Home Page Stories, 2018

Lodhi v Spiller

Paul Spiller becomes a Member of the NZ Order of Merit

Paul has been at the heart of New Zealand chess administration since the 1970s. He has been instrumental in three Oceania Zonals and many congresses, including the memorable triplet of Queenstown congresses. Paul is chief organiser of the upcoming 126th NZ Congress, hosted by Howick Pakaranga, Paul's longstanding club. Starting with the Burroughs GM tournament in Wellington in 1978, Paul has helped bring international competition and a host of colourful international competitors to our shores. Paul has served as Editor of NZ Chess, and was NZCF president for eight years. He is currently FIDE Oceania Zone president. Listen to a a short Radio New Zealand interview here.

Photo: Paul was chief organiser of the 2017 Asian Senior Championships in Auckland, and managed to play as well. He had a tough draw in round 1, but held 2nd seed and eventual outright winner IM Mahmood Lodhi of Pakistan to a draw.

Congress on the Chessbase Home Page

The front page of is one of the very highest profile online spots in the chess world. It's rare to see New Zealand chess featuring there, so make sure you check out this article, anticipating the 126th NZ Congress coming up soon!

GM Timur Gareyev

Summer of Chess

New Zealand chess fans, especially Aucklanders or people prepared to jump on a plane, are in for a fantastic holiday season.

First up comes the prestigious George Trundle family of tournaments (January 4th-12th). These tournaments are highly regarded by the purist, and showcase classical chess at its best, with a superb one round a day, round robin format. The top players play in the George Trundle Masters grade, there are always interesting visiting masters involved (one of the main ideas of the tournament is to create IM Norm opportunities for the local contingent). One of the players this year is GM Timur Gareyev, pictured during one of his famous blindfold simultaneous exhibitions (yes he is pedalling a stationary bike at the same time).

Amazingly Auckland Chess Centre are also running a huge Oceania Youth Championship at essentially the same time (January 5th-13th), at the larger Alexandra Park venue not far away. This is an opportunity for local fans to see the stars of tomorrow.

Last but definitely not least is the NZ Open Championship that follows these events, allowing players to play in two big tournaments back to back. GM Gareyev, GM Vasily Papin (Russia), and strong IM Kanan Izzat (Azerbaijan) are amongst those playing in two tournaments. The Howick Pakuranga chess club are organising this tournament as part of the 126th NZ Congress to be held from January 14th to 24th at the popular Waipuna Hotel.

Details of all these events are of course on the Calendar page.

Photo: by Lennart Ootes, for Chessbase

NZ Chess Mag October 2018

NZ Chess Magazine Archive

The October 2018 issue of New Zealand Chess is on its way to subscribers, and sadly it's the last issue. There are some silver linings though. Firstly a large and growing collection of the magazines are now freely available to view electronically on this website. Thanks to Philip Hair for labour and Michael Freeman for funding. A permanent link to the collection is now in place on the right, underneath chess clubs.

Additionally, if you take a look at the new October 2018 issue as it appears in the electronic archive, you will see that not only can you look at the PDF, you can enjoy all the chess in the issue using an "Interactive" button. The interactive button takes you here. This is homegrown, bespoke technology. It is actively under development and will improve over time. In particular some more work is needed before the interactive edition looks as good and works as well on all screen sizes.

If there is sufficient interest shown, this facility will be retrofitted to older issues. And (again, assuming support from the chess community) this will perhaps be a preview of one of the ways New Zealand chess content will be delivered in the future.

Oceania Youth 2019

NZ Oceania Youth Official Representatives

New Zealand will play host to the OCEANIA YOUTH & OCEANIA UNDER 20 CHAMPIONSHIPS, January 5th-13th 2019 in Auckland. This is an official FIDE (World Chess Federation) competition. New Zealand's Official Representatives have been selected as follows;

Age Open Girls
U8 - -
U10 Kendrick Zhang Isabelle Ning
U12 Sravan Renjith Anya Doris Wu Thurner
U14 Richard Meng Nadia Braganza
U16 Ryan Winter Nicole Qin
U18 Daniel Gong Caroline Yan
U20 Alphaeus Ang Sarah Yan Ying

Note that applications are still being accepted for the three vacancies. Although these players are the official NZL representatives, other NZL players can of course pay their entry fees and play in the tournaments. Further details, including for example eligibility for direct titles can be seen on the Calendar Page.


Prolific veterans Mike Steadman and Stephen Lukey were the winners of the recent North Island and South Island championships respectively (results page). It was Lukey's 10th such victory. Both players are providing annotated games for the NZ Chess magazine, which will be made available online here. Currently the most recent ten years of magazines are available, soon there will be many more as Philip Hair is scanning in older copies. Older results have now been restored to this website (see the bottom of the Results page), and Michael Freeman has provided material from the preceding years that will soon be added. Ross Jackson has found some information about the early European career of Ortvin Sarapu that eminent chess historian Edward Winter has published here. Ross McKerras reports that he has made some simple 'chess teaching life' Youtube videos here and here. The website editor would be interested to know if there are any other Kiwi chess youtubers out there.
Update: Ryan Winter pointed out this effort from Mark Noble. It's instructive and entertaining.

You should consider playing in next year's South Island Championship, it's in beautiful Hanmer Springs. Planning is advanced and an entry form is already available on the Calendar. At the other end of the time spectrum, the popular Merv Morrison weekender was held in mid October, see the Results Page, and the Summit Rapid, a new Auckland one day rapid tournament is now on the calendar, it's being held on November 18th.

Tauranga Deputy Mayor

Interschools Finals 2018

One very significant New Zealand Chess event that inexplicably didn't get a mention in the 'Peak Chess' item a week or so ago is the National Interschools Finals, held at Mt Maunganui on the weekend of 29th-30th of September.

This annual event is the culmination of a huge program of regional qualifiers. Organisers Bob and Viv Smith report on the event, and present a heap of photographs on the Interschools Results Page.

Photo: Tauranga Deputy Mayor Kelvin Clout makes the first move

Olympiad Open Team Round 3 vs Wales

NZ at the 2018 Olympiad

Some brief commentary was posted here as the event progressed and can still be seen on the Olympiad Page. New Zealand's final performances were very close to par expected scores. China scored a rare double Gold, winning both events on tiebreak.

Open NZ ranked 77th out of 185
Final place 87th, Match points 5.5 from 11, Game points 24/44
Round 1 NZ 3.5 - 0.5 Seychelles (ranked 170)
Round 2 NZ 1.0 - 3.0 Algeria (57)
Round 3 NZ 3.0 - 1.0 Wales (114)
Round 4 NZ 2.0 - 2.0 Costa Rica (68)
Round 5 NZ 1.0 - 3.0 Ireland (66)
Round 6 NZ 1.5 - 2.5 Slovenia (26)
Round 7 NZ 1.0 - 3.0 Panama (89)
Round 8 NZ 4.0 - 0.0 Bermuda (146)
Round 9 NZ 4.0 - 0.0 Trinidad and Tobago (104)
Round 10 NZ 0.0 - 4.0 Indonesia (69)
Round 11 NZ 3.0 - 1.0 Angola (98)

Women NZ ranked 78th out of 151
Final place 94th, Match points 5 from 11, Game points 20/44
Round 1 NZ 0.0 - 4.0 India (5)
Round 2 NZ 4.0 - 0.0 Lesotho (128)
Round 3 NZ 0.5 - 3.5 Moldova (46)
Round 4 NZ 3.5 - 0.5 Netherlands Antilles (111)
Round 5 NZ 0.5 - 3.5 Turkmenistan (54)
Round 6 NZ 3.0 - 1.0 Venezuela (55)
Round 7 NZ 2.5 - 1.5 Iraq (95)
Round 8 NZ 0.5 - 3.5 Jordan (85)
Round 9 NZ 1.5 - 2.5 Montenegro(70)
Round 10 NZ 2.5 - 1.5 Nicaragua (101)
Round 11 NZ 1.5 - 2.5 Sweden (59)

Final PGN file of all NZ games here
Useful links: Official Site Chess Results Chess24 Open Chess24 Womens

Photo: Round 3 vs Wales

Batumi Georgia

Peak Chess

A period of intense chess activity looms up. On the international stage our intrepid Open and Women's teams front up in Batumi in Georgia (pictured) for the 43rd Chess Olympiad. The official site is currently extraordinarily useless (it doesn't even tell us when the tournament is going to be held - September 23rd - October 7th), but will no doubt improve during the event.

Domestically both the North Island and South Island championships are coming up. The South Island version is being held by the Canterbury Chess Club from 29th September to 3rd October (ironically I got the dates wrong when this item was first posted - sorry) and is sponsored by Benson Insurance Brokers. The North Island event is part of a complete chess festival being organised by the Manawatu Knights Chess Club in Palmerston North from 1st to 11th October. The chess festival is sponsored by Millennium Hotels. See the Chess Calendar for more details.

Another NZ Games Database Update

Helen Milligan has provided Peter Stuart's final NZ Games Database work-in-progress file (thanks Helen!). The first NZCF supplement to the NZ games database (see previous article) has been completely reworked around this contribution, it's now much more compatible with the conventions of Peter's database. One highlight: Peter included 17 games from a 1979 blindfold simul by Ewen Green in Hamilton. Unsurprisingly it seems this is the Australasian record. Ewen scored an excellent +13 =1 -3.

NZ Games Database Update and a Games Email Address

The first serious NZCF supplement to Peter Stuart's NZ games database is now available. See the History Page for more information about the database, and for download links for the database itself and the new supplement. Reaching and then maintaining the curation standards Peter achieved will remain a major challenge, but it is vital that we try and that everything possible is done to record and store for posterity the games played in important tournaments in New Zealand.

The current supplement includes games from 21 tournaments in 2017 and 2018. There are missing tournaments and not all tournaments are complete. Some of the gaps might be fixable, but a particular concern is the 2018 NZ Open. Congress is our premier event each year, and it seems that nearly half of all games in the Open (top) grade have been lost forever. Only games that were electronically recorded are available. Fortunately ten electronic boards were deployed, but games on boards 11-19 are missing. If the reader participated in any of these missing games, please help out by sending in a scan of the scoresheet or (preferably) a pgn of the game to

This is a new NZCF email address, and has been setup to make it as easy as possible for people to send in games (not just missing games from the last congress!). Players and tournament organisers are encouraged to send in everything from individual games to whole tournaments. Please use .pgn and/or .cbv format if at all possible. All games received will be considered for future editions of the NZ games database. Annotated games will be considered for publication on a new facility on the NZCF website which will be developed to compensate for the cessation of the NZ Chess magazine at the end of the year.

NZ Player Registration Change Proposal

NZCF Council have released a consultation document for member Clubs, with a proposal to greatly simplify the way individual players are registered each year. The plan is to abolish $20 player registration fees - from 2019 simply membership of a Club will be sufficient to enable a player to participate in NZCF and FIDE rated tournaments throughout New Zealand.

Murray Chandler, NZCF President, said: "Reform has been talked about for years, and I’m pleased we now have a firm proposal on the table. This system is designed to reduce administration all round, and will result in many more players being eligible to participate in rated events, at a lesser cost".

The consultation document can be viewed here.

Interschools Action

Expressions of Interest invited: Interschools Finals 2019

The New Zealand Chess Federation is calling for expressions of interest from Clubs or individual organisers to stage the Interschools Final, 28-29 September 2019.

The long-running NZCF Interschools competition is a team event comprised of Regional Competitions staged throughout New Zealand. Around 2500-3000 school children take part each year. The event culminates in the prestigious National Finals staged in the last weekend of September.

Peter Stuart Memorial

The Peter Stuart Memorial Tournament

The North Shore Chess Club has chosen to rename the North Shore Open to the Peter Stuart Memorial. A nice gesture that will no doubt be widely appreciated. Peter was the founder and motivating spirit of this important and popular tournament. The 46th edition, and its first without Peter is in just four weeks time (25th-26th August). You can find the details you need to get your entry in in a timely fashion on the Calendar Page.

Souvenir Mug

Bids invited for NZCF Congress 2020 and 2021

NZCF Council is inviting bids / expressions of interest from Clubs or individual organisers interested in staging the New Zealand Chess Championships as follows:
127th NZ Chess Congress - to be staged in January 2020
128th NZ Chess Congress – to be staged in January 2021

Please submit bids or expressions of interest by 1st September 2018 to with as much detail as possible on the proposed event, such as intended venue, prize fund, playing schedule and subsidiary events.

The annual New Zealand Chess Congress has a rich history, dating back to 1879. The Waipuna Conference Centre (Auckland) will be the venue for the upcoming 126th Congress in January 2019, hosted by Howick-Pakuranga Chess Club.

Photo: Souvenir mug from the well-organised Congress in Palmerston North, hosted by Manawatu Knights Chess Club last January.

Gordon Morrell and Mike Steadman

Another Successful George Trundle Masters

This year's Masters grade was keenly contested as always. The tournament ended on a dramatic note. The fate of Ben Hague's IM Norm and first prize depended on Gong-Hague, the final game to finish. Playing Black Ben needed a win for the Norm and lone first place. But for most of the game Daniel looked the likely winner. Daniel let his winning chances slip and eventually it was he who was fighting for a draw. Entering the sixth hour of play the draw was finally clear to all. Daniel to play simply needed to swap queens and the handshake would be inevitable. No doubt demoralised at his missed opportunities, Daniel made an incomprehensible blunder apparently thinking he could delay the trade. But allowing Ben to trade instead made a vital tempo difference to the resulting pawn ending. Game over and a bemused but happy Ben Hague wins the tournament and gets the IM Norm he should have got in last year'e event. See the Results Page for full results.

Photo: Tournament organiser Mike Steadman and Gordon Morrell at the prize giving. They were in dominant form in the Qualifers Grade - each scoring +7 =2 -0.

Poison Pawn Grand Prix logo

Grand Prix Sponsorship Renewed for 2019

NZCF is delighted to announce that our Poison Pawn/D & D Grand Prix sponsorship is now confirmed for the year 2019. The popular year-long competition rewards consistent good performance in tournaments throughout New Zealand. Regional tournaments also benefit, as the lure of GP points helps encourage the participation of top players.

Many thanks to our two sponsors for their generous ongoing support: Michael Freeman (Poison Pawn) and Martin Dreyer (D & D Financial Consultants). Both of these individuals also do a great deal of voluntary work behind the scenes for New Zealand chess.

The Grand Prix prize fund for 2019 will remain unchanged at $6500 per year, with first prize in the Open section $1500.

Nora and Helen

Upper Hutt Rapid

The Upper Hutt Rapid, held on Saturday 30th June, attracted 75 players, the most for over twenty years. Four of NZ's very best competed in the A Grade, Ben Hague just managed to get over the line. The big four were kept honest by promising local juniors. Layla Timergazi drew with Scott Wastney in the last round and Ryan Winter looked ominously at home on the top boards, playing three of the top four, holding Ben comfortably and nearly tipping over Anthony Ker. Full results on the Results Page.

Photo: Anton Reid's wife Nora and daughter Helen have been helping out at this tournament for over forty years. The Upper Hutt is old fashioned, in a good way. Where else in NZ chess do you get endless free coffee and tea poured for you? - with a generous assortment of Kiwi favourites like Mallowpuffs, Toffee Pops, and Tim Tams to boot!

The Hotel in Guam

Official selections for Oceania Zonal, Guam, 18-24 February 2019

Although anyone from a FIDE Zone 3.6 Federation can participate, there are two "official" places available to New Zealand at this World Championship qualifying tournament (one place for the Open Championship and one for the Woman's Championship). These two official representatives are entitled to free entry and free room-share accommodation.

New Zealand players who wishes to apply for selection for one of these official spots can do so by emailing by 30th September 2018. Selection results will be notified by 15th October.

For details on how to enter the Guam Zonal, see our tournament calendar page.

Photo: The hotel where the tournament is taking place. Nice.

2017 Winner

Upper Hutt Rapid - Coming Soon!

One of New Zealand's most popular and long standing tournaments is fast approaching. The tournament is on Saturday 30th June but entries after Monday 25th incur a late fee. The tournament is a Class 1 Grand Prix event, and features four separate grades and a $1400 prize fund. See the Calendar Page for more details.

Thanks to Anton Reid and his team for putting on the tournament so successfully, for so long.

Photo: Last year's A Grade winner Scott Wastney collecting his cheque.

Auckland East Primary Interschools

Interschools 2019 – Regional Organiser Applications Invited

The New Zealand Chess Federation Interschools competition is expanding rapidly, and for 2019 the NZCF Council is seeking organisers willing to stage Regional Qualification events around the country. Areas of particular interest are:
Northland, Gisborne, Nelson/Tasman, Marlborough, West Coast and Southland.
Applications from both clubs and individuals are welcome, to be sent to by June 30th 2018. Existing regional organisers will be contacted automatically.

Last year over 600 school teams participated in the official NZCF Regional Qualification events. Top teams qualify for the New Zealand Chess Federations National Finals, staged each year at the end of September.

Photo: 132 pupils in action last month, at the East Auckland Primary qualifier

Trusts Winner and Trophy

41st Trusts Open

A near record breaking 113 players turned up for New Zealand's biggest weekender in West Auckland on Queen's Birthday Weekend June 2nd-4th.

The picture tells the story as many time NZ Champion Anthony Ker took the A Grade trophy back to Wellington. Anthony's tournament room-mate Russell Dive had brought the trophy up for the weekend. The organisers sensibly didn't trust Anthony to get the trophy engraved, so it does stay in Auckland for a short while longer. Anthony was the first to admit his tally of 5/6 owed a lot to a supremely well judged Swiss Gambit as you can see in the full results via the Results Page.

The picture also features Trusts Community Foundation representative Linda Cooper, Waitakere Chess Club President John Francis, and founder and chief organiser Bob Smith (who shrugged off the burden of organisation to make a very impressive result as 2nd= with Mike Steadman, Ben Hague and Alexei Kulashko on 4.5/6).

Combined logos

North Shore Chess Club are in the Money

Helen Milligan of the North Shore Chess Club has got in touch to report that the club has received $3985 from Pub Charity Limited. They plan to spend the money on a computer, printer, and 60 LEAP FIDE-approved clocks. This will expand North Shore's ability to run Interschools and other large junior (and indeed all other) events.

Club officials elsewhere should take note. There are many other trusts and charitable organisations that make grants to worthy community initiatives, and chess clubs can make a good case that they are deserving recipients of this kind of largesse.

Bob Smith

41st Trusts Open

New Zealand's biggest (and best? - perhaps we shouldn't be the judge) weekend open is coming up fast. You can't enter on the day, so don't leave it to the last minute, get your entry in right now. All the details are on the Calendar Page.

The picture shows founder and chief organiser Bob Smith cutting the 40th Birthday cake last year. (Shouldn't that be 39th birthday? - there are only two fundamental problems in the universe; death, taxes and off by one errors). Bob and Viv haven't lived in Auckland for several years, yet this great tournament is still very much their baby. Chess in New Zealand is absolutely dependent on the hard work of dedicated people like Bob and Viv.

Gawain and Sue

Gawain Jones Simul

English GM Gawain Jones, pictured here with wife Sue Maroroa, is of course a great friend of New Zealand Chess. These days Sue plays for England too. At least she still supports the All Blacks :-) Who knows, maybe the change from NZL to ENG is temporary and eventually Gawain and Sue will come home and live in New Zealand!

In the meantime we'll happily settle for occasional visits to family and friends. One is coming up this month and during their time here Gawain will be playing a simultaneous exhibition at the Howick Bowling club on May 29th. If you get in quick you can play! Details are on the Calendar Page.

The silver rook in 2008

New Zealand Chess History Project

Eagle-eyed visitors to this site may have noticed a new section. The NZ Chess History Page is a new project. The idea is to create a digital archive that captures the most important history of chess in New Zealand in one well organised place.

The page as it exists at the moment serves just to establish a starting point. As the old story says, the longest journey begins with the smallest step. Hopefully in time we will have very complete records of major tournaments in New Zealand, a great collection of photographs, PDFs of recent NZ Chess magazines and scans of older magazines, and a host of other material.

Making this possible will require some newer website technology, some wider collaboration, some things we haven't even thought of yet. Stay tuned.

Important Update: NZCF has obtained permission to make the games database curated by the late Peter Stuart freely available. Check the history page for more information.

The ultimate chess professional

Appointment of Women’s Team Captain for Batumi

NZCF is pleased to announce that Brazilian IM Herman van Riemsdijk has agreed to take the role of Women's Team Captain for Batumi 2018. Herman is a frequent visitor to NZ and is very familiar with the NZ chess scene. Many NZ players have had the opportunity to meet him or play against him during his visits here. He has had considerable Olympiad experience as a player for Brazil and we are sure that his input will be invaluable to the Women’s team, both before and during the Olympiad.
There's more Olympiad information on the Olympiad Page.

Poison Pawn Grand Prix logo

First 2018 Grand Prix Results

A new Grand Prix season is under way and 2018 GP administrator Michael Freeman (also a sponsor let's not forget) has posted the first report here (pdf document).

Amongst the cast of "usual suspects" some notable performances catch the eye. Ben Hague (of course!) jumps out ahead to his customary leading position in the Open field. Alphaeus Ang is his closest challenger in the Open and heads the Junior section. A less familiar name to many will be Wellington 15 year old Ryan Winter who locals have enjoyed watching take giant strides recently.

Actually enjoyment isn't really the right word for it when you're on the wrong end of defeat as your web administrator found at the Wellington Open. Ryan is second in the U2100 section and near the top of the Junior section.

There's more information about the Grand Prix on the Grand Prix page. There's also pictures of 2017 prizewinners picking up their prizes on the Facebook page. Thanks as always to the Grand Prix sponsors, Poison Pawn and D & D Financial Consultants, and the people behind those organisations Michael Freeman and Martin Dreyer for their continuing generous support.

Ker wins again

Wellington Open

The Wellington Open was held again at the CQ Hotel in downtown Wellington. A strong field showed up headed by Wellington's IM duo Anthony Ker and Russell Dive. For once they never played each other (it really was a strong tournament), Russell losing early to young Palmerston North CM Jack James. Jack also took the only lost half point off Anthony and may have done even better if a car breakdown hadn't caused an unfortunate round 5 default. In fact the region's youthful contingent featured strongly throughout - starting with a killing quick Black attack in a round one upset of Mike Steadman by local junior Michael Sole, and continuing through a marathon round 5 clash between Ker and Ryan Winter, another rapidly improving local junior. WFM Layla Timergazi was another youngster who installed herself on the top boards early and she ended up amongst those 2nd= after Anthony Ker as you can see on the Results page.

The photo shows the happy winner with arbiter Ian Sellen. Many thanks to Ian and the other organisers at the Wellington Chess Club and Grand Prix sponsor Michael Freeman.

Final Round Action

Latvian Rapid

One of New Zealand's favourite annual events has been successfully hosted again by the Howick-Pakaranga club. Many thanks to the organising club, sponsor Martin Dreyer of D & D Financial Consultants, and arbiters Bob Gibbons and Ying Wang.

The photo shows eventual A Grade winner FM Alexei Kulashko and FM Bob Smith steeling themselves for the final round on top board.

More pictures are on the Facebook page and of course results for all grades are on the Results page.

The Grand Prix prizegiving was held at this tournament, there will be more information about that at a later date.

JETS Junior Training

The New Zealand Chess Federation is pleased to announce that we have the opportunity for two young New Zealand players to attend the Australian JETS (Junior Elite Training Squad) camp to be held in Melbourne from July 9th to 13th 2018. NZ was represented in 2017 by Daniel Gong.

For more information and to apply for one of the spots please download the application form.

Oceania Youth 2019

Direct titles opportunity at 2019 Oceania Junior in Auckland

New Zealand will play host to the OCEANIA YOUTH & OCEANIA UNDER 20 CHAMPIONSHIPS, January 5th-13th 2019 in Auckland. This is an official FIDE (World Chess Federation) competition. As such there are direct titles on offer, subject to certain conditions being fulfilled. For example:

U20 section - the gold medal winner can potentially win a Grandmaster norm. Players who are first equal may gain an instant International Master (IM) title.
U18 - potential IM titles (and norms) to be won.
U16 – potential IM norms and FM (Fide Master) titles.
U14 and u12 sections – potential FM and CM (Candidate Master) titles.
U10 and U8 - gold, bronze and silver medal winners may win a CM title.

Further details about eligibility for direct titles can be seen on the Calendar Page.

Oceania countries eligible to participate are: New Zealand, Australia, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Palau, Guam and Nauru plus for this event non-member French Polynesia (including New Caledonia).

The Championships are being organised by the Auckland Chess Centre, to be staged at Alexandra Park, Greenlane. This will be an opportunity not to be missed. Players from abroad can stay on in Auckland and play in the New Zealand Open Championship starting January 14th.

Stan the man

NZCF appoints Trophy Custodian

Stan Yee (Howick-Pakuranga Club) has taken on this newly created role. The plan is to keep track of NZCF trophies with a comprehensive location list (including photographic records where appropriate), which will assist organisers to get annually awarded trophies to where they need to be for the next event. NZCF is keen to track down trophies from the past that may have fallen off the radar, and Stan will also be investigating NZCF providing miniatures for some events, so winners can retain a permanent momento. Stan can be reached at

Battle of the Bays

The Bay of Plenty Rapid was the first New Zealand 25+5 rapid. It has become a fixture on the NZ chess calendar and 2018's event was another successful event with a quality field. Ben Hague won with 5.5 from 6, (check the Results page) just like last year. Ben seems to rack up an amazing number of tournament wins. One day we'll have to get NZCF ratings officer Rowan Wood to explain why his NZCF rating hasn't leapt to Carlsenesque heights.

Hot on the heels of the BOP Rapid comes the Hawkes Bay Rapid on Sunday 11th March. Now in its 6th year the Hawkes Bay event is still the new boy in town comparatively speaking. But it offers a similar formula in a similarly attractive part of the country. Both events are class one Grand Prix events. Check the Calendar page for more details.

Information for organisers - updated NZCF Tournament Rules

Two new tournament rules have recently been added by NZCF Council:

Rule 1.1.8 (NZCF website shall be official website) makes it a requirement that the most important NZCF tournaments (such as Congress, New Zealand Seniors, New Zealand Junior, etc) are run on the official NZCF website This applies whether NZCF is organising the events directly or has licensed a club or other third party.

Rule 1.1.9 (Entry form) makes it a requirement that any NZCF or FIDE rated tournament in New Zealand (but excluding internal club events) must promptly supply the Entry Form in digital format to NZCF for approval and listing on the Calendar page of the official NZCF website. The contact email address is The Entry Form published on the NZCF website shall be the official and definitive version.

These rules will ensure a high quality of dependable information is available promptly to participants, sponsors and spectators. It will also enable important tournament information to be reliably archived by NZCF for long term future reference.

The full wording of the two rules can be seen at, Tournament Rules section. Most events in New Zealand will already be compliant – those that are not are kindly asked to rectify this as soon as possible.

Poison Pawn Grand Prix logo

Final 2017 Grand Prix Results

Final 2017 Grand Prix Standings are now available here (pdf document) and on the Grand Prix page. A total of $6520 of prizes are to be distributed amongst 31 players competing in 10 categories. The Grand Prix is designed to reward consistent good performance in tournaments throughout New Zealand.

The remarkable Ben Hague once again takes out the top prize of $1500.

NZCF would like to once again thank the Grand Prix sponsors, Poison Pawn and D & D Financial Consultants, and the people behind those organisations Michael Freeman and Martin Dreyer for their continuing generous support.

Martin Dreyer will make some Grand Prix presentations at the Latvian Rapid on March 24th (see the Calendar). If you've won a prize email the NZCF Treasurer Winsome Stretch at to discuss collecting your prize.

43rd World Chess Olympiad, Batumi

The NZCF selectors have chosen the New Zealand squads for the Batumi Olympiad, September 23rd – October 7th. In provisional board order they are:

Open Team
1. IM Russell Dive
2. FM Ben Hague
3. FM Alexei Kulashko
4. IM Anthony Ker
5. FM Daniel Gong

Women’s Team
1. CM Helen Milligan
2. WCM Vyanla Punsalan
3. WFM Jasmine Zhang
4. WCM Joy Qin
5. WCM Nicole Qin

The teams are chosen from a list of players who have confirmed themselves available. Head of Delegation is Hilton Bennett. The Open Team Captain/Coach is Bulgarian Grandmaster Dejan Bojkov, while the Women’s Team Captain is yet to be confirmed.

Poison Pawn Grand Prix logo

ACC Junior Chess Series announced Alex Huang has organised a new series of junior rapid tournaments, held monthly at the Auckland Chess Centre. All tournaments are NZCF rated and part of the Poison Pawn Grand Prix.
See the Calendar Page for details.

Blitz under 1300 winner

A Successful 125th NZ Congress

The tournament wraps up today (Jan 12) with a public simultaneous exhibition by French GM Fabien Libiszewski. All results are on the Results Page. Congratulations to chief organiser Mark Noble and his team, and head arbiter Keong Ang for a very successful event.

Pictured: Hannah Xu collects her 1st, Blitz under 1300 prize and helps the photographer frame the photo.
Photo courtesy of Simon Lyall.
More of Simon's congress photo albums:
Day 7 Day 8 Day 9 Day 10 Day 11

French Flag

Vive La France

Rowan Wood once again sums things up perfectly.
It's a French quinella for the 2018 New Zealand Open. GM Adrien Demuth has won the tournament with 8/9, a full point ahead of GM Fabien Libiszewski. Before the start of the final round, seven players were in contention to be NZ Champion. From this group emerged two players, Russell Dive and Alphaeus Ang. Six points is the magic number. Dive took control of his game with Daniel Gong on move 31 and went on to win in 53 moves. Ang established an advantage as early as move 14 against Hans Gao, winning in just 26 moves. This is Alphaeus's first New Zealand Champion title and Russell's fifth (86/87, 95/96, 98/99, 2015 and now 2018). Congratulations!

The New Zealand Major Open was won by Australian Leon Kempen with 7.5 points, ahead of Stan Yee on 7 with three players tied for third on 6.5 points: Laurens Goormachtigh (BEL), Ryan Winter and Alan Winfield. Congratulations!

Rapid final standings: Fabien Libiszewski, Mike Steadman (NZ Rapid Champ) 7.5; Adrien Demuth 7; Darryl Johansen 6.5; Russell Dive, Alphaeus Ang, Anthony Ker and Jack James 6.

Top Boards Round 4

125th New Zealand Congress

The 125th Congress started on January 1st.

Stop Press: 1st Adrien Demuth (9), 2nd Fabien Libiszewski (8), 3rd= and joint NZ Champions Alphaeus Ang and Russell Dive (6)

Rowan Wood on ChessChat sets the scene for an exciting final round to the NZ Open:

The final round of the New Zealand Open takes place Tuesday (NZ time). It's fairly safe to say that GM Adrien Demuth of France has the tournament in the bag with a clear point lead over his compatriot GM Fabian Libiszewski. Demuth needs only a draw with white against Bob Smith to win outright. Mike Steadman has black against Libiszewski while Daniel Gong, the third of the New Zealand trio on 5.5 points plays four time winner Russell Dive. .

These are the leading scores for New Zealand players: Smith, Steadman and Gong 5.5; Allen Fan, Dive, Hans Gao and Alphaeus Ang 5. Out of contention now are Ben Hague and thirteen time winner Anthony Ker on 4.5 points.

Six points appears to be the popular score for winning the Silver Rook. Smith and Steadman have Black against the French GMs and probably would be happy with half-a-point to move to 6. They will then hope that Dive does not lose to Gong. A draw moves Gong to six points while Dive must win to get there. Gao and Ang face off in a potential winner takes all while Fan has a difficult task with black against Australian GM Darryl Johansen. All this speculation counts for nothing though if any of the leading three players can win their round 9 games.

Be sure to watch the live action here.

Quick links to final standings in the classical tournaments:
Latest Open Crosstable
Latest Major Open Crosstable

Please see the Congress Page for more information, including links to all Vega files (including pairings) for all tournaments, and links to live games.

Simon Lyall's congress photo albums:
Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6