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GM Gawain Jones visits Club, Fischer Random night, and North Island Champs

It was fantastic to have a visit to the Club this week from GM Gawain Jones and his family. With a current FIDE rating of 2670, Gawain is amongst the top 70 current players in the World. He comes fresh from another picket fence performance on his current trip to New Zealand, taking out the North Island Championship last weekend in Wellington. Here he is seen with his wife, WIM Sue Maroroa, and Wellington Club President and Kāpiti member Ross Jackson – teaching baby Jones some essential early life skills.

In addition to Gawain, four Kāpiti Club members and some 87 other Chess players all congregated at the Naumi Hotel in Cuba Street, Wellington over Easter weekend for the North Island Championship. This was a huge turnout played over a single grade, with some 13 FIDE titled players, 5 current and past NZ champions, and a median tournament rating over 1800. It was great weekend, with the famous Cuba Street buzz  adding to the occasion. While not amongst any prizes, Kāpiti players (Stewart Holdaway, David Scott, Ross Jackson and Geoffrey Gunawan), still held their own against the competition. For a full report on the event, including links to games, see here and here

Photo: Geoffrey appears to provides his opponent with some amusement with his Round 5 opening choice. 1. e4 e5 2. Ke2.

Meanwhile, we took a break from serious chess this week, to try our first ever night of Fischer Random chess. Every board for each round started with the same randomised starting position, and it was fascinating to see how differently opening strategy and games diverged on each board. It was an interesting and fun night for most, as the strange starting positions threw memory of openings away and challenged players to rely more on first principles. For some, it did not always pay off, as the victim of this incredible four-way fork found out.

More photos can be found here.