Covid-19 (updated advice 8th May 2022)
CVC Compliance is no longer required. NZCF official tournaments and Open tournaments may be played in all regions designated by Government as 'Orange' or 'Green' under the Covid-19 Protection Framework. Wearing of masks is recommended if not obligatory by the venue.
2022 Olympiad (Chennai, India) team selection is open!
The FIDE 2022 Olympiad will be held in Chennai, India from July 28 to August 10. The selection is now open and will close on Friday 20th of May at 6.00 pm.
Online application form (Note: parent or guardians must accompany players aged 14 years or younger on 1st July 2022 and need to submit the application form, too. Accommodation is not provided for parents or guardians accompanying players.)
An Olympiad Appeal had also been made by NZCF President, Nigel Metge. More on the Olympiad 2022 page.
"Greetings Fellow Chess players!
I am delighted we will have two teams representing New Zealand at the Olympiad, Chennai India 28th July-10th August. The final selection of players will be made in the week starting 21st May and announced 27th May.
We have appointed IM Herman van Reimsdijk as Captain for our Women’s Team and GM Dejan Bojkov as Captain for our Open Team. These two are familiar with New Zealand chess and experienced in coaching and helping our players achieve best results.
New Zealand is assessed as a ‘level 2 chess development’ country by FIDE and therefore not entitled to an automatic travel subsidy. However, by personal negotiation NZCF has obtained one-off FIDE support for approximately half of our expected teams’ travel costs.
We now appeal to the whole NZ Chess Community for donations to help our players especially promising juniors to get to Chennai!
The Federation itself starts the Appeal with $1,000.
Donations should be made directly to NZCF bank account with notation ‘Olympiad’:
Account Name: New Zealand Chess Federation Inc.
Account Number: 01 0535 0073257 00
Please also notify NZCF Treasurer (firstname.lastname@example.org) who will promptly acknowledge receipt and issue a formal receipt.
NZCF is a Registered Charity and donations to NZCF are tax deductible, see the following link to IRD.
Any concerns or special donations you wish to discuss, please contact me directly."
021 0925 08869
Auckland Interschools events starting in June
Interschools tournaments for 2022 are starting again in June. Please check the dedicated page Interschools and register your teams.
Auckland ANZAC Weekender is won by CM Felix Xie
Auckland Chess Centre reopened on April 23-25, 2022 for the traditional ANZAC Weekender. A tournament of more than 30 players was won by CM Felix Xie on 5.5/6. Three players finishing a point behind on 4.5 were Hao Tang, Hunter Po'e-Tofaeono and Philli Park-Tamati. Full standings are on Vega. The full list of prize winners is on the Results page.
Vyanla Punsalan is the 2022 NZ Women's Champion
WFM Vyanla Punsalan claimed the title with a perfect score of 7.0/7 in the 7-round tournament which was held from April 17 to April 20. WCM Isabelle Ning and Weiyang Yu shared the second place on 5.0/7. The full list of prize winners is on the Results page.
Congratulations to the organisers Vivian and Bob Smith, sponsors (which included Helen Courtney’s family and friends), IA Bruce Pollard and of course all the winners and players, who have all made this such a successful tournament.
Wellington Open 2022
The Wellington Open has been won by FM Nic Croad, with many juniors performing really well, including Ollie Archer, who shared second with IM Russell Dive, and Josh Langford who beat IM Anthony Ker and narrowly missed out on beating Russell, too. There were no DGT boards to broadcast games online, but Ian Sellen and Bill Forster worked hard behind the scene to both run the tournament and enter ALL the games into PGN and Lichess study format after each round, so competitors could review and prepare effectively, and friends and colleagues could follow and enjoy. Thanks to Andrew Brockway, Ian Sellen and Bill Forster for organising this event!
Here is a set of links:
Vega pairings and results
Tournament games in PGN
Lichess studies: round 1, round 2, round 3, round 4, round 5, round 6
Facebook photo album - many people in masks
Bill Forster's editorial - Wellington Open Impressions
NZCF & FIDE Friendship Online Junior Chess Camp no.2
Following the success of the first Online Camp in March, and because of the high level of demand, the New Zealand Chess Federation, with support from the FIDE Planning and Development Commission (PDC), will be rerunning the Essential Chess Knowledge camp on the weekend of the 29th / 30th April and 1st May.
This will give those who missed out the first time an opportunity to participate in this course. The weekend online camp, Essential Chess Knowledge, will be conducted by GM Dejan Bojkov (Bulgaria) and GM Ian Rogers (Australia). The theme of the training sessions will be the essential knowledge that young players must have as a foundation for chess development, and how to fill in gaps in that knowledge to progress to Candidate Master level.
More details on the registration form
Ratings updated for the 2022-1 period
Ratings Officer Rowan Wood has updated the NZCF ratings in time for the OTB tournaments in April. Please find your names on the Ratings page. Tournament directors and arbiters can now download the updated Vega files.
OTB is back in April!
Four OTB tournaments are coming up in Auckland and Wellington this April. Summit Rapid on April 10, Wellington Open on April 15-17, New Zealand Women's Championship on April 17-20, and Chess Power Junior Masters on April 26-30. More details in the Calendar.
2022 Chess Olympiad to be held in Chennai, India
"The FIDE Council has approved today the bid presented by the All India Chess Federation (AICF) to host the 2022 Chess Olympiad in Chennai, the capital of the Tamil Nadu state. The exact schedule is still being discussed and will be announced in the coming days, but the event will take place between the end of July and the beginning of August, not very far off from the dates originally planned." More in the FIDE announcement.
NZCF will post team selection info on the Olympiad 2022 page.
NZCF & FIDE Friendship Online Junior Chess Camp no.1
The New Zealand Chess Federation, with support from the FIDE Planning and Development Commission (PDC), would like to invite applications for an online junior training camp to be held from the 25th to 27th March 2022. The weekend online camp, Essential Chess Knowledge, will be conducted by GM Dejan Bojkov (Bulgaria) and GM Ian Rogers (Australia). The theme of the training sessions will be the essential knowledge that young players must have as a foundation for chess development, and how to fill in gaps in that knowledge to progress to Candidate Master level.
The camp will consist of 8 hours of lectures over the 3 days, self-tests to assess your own level of knowledge, homework and exercises, and summary information on key concepts. Places are limited and will be allocated to try to ensure that there is fair male and female representation from across New Zealand. Because of the financial support from NZCF and PDC we are able to offer participation in the weekend camp at $65 per student for those accepted. The timetable of lectures will be (with 15-minute breaks).
- Friday 25/03, 6pm to 8:15pm: Essential Positional Knowledge (GM Rogers & GM Bojkov)
- Saturday 26/03, 9am to 10:45am: Essential Endgame Knowledge Part 1 (GM Rogers)
- Saturday 26/03, 6:30pm to 8:15pm: Decision Making Essentials Part 1 (GM Bojkov)
- Sunday 27/03 9am to 10:45am: Essential Endgame Knowledge Part 2 (GM Rogers)
- Sunday 27/03 6:30pm to 8:15pm: Decision Making Essentials Part 2 (GM Bojkov)
If you require further information please contact Hilton Bennett, email: email@example.com
President's March 2022 update
NZCF President Nigel Metge updates on results of the first Council meeting of the year.
(More details to follow) NZCF will accept club games played under CVC compliant conditions at 'traffic light' Red for NZCF & FIDE rating.
2022 Online Asian Nations Cup, U14
U14 Online Asian Nations Cup is open for registration, with a deadline for expression of interest on Monday, March 14, 5 PM. Please don't contact NZCF via email, but use the Google Form. Thanks!
More details in the brochure.
2022 Chess Olympiad
FIDE has advised NZCF that the Olympiads scheduled for Moscow and Khanty-Mansiysk July-Aug 2022 are withdrawn from Russia. New locations and times will be advised and at that time NZCF will call for expressions of interest for Open and Women’s teams.
FIDE Year of the Woman in Chess
We've created a section of news items and tournament notifications dedicated to the FIDE Year of the Woman in Chess. Please note there's a seminar coming this weekend, 27 February 2022 - Queens’ Festival Workshop: Increase Your Inner Strength (see the registration form at the link).
Sports, big and small, under Covid Red limits
Sports venues from large to small suffering under Covid limits - from RNZ Checkpoint on 18 February 2022
"Eden Park says its financial viability is at risk as it stares down the barrel of a third straight year of disruptions due to Covid-19 settings. Meanwhile, uncertainty over just how long the country will remain at red is causing major headaches for school and club sport around the country. And as Nick Truebridge and cameraman Nick Monro report, it's not just our biggest sports and venues bracing for more Covid chaos."
The RNZ team also visited Auckland Chess Centre in Mt Eden (capacity 80-100 compared to Eden Park 50000-60000) and interviewed FM Ewen Green.
Don't forget to like and subscribe to the NZCF YouTube channel for more videos.
Ratings period 2022-1 closing soon
The current NZCF ratings period, 2022-1, ends on February 28th. It will include the recent January Congress. If you have other tournament results to submit for this rating period, please send them to the Ratings Officer Rowan Wood (firstname.lastname@example.org) by March 3rd. Thanks!
January Bulletin 2022
The January issue of the NZCF online chess bulletin, edited by Bill Forster, started with a single game highlight from Congress, but there are now more Congress games. Josh Langford wrote an entertaining Lichess blog post on his NZ Championship games. The games editor has transcribed the article to the NZCF format (with Josh's permission) and it is now available in this Bulletin too. Philip Hair's adventures into the most obscure openings possible continues. It would be great if some others followed his lead and sent the editor some PGNs with their thoughts and experiences in our wonderful game. You don't have to be a GM (or IM or FM or ...), amateur chess has a charm all of its own!
Also recently added is an appreciation of the recently deceased Bill Ramsay.
Games, Games, Games
The Peter Stuart Games Database has been updated, and includes Congress. Additionally, all of the chess content of the New Zealand Chess magazine in the last 11 years of its run has been gathered together and published on this site in interactive form for the first time. There are now over 1300 games available for playthrough on this site. As well as this most recent addition, there are some fully interactive magazines, bulletins, and interactive Listener columns from the years when Murray Chandler wrote a regular high quality column for that magazine.
NZCF on YouTube
Our social media presence is growing, and in addition to the NZCF Facebook Page we now have a new NZCF YouTube channel. The first video is a nice breezy Congress video made by Austin Yu and friends. There is also a similarly charming video about the North Shore chess club as well. More videos are in the pipeline. NZ clubs and chess players are also welcome to send in videos!
In other news, the Ratings Page has been updated with the 2021-3 NZCF ratings and January 21st 2022 FIDE ratings.
Chess is a Sport
NZCF President Nigel Metge took time out from playing at Congress to chat to Radio NZ's Emile Donovan about the resurgence of chess in New Zealand.
Congress One Stop Shop, Daniel Gong is NZ Champion
As always, CivicChessMan on ChessChat.org provides an excellent Congress summary: "Congratulations to Daniel Gong, the winner of the 129th New Zealand Championship and the new New Zealand Champion. Gong finishes on 7.5 points after a very short draw with Edward Rains. Quite some early birthday present with Gong turning 19 on the 12th. Felix Xie has just beaten Matthew McNabb to take outright second place on 7 points." Anthony Ker and Nic Croad share third on 6 points. Meanwhile Euan McDougall wins the Major Open and Karl Holdo comes second. A nice story on the FIDE website also summarises well.
Russell Dive won his 9th Rapid Championship, a point clear of a group of youngsters who share second, Isabelle Ning, Felix Xie and Michael Sole.
Championship, Major Open, Rapid, Lightning, NZ Junior, Canterbury Open.
Craig Hall reports that the Vega pages include game PGNs in many cases and that he is also putting together combined PGNs, available for download here: Championship, Major Open, NZ Junior, Canterbury Open.
Rapid live games link and (belatedly, sorry) the Lichess Rapid Link
Championship live games link.
Also, courtesy of Timothy Ha, here is a Lichess equivalent which adds a multi-board view and kibitzing; Lichess championship link.
Junior Championship live games link and the corresponding Lichess junior championship link.
Some game highlights, some of them crowd-sourced are available here. Please email your suggestions, preferably annotated!, to either the current web administrator email@example.com or the future one firstname.lastname@example.org. Don't be afraid to submit your own game!
Chess in the News
Thanks to Paul Spiller for pointing out this rather excellent Stuff story on chess in New Zealand. It's impressive; well researched, positive and interesting. Stuff journalist Lee Kenny went the extra mile and got input from a wider range of voices in the chess community than is customary in these kinds of pieces, (including Paul himself, Bob and Viv Smith, Murray Chandler and defending NZ champ Nic Croad). The picture (one of numerous images and videos in the piece) shows Bob playing Polish IM Artur Sygulski at the 1982 Olympiad. When I looked it up I was pleased to see Bob beat his 2400+ opponent in a rather nice game so I've added the game to the December Bulletin for your enjoyment. What other sport let's you relive moments like this in perfect fidelity?
NZCF President Nigel Metge delivers his final newsletter of the year on the Notices Page. Included in the newsletter are detailed discussion and remit documentation for the AGM at Congress.
Remember that Congress is running, and it's not too late (if you're reading this on or before December 19th 2021!) to enter without paying a late fee. All the details are on the Calendar.
David Cilia-Vincenti wins South Island Champs
CM Cilia-Vincenti scored 4.5/6 to head off FM Stephen Lukey, Nick Cummings and Briene Membrere who shared second on 4/6. David used to live in Christchurch but is now a Wellingtonian, and Briene lives in Hawkes Bay, so the joint South Island Champions are Stephen and Nick Cummings. Stephen has won the title many times, but this is Nick’s first title. Full results on Vega here.
The Winged Spider picture is probably confusing, but it's there to celebrate a new web content management tool that's been put together for the NZCF website that makes creating online chess bulletins especially easy. So much so there is already an express report on the South Island Champs available in a new bulletin.
(PS I grafted two extra legs onto an insect, sadly there's no such thing as an actual winged spider.)
Good News - South Island Champs and Congress get Green Light
Craig Hall reports
With the recent NZCF Council decision to approve play of NZCF tournaments in locations at Green and Orange, we are delighted to confirm that the South Island Championship and South Island Rapid Championship will both take place on 8-11 December (Championship) and 12 December (Rapid). Because of the short notice, NZCF Council has approved changing the prize funds from the previously guaranteed $800 and $400 respectively to entries less costs in the event of low entries (which seems likely given the timeline).
Please see the updated entry forms (on the Calendar Page) to reflect this and also a number of additional Covid-related competition rules. Of particular note is that all NZCF tournaments, including these ones, will be run under CVC compliance i.e. vaccine passes are required for all attendees including players, spectators, arbiters and officials unless a legal exemption applies (under 12 years 3 months of age, or approved exemption from the Ministry of Health).
Congress will also go ahead as scheduled – the updated entry forms will be sent out once the additional Covid competition rules have been added and late entry fees have been adjusted (late entry fees will only apply to entries received and paid on or after 20 December).
Covid Policy Update
The purple Covid notice above has been updated, please see NZCF President Nigel Metge's 4th December newsletter on the Notices Page for all the details.
NZ Seniors Online
Everyone was looking very happy in this pre-tournament Zoom call before the NZ Seniors Online kicked off on Friday 26th November. The six round, two classical games per day tournament continued through the weekend and both competitors and Lichess live kibitzers seemed to enjoy the tournament. The idea of a friendly online tournament, without heavy process and camera monitoring worked well with this group. Steady play saw stalwarts and good mates FM Bob Gibbons and CM Hilton Bennett come out on top with 5.0/6 (see the Results Page). Timothy Ha, the very capable technical director of the tournament handled the online setting with aplomb while Bruce Pollard handled the old school arbiter duties.
Summit Rapid and NZ Seniors stay alive by going online
Amongst the Covid carnage on the NZCF Calendar it's nice to see that two tournaments originally planned as OTB (over the board) are going to run in online form. It's not a perfect solution, but sometimes perfect is the enemy of good. Note: Entries for the Open Seniors Online now close on Tuesday 23rd November 2021..
2021 New Zealand Interschool Chess Finals Cancelled
NZCF Council has made the difficult decision to cancel this year’s national interschool finals.
The finals were due to be held in Auckland in late December, after the covid pandemic forced their postponement from September.
However holding the competition has become virtually impossible in view of the continuing uncertainty about Auckland’s covid level status and the rules regarding gatherings of vaccinated and unvaccinated people.
My apologies; for the sake of thousands of keen young chess players around the country I can only hope that we can return to some normality next year.
NZCF National Interschool Co-ordinator
Covid Policy Update
NZCF has announced an updated Covid policy which affects local chess clubs. Please see the Notices Page for full details.
Asian Youth Online Championships, 22-31 October 2021
While this individuals tournament is in progress I will endeavour to provide some links for following progress of NZL players.
This is work in progress, apologies for not providing anything more comprehensive at the moment.
Here is a link to the chess-results website (Girls).
Schedule for Girls tournaments: Fri,Sat,Sun (22nd-24th Oct); 3 rounds per day (9 total) at 7pm, 8:30pm, 10pm
Schedule for Open tournaments: Fri,Sat,Sun (29th-31st Oct); 3 rounds per day (9 total) at 7pm, 8:30pm, 10pm
Tournament Regulations: here.
Here is a link to the Girls' tournament, with games and results/standings, on Tornelo.
Here is a link to the Open tournament, with games and results/standings, on Tornelo.
President’s Newsletter - COVID Update
NZCF Council met by Zoom last Sunday 3rd October. We discussed the latest Covid update and the implications for over-the-board (OTB) play. It is obviously distressing to all of us that tournaments are being cancelled or postponed. We cannot predict if, and when we will reach ‘Level 1’.
For the moment NZCF advice is unchanged – there will be no official NZCF tournaments and no games NZCF or FIDE rated at Level 2 or above. But we are watching closely Government updates and what other associations of ‘mind sports’ like bridge are doing. There is another Council meeting 31st Oct and I will provide a further update immediately after that.
Nigel Metge, 5th October 2021
Asian Amateur Online Championships, 12-18 November 2021
CLOSING DATE SUNDAY 10TH OCTOBER MIDNIGHT
NZCF invites entries into this tournament organized by Oman Chess Committee on behalf of Asian Chess Federation.
Open to all amateur players with a FIDE rating 2100 or below in Open and Women categories.
All players must have FIDE ID and Tornelo registration.
NZCF must submit all entries and payment on Tuesday 12th October.
Entry fee is US$25 per player but note that NZCF will invoice entrants for entry fee + bank charges + NZ$10 administration fee.
Tournament Regulations: here.
All entrants must enter through this Google docs link.
Online Technical Director Timothy Ha email: email@example.com.
Covid takes a toll
Sadly over the board chess in New Zealand has ground to a halt as the NZCF level 1 only policy means play throughout the country has been suspended for weeks, with no end in sight. The scheduling carnage can clearly be seen in the Calendar. We can at least play online, including in two NZCF events each week (Monday and Friday). These events are invariably good fun and are capably organised by Timothy Ha.
Chess on the Radio
300,000 listeners to the popular Mike Hosking Breakfast show recently heard a short interview with NZCF president Nigel Metge on the Queens Gambit / Covid chess boom and how it is playing out in New Zealand.
Asian Youth Online Championships, 21-31 October 2021
CLOSING DATE THURSDAY 30TH SEPTEMBER MIDNIGHT
NZCF invites entries into this tournament organized by All India Chess Federation under the authority of the Asian Chess Federation.
As usual two groups Open & Girls in age categories U8, U10, U12, U14, U16, U18.
All players must have FIDE ID and Tornelo registration.
All entrants must enter through this Google docs link.
Note that there is an entry fee of US$50.
NZCF must officially submit all entries and payment on Friday 1st October.
NZCF will invoice parents for cost of entry fee + banking charges.
Tournament Regulations: here.
Online Technical Director Timothy Ha email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Genesis Potini Remembered
Another New Zealand centric article has appeared in the British monthly magazine CHESS (earlier in 2021 an article about the rivalry between Russell Dive and Anthony Ker appeared, see below). As can be seen in the photo, this time the subject is Gisborne chess organiser, player and coach the late Genesis Potini, subject of the 2014 film The Dark Horse.
Eastern Asia Youth Chess Online Championship
The NZCF web administrator apologises for the following late notice;
All junior players (aged 18 or younger, i.e. born in 2003 or later) are eligible to play in the Eastern Asia Youth Chess Online Championship but please note that the deadline for entries is Friday 17th September.
There are two divisions Open (October 1st-3rd) and Girls (September 24th-26th). Additionally there are U8, U10, U12, U14, U16 and U18 age group sections within each section.
Please note that NZCF is not selecting a representative team, this is an individual tournament open to all players of qualifying age. NZCF will forward all entries received and will handle the administrative task of paying the entry fees on behalf of players to the Thailand Chess Federation, BUT this will be charged back to parents.
Update Entries have Closed!
We have a record 48 entrants of whom 16 or 33% are Girls.
We had to work to a tight deadline to get entry fees paid to Thailand Chess Association on time.
Your President and others have been working all yesterday and today to make it happen.
We are sorry for any Juniors that missed out.
We often get short notice of tournaments ourselves and always try to alert everyone in good time.
We are working with Thailand Chess Association to update the entries from New Zealand.
The current list of entries processed is shown on this chess-results.com link but more will be visible tomorrow.
National Interschools Finals now moved to 18th and 19th of December
Please see the NZCF Notices Page for full details of changes to the timing of the National Interschools Finals.
On the Notices page NZCF President Nigel Metge has shared some thoughts on the year to date. This promises to become a regular President's Newsletter feature.
FIDE Online Olympiad
Coverage of NZL participation in the FIDE Online Olympiad has been moved to the Results Page.
The last two home page stories enjoyed some confluence as Ewen Green joined the fray at the NZCF Friday night online Swiss and despite unfamiliarity with Lichess, came close to winning the tournament. Remember the NZCF online tournaments will keep running through lockdown and beyond, thanks again Timothy Ha. Meanwhile the first stage of the FIDE online cadets tournament has come to an end, see the results page. There has been some local mainstream media attention. Finally the ratings page has had another upgrade, and you can now see your NZCF and FIDE ratings and codes on one handy page.
Friday Night Online Swiss
Once again we have reverted to online only local chess (see the Covid information panel above). Hopefully not for too long. Many thanks to Timothy Ha who keeps a regular series of NZCF online events ticking over, ready for everyone to jump back in at times like this.
The next event is this Swiss tournament, on Friday, Aug 20, at 7:30 pm. A Swiss tournament should make a nice change from the usual online Arenas, note that Lichess still allows you late join, pause and exit flexibility (if you feel you must).
Ewen Green Earns FIDE Veterans Award
A message from NZCF President Nigel Metge
It is with enormous pleasure I announce that NZ Chess Federation’s application to FIDE for Veterans Award to Ewen Green has been successful – one of just 27 awards for the world! Every chess player in New Zealand congratulates Ewen on this most deserved award for a lifetime contribution to NZ chess.
Congress at Riccarton
The 129th New Zealand Congress is to be held in Christchurch from 2-12 January 2022. Preparations are well advanced, Craig Hall and his team have assembled an impressive set of sponsors (Respectrum Insurance, Nail Perfect NZ, Chessventures, Kiwi Gaming Foundation, Christchurch City Council and the Racecourse Hotel and Motor Lodge) and a commensurately attractive $10,000 prize fund. A special $120/night rate is available at the Racecourse Hotel and Motor Lodge – players should contact them via their website at racecoursehotel.co.nz and advise that they are attending the chess tournament. This is a popular time of year for the hotel, so players are advised to book quickly.
Other accommodation options are also linked on the Canterbury Chess Club website . Entries are already being accepted, see the Calendar page for the entry form (which incidentally brings new standards of presentation and ease of use - well done Craig!).
FIDE Online Olympiad, Peter Stuart Masters, NZCF Notices
Alert visitors to this website may have noticed a new Notices section which will be the natural home for NZCF administrative notices from now on. Check out today's notice calling for players to participate in the FIDE Online Olympiad - coming up soon!
Also in the news today - after positive feedback for the "George Trundle" and due to popular demand, the North Shore Chess Club has stepped up to organise another batch of 10 player, classical Olympiad time control round robin tournaments with a one round per day schedule. Starting this year there will be two such annual events at the Auckland Chess Centre, the "George Trundle Masters" (organised by the Auckland Chess Centre) and the "Peter Stuart Masters" (organised by North Shore Chess Club). The inaugural Peter Stuart Masters starts on October 2nd, details on the Calendar.
Best Games from the Waitakere Trusts
Each year Former NZCF President GM Murray Chandler judges the best games prize at the Trusts open and you can see the results this year in a short issue of the NZ Chess Bulletin. Philip Hair has also contributed an article on an interesting transpositional device, "The Australian Attack". Perhaps other readers will be inspired to contribute chess articles for this embryonic interactive online magazine.
Incidentally Murray has also recently supplied the final columns for this remarkable collection of magazine material, freely available for your reading pleasure. This is a real treasure trove. If New Zealand was a bigger country you could be sure these columns would be collected into a popular series of books.
Up and down the country the NZCF's Interschools Championship is gathering pace, working up to National finals at Alexandra Park in October. As the picture shows, sometimes the regional competitions attract attention in major media outlets like the Otago Daily Times. Interschools co-ordinator Bob Smith, together with wife Viv deserves particular credit for organising this competition each year. The Smiths also take on the substantial task of running most of the tournaments within the Auckland metropolitan area, where interschool competition is particularly hot as can be seen in this year's results page.
NZ Games Database Updated
The Peter Stuart Games Database has just been updated. This database, established and maintained by the late Peter Stuart, is now under NZCF stewardship and we endeavour to keep it consistent and up to date. The database aims to gather games from the most important competitions within NZ and also NZ games in international competition. Club and tournament administrators can help by submitting PGN files to the NZCF web administrator for possible inclusion.
43rd Trusts Chess Open
An impressive 152 players crowded into the Te Pai Centre. Australian IM Brodie McClymont enjoyed the bubble more than most this weekend, taking out New Zealand’s premier standard chess weekender with an impressive A Grade score of 6/6, 1.5 points clear of second place. Results and details are now on the Results page.
Russell wins at Kāpiti, again
In recent years the annual Kāpiti Rapid has gone from strength to strength, becoming a really important feature of the chess scene in the entire region. A lot of credit must go to the Kāpiti Club's leadership group, led by club president Gordon Lyall.
Some things don't change though. The first Kāpiti Rapid in 1991 was won by Russell Dive and Jonathan Sarfati. The 2021 event was won by Russell, pictured receiving his prize from Gordon, again. I'm sure Russell would like to thank Andrew Brockway, normally an unsung hero of Wellington chess administration, for his assistance. Andrew pulled off a huge upset by defeating Russell's perennial rival Anthony Ker.
Allen Fan selected for the World Cup
NZCF has selected 17 year old FM Allen Fan to represent NZ at the World Cup in Sochi, Russia, to be played from July 10th. Allen started playing chess at five and credits his parents for dedicating countless hours of time and effort to his chess ambitions, including travelling with him to international youth competitions. Allen has enjoyed participating in global online competitions, but is pleased to be selected for a prestigious over-the-board event as Covid (hopefully) wanes. He is intent on doing everything he can to progress further and eventually become an IM. (Update: Sadly unavailability of a MIQ [Covid Managed Isolation] slot for his return meant Allen could not take up his place at the World Cup).
Poppies Chess Challenge
Once again Paul Spiller has organised a July promotional match at Poppies Bookshop in Howick. Recent years have seen veteran competitors facing off, but by way of contrast this year sees a match between rising stars NZ Rapid Champion Felix Xie (12) and CM Oliver Picken (17). More details can be found on the Calendar page.
NZ Chess Gets International Attention
Internationally, chess is still largely confined to online only play due to the continuing havoc wrought by Covid-19. New Zealand's success at controlling Covid-19 has been an international story, and in the chess world normal over-the-board play here is a source of both curiosity and just a little envy. This situation has led to the unusual situation of New Zealand chess featuring in the current issues of both New In Chess (2021#2, left) and CHESS Monthly (April 2021, right).
Dutch Flag (New in Chess is published in the Netherlands, their NZ article features the flag of Botswana. This is good natured retaliation)
Bob Wade Memorial Results and Photos...
Auckland University Chess Association
They are not (yet?) affiliated with NZCF, but the Auckland University Chess Association might be the largest chess club in the country, with over 480 members drawn from the University of Auckland and Auckland University of Technology. The club has started running competitive tournaments, their biggest and most ambitious one to date was a one day 25+5 rapid immediately after Easter that drew 75 entrants and featured attractive prizes, including trips to Sydney provided by their generous sponsor IMC trading.
The photo shows the club's Executive Team. You can now find all the club's details, and read more about it on our Chess Clubs page (scroll down to the "Other Clubs" section at the bottom).
Gawain does it again at the North Island Champs
It wasn't quite as easy as the scoreboard suggests, the last two rounds in particular against FM Daniel Gong and IM Anthony Ker were long grinds that were the last games to finish. But GM Gawain Jones has "picket-fenced" again. Gawain's last event in New Zealand is the Bob Wade Memorial Rapid in Auckland on the 10th of April. Can he keep it up and avoid conceding even a draw in official competition on this NZ trip? No pressure Gawain.
Meanwhile the consensus of opinion seemed to be that the tournament was a huge success. We're not sure if it's an all time record (when your web administrator finally gets the Archives into shape we'll know), but the 92 entries were about twice the organiser's expectations. Would the venue even cope? In the end everyone was accommodated comfortably, and Cuba Street was buzzing throughout to provide a great inner city vibe as a background, happily with none of the noise problems that can sometimes bring.
Update: North Island residents Felix Xie and Athula Kankanamge came 2nd= on 6.5/8 and so become joint North Island Champions for 2021.
Asian U14 Online Teams
New Zealand teams are competing in this competition for three evenings in a row on March 27th, 28th and 29th starting at 7pm New Zealand time. The official results will be posted on Chess-Results; Open and Girls.
Following online has proven problematic on these chess.com events in the past. For now at least the following links are the best hope we can provide for following live play Open and Girls. Update: Timothy has provided this link for viewing and advises "Refresh the page when games start as players are visible on this page only when they're online and playing". Update 2: Final results are now on the Results page.
Timothy Ha is captaining the teams and doing a fantastic job of organising the
information and marshalling the teams. Don't forget that Nic Croad (below) is also
four three more official Hybrid Zonal classical online games on the same weekend.
Nic Croad Competing in the Oceania Zone Hybrid
A new and interesting chess format is being trialled in New Zealand and around the Oceania region over the weekends of March 20-21 and March 27-28. Hybrid chess is an attempt to marry traditional chess and online chess, with a view to eventually allowing official rated competition between geographically distributed competitors. Instead of playing at home, the players compete from "hubs" under the control and supervision of qualified arbiters. Our own Paul Spiller, president of FIDE's Zone 3.6 describes the competition Nic Croad is competing in here. Basically it's a round robin classical tournament, two rounds a day, featuring two Australian GMs amongst others (Nic plays both GMs on Saturday 20th). At stake is decent prize money, and a qualifying spot for the world cup. Rounds are at 1pm and 7pm NZ time, and a link will be put up here in time for you to follow the action. Update: The promised link has not yet been delivered by the organisers, but it should appear on this page before start of play. Update 2: Hopefully this is the actual link. Update 3: Final results are now on the Results page.
NZCF Ratings Updated
Rowan Wood, our longstanding and dedicated ratings officer reports that 2021 period 1 ratings are now available. You can still see them on the Resources Page, but now for the first time there is a dedicated Ratings Page which has active ratings information inline so you can quickly check your NZ rating without downloading a document.
March 20th sees the 2021 edition of the Latvian Rapid, New Zealand's biggest weekend rapid. It's particularly welcome this year as last year it was amongst the first Covid casualties. A big turnout is expected, as NZ enjoys a post Queen's Gambit / Covid chess boom (see for example the pictures from the Otago Autumn Rapid).
Many people wonder why it's called the Latvian. I thought the answer is that it started life as a Latvian Gambit theme tournament. After posting this, Rowan Wood quickly pointed out that the Howick Pakuranga website provides a more detailed and nuanced explanation, including a delightful story featuring NZCF Life members Ortvin Sarapu and Tony Booth. After making quick work of Tony's Latvian at the Latvian, Ortvin offered the following wisdom "Mr Booth, never play the Latvian Gambit against an Estonian". Friend of NZ chess IM Herman van Riemsdijk played the Latvian Gambit versus Romanishin at the Riga (pictured) Interzonal in 1979 (1-0 in 27). Afterwards the local press were flattered and excited "Is this the first time you've played the Latvian?". Herman's reply was quick "No it's the last time".
Asian Nations Online Under 14 Team Championship
NZCF seeks applications from eligible players (players under 14 on Jan 1 2021) for selection in New Zealand teams to play in the Asian Nations Online Under 14 Team Championship on 27th-29th March. Players should check they are available on all three nights from 7pm to 11:30pm before applying. Please email your applications to the NZCF secretary Winsome Stretch at email@example.com by Friday 12th March 5pm (sorry for the short notice). Please indicate whether you are applying for a position in the Open or Girls team (or either). Include your chess.com account name, and your NZCF and FIDE ratings. Successful applicants will be required to submit a passport sized photo. There is a fee to play in this tournament, but NZCF will bear the cost (of no more than one open team and one girls team).
Update 16/03/2021: The NZCF team selections are;
The team captain is Timothy Ha.
Elite GM Gawain Jones (newly crowned European online blitz champion), and his wife Sue Maroroa are of course regular visitors to our shores. It's lovely to see them both back again, despite the Covid maelstrom. In fact the trip has even been extended and Gawain is now a confirmed participant in a series of local events starting with the Latvian Rapid on March 20th, continuing with the North Island Champs from April 2nd-5th and finishing with the Bob Wade memorial on April 10th. The photo shows Gawain playing an impromptu simul in the back room of the Wellington Chess Club on February 25th (photo courtesy of Ian Sellen).
NZCF Online Team Battle
Another Covid hiccup, another online tournament organised by Timothy Ha. This time it's a Monday night team battle. With the whole country at alert level 2 or higher for at least a week, keep a lookout for these tournaments, we might be having more of them!
Bay of Plenty Rapid
The Bay of Plenty Rapid, to be held this year on Saturday February 27th, is one of most popular weekend rapids in the country. As tournament supremo Caleb Wright likes to point out, it's the longest running tournament with the now ubiquitous 25+5 time control made possible by digital clocks. If you can remember the bad old days, you'll know what a big step it was to eliminate the chaos, confusion and injustice of guillotine finishes with dangling analog flags.
The details of the tournament are of course on the Calendar, get your entry in and enjoy some chess in one of the most beautiful regions in the country.
On Sailing, Chess and Covid
America's Cup Organisers and Teams spend millions on lawyers and insanely elaborate rules, yet they can't quite figure out whether their rules allow competition at the moment. Or not. Perhaps they should have hired NZCF as (very reasonably priced) legal consultants, our rules are crystal clear. Chess is on at Level One, suspended at Level Two and above. Sadly this means that in Auckland chess clubs remain closed for at least a little while longer. But never fear the indefatigable Timothy Ha has organised another Friday night online tournament so chess addicts in Auckland and nationwide can still get their fix.
NZCF Online Tournament, plus a Covid Reminder
Sadly the NZCF Covid Policy (see purple box above) has been activated again. The entire country is currently above level 1 for three days (at least). The NZCF online tournaments have understandably been quiet for a while, but maybe this Monday night tournament is a good opportunity to commiserate with the local chess community about this hopefully very temporary setback. Thanks to Timothy Ha for keeping the tournaments going, and for hastily organising and promoting this one.
NZCF Press Release February 5th, 2021 World Cup
FIDE have granted NZCF the right to select a player to participate in the prestigious World Cup knockout event this year. This is a rare opportunity, normally a NZL player faces a difficult path to qualification. All the details are on The Press Release. Use this application document to apply for selection! Applications close on April 15th 2021.
Tournaments, Tournaments, Tournaments
After missing out on so many tournaments in 2020, we are now bathing in an abundance of regular and new events. Please check out the Calendar Page and enjoy your options. We have already had a successful Congress. Auckland Chess Centre has put on an Anniversary Weekender and is following up in short order with a Waitangi Weekender and an ANZAC Weekender a bit further down the track. Howick Pakuranga's Latvian Rapid is now the single biggest weekend rapid in the country. The Summit Chess Club is running its full program of junior events. The Bay of Plenty and Hawkes Bay Rapids are coming up soon in reliably gorgeous parts of New Zealand. The North Island Champs are on over Easter Weekend in Wellington. A bit later on you must pencil in the 43rd Trusts Open. (Late in the year the NZ Women's Championship has been revised).
A special mention is due to a special new event, the Bob Wade memorial on Bob's 100th anniversary, April 10th 2021. Thanks to Paul Spiller for conceiving of this event and making it a reality. The atmospheric photos below are courtesy of britishchessnews.com which was founded in 2016 by John Upham who takes and supplies chess photographs world-wide. The same website offers this detailed compendium of interesting information about Bob. Also consider checking out Bob's obituary in our own NZ Chess magazine, January 2009 issue, page 18.
Kasparov Chess Foundation University Cup
The Kasparov Chess Foundation is a substantial supporter and sponsor of chess in New Zealand, particularly
our annual Congresses. On February 6th-7th they are running a free online event for university teams. It
would be marvellous if one or more New Zealand university teams could compete. All the details are on the
event website here. If you are tempted to enter
please send an email to NZCF Vice President Paul Spiller or NZCF web administrator Bill Forster
(email addresses on the Contact Page) to let us know.
Update: A Victoria University of Wellington team (Ryan Winter, Michael Sole, Nicholas Heyworth, Ben Bryant) competed despite a very hostile time zone and posted a solid mid table performance, 64th from 125, see the results page here. NZ Games PGN here.
Thank You Murray
New NZCF President Nigel Metge can be seen handing out the prizes in the congress photos below and on the Results Page (he also picked up a grade prize in the Blitz:). For those who haven't realised it yet, this does indeed mean that GM Murray Chandler has handed over the baton. Hopefully Murray will quietly continue to contribute to the NZ chess scene in an unofficial capacity. The maintainer of this website would like to take the opportunity to post a personal thank you to Murray for his wise counsel and steadfast support for a shared vision of a steadily improving, focussed, local, tasteful, coherent and comprehensive website for the New Zealand chess community.
A Most Excellent Congress
The 128th Congress in Palmerston North came to a successful conclusion, with Felix Xie breaking through with a remarkable win to secure the NZ Rapid Championship. Chief organiser Mark Noble, and arbiter Craig Hall did an outstanding job with this congress. Thanks are also due to dual sponsor and venue provider Copthorne Hotels, and sponsor the Kasparov Chess Foundation. The photo here shows new NZ Champion Nic Croad happily receiving the famous Silver Rook. New NZCF President Nigel Metge and young Arthur Croad clearly also approve.
All the results and some photos are now on the Results Page. For additional coverage
and photos see the NZCF facebook page,
the unofficial NZ Chess twitter account (thanks to Simon Lyall
for his updates during the event) and NZ Chess News.
Games are available via the Vega pages of some events. Thanks are due to new NZ Junior champion Joshua
Langford (incidentally - what a great result, well done Josh) who took on much of the unrewarding task of
Consolidated PGN files are now available: NZ Open, Major Open, Rapid.
An archive of all NZCF website front page stories since 2007 is available here.