NZ's top chess players converge on Christchurch

We have Sevens, Twenty20 and Fast5 netball - and now Lightning chess is attracting a new generation to the game.

Christchurch recently hosted the 129th New Zealand Chess Congress for the first time in 20 years. And among the tournaments at Riccarton Park from January 2-12 were the 'time controlled' Fast chess formats: Lightning and Rapid. 

Five national titles and a regional one were up for grabs at the 129th congress, with players competing in the NZ Championship, NZ Major Open, NZ Rapid Championship, NZ Lightning Championship, NZ Junior and Age Group Championships, and Canterbury Open.

Competitors, aged from eight to 78-years-old, battled their way around 64 squares to find the best of the best.

New Zealand Chess Federation president Nigel Metge said it was great to be back in Christchurch, which was where the silver rook trophy was presented to the first winner in 1879 - 140 years ago.

He said chess has become a young person's game, with thousands of school children now playing at organised events.

In NZ Rapid chess, players have 25 minutes for each game with an additional five seconds per move starting from move one.

NZ Lightning chess consists of three-minute games with an additional two seconds per move starting from move one.

Prizewinners:

 

TournamentPositionPointsPlayer
Canterbury Open   
 1st equal4.5/5Hao Tang
 1st equal4.5/5Benedict Suazo
 3rd3/5Hamish R Gold
NZ Junior   
Joint NZ Junior Champion, Joint NZ Schoolpupils Champion.1st equal6/7Gavith Dharmasena
Joint NZ Junior Champion, Joint NZ Schoolpupils Champion, Under 16 Champion.1st equal6/7Ollie Archer
NZ Schoolgirls Champion, Under 14 Champion.3rd equal5/7WCM Isabelle Yixuan Ning
 3rd equal5/7Jonathon Hookings
Joint Under 12 Champion10th equal4/7William Rui Liu
Joint Under 12 Champion10th equal4/7Emily Gan
Joint Under 12 Champion10th equal4/7Ryan Hwang
Under 10 Champion10th equal4/7Justin Zhide Wang
Under 8 Champion18th equal3/7Leo Yitao Lian
NZ Championship   
NZ Chess Champion1st7.5/9FM Daniel Hanwen Gong
 2nd7/9CM Felix Xie
 3rd equal6/9IM Anthony F Ker
 3rd equal6/9FM Nicholas Croad
 5th equal5.5/9IM Russell J Dive
 5th equal5.5/9Matthew D McNabb
 Under 2200 equal5/9Michael D Sole
 Under 2200 equal5/9CM Edward Rains
 Under 2200 equal5/9Ryan Winter
Major Open   
NZ Major Open Champion1st7.5/9Euan McDougall
 2nd7/9Karl Holdo
 3rd6.5/9Kian Dharmasena
 Under 17005.5/9Emily Gan
 Under 1400 equal4.5/9Levi Paxton
 Under 1400 equal4.5/9Tawan Sunathvanichkul
NZ Lightning   
NZ Lightning Champion1st8.5/9CM Felix Xie
 2nd8/9FM Daniel Hanwen Gong
 3rd7/9IM Russell J Dive
 Under 20006.5/9Thomas Van der Hoorn
 Under 1700 equal6/9Ryan Winter
 Under 1700 equal6/9WCM Isabelle Yixuan Ning
 Under 14006/9Emily Gan
NZ Rapid   
NZ Rapid Champion1st8/9IM Russell J Dive
 2nd equal7/9WCM Isabelle Yixuan Ning
 2nd equal7/9CM Felix Xie
 2nd equal7/9Michael D Sole
 Under 20006/9Gavith Dharmasena
 Under 17005/9Justin Zhide Wang
 Under 1400 equal4.5/9Barry R Hooton
 Under 1400 equal4.5/9Wayne McDougall
 Under 1400 equal4.5/9Yeqing Zhu
 Under 1400 equal4.5/9Weiyang Yu
 Under 1400 equal4.5/9Alexandre De Maupeou D'ableiges

-Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

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