NZ Chess History - Correspondence Chess

© New Zealand Chess Federation Inc 2020


NZ Correspondence Chess Association (NZCCA)

The genesis of the NZCCA goes back to the 1920s. In those days A.O. Gray from Christchurch was an overseas member of the British Correspondence Chess Association. In 1932 Gray persuaded the BCCA to conduct a tournament for New Zealand players only. By 1933 he had sufficient members for such an event and in that year the first NZ tournament began. It was a double rounder and the competitors were A.O. Gray himself, H.R. Abbott (Christchurch), R.E. Baeyertz (Auckland), R.O. Scott (Wanganui), J.A.C. Barnes (New Plymouth), E.F. Tibbitts (Rotorua). Scott won this inaugural event and Abbott was second.

Gray continued enrolling members and at the end of 1934 had 34 members of the BCCA in NZ. In 1935 Gray became Secretary of what was now the BCCA NZ Unit. Trophies were obtained and in March 1935 three trophy tournaments and a handicap event began. By 1938 there were 60 members, and at this point Gray decided that NZ were strong enough to run alone and so severed the connection with the BCCA except for remaining an affiliate of that body.

When Gray died in March 1941 he left the NZCCA with around 60 members. G. Howard Brown of Napier took over as Secretary. Sadly, Brown passed away after he had been in office only one month.

Then began a testing time for the NZCCA. J.F. Lang of Dunedin consented to fill the secretarial gap until other arrangements could be made. This period was in the middle of World War II.

In August 1942 R.O. (Bob) Scott from Wanganui agreed to take over as Secretary. This he soundly did until 1946, when a work relocation saw Spenser Smith take over. Membership more than doubled in the late 1940s to a peak of 195 in 1950.

In 1960, with membership having dwindled again to 80 members, a group of members from Auckland, led by A.L. (Alan) Fletcher took over and set about reviving things. It was during this Auckland period that membership of ICCF was finally sought. Donald Brunt became tournament director, a role he carried out for seventeen years.

In 1978, at the age of 70, Alan Fletcher passed the Secretary role to J.W. (Sandy) Maxwell of Wellington whilst Brett Sinclair took on the Chairman role.

In 2013 the committee of NZCCA agreed to merge as a sub-committee of the NZ Chess Federation, and remaining funds were passed to NZCF for safe keeping.

Michael Freeman took on the role of administrator for membership and event entries.

NZCCA still conducts an annual NZ Championship with play via the ICCF server, see the Correspondence Page.