Home Page Stories, 2016

Viv and Bob Smith

Meritorious Service Awards

Paul Spiller (Oceania CF President), Grant Kerr and Nigel Metge represented New Zealand at the Asian Chess Federation Chess Summit in Al Ain, UAE, August 29-31. During the event, NZ successfully bid for the Asian Seniors, which will (subject to approval) be held in Auckland in October 2017. Oceania was granted the right to hold annual youth events with direct titles available. And NZ received a considerable accolade, with Meritorious Service Awards for both Viv and Bob Smith (pictured).

Westlake Boys

2016 Interschools Final, Palmerston North

40 elite regional qualifying teams competed in the NZ National Interschools final, staged by the Manawatu Knights Chess Club over the weekend of 24th-25th September. Congratulations to the winning teams in each division:
Secondary: WESTLAKE BOYS HIGH SCHOOL -National Finals Secondary
Intermediate: AUCKLAND NORMAL INTERMEDIATE – National Finals Intermediate
Primary: FORREST HILL SCHOOL – National Finals Primary
Photo: winners of the Secondary division: from left, Winston Yao, Hao Jia, William Zhang and William Li

Scott Wastney

IM Norm for Scott Wastney at Olympiad

Congratulations to Wellington’s Scott Wastney, who scored a coveted “20-game” International Master norm at the recent Baku Olympiad. His superb result on board two for New Zealand also gained him 33 rating points. The popular professional chess coach now needs just one more norm to gain the IM title. New Zealand Individual Open team results were: Board 1: Alexei Kulashko 4.5/10; Board 2: Scott Wastney 6/9; Board 3: Russell Dive 4.5/9; Board 4: Ben Hague 6/9; Board 5: Stephen Lukey 3/7. The team was captained by Grandmaster Dejan Bojkov from Bulgaria (thanks to generous sponsorship from NZ former international player Grant Kerr). Photo: FM Scott Wastney

Canterbury and ACC logos

Overseas IMs for Trundle & South Island

Three International Masters (Gary Lane and Stephen Solomon from Australia, and Peng Kong Chan from Singapore) will tour New Zealand shortly for 14 days of intensive chess. In the George Trundle Masters (Auckland Chess Centre, 9th-17th July), their participation creates the possibility of international master norms, should any Kiwis play well enough. Then it is off to the 2016 South Island Championship, 19th-23rd July in Christchurch. The South Island – sponsored by Southern Trust, Benson Insurance Brokers, and Dancing Wines – is an Open event, where anyone can enter. For details on playing see the Canterbury Chess Club website

Warren Flaunty

39th Trusts Open, Waitakere

A bumper field and a rare picket fence. The long-established tournament, organised by Waitakere Chess Club in Auckland, attracted over a hundred entries at Queen’s Birthday Weekend. FIDE Master (FM) Ben Hague became only the second player to win all six games in the A tournament, a feat also achieved by Grandmaster Gawain Jones in 2009. For detailed results see our Results page.
Photo: Warren Flaunty from the Trusts Community Foundation, the main sponsor, makes the symbolic first move on board 1.

Pratik Jadhav & Alex Huang

New monthly JUNIOR RAPID for Auckland Chess Centre

An exciting new series of tournaments for juniors will be starting on 3rd July. The ACC JUNIOR RAPIDS will take place one Sunday per month, July-December. Each tournament will feature $360 in guaranteed prizes, and will count both for official NZCF rating points, and for the NZCF Poison Pawn Grand Prix. For details and entry form see our chess Calendar Page. All tournaments will take place at the Auckland Chess Centre in Mount Eden. There is a maximum of 54 players per tournament, so early entry is advised.
Photo: ACC Junior Rapid Organiser Alex Huang (right) will be assisted by Pratik Jadhav (left).

Trusts Open

Coming up - the 39th Trusts Open, June 4th-6th

A total of $4,500 in prizemoney will be on offer at the 39th Trusts Open, being played over Queen’s Birthday Weekend (June 4th-6th). Organised by the Waitakere Chess Club in Auckland, and supported by principal sponsor The Trusts Community Foundation, this long-running and popular annual tournament features three main sections (A, B and C grades), plus a junior group. Early entries include International Master Russell Dive (Wellington), and Fide Masters Ben Hague (Auckland), Mike Steadman (Auckland), Bob Smith (Mount Maunganui) and Mark Noble (Feilding).
The playing venue is the Te Pai Centre, corner of Lincoln Rd and Te Pai Place, Henderson - for details on how to enter download the entry form on our Calendar page.

Dejan Bojkov

World-class coach for New Zealand Olympiad Teams

NZCF is very pleased to announce that Grandmaster Dejan Bojkov will be the coach for the New Zealand teams. He will be with the teams in Baku, and will also provide some coaching to each player before the event.
GM Bojkov has advanced the careers of many strong players - the name most familiar to us is probably that of the former Women's World Champion, GM Antoaneta Stefanova. He is a lecturer in chess, an author, a journalist, and a very strong and active player. His long experience of training players of all ages throughout the world will be of great benefit to the New Zealand teams.

NZ Seniors

NZ Seniors 2016 - Dive wins at the Mount

International Master Russell Dive (Wellington; centre) has scored 5/6 to take the New Zealand Senior Championship at his first attempt. Although currently 49 years old, Dive was eligible as he turns 50 during the current year. In second place was local FM Bob Smith (right)– a creditable result given the distractions of also being a tournament official. Best veteran (aged 65 or over) was Grant Kerr, who finished in a 3-way tie for third place overall along with Helmut Marko and Hilton Bennett. The enjoyable tournament, played over ANZAC Weekend, was well organised by the newly established Mount Chess Club.
Full details on our Results Page.

Auckland Chess Centre

Olympiad stars turn out for ANZAC Weekender

Getting in some pre-Baku training, the New Zealand Olympiad representatives turned out in force for the 2016 Auckland Chess Centre ANZAC weekend tournament. Along with 6/6 tournament winner Ben Hague, participants included Olympiad Board 1 Alexei Kulashko, and the entire New Zealand Women’s Squad – Helen Milligan, Jasmine Zhang, Kate Song, Nadia Braganza and Eva Lourenco. The Auckland Chess Centre is New Zealand’s most active club, and operates weekly club nights on Mondays, plus a special club for juniors from 6.30pm on Fridays. The permanent club-rooms are at 17 Cromwell St, Mount Eden – see for details.

North Shore Chess Club

NZ Games Database – 2016 edition just out

Long-time North Shore player and organiser Peter Stuart has just released the latest version of his database of New Zealand games. There are approximately 45,000 chess games in total, up to and including the 2016 New Zealand Congress played in Devonport. The database is available on CD-ROM at $80 including post/packing. Upgrade from 2015 is $30, or earlier $40 – when upgrading please return the old CD to Peter at 9A Merriefield Ave, Forrest Hill, Auckland 0620. Cheques can be made payable to Peter Stuart, or to pay via internet banking please e-mail for account details.

Rowan Wood

Life Membership award for Ratings Officer Rowan Wood

The New Zealand Chess Federation (NZCF) official rating lists appear three times per year – 1st March, 1st July and 1st November. The recently released March 2016 Standard list is headed by International Master Puchen Wang on 2465 rating points, ahead of IM Russell Dive 2452, FM Scott Wastney 2448, FM Alexei Kulashko 2429, FM Ben Hague 2428, and IM Anthony Ker 2415. The NZCF Rating List has been overseen for many years by volunteer Rowan Wood, notwithstanding even his relocation to Norway! In January of this year Rowan was awarded a richly deserved Life Membership of the Federation, in recognition of his extraordinary and ongoing contribution to New Zealand chess.

Interschools logo

Junior chess helpers needed!

The New Zealand Chess Federation (NZCF) is currently seeking volunteer junior chess organisers in the following areas (for staging our Regional Interschool chess competitions and other events): Auckland, Northland, Wanganui, South Island (excluding Canterbury and Otago).
If you feel you can help, we would love to hear from you. Please e-mail NZCF Secretary Helen Milligan with brief details of which area you live, and any past chess or teaching experience.

Mount Chess Club logo

2016 NZ Seniors at The Mount

Anyone aged 50 and over (or turning 50 in 2016) is eligible for the NZ Seniors Championship, which will take place 23-25 April in Mount Maunganui, Tauranga. The tournament will be FIDE and nationally rated. The winner will take away a $400 first prize, trophy - and title of NZ Seniors Chess Champion 2016. View the entry form on our Calendar page, and contact organiser Bob Smith.

Olympiad logo

New Zealand Olympiad teams announced

Open Team
1. FM Alexei Kulashko
2. FM Scott Wastney
3. FM Luke Li
4. IM Russell Dive
5. FM Ben Hague
Women's Team
1. CM Helen Milligan
2. WCM Jasmine Zhang
3. Joy Qin
4. Kate Song
5. Nadia Braganza
Visit our Olympiad page for more information.

Ben Hague

FM Ben Hague dominates 2015 Poison Pawn Grand Prix

Scoring exactly 100 points, Ben Hague comfortably picked up the trophy and the $700 first prize in the 2015 Poison Pawn Grand Prix. For full results of all sections, see our Grand Prix page. The keenly-contested annual competition measures results across multiple tournaments played in New Zealand during the year, and features an overall prize fund of nearly $5500. The New Zealand Chess Federation gratefully acknowledges the generous support of CM Michael Freeman and his company Poison Pawn Ltd, and we are delighted to announce the sponsorship will continue for the year 2016. Poison Pawn Ltd is a company that specialises in assignments in the fields of local government and information technology.
Photo: Ben Hague is presented with his Poison Pawn winner’s trophy at the recent Auckland Chess Centre Anniversary Weekend tournament.

Natasha Fairley & Nigel Short

Beauty v Beast Simul sparks press interest

The media turned out in force to cover Nigel Short’s simultaneous exhibition in Aotea Square on January 13th. The English Grandmaster, keen to promote women’s chess in New Zealand, took on 20 female players simultaneously. A fun day was had by all, with Short ultimately winning all games, despite some commendable performances. Links to TV coverage:

NZ Open

2016 New Zealand Open, 2nd-12th January

This takes place in Devonport at the National Chess Centre, 100b Victoria Rd.
Information for Spectators: viewing times for the main event are 1.30pm-5.30pm daily. There will be a range of chess books and equipment for sale. The chess Bookstall will open 12.30pm on 2nd January, and thereafter will operate 9.30am-6pm daily.