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After consulatation the 2018 Calendar has been approved; see website for details.
Our first meeting is 6 February: AGM and Ladder games.

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.

The last four rounds have been pretty hard on Ross.  Unfortunately he has only been able to pick up a draw, suffering 3 losses.  This has seen him slide down the table to 35th place on 2 points. Also a mixed bag of result for Alan.   After shooting up the top of the table with 3 wins from the first 3 games, Alan found it was tough at the top, with two consecutive losses.  The pressure experienced over our club championships proved to invaluable and he was able to bounce back with two big wins elevating him to 3rd position and in with a chance to win the tournament.  His last game against Wellington Club Player Michael Sole, turn out to be a 80 move, 5 ½ Hours marathon. Coming away with a win was extremely satisfying for him.

The last two days of the 2018 NZ Chess Champs have been a mixed bag for our two entrants. Round 3 Saw Ross gain his first win. Playing White against Nicole Qin of Auckland.  Though Miss Qin put up a good fight, Ross seemed to have control of the game.

A good Round for Alan who was drawn against one of the two Australians in the tournament, Bevan Clouston.   Alan didn’t disappoint and came away with a good win.  Playing black with the Sicilian Defence he had a little luck when his opponent missed a good sacrifice on f7 and shortly after made an error in trying the move when Alan was in a better position to defend, by exchanging his Queen for two Rooks.

Round 4 Saw Ross also playing an overseas visitor playing White against a German WFM Manuetta Schmitz. Unfortunately the tournament has not published this game.  From viewing the Board it was a fairly even contest and eventually both agreed to a draw.  This result gave Ross 2 pts from 4 and places him =17th. Not a good Round for Alan who was drawn against one of the top seeds in the tournament, Martin Post of Wanganui.   With both players on 3 pts, the winner would lead the tournament outright. Playing his Favourite London System opening, Alan got off to a good start and held the initiative all through the game, culminating in a break through after 23 moves.   However, after all his hard work, and in a complete control of the game, made one of the most basic errors in chess.   Moving on impulse without considering his opponents reply he lost a piece to check.!!

 Happy New Year to All

Some of you will know that the NZ Chess Championships are underway in Palmerston North and two club members are taking part.  Alan Winfield and Ross Jackson. Ross is playing in the NZ Open and Is seeded 30th  in a field of 38 players and Alan is seeded 12th  in a field of 44 players in the Major Open. Here’s how Ross and Alan went:

NZ Open Round 1 – Ross Jackson
Ross’ first match was against one of NZ senior players ‘Bob Smith” who with a rating of 2201 almost 200 pts higher than Ross, was going to be a challenge.  Ross rose to this extremely well and came away with a highly credible draw.

NZ Major Open Round 1– Alan Winfield
Being in the top half of the draw, Alan had a little easier pairing against John Lui a Junior at Auckland Chess Club.  Coming away with an expected victory was a good way to start the tournament. 

NZ Open Round 2 – Ross Jackson
The 2nd round for was again a tough one with him drawn against Belgian Fide Master   Johan Goormachtigh, Despite a solid game the Belgium took the game.  With a draw and  loss Ross stands at 27th place.   Flying the flag for our region, IMs Anthony Ker and Russell Dive are in a 3 way tie at the top.

NZ Major Open Round 2 – Alan Winfield
Round 2 saw Alan drawn White against Oliver Dai of Howick -Pakuranga .   Using his favourite London System Opening Oliver succumbed to king side pressure and blundered a piece after 17 moves.  The game carried on for a further 20 moves before Black finally resigned.