Sunday, 13 January 2013

NZ Champs Photos

The NZ Championships in Wellington have come to an end. Congratulations to the winners, and thanks to everyone who took part.
All results can be found here, at the Wellington Chess Club Official Championship Website

I loved in particular seeing the spirit with which the contest was fought, and friendships being forged across the chessboard.

These lovely pictures were taken by Matt Veldhuizen

Layla Timergazi and Alanna Chew Lee

William Li and Hans Gao

Thanks are due in particular to:

- Bruce Pollard for his expert and seamless direction of the tournaments
- Bill Forster who did an absolutely amazing job of publishing results and games, not to mention tackling the slightly temperamental live web broadcasting equipment. He was invariably first in and last out of the venue, which maybe dented his chances of taking the title
- Alan Aldridge and Ross Jackson for organising the venue, which, I thought, was pretty much ideal for the needs of the competition
- Ross Jackson and Brian Nijman for coordinating the whole organisational effort
- Andrew Brockway for handling the financial aspects

Bruce Pollard doing what he does so well
There were some great results from juniors throughout the competitions, and in particular I was impressed with Max Chew Lee (of course!), winner of the Major Open, also the friendly and unflappable Rains brothers Timothy and Edward, Jack James from the Palmerston North club, Daniel Gong, our own Layla Timergazi, and the diminutive Aaron Wang. All the very best to these and the other juniors in their future chess careers!

Aaron Wang struggles to record his result

Josh Wight, up and coming Wellington player

Here are a couple of links to photo collections from the competition (thanks Simon Lyall and Guy Burns)

Simon Lyall's collection

Guy Burns' collection

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Final - Seven Wins in a Row Wastney!

Scott finished in style, winning his last game and scoring a phenomenal 10 out of 11, with the last seven games all being won! Congratulations Scott, an overwhelming and truly deserved victory.
Congratulations also to Max Chew Lee who defeated Daniel Gong in the last round and won comfortably in the Major Open.

Thanks Matt Veldhuizen for the photos

Max Chew Lee receives trophy from Wellington Club President Ross Jackson

Ross with 2013 NZ Chess Champion Scott Wastney

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Round 10 - Scott Clinches Title

Congratulations Scott Wastney, New Zealand champion with a round to spare! Today he unleashed a ferocious attack out of nowhere on Mark van der Hoorn's king side formation and finished the game in style, leaving him two points ahead of the opposition with one round to go.

Ben Hague looked like he was trying to "do a Wastney" on Athula Russell, storming out on the black side of a QGA, but he miscalculated and lost a Rook.

Scores going into the last round:
Wastney 9/10
Green 7/10
Hague, Smith 6.5/10
Steadman, Nijman 6/10
Russell 5.5/10
Ker, Goodhue, Forster, Van der Hoorn 5/10
Fuatai 4.5/10
Thomas, Li 4/10
Stuart 3.5/10
Nyberg 3/10
Milligan 2.5/10
Reedy 2/10

Max Chew Lee is now leading the Major Open tournament, as he beat Auckland's Simon Lyall in round 10, and Edward Rains lost to David Paul. Timothy Rains won against Jack James and sneaked a half point ahead of his brother. An exciting finish in store here, but Max has got to be the favourite.

Round 9 - and Ker Makes 5

Scott Wastney defeated the New Zealand number 1 Anthony Ker in round nine, and thus increased his winning streak to five in a row, against some of the brightest names in New Zealand chess. This last game was an intensely fought battle on the queen side which eventually simplified down to a Rook and pawn ending. Scott had a powerful passed pawn on the c file and Anthony's King was stuck on the back rank. Another impressive win by Scott.
His nearest challenger, Ben Hague, only managed a draw against Mark van der Hoorn so the gap has widened to 1.5 points, with only 2 rounds to go. And all the highest rated players have played each other now, so theoretically their games should get easier.
Brian Nijman got a good result to defeat the reigning NZ Champion Mike Steadman, but I haven't seen the game yet so cannot comment on it

Leading scores after 9 rounds:
Scott Wastney 8/9
Ben Hague, Ewen Green 6.5/9
Bob Smith 6/9

Thanks to Matt Veldhuizen for the pictures below, taken in the analysis room - click on the image to make larger

Andrew McIntosh and Alanna Chew Lee

Bill Forster and Helen Milligan

In the Major Open there were mostly draws at the top, only Timothy Rains managing to sneak up a notch, with a win against Layla Timergazi. Going into the penultimate round we have Edward Rains and Max Chew Lee neck and neck for the title, with these necks being breathed down by Jack James and Timothy Rains

Leading scores in the Major Open:
Max Chew Lee, Edward Rains 7/9
Jack James, Timothy Rains 6.5/9
Ross Jackson, David Paul, Simon Lyall 6/9

Monday, 7 January 2013

Round 8 - Wastney Strikes Again

Scott's remarkable string of wins continues. He is playing like a crazed carnivorous beast, and the local wildebeest don't seem to have any means of holding him in check. For a while it looked as though Nathan Goodhue was going to be disposed of even quicker than his previous three victims, but he put up a grim resistance, even threatening some counterplay at one stage, before playing inaccurately in the ending.

Round 9 could be interesting. Ben Hague, the only player who can seriously challenge Scott at this stage, has already played all the highest ranked players, but Scott will have to play number 1 seed Anthony Ker tomorrow. This is a tough result to predict, but remember that Scott won their previous encounter in the Julian Mazur Memorial tournament only a little over a month ago. If Scott can win again this time then victory in the championship is surely in sight.

Mike Steadman and Ewen Green played an 18 move draw, so now Ben Hague has second place all to himself.

Leading scores are
Scott Wastney 7/8
Ben Hague 6/8
Ewen Green 5.5/8
Mike Steadman, Bob Smith 5/8

Here are a couple of games from round 8. Mark van der Hoorn appeared to be in trouble to start with against Athula Russell, but turned the tables and finished the game off very attractively

The Major Open is also very interesting. Just as it seemed that the young Australian Max Chew Lee was going to run away with it, he was stopped in his tracks by the number 2 seed Edward Rains. Now they are level pegging on 6.5/8 with 3 rounds to go

It's a very encouraging sign for the future of chess in our region that the top 5 players in the Major Open (by tiebreak) are all juniors.
Leading scores:
Max Chew Lee, Edward Rains 6.5/8
Jack James 6/8
Layla Timergazi, Timothy Rains, Ross Jackson, David Paul, Simon Lyall 5.5/8

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Round 7 - Wastney Extends Lead

Scott Wastney took 26 moves to dispose of Bob Smith, 3 more than required for his previous two opponents! Could he be slowing down??

Ben Hague ground out a win against Brian Nijman, Ewen Green had another draw, this time against Nathan Goodhue, and Mike Steadman bounced back with a win over Athula Russell.
The leading scores are:
Scott Wastney 6/7
Ewen Green, Ben Hague 5/7
Mike Steadman 4.5/7

Thanks once again to Matt Veldhuizen for the photos below

Don Stracy beating Anton Reid in the Major Open

Ker vs Van der Hoorn (draw)

Nijman vs Hague (win to Ben Hague)

In the Major Open Max Chew Lee finally had to concede a half point, against Ross Jackson. He is still a whole point in the lead, though, as his nearest rival, Timothy Rains, was beaten by his own brother!
Leading scores:
Max Chew Lee 6.5/7
Edward Rains 5.5/7
Jack James, Layla Timergazi, Timothy Rains, Ross Jackson, David Paul 5/7

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Round 6 - Wastney Leads alone

Scott Wastney

Scott Wastney is now leading the NZ Championships in Wellington with a score of 5/6. He has won his last 2 games both in 23 moves in brilliant fashion. Here is today's effort

 Brian Nijman had a bit of pressure against the other leader going into round 6, but couldn't convert and it ended up a draw

Leading scores: Scott Wastney 5/6
Ewen Green 4.5/6
Ben Hague, Brian Nijman, Bob Smith 4/6
Anthony Ker suffered a third defeat, this time at the hands of Ben Hague. It's going to be very hard for him to regain his title now.

Max Chew Lee

In the Major Open the remarkable Max Chew Lee from Australia won again, so he remains the only player on full points. Today he defeated Layla Timergazi, and tomorrow he will face the highest ranked player in the group, Ross Jackson (sitting behind him in the pic)

Friday, 4 January 2013

Round 5, Wastney and Green Break Away

Bob Smith against Mike Steadman ended in a draw, although I really liked Mike's position better. The other two games in the leading pack were decisive, with Scott Wastney winning brilliantly and Ewen Green winning mysteriously! Scott and Ewen now lead the field with 4/5.



 Thanks to Matt Veldhuizen for these portraits:

Athula Russell

William Li

Helen Milligan

In the Major Open there is still one player left on 100% - Max Chew Lee from Australia. He inflicted a first defeat on Cantabrian Timothy Rains, and as a reward gets to play against Wellington Chess Club's Layla Timergazi. Apart from Layla and Timothy, Arie Nijman (father of Brian) is also up there on 4/5.
Here is Max conjuring up a win in a Bishop and pawn ending, against Jack James in round 4

Thursday, 3 January 2013

More photos from the Championship

Thanks to Simon Lyall for these, taken at the start of round 2

Athula Russell from Sri Lanka

Top female player Helen Milligan
Brendan Reedy, who has won his last 2 games

Hero of round 1 Brian Nijman

Joshua Wight playing in the Major Open

The photographer photographed - Matt Veldhuizen

Layla Timergazi, still very much in contention

Round 4 - Six Players Share Lead

Nobody has yet managed to stamp their authority on the Championship, and now there are no fewer than six players on 3/4, a third of the field! I was very interested in Hague versus Wastney, it looked to my untrained eye as if Scott was in a lot of trouble as his King position was exposed and Ben's rooks looked menacing doubled on the f file. However it turns out that Scott if anything had the slight advantage - it was agreed a draw in the end.
Anthony had another accident this time against Mike Steadman. A rather violent Pirc led to a Rook and pawn endgame where Mike was a pawn up, which he converted for the win.

We are privileged to have one of Sri Lanka's leading players in the tournament, Athula Russell. Here he is winning against Peter Stuart in round 3

In the Major Open there are still 2 players on 100%, Timothy Rains from Canterbury and Max Chew Lee of Australia. These two players will face each other tomorrow

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Round 3 - Wastney, Green Catch Leaders

We made it to the Dominion Post! Check out the story here:

Ewen Green and Scott Wastney caught the leaders Ben Hague and Bob Smith in the 3rd round of the NZ Championship by beating Wellington players Bill Forster and Brian Nijman respectively. The four of them are on 2.5/3, with top seed Anthony Ker half a point behind.

In the Major Open there are still three players on 3/3, Timothy Rains from Canterbury, Jack James from Palmerston North and Max Chew Lee from Australia. Top Wellington player is Layla Timergazi on 2.5.

I can't really comment on any of the games as I was only there for a few minutes today. Thanks very much to Matt Veldhuizen for taking the pictures below.

Strong contender for the title, Ben Hague

Defending champion Mike Steadman from Auckland

Promising junior from Auckland Nicole Shu Yan Qin

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Round 2 - Hague and Smith Lead

Only 2 players are left on 100% after 2 rounds of the NZ Championships, Ben Hague and Bob Smith, and they will play each other tomorrow. Ben Hague won a brilliant victory against defending NZ Champion Mike Steadman, and I have included this below. Another result worthy of note was Bill's disrespectful treatment of his former coach Mark van der Hoorn, and I have managed to get the score of that one too!

In the Major Open there are 8 players tied on 2/2, including Wellington's own 11 year old star Layla Timergazi, and all round nice bloke Jonathon Whittle.

If you are playing at the tournament and you have a game you would like to annotate and share, please send it to me and I will publish it on this page. Email to

Many thanks once again to Matt Veldhuizen for providing the photography.

Bill Forster doing his thing

The CQ Hotel Cuba Street Wellington

Another view of the venue