Well it is all over and the dust has settled on a very competitive NZ Congress
NZ Open Championship – Ross Jackson
By volunteering to be elevated into the NZ Open to even out both tournaments, Ross really put himself in the firing line, competing with both Male and Female International Chess Masters. To his credit he beat those rated below him and took very credible draws from much stronger opposition, especially in the first round against FM Robert Smith, a 2200+ rated player who finished 7th. Finishing in 30th place on 3.5 pts in a strong field, though he would have wanted to score higher, this is a respectable score. Well Done Ross.
NZ Major Open Championship – Alan Winfield
Alans penultimate Game against the tournament Leader, Leon Kempen was not an easy one, especially when Alan, overestimating his attacking chances, let his Queens Knight get trapped on its home square!!. Not a good plan. To his credit he battled on and obtained 2 central pawns for the Knight. Though with good play White should have gone on to win the game, an error in the ending allowed Alan to sacrifice a pawn, and counter attack with his King, forcing white to go into a drawn ending. The draw kept Alan in the mix just one point behind the leader and half a point behind the leading NZers (Highest NZ player wins Major OpenTitle).
Round 9 saw Alan drawn against up and coming Wgtn player Sarah Yan who was playing well above her rating in the tournament with a score of 5 points. The way the draw came out meant anyone in the top 7 could win or share the tournament. Though Alan saved his best till last, with a very controlled victory of Sarah, other results did not go his way, with both the top two seeds wining their games and taking out both the Tournament (Australian – Leon Kempen) and the Major Championship – Aucklander Stanley Lee. All was not lost for Alan however. His strong finish with the draw against Leon and the win over Sarah, elevated him into 3rd place–well done Alan.