Covid-19NZCF policy is that official over the board events, including local chess club play, should be suspended during NZ Government Covid Alert level 2 or higher.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Howick Pakuranga Christmas Tournament Goes Off
Paul Spiller reports that the first Howick Pakuranga Christmas tournament was a massive success. Clearly the enforced diet has made the chess community hungry for over-the-board tournaments. There were 126 entries with over 60 under the age of 12. FM Daniel Gong emerged victorious. Full results and more photos on the Results page.
Chess in the Press
A cynical and unconvinced journalist is instructed to come up with a "Queen's Gambit" story, and ends up charmed, at least a little bit. Link to the NZ Herald story is via Pressreader.
128th NZ Chess Congress
After a challenging 2020, chess life in New Zealand has largely returned to normal, and chess enthusiasts have an ideal opportunity to celebrate in the pleasant provincial city of Palmerston North, scene of the 128th NZ Congress, from January 2nd. As well as the traditional Championship and Major Open in luxuriant nine day one round per day formats, there are plenty of other events to play in, including an intriguing novelty event - in which you and your opponent effectively play a mini simul against each other! Intrigued? Check the Calendar for details.
Apparently Chess is Finally Cool
According to this article in stuff.co.nz anyway. The catalyst is the Netflix series "The Queen's Gambit" which has been a smash hit all around the world. NZCF Vice President Paul Spiller is quoted intensively in the article. If you haven't seen the show, it's well worth a look. Although the chess purist will find a lot of details to quibble over (the tempo of play, the false notes when chess players are talking to chess players about chess, the rather odd portrayal of expert commentary at some events), some artistic license must be granted and the producers deserve a lot of credit for giving the game far more respect than is customary in film and television. The positions, openings and games are authentic (barring an occasional detail or two). Garry Kasparov was even hired to craft some appropriately brilliant games (he based them on hypothetical variations from Grandmaster practice I believe). Reaction from the chess community has in large part being very positive.
President's Report 2020
NZCF President GM Murray Chandler has sent his annual report to member clubs. You can read the report here. At the end of the report Murray reveals that sadly he will be stepping down from the role at the 2021 AGM in January. The New Zealand chess community is indebted to Murray for his many years of excellent administrative work, which will hopefully continue in some other capacity.
The most recent annual Kapiti Rapid tournaments have broken attendence records for an event that kept a low profile for many years. So it was a big disappointment when Covid-19 cancellation seemed to break the momentum this year. But never fear, the event has been rescheduled and is all set to go on November 21st as over-the-board chess continues to re-emerge in New Zealand. Top players like Ben Hague will be there, shouldn't you be too? Check the details on the Calendar Page.
Merv Morrison Memorial and October NZ Chess Bulletin
This long weekend features the first big classical weekender to survive the ravages of Covid-19 in 2020. The Merv Morrison Memorial is set to go at the Auckland Chess Centre. Over 30 players are signed up. If you think you're playing, please check the tournament website, as apparently there have been some outages.
Also, a new issue of the NZ Chess Bulletin online magazine is available, featuring some recent chess, some chess nostalgia and even a little recreational mathematics.
Drama at the Asian Online Nations Champs
In the first round of the Open competition New Zealand were drawn to play chess superpower India. Play commenced after a delay, but something was wrong, not only did all GM India have an average rating advantage of 600 Elo points or so, they had White on every board! Eventually the round was aborted and after a big delay play finally got going for real this time. After four well contested games, NZL did eventually yield on all four boards, but not before winning respect from the Indian commentary team for competing strongly. Ben Hague garnered particular plaudits for a very sporting gesture: Clearly worse when the games were aborted, he decided that he didn't deserve a reprieve and voluntarily played to the same position to continue the original game. Check the coverage between 1:20 and 2:00 approx in this (rather charming) Youtube video.
We are playing in the evenings from 7pm on Saturday October 10th, Friday 16th and Sunday 18th (Open team), and
Sunday 11th, Saturday 17th and Monday 19th (Women's team)
Follow Results here Open, Women.
Follow our players in real time here (sorry, apparently Chess.com won't let you see the live games); Open team Ben Hague, John Duneas, Michael Sole (Capt.), Josia Vickers and Oscar Qin.
Women; Isabelle Ning, Karen Geng (Capt.), Emily Gan, Ritika Joseph and Sophia Feng.
Final Update: Results and NZL games are now on the Results page.
South Island Championships Are Go for Launch
After a successful Interschools Final last weekend another traditional over the board event is proceeding starting this weekend. The South Island Championships are being staged by the Otago Chess Club at their atmospheric premises in Dunedin. Update: Full results now on the Results Page. Congratulations to Matt McNabb for winning the tournament alone and retaining his South Island Champion title, particularly after one of the least effective Swiss Gambits in chess history! (In only 7 rounds he still had to play the eventual 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th placegetters).
2020 NZ Interschool Finals
The 2020 NZ Interschool Finals were held in Mt Maunganui on 26th and 27th September. Despite the impact of coronavirus there was a big turnout, including teams from Dunedin and Christchurch. Click here for a report by Chief Organiser Bob Smith. Results are on the Interschools Results Page.
The Opiki School team of Charlie Lawton, Logan Walker, Leo Lawton and River Elliot soak up the Mt Maunganui sunshine between games – appropriately attired, of course.
Asian Online Nations Champs, Historic Listener Columns
NZCF has entered another online representative team tournament, the Asian Online Nations Championship.
Details of the tournament are available here. (old link).
Please consider applying to play, many top players aren't interested in these competitions and taking two minutes to email
an application to email@example.com might see you playing for NZ. Please
include your chess.com handle, and update your chess.com profile to include your name as it is registered with FIDE. Also please
check you are available on the weekends in question (check the document for details, but basically three weekends starting October 10th). We have a fairly friendly
timezone for the event (play starts at
6pm NZ time 7pm NZ time [sorry forgot we were going to daylight saving!]). If selected you will be playing one evening for the first two weekends,
and potentially each night if we progress to the third weekend. We will be announcing the team on or before October 3rd. Update: The teams are;
Open; Ben Hague, John Duneas, Michael Sole (Capt.), Josia Vickers and Oscar Qin.
Women; Isabelle Ning, Karen Geng (Capt.), Emily Gan, Ritika Joseph and Sophia Feng.
Follow progress: Open, Women.
Not just history buffs, but all students of the game can find a lot of interesting material in the growing collections in the history pages. GM Murray Chandler has made available a treasure trove of the weekly chess columns he wrote for the NZ Listener magazine at the start of his career. Meanwhile Philip Hair is continuing to scan in the amazingly rich and interesting chess magazines produced in New Zealand in decades past. The latest scans are NZ Chess Player issues from the 1950s.
NZCF Friday Night Arenas
As we all look forward to a (second) resumption of normal chess activity in New Zealand in the near future (fingers crossed) remember that the various online events being held by clubs around the country are great fun in the interim. The NZCF online club runs an Arena event every Friday evening. The picture shows a screenshot from 9 year old Emily Gan's Youtube video of her efforts during this event on Friday 18th September. It's a new world out there folks!
Update: The 2020 New Zealand Interschool Finals
This prestigious event will go ahead as planned on 26th and 27th September, providing that the Bay of Plenty is in level one.
For Auckland teams to compete Auckland must be in level two or better.
The organisers will be taking all reasonable steps to comply with government regulations, including physically separating the three divisions (primary, intermediate and secondary), sanitising before each round and scrapping the traditional handshakes.
Players are more than welcome to wear masks and physical distancing from strangers will be practised away from the board.
To date more than 200 students are expected to participate.
FIDE Online Trainers' Seminar
Paul Spiller reports that the Philippines academy of GM Jason Gonzales is hosting a FIDE Online Trainers' Seminar on September 25-27. Paul can nominate one chess trainer from NZ for a complimentary place. Any NZ chess teacher who wants to apply should contact Paul directly at PaulSSpiller@outlook.com by Friday 11th September at the latest.
Murray Chandler Game Collection
Eminent British chess journalist John Saunders has put together an outstanding collection of the games of our very own GM Murray Chandler within his BritBase project. John references Murray's Facebook memorabilia project which made the collection possible and the Peter Stuart Games Database on this site which has (not coincidentally) been updated today with NZ games from the online olympiad, and more games from Murray's early chess career in NZ.
Covid and the Interschools Finals Updated
The plan for running the Interschools finals, scheduled for Mt Maunganui on September 26th and 27th, has been refined. The key point is that the finals will go ahead if the Bay of Plenty is at Covid-19 alert level one or better. Please consult the updated detailed contingency plan for all the details.
NZ Chess Bulletin FIDE Online Olympiad Special
There is now a round by round interactive bulletin with all games from New Zealand's matches at the FIDE Online Olympiad including light annotations in many cases. (Players feel free to send me amendments or corrections).
Covid and the Interschools Finals
Covid-19 has of course made an unwelcome return into New Zealand. Hopefully the disruption will only be comparitively short this time, but in the meantime over the board chess has once again been suspended. Because it is fairly imminent, and because of the large number of travelling players affected, it has been necessary to work out a detailed contingency plan for the Interschools finals, scheduled for Mt Maunganui on September 26th and 27th. The plan spells out exactly how it will be decided whether the event will continue and provides other information to help schools plan for the event.
NZ at the FIDE Online Olympiad
New Zealand competed at the FIDE Online Olympiad on the evenings of Friday, Saturday and Sunday 7th-9th August. An unexpectedly kind schedule. We played in Division 3 Pool A, a ten team round robin and we needed a top three placing to stay in the competition. Unfortunately we were never really ever in contention and ultimately came seventh. Congratulations to Singapore, Ireland and Albania. We fell into a pattern of winning one match and losing two each day. Never mind, it was all good fun, the players enjoyed it and the youngsters in particular will be better for the experience.
Results, including a crosstable, NZ games PGN and NZ player break down are now in the Results Page. Note in particular the star performance of FM Daniel Gong in the Junior section, winning four games and scoring 75%.
FM Alphaeus Ang's Remarkable Record
The West Auckland Secondary Interschool Chess Championship held on August 5th (see interschools results) was significant for FM Alphaeus Ang. It marks the final NZCF West Auckland Interschool Chess series that Alphaeus will be eligible to play in. Each year for eleven years in succession now Alphaeus had played as board one for his school's A (best) team. Amazingly (could this be a world record?) Alphaeus has picket fenced every year, winning all games in all rounds, in all years. The streak started with Alphaeus a year 3 in St. Paul's Primary School playing the Primary division in 2010 (the photo shows Alphaeus at this age) and concludes unbeaten and unbroken with Alphaeus a year 13 at Liston College in the Secondary division. Alphaeus also played for Liston College in the Intermediate division. Interschools chess in Auckland is known for keen and unforgiving competition, this is not an easy arena in which to excel. Thanks to the Waitakere Chess Club for running the event through it's history.
Asian Online Chess Camp for Girls Under-20
Judit Polgar and Viswanathan Anand (pictured) are just two of the presenters in an intensive, twenty day (2-3 hours a day, in the evening NZ time) online Zoom camp being organised by the Asian Chess Federation. NZCF has been invited to select just one participant. Take a look at the demanding but rewarding schedule, and if you are eligible consider applying to be our representative. To apply fully fill out the player card (incomplete applications won't be considered) and email it to Michael Freeman and Winsome Stretch by Sunday 26th July. Sorry for the late notice (but it's not our fault!).
FIDE Online Olympiad 2020 Team Announcement
The New Zealand Chess Federation has announced team selections for the first FIDE (World Chess Federation) Online Olympiad, starting 22nd July:
|Board||Section||Surname||First Names||FIDE ID|
|11||U20||Fan||Allen Chi Zhou||4304128|
|12||W20||Geng||Karen Jing Yi||4304934|
Players from the cancelled 2020 Moscow Olympiad teams were given preference if they applied. The team comprises 12 players (including reserves): 4 Open team, 4 women’s team, 2 Open team U20, 2 girl’s team U20.
NZCF Online Arenas, Friday Evenings
One of the few redeeming features of the Covid-19 lockdown in New Zealand was the fun online chess events that could include players from around the country with no need to take time off, arrange accommodation, book flights etc. etc. It would be a pity not to at least attempt to recapture the fun of those events and keep them going, especially as the organisational structure is already in place. As an experiment, NZCF Online Arena tournaments are going to be held on Friday evenings at 7:30pm for the rest of the month. Get started on the NZCF Lichess page. If there's good support they'll be fun and worth continuing. If there's not good support ..... well draw your own conclusions.
FIDE Announces Online Olympiad 2020
The Online Olympiad is a national teams event to be held between July 22nd and August 30th, 2020. NZCF have decided that New Zealand will compete.
The NZL team will comprise 12 players (including reserves), comprising 4 Open team, 4 women's team, 2 Open team U20, and 2 girls' team U20. Plus a team captain. Players from the 2020 Olympiad teams will be given preference if they apply. Applications should be sent to Michael Freeman email firstname.lastname@example.org, by July 9th. Note that the tournament is being organised on a tight schedule with shortened deadlines.
Applications MUST give name, FIDEID, FIDE and NZL ratings for std and rapid, date of birth and gender. Please provide online handles for each major playing site (lichess.org, chess.com and chess24.com) where you have an account. (The final site has not yet been selected).
Time control is 15+5 Rapid chess. The organisers promise that the time zones of the two teams in each match will be taken into account when scheduling individual matches round by round.
August 5th is the date New Zealand's involvement starts, we are seeded into Division 3 and have the opportunity to qualify for further stages (Division 2, then the Top division, then the 12 team Playoff stage (which might be a step too far for us!). See the Schedule on the official website.
Asian Seniors Online Chess Championships
The Asian Chess Federation is running an online championship for 50+ players (including a 65+ category). There is no limit on the number of players who can enter, so need for a NZ qualifying tournament. There is a $US3000 prize fund. Players will need a Zoom (online camera) setup. For more details, see the Calendar. Please be aware that entries close soon (July 6th), sorry for the late notice.
Brian Foster 1937-2020
NZCF is saddened to announce the death of Brian Foster, on his 83rd birthday, after a lengthy illness. A private Family Service has been held on Friday 26th June.
Brian was initially a keen player but it was as a club organiser he made his first key contribution to New Zealand chess. In 1972, as President of Pencarrow Chess Club, he organised weekly training for around 100 keen juniors inspired to take up the game by the famous Fischer-Spassky match. Remarkably this group from the tiny town of Wainuiomata went on to produce three New Zealand Champions: Murray Chandler, Brian and Colleen's daughter Fenella (now Fenella Gordon), and Mark Noble.
Photo:The Wainuiomata School of Chess. In this scene from 1978, future Grandmaster Murray Chandler shows Brian the best first move, watched by Fenella Foster, Mark Noble, Peter Collins and Keith Chandler.
Later, together with his wife Colleen, Brian founded New Zealand Chess Supplies. They subsequently moved the home-based mail-order business to Greytown. Their chess bookstalls, with an incredible range of chess literature and equipment, will be fondly remembered by many players attending tournaments from the 1980s until just a few years ago, when Brian’s poor health forced the sale of the main business.
In January of this year Brian and Colleen received a NZCF President’s Award for Services to New Zealand Chess, in recognition of both Brian’s remarkable work encouraging junior players, and the wonderful chess supplies business they ran for many years.
Former NZ Champs Cross Swords
Prolific chess organiser and promoter Paul Spiller has cooked up something a little bit different to showcase the game in an unusual setting, at least for chess. Former NZ Champs FMs Martin Dreyer and Ewen Green are going to play a blitz match at Poppies book shop in Howick on Saturday July 18th. The suburban retail heartland can be something of a cultural desert, so hopefully there's an eager audience for something that stretches the mind. Perhaps there will be some people who will be surprised and intrigued to discover that chess is not only the ultimate mind sport, it can be dynamic, fast moving and fun too.
There are now photos, games and results on the Results page.
Peter Stuart, a Memorial Tournament and a Database Update
In a sign that chess in New Zealand may be returning to a semblance of its normal self the Peter Stuart Memorial Tournament for 2020 has recently been added to the Calendar and confirmed as running as normal (assuming NZ remains at Covid-19 Alert level 1 or lower).
So it's fitting perhaps that an update to the Peter Stuart NZ Games database is now available. See the Peter Stuart database page. The update includes many recently rediscovered early games of NZ's only Grandmaster, NZCF President Murray Chandler, plus games from the recent NZ Chess Bulletin, plus some additional recent online interclub games. Finally Greek chess scholar Spyridon Louris has provided a valuable supplement to the historical game collection, 34 complete games from the 17th NZ Congress held in Wellington in the summer of 1904-05. These games were transcribed from contemporary accounts, thank you Spyridon.
2020 JETS Junior Training Opportunity Rebooted
Update June 29th: The players selected are: Girls Nicole Qin and Isabelle Ning; Boys Felix Xie and Josia Vickers.
The New Zealand Chess Federation is pleased to announce that we have the opportunity for four young New Zealand players to join the Australian JETS (Junior Elite Training Squad) Online training session to be held on July 7th 2020. Note: Applications close June 25th.
For more information and to apply for one of the spots please download the application form.
Guidelines for Over the Board Chess at Covid-19 Level 1
NZCF has published some guidelines for over the board chess here.
NZCF Official Interschools Competition 2020 restarts
Due to the Government moving to Covid-19 Level one as of 9th June, the New Zealand Chess Federation Interschools committee has taken the decision to immediately restart this popular nationalwide competition. There are some minor changes to cater for time lost:
- Regional Qualification events will now have until 22nd August to take place (an extension of one week).
- Qualified teams intending to play in the Finals in Mount Maunganui must register by 8th September (an extension of one week).
- Where it is no longer possible for a Regional Qualification event to be staged, the Interschools Committee may select teams from that Region for the final.
Chess Clubs to re-open under Covid-19 Level One
Today the Government announced that, with zero active cases of Covid-19, New Zealand would be moving to Level One from midnight tonight. The Government website states that “At Alert Level 1, everyone can return without restriction to work, school, sports and domestic travel, and you can get together with as many people as you want”.
There are no mandatory Social Distancing rules, though the Government website suggests continuing to keep track of where we’ve been and who we’ve seen to assist with rapid contact tracing if it is required.
Therefore from tomorrow there is no Government restriction and chess clubs are free to open again.
Individual Clubs may wish to consider taking various hygiene measures involving extra cleaning going forward. NZCF Council will be having an e-meeting this week to consider whether to publish a list of guidelines for this specific to chess.
Murray Chandler, NZCF President
(This website will be returning to normal operation soon - with the calendar being unfrozen, and hopefully with normal chess activity beginning to be logged once again. Thank you for your patience and good behaviour during these difficult times)
Meanwhile, New Zealand seems to be on a path to Covid-19 Alert Level 1, which hopefully will mean a return to normal chess activity in this part of the world at least. For the moment, we are still enjoying a lot of light online entertainment, and some highlights have been captured in a new issue of the NZ Chess Bulletin.
Auckland Chess Centre won another closely contested online interclub event on Tuesday 26th May. See the online interclub page for a summary, and PGNs with real player names. The NZCF online chess club was very poorly represented this time sadly, after strong showings before. Please take the time to sign up and support their online events.
Online Chess Update
As previously reported, the Asian Chess Federation are running an Asian Junior Championship online. There has been plenty of interest locally, and so we are running a New Zealand Qualifier event on Saturday 16th May to find the three local representatives. Get your entries in quickly because they close on Friday 15th May at 5pm (just a day after posting this, things move fast online!). Qualifier information is here, the qualifier Vega link is here. the Asian Junior Championship overview is here, and the detailed regulations are here.
Update: The Asian Junior Championship overview, and detailed regulations have both changed substantially the day before the previously announced close of entries! Changes include prize money, time control and a separate girls competition. Never-the-less congratulations to Daniel Gong (1st, 7/7), Allen Fan and Michael Sole (2nd= 5/7) who qualified for the open competition from our qualifier held on Saturday 16th May. The event went well considering this was a first for an event of this type in New Zealand. Many thanks to Matt McNabb, Timothy Ha and especially arbiter Craig Hall who shouldered extra burdens (technology quirks etc) and handled them all with aplomb. Full results on Vega, official event PGN here.
Another entertaining interclub event was held on Tuesday 12th May, with Auckland Chess Centre emerging victorious, but notable showings from Hamilton and New Plymouth Chess Clubs. More details are available on the online interclub page. The NZCF online chess club had another strong outing. Remember that the NZCF club holds individual tournaments on alternate Tuesdays. The next event on Tuesday 19th May is a Swiss not an Arena, a new Lichess feature. The time control is 5+3, which will appeal to players who want a bit more time than a normal blitz game.
Announcement from the New Zealand Chess Federation re Covid-19 Level 2
The anticipated upcoming transition to Level 2 restrictions will not affect the current position for chess. No official NZCF over-the-board chess tournaments or NZCF/FIDE rated games will take place in New Zealand on Level 2. Two further upcoming tournaments have now been cancelled, the New Zealand Junior Championship, and the North island Championship, both scheduled for this July.
Because chess is a game where the players sit indoors in close proximity, over lengthy periods, NZCF Council takes the view that New Zealand needs to move to Level 1 before official tournament competition can resume.
Asian Junior Championship (Online!)
The Asian Chess Federation in cooperation with Chess.com have announced that they will organize official Asian chess championships online in various categories starting with the Asian Junior Chess Championship 27 May-3 June 2020.
The competition format will begin with seven Zonal championships daily from 27th May to 2nd June 2020. Each federation can field up to 3 players aged under-20 to the multi-federation Zonals. The top 3 of each Zone qualify into the Finals. Both stages will be 7-round Swiss System tournaments. Eliglble NZL registered junior players interested in playing as New Zealand reps should email Craig Hall at email@example.com as soon as possible.
It is quite likely that a qualifier and/or a New Zealand practice tournament will be run by NZCF before the event proper. Playing conditions will require players to be visible at all times using an on-screen camera using Zoom.
Further information will be published here as it becomes available, we apologise for the late
notice which was due to circumstances beyond our control.
Update: More information is now available. Overview here, detailed regulations here, qualifier information here, qualifier Vega link here.
NZCF Committee for Online Chess
NZCF Councillors have voted to approve the setting up of an official committee with the following members.
- Craig Hall (Chairman)
- Bill Forster
- Timothy Ha
- Matthew McNabb
- Michael Sole
The committee members have been working together on an informal basis for a while now, resulting in the NZCF online club and the NZCF online interclub competition. Look out for more initiatives soon, as we join the world wide trend to move chess online temporarily.
The first official NZCF interclub blitz competition was completed successfully on Tuesday 28th April.
Fittingly perhaps, the NZCF team overtook Wellington Chess Club in the last seconds to win in dramatic
fashion. You can read more about the
Representative Honours Board
Thanks to Michael Freeman who has collated the playing statistics of every player to have represented New Zealand. The results are presented on a new Representative Honours Board page in the History section of the website. As well as the statistics, Michael supplied some nice team photographs (Paul Spiller joined the party and supplied the second Skopje 1972 photograph), which appear at the end of the page. If you have formal staged photographs of historical interest, either from international or domestic events, please email them to the web administrator to be considered for publication.
NZCF Sanctioned Online Interclub
An official NZCF online interclub competition has been organised, see online-interclub.html.
Any club in New Zealand can participate. Every player can participate too, even if your club isn't participating directly you can
still play as a member of the
Update 27 April 2020: The first match is coming up fast and there are now 10 clubs entered. It's not too late to get involved, but don't leave it to the last minute! The great majority of players have ignored my pleas to use their real name, and consequently the chat will be full of "Who is XenaWarriorPrincess2003?" etc. and in general no one will know who anyone else is. You were warned.
Auckland v Wellington v Christchurch Online Chess Match
Another inter city/club chess match was played on Lichess on Easter Monday. Link here.
These matches are likely to become regular events, look out for announcements on The Online Page.
Here is a PGN of the earlier Auckland v Wellington clash. PGN games with internet handles have very little long term interest or value, so this PGN sees all such handles replaced with real player names. This policy meant I had to discard games for which I didn't know who both players actually were. Please, don't be a part of this problem, play under your actual name - or, at the very least add your name to your Lichess profile so I can track you down. I will make a similar PGN for the Easter Monday battle and I will regenerate the Auckland v Wellington PGN if more mystery players let me know who they are. Late update: Timothy Ha livestreamed the Auck v Wgtn match and a recording is available here!
Local Online Chess Directory
To reflect the sudden interest in playing local chess online, a new NZ Chess Online directory page has been setup. It's a bit bare at the moment, I am relying on being informed of local initiatives so I can list them in this central place.
Olympiad 2021 Team Will Be Reselected
NZCF announces that regrettably the 2020 NZ Olympiad selections are annulled due to circumstances beyond everyone’s control, A new selection procedure will take in due course, possibly at the end of the year, assuming the Olympiad is able to take place in 2021. NZCF sympathises with the affected players, but as any replacement event will be a minimum of 18 months after the original applications, this is just too big a gap.
In the event of the selectors having to choose between two very close candidates for the 2021 Olympiad, they may give preference to the one from the 2020 team.
Auckland v Wellington Online Chess Match
With Covid-19 having shut down traditional over-the-board chess in the meantime (see announcements below), players and administrators are looking to see what can be organised online. On April 1st at 7:30pm Auckland is taking on the Wellington Chess Club in a two hour online blitz match. If you feel an affiliation to either city, consider playing! Update: there's a short match report on the new NZ Chess Online directory page. Also, here is some information about how you might get your local club running at least partially online during the lockdown period.
COVID-19 announcement from the New Zealand Chess Federation
In view of the COVID-19 virus situation, and in line with New Zealand Government advice on preventing transmission, the New Zealand Chess Federation Council passes the following resolution:
1. All NZCF Regional Interschools events for 2020 are cancelled until further notice
2. NZCF does not sanction or support the staging of any tournaments in New Zealand until further notice. Any such tournaments that take place will not be rated or recognised by the Federation, and no such events scheduled prior to 30th June shall be advertised on the NZCF Calendar.
3. NZCF strongly advises all Chess Clubs, whether affiliated to NZCF or not, to suspend activities.
It is with great regret that NZCF Council takes such a step. As chess is a game where the two players sit in close proximity of each other for lengthy periods of time, NZCF Council feels it appropriate to err on the side of caution in these unprecedented times.
NZCF Council will review the position at the end of June 2020.
NZCF announces 2020 Grand Prix cancelled 17/03/2020
After consultation with the sponsors, NZCF Council has taken the difficult decision to cancel the NZ Chess Grand Prix for 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Already two significant 2020 events (the New Zealand Senior and the Latvian) have been postponed/cancelled, and many chess clubs have taken the decision to shut doors temporarily. It is by now abundantly clear that 2020 is going to be a time of extraordinary challenges, especially for the staging of public events for which people are required to travel.
Our sponsors Michael Freeman (Poison Pawn) and Martin Dreyer (D & D Financial Consultants Ltd) have both provided extremely generous past support for the annual Grand Prix, for which the chess community are most grateful. Michael advises that he hopes to stage a final type of special Poison Pawn event in 2021.
COVID-19: Asian Chess Federation Postpones All Events
Announcement from Murray Chandler, NZCF President 13/3/2020
The COVID-19 virus – now officially a pandemic – has already resulted in numerous overseas chess tournament postponements or cancellations. Now the Asian Chess Federation has sent an official notification to NZCF that all of their events will be postponed to await developments. The first affected will be the Asian Amateur in Oman, which had been scheduled for April. The announcement can be seen here.
NZCF has not received any notification from FIDE, the World Chess Federation, regarding the status of the Moscow Olympiad in August. New Zealand would normally have a squad of about 15 players, officials and accompanying persons attending. Given that many large international sporting events are currently postponing competitions, and travel restrictions are ramping up worldwide, we are currently contacting selected players to advise they do not book tickets at this stage. We will keep players updated with news as it is received from FIDE. (Update 25/3/2020, the Olympiad has been postponed for a year).
Update 3 17/3/2020. The 2020 Wellington Open has been cancelled.
Update 2 16/3/2020. The Latvian Rapid scheduled for this weekend has been postponed. Please read the thoughtful announcement by Martin Dreyer on the calendar.
Update 1 15/3/2020. The NZ Senior Championships have now been postponed until September, see the calendar. This is unlikely to be the last effect of the Covid-19 Pandemic on the domestic schedule. Further changes will be prominently reported here if and when they occur.
Final 2019 Grand Prix Results
2019 Grand Prix Standings are now available on the Grand Prix page. Look for the 2019 Reports section. Just a reminder that the recent 2020 national congress also counts as a 2019 Grand Prix event.
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.
This year Michael Steadman takes out the top prize of $1500, with Evan Capel a close second.
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. Michael has also taken on the not inconsiderable burden of Grand Prix administration and calculation.
The official prizegiving will be at the Latvian Rapid on
March 21st (see the Calendar). If you've won a prize email the
NZCF Treasurer Winsome Stretch at
to discuss collecting your prize.
GM Vasily Papin's NZ Photo Essay
Russian Grandmaster Vasily Papin has been a distinguished visitor and competitor in the two most recent New Zealand summer seasons. To document his most recent trip here he has put together a skilful, affectionate and rather poetic collection of captioned photographs on his website here. Highly recommended.
JETS Junior Training Opportunity
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 Queensland from July 4th to 9th 2020. Note: Applications close March 15th.
For more information and to apply for one of the spots please download the application form.
Olympiad 2020 Teams Announcement
The New Zealand Chess Federation has selected the following teams to participate in the 44th World Chess Olympiad, Moscow, RUSSIA August 1st-15th 2020. See also the Olympiad Page.
Open Team (in provisional Board order)
1 Ben Hague
2 Russell Dive
3 Scott Wastney
4 Daniel Gong
5 John Duneas
Captain: Dejan Bojkov
Women’s Team (in confirmed Board Order)
1 Helen Milligan
2 Jasmine Zhang
3 Isabelle Ning
4 Nicole Qin
5 Nadia Braganza
Captain: Herman van Riemsdijk
Hawkes Bay Rapid
FM Bob Smith scored a picket fence at this year's Hawkes Bay Rapid. Full results on the Results Page. In this photo (credit: Bruce Pollard) Bob and the other prize winners can be seen with age appropriate supplementary prizes. I suspect most of the juniors here already know how to beat their Dads actually.
The ever popular Bay of Plenty Rapid is up next, on February 29th. See the calendar for full details.
New Zealand Games Database Updated
A February 2020 update to the NZ Games database (originally created by the late Peter Stuart and now free and maintained by NZCF) is available. The update features 677 new games from tournaments since the July 2019 update. There are also ongoing consistency and name harmonisation refinements to the underlying database itself. You can download, in Chessbase or PGN format, from the History page.
The 127th Congress is complete. Congratulations to FM Bob Smith and his team for a very successful event.
Full results (and a few more photos) are available on the Results Page.
Some other handy links;
Live games: Open, Major Open, Junior Open.
Follow on Vega: Open, Major Open, Rapid, Lightning, Junior.
George Trundle Masters
Since the first George Trundle Masters was held in 2006, this tournament (running at the Auckland Chess Centre from January 4th 2020) has become an important feature of chess in New Zealand. Before the "George", IM Norm opportunities for NZ players were few and far between. The late George Trundle (1918-2011, pictured), changed that by sponsoring this tournament, and his bequest continues to fund it. George Trundle was an officer and a gentleman, and a hugely popular figure in the local chess community. He loved chess more than most, after learning the game helped him get through World War II as a prisoner in the challenging environment of Stalag VII A. Hopefully this superb tournament will continue to honour his memory for many years to come.
An archive of all NZCF website front page stories since 2007 is available here.