand National Chess Centre, 100b Victoria Rd, Devonport. For details on how to enter see our Calendar page. Entries are listed at North Shore Chess Club. The event qualifies as a Poison Pawn Grand Prix class 1 event.

NZCF logo

2015 NZ Interschools National Finals – September 26th-27th

Schools nationwide who have qualified are reminded to confirm their participation in the official NZ Interschools National Finals, being hosted by the Manawatu Knights Chess Club, Players' assembly is 10am on Saturday, September 26th, at Palmerston North Boys High, 263 Featherstone St, Palmerston North. The event is comprised of three sections: Primary (years 1-6 students), Intermediate (years 7-8 students) and Secondary (years 9-13 students). Winning teams become the official New Zealand Chess Federation Interschools Champions for 2015. For further information contact the Finals Organiser Mark Noble Noble or Interschools Coordinator Craig Hall.

NZ Girls Interschool Chess Championship

New Zealand Girls Interschool Chess Championship

The popular event attracted more than 30 teams of girls. Top prizes went to St Cuthberts (Primary: Zoe Guan, Kimberley Yuan, Brena Merz, Jaclyn Wang), Bucklands Beach (Intermediate: Jasmine Zhang, Jayti Pattni, Selena Guo, Manleen Kaur), and Mt Roskill Grammar (Secondary: Caroline Yan, Sarah Yan, Cathy Fan, Kirushni Suthakaran). Congratulations to the young organisers (Melissa Tsoi, William Li, Hans Gao, and others) and thanks to Waitakere Chess Club, Auckland Chess Centre, and the Ministry of Youth Development. Full results can be found on our Results page; see also for links and photos (no login required).

Waikato Open

Waikato Open coming up

The annual Waikato Chess Open will be staged August 7th-9th 2015, at Saint Paul’s Collegiate School, Hukanui Rd, Hamilton. Round 1 begins 7.15pm, with a players meeting 7pm, and if notified in advance a half point bye is allowed in either round 1 or 4. The Open section will be FIDE rated, and both sections will be eligible for Poison Pawn Grand Prix points. Cash and chess book prizes totalling $1400 are on offer - see our tournament Calendar page for entry form and other details.

Gawain Jones & Nigel Short

English Superstars will head 2016 NZ Open

Two regulars in the English Olympiad Squad will be top two seeds at the 2016 New Zealand Congress in January.
Pictured left: Grandmaster Gawain Jones, rated 2647, has been a popular and regular visitor to New Zealand shores, having married WIM Sue Maroroa from Auckland (thanks to John Saunders for the photo).
Pictured right: Grandmaster Nigel Short heads up the field, with a FIDE rating of 2683. Short, a former World Championship Challenger, is a perennial globe-trotter, but this is his first ever tournament in New Zealand.

The New Zealand Chess Federation acknowledges the generous support of Martin Dreyer of D & D Financial Consultants, and Chris Benson of Benson Insurance Brokers Ltd, in bringing these renowned Grandmasters to NZ. The 123rd NZCF Congress will take place 2nd-12th January, in Devonport, Auckland.

Edward Rains & Daniel Gong

CM titles for New Zealand at the Oceania Zonal

Despite a change in the rules that made gaining titles tougher than before, both Edward Rains (pictured left) and Daniel Gong (right) managed to score enough points to qualify for the CM title at the recent Oceania Open Zonal. Alphaeus Ang (already a CM) also put in a fine performance, gaining almost 70 rating points and beating IM Ari Dale in the process. Australian IM Max Illingworth won the event after a tie-break match with felllow countryman Brodie McClymont. Links to full results can be found on our Results page.

Alphaeus Ang: bronze

Asian Schools Chess Championships, Singapore

Several of our juniors put in fine performances at this event: 17th for lowest seed in the under-15 Girls, Sarah Yan; 19th= for Jasmine Zhang and Caroline Yan in the under-13 Girls; 16th= for 28th seed Nicole Qin in the under-11 Girls; 6th= for Allen Fan in the under-11 Open; 13th= for Raivath Mallela in the under-9 Open; 7th= for 16th seed Oscar Qin in the under-7 Open. The best result was CM Alphaeus Ang's bronze medal in the under-13 Open, and he also picked up bronze in the under-13 Blitz. As a result, New Zealand picked up more medals than UAE, Australia, Chinese Taipei, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, or South Korea!
Pictured, the prize-giving for the main event, with Alphaeus on the right.

Paul Garbett

38th Trusts Open

The outright winner of the A-Grade was IM Paul Garbett. After careful inspection of the trophy, it was discovered that this was his 13th title, so he has won about a third of the 38 events!
You can find the full results of this popular tournament on our Results page, along with links to many photographs of the action.

Maisuradze & Fier

Grandmaster couple enter NZ Open Championship

They must be one of the strongest married chess couples on the planet, and in January - courtesy of the New Zealand Chess Federation - they will be playing in Auckland. Grandmaster Alexander Fier (Brazil) and his WGM wife Nino Maisuradze (France) have confirmed their participation in the New Zealand Open, January 2-12th 2016.
GM Fier, 27 years old, has a current FIDE rating of 2632, making him the Brazil number one. WGM Maisuradze has won the French Women’s Championship in both 2013 and 2014.
The 2016 NZ Open will be staged in Devonport, Auckland, as part of the NZCF 123rd New Zealand Chess Congress. Concurrent events will include the Major Open Championship (for players under 2100) and the New Zealand Open Junior Championship (January 5th-10th).

Ben Hague and Viv Smith

NZ Chess Champion wins in Napier

Early riser Ben Hague’s tough determination helped him win the Hawke’s Bay Rapid chess tournament in Napier. Hague, who got up at 5am to catch the plane down from Auckland, came first equal in the national championship in Auckland in January and he finished clear first in the Hawke’s Bay tournament, which is part of the national Poison Pawn Grand Prix series. But it was not easy playing six hard games after a very early start to the day, and he had to get out of serious trouble in at least two of his games. The key game was his clash with visiting Czech player Jaroslav Shanel, who finished second. Hague looked to be losing but never gave up and eventually his persistence enabled him snatch an unlikely-looking victory. He was also two pawns down in the final round against Joy Qin, but wriggled out with a draw and finished with 5½/6. Vivian Smith won the B-Grade, and Napier’s Charlie Li won the junior section.
Pictured: FM Ben Hague (left) and wfm Viv Smith. Thanks to Bernard Carpinter for the report. Full results on our Results page.

GM Matthieu Cornette (France) and IM Deimante Daulyte (Lithuania)

First Grandmaster Entries for 2016 NZ Open

The New Zealand Chess Federation is delighted to announce that GM Matthieu Cornette (France) and IM/WGM Deimante Daulyte (Lithuania) have accepted invitations to participate in the 2016 Championships. 26-year-old Daulyte is a five-time winner of the Lithuanian Women’s Championship, while Cornette, 29, will surely be one of the tournament favourites with his current rating of FIDE 2588.
The 2016 New Zealand Congress will take place in Devonport, Auckland. The Open and Major Open will run from 2nd-10th January, followed by the traditional Quickplay and Lightning events 11th-12th January. A Junior Open will run in the mornings, January 5th-10th.

Veterans analysis

Oceania Seniors Championship in Devonport

Clear winner of the Oceania Seniors was NZ National Master Leonard McLaren, adding the NZ Seniors title to his share of the NZ Championship at the same venue. There was a hard fight for the Veterans title, which Nigel Cooper could have won outright if he had beaten Hilton Bennett in the final round. That game was eventually drawn, after a very long Q+P ending, leaving the title shared between Cooper and Bob Gibbons. Pictured, Antonio Krstev (standing) shows Nigel how he could have won.
Full results and Vega link on our Results page.

Layla Timergazi & David Vincenti

Surprise winners of the Wellington Open

With IMs Ker and Dive and FM Croad taking part, and a whole load of Wellington stalwarts, it must be admitted that the eventual winners of the event came out of the blue! First equal with 5/6 were WFM Layla Timergazi, one of New Zealand's rising stars, and CM David Vincenti, resident here but a regular member of the Maltese Olympiad team. See our Results page for full details, and a games file.
Pictured: Layla and David.

Zhao Xue & Murray Chandler

2016 New Zealand Championship returns to Devonport

Following the success of the previous Congress, the New Zealand Chess Federation is delighted to announce the 2016 National Championships will once again be staged in Devonport, Auckland, beginning 2nd January. The Championship will again be open to players of all nationalities. In addition to the Open , Rapid and Blitz events, the organisers are adding a separate MAJOR OPEN (under 2100), a separate JUNIOR OPEN, and other subsidiary events.
The 123rd New Zealand Chess Congress will take place from 2nd-12th January 2016. Venue: New Zealand National Chess Centre, Devonport St Paul's, 100b Victoria Rd, Devonport, Auckland.
Photo: Last time's winner GM Zhao Xue, with tournament organiser GM Murray Chandler.

Mathew and Mike Steadman

Super Class Latvian

With sponsorship from D&D Financial Consultants, this year's Latvian Rapid was a super class Poison Pawn Grand Prix event, for the first time. The increased prize money attracted a strong field - full results can be found on our Results page, with links to the Vega files. FM Mike Steadman (pictured, right) shared the A-Grade Championship with FM Ben Hague, and was delighted when his son Mathew (pictured, left) made it a double by finishing 2nd= in the C-Grade. Of course, with super class points awarded, there are big changes in the Grand Prix standings - check out our Poison Pawn Grand Prix page too!

50 moves cover

Australia reports on the 2015 New Zealand Open

50 Moves Magazine, the newly established e-magazine from Australia, has featured an extensive report on the NZ Open. The report includes an interview with winner Zhao Xue, game analysis by IM Irene Sukandar and some great photos. The rest of the magazine is well worth a read - over 80 pages of great content!

Zhao Xue & Maggie Barry

China's Zhao Xue wins the 2015 New Zealand Open

A fantastic event - including a 10-player pile up for the NZ Closed Championship Title! Full results and photos are available on our Results page.
Results on Vega: Open; Rapid; Lightning
Left: GM Zhao Xue pictured at the prizegiving ceremony with Maggie Barry MP.

Bischoff versus Howell

High Drama in Devonport

Round 6 of the 2015 New Zealand Open saw three decisive games on the top four boards, including an upset on board 1 when Grandmaster Klaus Bischoff (Germany) defeated pre-tournament favourite David Howell (England). With three rounds to go the leaders are 1-2 Bischoff and Xue Zhao (China) 5½/6, 3-5 Irene Sukandar (Indonesia), Hans Gao (NZ) and Paul Garbett (NZ) 5 points.
Photo: Bischoff versus Howell, just before the start.
Play starts 1.30pm daily at the National Chess Centre in Devonport, with Rapidplay and Blitz events following over the weekend of January 10th-11th.

Playing hall

2015 New Zealand Open

115 entries - including four International Grandmasters - and 15 nationalities represented. The prestigious 2015 NEW ZEALAND OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP is underway! Play starts daily from 1.30 pm at the New Zealand National Chess Centre, Devonport St Pauls, 100b Victoria Rd, Devonport. Spectators are welcome, and there is a chess bookstall selling equipment and literature.
The main event runs January 1st-9th, and there is still time to enter the Rapid (weekend of 10th-11th January) and Blitz (Sunday 11th January), open to all.

Victoria Road, Devonport

2015 New Zealand Open

Last-minute entries are still coming in for the 2015 New Zealand Open Championship, starting January 1st. Top-seed English Grandmaster David Howell (FIDE rating 2670) heads the field of 115 players, from 14 different nations. The Open Championship runs for 9 days, followed by the New Zealand Rapid and Blitz Championships over the weekend of 10th and 11th January.
Photo: A giant tournament banner now graces Victoria Rd, courtesy of the pro-active Devonport Business Association. The NZCF Championships, spanning 11 days, are estimated to bring $200,000 worth of business to surrounding businesses and accommodation providers.