A good start for 2021, with three tournaments coming!

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The casual night on Jan 18 was good, we had a 9-round blitz tournament, with six (!) new players in the club, years of birth ranging from 1944 to 2010. FM Alphaeus Ang won without any problems, 9.0/9. Rauen Le Grange finished second with 8.0/9 (losing only to Alphaeus) and Jordan Lewis on 7.0/9 (losing only to the two leaders).

Vega: https://www.aucklandchess.nz/vega/2021/wwwCasual20210118/standing.html
Some photos of the night (mums played chess to entertain the kid that had a bye!)

Next Monday, Jan 25 is the 9-round FIDE-rated blitz. Please text/email/message Tim Ha to register. Current registrations are online: https://www.aucklandchess.nz/vega/2021/wwwACCJanuaryBlitz/playersname.html

After that, the club will be closed for two Mondays until Feb 15, but for a very good reason: TWO back-to-back weekend tournaments will be held in the club venue. They are:

  1. Auckland Anniversary Weekender, Jan 30, Jan 31, Feb 1, a 6-round classical tournament, 90+30.
  2. Waitangi Day Weekender, Feb 6, Feb 7, Feb 8, another 6-round classical tournament, 90+30.

Please register via the links on NewZealandChess.nz.

New calendar, new captain – please make contact

2021’s calendar of Auckland Chess Centre is up.

With most people traveling or attending the New Zealand Congress in Palmerston North early January, the club will resume on Jan 18.

Please also note: the new club captain is Timothy Ha. During the next few weeks please send Tim your contact details via Facebook or email timothyha at gmail or text via phone O21-O88O-1O35. Please state the following information:

  • your name (and your child’s name, if you’re a chess parent) as registered with either FIDE and/or NZCF
  • the mobile number for text messages during club nights, so you can inform Tim of your absence (or your child’s) and he can recognise you


First several weeks of 2021:

  • Jan 18 — a casual night
  • Jan 25 — 9 rounds of 3+2 blitz, FIDE-rated
  • Then two back-to-back weekenders, held at ACC!
    Jan 30 – Feb 1, Auckland Anniversary Weekender (3 days, 6 rounds of 90+30 classical, FIDE-rated)
  • Feb 6 – Feb 8, Waitangi Weekender (3 days, 6 rounds of 90+30 classical, FIDE-rated)
  • Friday, Feb 12, is when the casual nights with coach Wayne McDougall will resume
  • And Feb 15 is the start of the NZCF-rated Summer Cup.

See you soon in 2021!


NZCF Online Interclub Match to be held on April 28

Thanks, everybody for participating in the Auckland v Wellington match on April 1, which was a success with a high turnout of 110 players, 65 from Auckland and 45 from Wellington (and some guests playing for Wellington). Auckland won with a score of 485 to 408. 598 blitz games (time control 3+2) were played with a total of 41,995 moves. The PGN of the match (edited by Bill Forster) can be downloaded here.

Since then we had another match on Easter Monday, April 13, which Auckland team also won. 94 players from 4 teams (Auckland, Canterbury, Wellington and Auckland University Chess Association (AUCA)) played.

After the Easter Monday match, a committee was formed to prepare an NZCF-sanctioned Interclub match. For this purpose, it was decided to enrol purely club teams, such as Auckland Chess Centre (instead of all-Auckland), Wellington CC, Canterbury CC, AUCA and others. And if any club doesn’t have an online team yet, NZ players and anybody currently living in NZ can also play in a generic NZCF team. All details on how to run a club online and play in the matches can be found on the New Zealand Chess Federation website, in the “NZCF Online” section. And the match has now been announced at http://www.newzealandchess.co.nz/online-interclub.html (“An Official NZCF Online Interclub Competition”).

For ACC members, past and present, it means the following:

To celebrate the creation of the regular (every fortnight) NZCF Interclub match, a lottery will be drawn after the match and one randomly chosen winner will be able to choose one of the following items (priced up to 40 NZD, donated by an ACC player – the gift is non-monetary and not physical, as are the matches and the games that will be played!)

P.S.: Auckland Chess Centre members also meet every Monday on Chess.com at 7:30 PM and every Friday on Lichess at 7:30 PM for friendly games among themselves and friends from other clubs and cities. Please join us!

Online match between Auckland and Wellington chess players, April 1, 7:30 PM

Online chess is having a surge during these COVID-19 days.  Many clubs are having OTB replacement matches online, including New Zealand ones.  Just recently, Waitakere CC started a “Lockdown tournament” with long (60+30) online games.  Wellington CC and Auckland Chess Centre held a blitz arena each.

With many chess players turning to online games — now that the “real” and “true” OTB games can’t be played for a long while — we’d like to announce a match that is being organised by Auckland and Wellington clubs.

It will be an online blitz arena on Lichess.org platform with the following parameters:

  1. Date and time: Wednesday, April 1, 7:30 PM
  2. Time control: 3m+2s blitz
  3. Arena format with duration of 2 hours.  Arena means you can join, pause or leave the match at any time.  If you can’t commit to the whole time period, you can still play a few games, then stay and watch others playing on and cheer for your teammates.  When you finish a game and do not pause or leave, if an opponent from the other team is also free, you’ll be paired for another game.  This goes on until the time runs out for the match.

If you are a chess player living in Auckland, please join via https://lichess.org/team/auckland-chess – during registration please add a note to tell us your real name and the club you’re going to (no club is also OK) (Timothy Ha will confirm your registration).

If you live in Wellington or Lower/Upper Hutt, please join via https://lichess.org/team/wellington-chess-club (Ian Sellen will confirm your registration).  Since chess population in Wellington is less than in Auckland, maybe some Christchurch players will also join.  Auckland players are OK with that.

After you have joined your team, join the match here: https://lichess.org/tournament/i06UiEkL — note: if you belong to both teams on Lichess, be careful and choose the right side.  You should know where you live in New Zealand 🙂

If this is successful, maybe one day we’ll have a regular online (Internet-based) intercity chess league in New Zealand?

March 31 update: initial text specified neither online nor Internet-based, just intercity chess league. For which we received the following correction.

Michael Freeman, the NZCF delegate at FIDE, commented, “The comment about an intercity chess league is obviously from a newer person. The oldies know about the Bledisloe and the Blackburn Cups. Hopefully, they will be dragged out of the closet during these changed times.

New Zealand was one of the earliest countries to make use of telegraphic interclub chess as a method of play. Christchurch beat Nelson in two consultation games in 1866. The first interclub match was played between Canterbury and Otago in 1869. The Bledisloe Cup, presented by the Governor-General in 1933, is competed for annually in this way, and the Blackburn Cup is the subject of a competition among minor clubs.

In a pre-Internet age, chess moves were transmitted using Morse code. A very old piece of unusual legislation required the NZ Post Office to provide a free circuit to the four major centres for an annual chess match over 20 boards. Took about 10 hours to complete the match.”

“As far as I can figure out,” — Michael recalls, — “it was last played July 1988 when Auckland beat Otago (though got some reason the Bledisloe Cup is in Dunedin). The Blackburn Cup was between the provincial clubs outside the four main centres. Probably last held by Wanganui.”

This photo was taken by the Otago Daily Times. Note the letters on the board squares used for the Morse code combination of four letters / the from square and to square of a move. Bob Smith played as white in Auckland vs Michael Freeman in Dunedin on 30th June 1984. Bob Smith won in 39 moves.