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Watch this space for up-to-date news of chess events from the Otago region.

Perpetual Handicap – 5 December

Edward Sarfas' perfomance in the Rapid Championship was the springboard for his taking out the Rapid Perpetual on +78 points. Joe McKee finished second on +58, after only rejoining the club mid-way through the year and sharing first with Sarfas in the second leg of the Rapid Championship. Hildon Nisa was third on +54 also after a strong finish in the Rapid Championship. The Standard this year was won by Max Lough on +70, who was not to be denied for a second year afetr being pipped by Hamish Gold in 2017. Joe McKee on +66 was close to overtaking Lough, but withdrew from the Richard Sutton Trophy after defeating Gold in the first round. Ryan Lau was third on +62 after showing solid progress throughout the year.

View the Perpetual Handicap 2018 progess and graphs

Richard Sutton Trophy – 5 December

Top seed Hamish Gold's ambition to add another trophy to his cabinet took a hit in the first round with an upset loss to Joe McKee. His half point bye in the second round left him 1½ points behind leader Edward Sarfas. This proved too great a gap to close over the remainding rounds, despite Gold defeating Sarfas in the fisth round. Sarfas tooks the trophy on 5/6, havig won all this other games, while Gold finished second on 4½. Third equal were Shoji Fukushima and Brent Southgate on 3½.

View the Vega files including games

Summer Rapid Open – 1 December

The Summer Rapid Open had an excellent tournout of twenty players - double the number of last year's event. Top seed was former club champion Robert Wansink, with his main competition expected from locals Edward Sarfasand Elliot Munro, while Ryan Winter from Wellington and Denan Diep from NSW, Australia were also dangerous. But the latter lost to local junior Martin Brook in round 1 and din't chllenge for the major places thereafter. In round 2 Hamish Gold defeated Sarfas in an upset, while Brook was brought back to reality through a loss to Shoji Fukushima. Round 3 saw Wansink dspose of Fukushima on board 1, while Munro defeated Winter on board 2 to stay tied in the lead on 3/3 with Gold, who beat Diep. Wansink finally claimed the sole lead in round 4 with a win over Gold to move to 4/4, as Munro was held to a draw by Fukushima to drop half a point behind. Sarfas defeated Winter to join Gold within striking distance on 3 points. The final round saw Wansink defeat Munro to chalk up a 5/5 picket fence and take first prize. Gold defeated Mat Boyd to claim sole second prize on 4 points, as Sarfas was beaten by Fukushima, who shared third equal on 3½ with Munro and local junior Romero Suggate. The under 1500 grade was therefore won by Gold (who is stronger than that but had recently shed some rating points) with Suggate second. the Under 1200 grade was jointly won by juniors Noah Oseki and Harold Gao on 2½ points.

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The 2018 winner of the Westpac Trophy for the highest aggregate score over their best Seasonal Rapid tournaments was Edward Sarfas with 11 points, ahead of Hamish Gold on 10½ with Shoji Fukushima and Quentin Johnson on 10.

Blitz Tournament – 24 October

With 10 contenders it was a 9 Round Tournament with all playing all Results as follows:-
First Equal on 7 points; B Williams and E Sarfas
Third on 6 points; S Fukushima
Fouth Equal on 5 ½ points; J McKee and R High
Fifth on 4 points; A Loretin
Sixth on 3 ½ points; H Nisa
Seventh on 2 ½ ; B Southgate
Eight equal on 2 points; J Armstrong and R Clarkson

Club Rapid Championship 2nd leg – 17 October

The withdrawal of top seed Quentin Johnson from the second leg left the way clear for leader after the first leg, Edward Sarfas, to take the Senior Championship. He was given a strong contest by returning memeber Joe McKee, and the pair finished tied on 5/6 in the A Grade. Shoji Fukushima's 2 points in the A Grade was enough under the rules to take the Intermediate Championship ahead of Max Lough' 4/6 in the B Grade. The B Grade was won by Terry Duffield on 4½/6 and this result earned him the Junior Championship.

View combined Crosstable and Rating performances
View Grade Crosstables

Club Championship – 3 October

Defending champion Quentin Johnson dropped out of the second leg, leaving the path open to a new champion. Hamish Gold grabbed the oppportunity with both hands to score 4½/5 to win theA Grade, conceding just one draw to Geoff Aimers. That combined with his first leg total made Hamish the 2018 Senior Champion by a margin of 2½ points over Aimers, who finished the leg 3rd equal with Brent Southgate on 2½. 3rd overall on aggregate and 2nd in the A Grade with 3 points was Edward Sarfas, a further point behind Aimers. That earned Sarfas the Intermediate Championship Trophy for 2018. Terry Duffield scored 2 points, while Shoji Fukushima found the promotion to the A grade tough going with ½/5.

The B grade was dominated by returning member Joe McKee, who scored a 4½/5. Not having played iin the first leg, meant this only accrued rating points however. Max Lough matched Joe until the final round, when he lost a game to David Reid, to finish 2nd on 3½. Bob Clarkson plyed well to score 3 points for third place, ahead of Brian Williams and Reid on 2½. Hildon Nisa also found the promotion up a grade tough going with ½/5.

The C grade was again a six-round Swiss, but somewhat messy with players dropping in and out. When the smoke cleared, however, new member this year Ryan High emerged first on 4½/6 to win the grade and the Junior Championship trophy for 2018 on aggregate. Second was Ryan Lau on 4 points, with john Armstrong on 2 having taken a few byes and Alf Loretan on 1½.

The rules mean that each grade starts with a base score and/or a scaling factor, to allow performances to be roughly compared between grades, based on the average rating of the field in each grade. That allows players in different grades to compete for the same trophy on roughly even terms. The final Championship totals show the effect of these adjustments:
1 Gold 14 (Senior Champion); 2 Aimers 11½; 3 Sarfas 10½ (Intermediate Champion); 4-5 Duffield & Fukushima 8½; 6 Southgate 8; 7-8 Lough & High (Junior Champion) 7½; 9-11 Williams, Armstrong & Lau 6½; 12-13 Clarkson & Reid 6; 14 McKee 5; 15 Nisa 4; 16 Loretan 1½; 17 Thompson 1.

View all crosstables
View A-Grade crosstable and rating performances
View B-Grade crosstable and rating performances
View C-Grade crosstable and rating performances

South Island Interschool finals – 5 September

The South Island Interschool finals took place in Ashburton on 5 September. OBHS won the Secondary and Balmacewen won the Intermediate section - View Final Results
ODT coverage of the event including video (2mins)

Spring Rapid Open – 1 September

The Spring Rapid Open drew a healthy field of 23. Missing from the usual field was Ross Black from Christchurch, but Stephen Murdoch was a welcome replacement. The time control of Bronstein 25 mins plus 5 seconds was used. There were no upsets in round 1. In round two Romero Suggate put Murdoch to the sword, while Leo Burnett defeated Linus Patterson. All other games went with seeding. The third round saw second seed Iain Lamont lose to Jinge Li, who joined Johnson on 3/3 after the latter defeated Hamish Gold who blundered a piece. They were joined by Edward Sarfas who stopped Suggate's giant-slaying ways. The fourth round match-up on top board saw Sarfas also drop a piece in the opening against Johnson, who wrapped up the game with his extra material. Joining Johnson on 4/4 was Li who inflicted a second defeat on Gold. These two would inevitatbly fight out first place in the final round. Staying contention for the minor places on 3 points were Lamont, who beat Ryan Lau, Murdoch who beat Andrew Wilson, and Ethan Lau who beat OBHS team mate Max Lough. The fifth round saw a very close game to decide the tournament on board one. In the end the balance was only disturbed by the clock, as Li ran out of time in a tricky ending where Johnson's pawn advantage was probably not enough to win against best play, but the defence was difficult. So Johnson took first place on 5/5. Joining Li in second equal place were Lamont, who beat Murdoch, and Sarfas who beat Ethan Lau.The Under 1500 grade first went to Shoji Fukushima on 3½, with second shared by Ethan Lau and Andrew Wilson on 3 points. The Under 1000 grade first went to Oscar Lobb on 2½, with second shared between Leo Burnett, Noah Oseki, Cameron McKean, Linus Patterson and Nathaniel Millar-Coote, all on 2 points.
The next rapid open is the Summer Rapid on Saturday 1 December.

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Otago/Southland Under 20 (Junior) Championship – 18 August

A strong field of 28 players turned out at the Otago Chess Club to contest the 2018 championship. Only Rogan-Joe Sloan and Dev Pandya (both St Kevins, Waimate) came from outside Dunedin. Defending champion Riley Jellyman started as favourite, although top seed on age was Naser Tamimi, both these two studying at Otago University. However, seven rounds with the Rapid time limit of 25 minutes for the game meant there was plenty of room for upsets. Once again, Max Lough (OBHS) was the player that proved the most difficult for the favourites. The first round largely went as expected, though a key result was Joe McKee's (LPHS) loss to under 13 champion from two weeks earlier Martin Brook (JMC) after blundering a rook in time trouble. A huge upset nearly took place on board two when Harold Gao had a mate-in-3 against the defending champion after Jellyman underestimated Gao's attack. But Gao missed his chance for mate and Jellyman gradually outplayed his young opponent to win. Round two saw Oliver Hobbs (Balmacewen) defeat Sloan to stay with the favourites on 2/2. The crunch games began in round three when Lough defeated Tamimi on board 1 as a result of superior opening preparation. Hobbs' run was ended by a loss to Andrew Wilson (Kavanagh). At the end of the round only Jellyman, Lough and Ryan Lau (OBHS) were still on maximum points. Round 4 saw Jellyman defeat Ryan Lau, while Lough beat Ethan Lau (OBHS) after the latter was enticed to get his queen trapped to share the lead on 4/4. The chasing pack on 3 points were Tamimi, McKee, Ryan Lau, Brook, Romero Suggate (Bayfield) and Andre Radel (JMC). Jellyman took the sole lead in round 5 by defeating Lough, when the latter was unwilling to test the soundness of Jellyman's piece sac for an attack and settled for a much worse position instead. Tamimi stayed in touch by beating Radel, as did Ryan Lau by defeating Brook and McKee by beating Suggate. Lower down 10 year old Tyne Grant (Maori Hill) notably forced a draw by perpetual check against Wilson. Round 6 was critical for the final placings: Jellyman played a faulty combination against Tamimi, losing material and the game to allow Tamimi to join him in the lead on 5/6. Lough won well against Ryan Lau to join the leaders, after proving the superiority of 2 rooks vs a queen. McKee also finally caught the leaders by defeating Nick Wright (OBHS). Suggate sacrificed a rook to mate Ethan Lau to take the lead in the U13 grade by a point on 4/6, while Noah Oseki (OBHS) and Radel both reached the same score to lead the U16 grade going into the final round. In the final round Tamimi was paired against Swiss Gambiteer McKee on board 1. Jellyman and Lough dropped down to meet Radel and Oseki respectively, while Suggate had an equally tough pairing against Ryan Lau. Tamimi overcame the last-round nerves of previous years to beat McKee and win a share of first place with Jellyman, who won comfortably against Radel and Lough, who overcame Oseki in the final game to finish. McKee was joined in 4th place on 5 points by Ryan Lau who defeated Suggate.

First equal and joint winners of the JJ Marlow Trophy on 6/7 were Max Lough, Naser Tamimi and Riley Jellyman. First equal under 16 on 4 points was shared by Noah Oseki, Andre Radel, Osacr Lobb and Eliot Luna. First equal under 13 on 4 points was shared by Romero Suggate, Martin Brook, Aaron Nelson (OBHS) and Oliver Hobbs (Balmacewen). The winning team was OBHS1 (Max Lough, Ryan Lau & Ethan Lau).

View crosstable and team standings

Thematic tournament – 8 August

Seven players contested the round-robin with a blitz time control of Fischer 3 mins plus 2 seconds per move, as six players from the rapid championship had to finished postponed games. Using random numbers and the contents page of Openings for Juniors we had an interesting range of openings: Dutch, Modern Benoni, Alekhines, Reti, Sicilian, Gruenfeld and Italian. Newcomer Nick Wright took part in his first club event. Final scores: 1 Quentin Johnson 6/6; 2 Hildon Nisa 4; 3 Ryan Lau 3½; 4 Terry Duffield 3; 5 Ryan High 2; 6 Shoji Fukushima 1½; 7 Nick Wright 1.

Club Rapid Championship 1st leg – 8 August

The grades were set using the NZCF Rapid ratings at the end of July under the rules. Top seeds Quentin Johnson dropped half a point to Max Lough and blundered a whole queen to second seed Edward Sarfas, as the latter scored scored 5/6 in the A Grade to take a half point lead going into the second leg. In The B Grade 2nd seed Shoji Fukushima proved his recent improvement was no fluke with a dominant performance to win on 5/6 and earn promotion to the A Grade with a round to spare. Ryan Lau and Terry Duffield tied for 2nd on 3 points, while top seed Brent Southgate suffered on 1 point. The C Grade was very close and tied for first by Ryan High with Bob Clarkson on 3½. Sam Thompson missed a round to come 3rd on 3 and Hildon Nisa finished on 2 points. Alf Loretan won the D grade on 3 points with many games not played. In the combined cross table below the inter-grade handicap of 6 points has been added to the A grade, 4 to the B Grade, 2 to the C Grade and 0 to the D Grade and show the overall standings after the first leg. The handicaps are derived from the difference in expected score between the average NZCF rating of each grade.

View combined Crosstable and Rating performances
View Grade Crosstables

Otago/Southland Under 13 (Primary-Intermediate) Individual Championship – 4 August

A full house of 37 players turned out at the Otago Chess Club to compete in this year's championship. Players from outside Dunedin were few this year, with Ritika Joseph from Queenstown and Karlos Cleaver from Gore the only ones. Defending Champion Martin Brook (12 – all ages are as at 1 January 2018, John McGlashan), once again made no contest of the race for first - winning all six games to finish a full point ahead of his closest rivals. He had to survive a serious threat to his dominance this year when in round 2 Nathaniel Millar-Coote (11, Kavanagh) was applying a mate but inexplicably put his queen on the wrong square, losing it and the game. Two players tied for second place on 5 points: John Mengel (12, Jon McGlashan) and Samuel Kelly (12, Balmacewen Int.). Fourth went to Ethan Lambeth (12, DNI) on 4½ points. First, second and third in the under 11 grade was shared by Hasan Sheikh (10, Tahuna), Naoki Kozakai (10, Balmacewen) and Tyne Grant (10, Maori Hill) on 4 points. Also on 4 point was Ritika Joseph (7, Remarkables) who took first in the Under 9 grade. Second equal went to Karlos Cleaver (8, Te Tipua) and Isaac Beard (7, Big Rock) on three points. The Maori Hill team of Tyne Grant, William Parry (10) and Max Cutfield (9) won the team prize with a total of 9½ points.

View crosstable and team standings

Cleland Trophy – 11 July

The Cleland Trophy looked headed for a walkover this year after top seed Quentin Johnson defeated second seed Edward sarfas in the fourth round to take the sole lead. Johnson then beat his nearest rival Max Lough to take a point lead going into the final round. Sarfas had stayed in touch with a win over another strong junior, Ryan Lau. But in the final round Johnson chose to cash in against Shoji Fukushima by winning two pieces for a rook, only to allow his opponent dangerous counterchances on his back rank. Fukushima played the rest of the game strongly to take the advantage and eventually win with an unstoppable passed a-pawn. Sarfas beat Lough to join Johnson in first place on 5/6 and share the Cleland Trophy for 2018. Fukushima was rewarded with third place alone on 4½, while Lau finished clear fourth on 4 points, after bouncing back with a win over David Reid. Despite losing his last two games, Lough was fifth on 3½. These three picked up a bundle of rating points from the event and feature strongly in the Perpetual Handicap Standard standings as a result.

View Crosstable and Rating performances

Otago/Southland Primary and Intermediate Interschool Teams Championship 2018 – 23 June

18 teams from 12 schools played for the fourteenth annual Otago/Southland Primary and Intermediate Interschool Teams' Championships at Kavanagh College gymnasium. There was good representation from Southland this year with three teams in the Intermediate section, but none this year from Central or North Otago.

James Hargest A, playing in the Intermediate section for the first time this year, soon showed they were the team to beat after successively defeating previous winners John McGlashan, Tahuna, DNI A and Balmacewen A in the first four rounds. The victory over Balmacewen A was by the narrowest margin 2½-1½ and this single point is what separated these two teams after the final round. James Hargest A finished first on 24½/28, with Balmacewen A a close second on 23½. DNI A repeated their third place of last year on 20 points.

Leading individual scorers were Board 1: Samuel Kelly (Balmacewen A) 6½/7, Ron Gelik (James Hargest A) 6½/7, Ethan Lambeth (DNI A) 5/7; Board 2: Jacob Mortimer (James Hargest A) 7/7, Jake Owen (DNI A) 5/7, Loek van Broekhoven (Balmacewen B) 3½/6; Board 3: Alexander Sun ((Balmacewen A) 7/7, Simon Tokuda (James Hargest A) 6/7, Felix Telfer (DNI A) 5/7; Board 4: Harrison Tonkin (Balmacewen A) 6/7, Naoki Kozakai (Balmacewen B) 6/7, Michael Clinkett (James Hargest A) 5/7.

View Intermediate crosstable
View Intermediate individual scores (not accurate in some cases due to board shifting between players)

The Primary section hardly a contest this year. Regular competitors George Street Normal School fielded two teams of such strength that the A team had won with a round to spare and the B team came third behind perennial rivals Maori Hill. In fact George St A defeated both its nearest rivals in the first two rounds and coasted to victory thereafter on 26/28. Maori Hill repeated its second place of last year, finishing on 20½ points. George St B team's tally of 16½ points was enough for third place.

Leading individual scorers were Board 1: Alexis Owen (George St A) 5½/7, Tyne Grant (Maori Hill) 5/7, Fen McIntosh (Port Chalmers) 5/7; Board 2: Aidan Dixon (George St A) 7/7, William Parry (Maori Hill) 5/7, Geordie Stephenson (St Leonards)4½/7; Board 3: Jaden Tonkin (George St A) 6½/7, Jack Ussher (Maori Hill) 5½/7; Board 4: Leo Nichols (George St A) 7/7, Talvin Williamson (George St B) 5½/7, Max Cutfield (Maori Hill) 5/7.

View Primary crosstable
View Primary individual scores (not accurate in some cases due to board shifting between players)

Thank you to all the participants for making it a great day of chess and a special thank you to Daniel Kelly and Kavanagh College for providing the excellent venue.

Otago/Southland Secondary Interschool Teams Championship 2018 – 16 June

A record fourteen teams from eight schools played for the fourteenth annual Otago/Southland Secondary Interschool Teams' Championship on Saturday 16 June. Three schools made the trip from Invercargill this year: James Hargest College, Southland Boys' High School and Southland Girls' High School taking on the hosts John McGlashan College and regular competitors Otago Boys’ High School, Logan Park High School and Kavanagh College, with Otago Gilrs' High School rejoining the competition after a hiatus.

The OBHS A team defended their title once again, with a very convincing 26/28 over the seven rounds, ensuring first place with a round to spare. The contest for the next few places was was very close, with five teams in contention going intot he final round. Pairing between teams form the same school were barred in the final round, and this condition revealed the shortcomings of the Swissperfect pairing software, when in hindsight some of the last round pairings seemed a little random. Of the five teams, James Hargest A, Logan Park 1 and Kavanagh College were matched with teams in the lower half and scored 4-0 victories, while Southland Boys' HS and OBHS B were paired against each other and drew 2-2. That meant that James Hargest A deservedly finished clear second on 19½ and Logan Park 1 and Kavanagh tied for third place on 18 points. As they were also tied on match points a blitz playoff to decide third was played. Logan Park board 1 Joe McKee had already been involved in two intense and entertaining time scrambles in the main competiton, defeating OBHS A board 1 Max Lough, and losing to OBHS C boad 1 Sam Thompson. The playoff resulted in a 3-1 win to Logan Park. The prize for the best all-girl team went to Southland Girls' HS, who narrowly defeated Otago Girls' HS in their individual match 2½-1½ and outsocred the by half a point overall even after losing two players from the fifth round onward. The top three teams qualify for the South Island finals, while OBHS A and James Hargest A go on to the national finals in Mt Maunganui on 29-30 September.

Leading individual scorers were Board 1: Max Lough (OBHS A) 6/7, Joe McKee (Logan Park 1) 6/7; Dylan Lee (Southland BHS) 5½/7; Board 2: Fred Munn (James Hargest A) 7/7, Ryan Lau (OBHS A) 6/7, Noah Oseki (OBHS B) 5/7, Oscar Lobb (OBHS C) 5/7; Board 3: Ethan Lau (OBHS A) 7/7, Liam Barnes (James Hargest A) 5/7, Paxton Hall (Logan Park 1) 5/7, Shamon Kerr (Southland BHS) 5/7, Alison Latawan (Kavanagh) 5/7; Board 4: Louie Llanos (OBHS A) 7/7, Andre Radel (JMC A) 5/7, Tobias Brennan (Kavanagh) 5/7.

Thank you to John McGlashan College for providing the excellent venue at the Edgar Learning Centre.

View crosstable
View individual scores

Winter Rapid Open – 9 June

The Winter Rapid Open drew a healthy field of 22, with only six from the Otago Chess club and further nine from the Dunedin Junior Chess Academy. The time control of Bronstein 25 mins plus 5 seconds was used. Top seed was regular visitor Ross Black from Christchurch, but several unrated adult players meant that seedings were likely to be a poor guide. Already in the first round Ian McIntosh upset Hildon Nisa, and Stefan Markx of Queenstown defeated Noah Oseki agains the seedings. In round two top seed Black lost to club President Bob Clarkson, while Markx confirmed his first round result by defeating Shoji Fukushima. Only three players were on full points after the third round: Max Lough defeated second seed Edward Sarfas on top board, while Hamish Gold ended Clarkson's run. Markx joined these two a point ahead of the field with a win over unrated Andrew Wilson. In the fourth round Markx beat Gold to move to 4/4. He was joined by Lough, who defeated Clarkson. That guaranteed one of these two would win the event, as they would meet in the final round. The players on three points were Black, who defeated Nisa, Sarfas who beat Fukushima, and Martin Brook, who beat fellow JMC team member Oscar Lobb. In the final round the top board struggle was evenly disputed before Markx took the advantage and defeated Lough to win the event on 5/5. Lough was joined in second place on 4 points by Brook, who beat Black, and Sarfas who won against Gold. The under 1100 grade was won by Oseki, who won the the last game to finish, when he outlasted Clarkson to finish on 3 points. Lobb beat Fen McIntosh to finish second in the grade on 2½. The under 300 grade was shared by Wilson and Alex Tups on 2½.
The next rapid open is the Spring Rapid on Saturday 1 September.

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Swiss Rapid – 30 May

The Swiss Rapid was won by top seed Quentin Johnson with 6/6, ahead of Edward Sarfas and Hamish Gold tied for second on 4 points. Gold came closest to upsetting the winner, with chnaces to draw their long game. Ryan Lau had a strong event to finish 4th on 3½, losing only to Johnson and Sarfas.

View Crosstable and Rating performances

Shuffle tournament – 9 May

11 players took part in the shuffle chess tournament, which was a five round swiss. Random starting positions and a 5 minutes 3 seconds Bronstein ultimately didn't change much in terms of results, though it lead to some highly interesting games. Top seed Quentin Johnson won on 5 points. Second was shared between Brian Wiliams and Samson Kazarov on 4 points. Final scores: 1 Johnson 5/5; 2-3 Williams & Kazarov 4; 4-5 Edward Sarfas & John Armstrong 3; 6-10 Shoji Fukushima, Ryan Lau, Ryan High, Bob Clarkson & Hildon Nisa 2; 11 Lorne Brooks 1.

University of Otago InterCollege team championship – 6 May

12 teams took part in the third annual University of Otago InterCollege team championship at the School of Surveying. This year the winners were the St Margarets College team of Paddy Cheah and Raymond Siow on 9/10. Abbey College and Caroline Freeman College shared second place on 7 points, while last year's winners, the Locals team were fourth on 6 points.

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Club Championship – 2 May

After the first leg of the 2018 Club Championship, top seed Quentin Johnson leads the A grade on 4½/5 after surviving a strong run by Hamish Gold. Gold is half a point behind having missed numerous wining continuations in his game with Johnson and also drawing with Geoff Aimers, who is next on 3½. Edward Sarfas was next on 2 points, followed by Terry Duffield on 1 and Brent Southgate on 0.

The B grade was convincing won by top seed Shoji Fukushima on an outstanding 4½/5, a point and half clear of John Armstrong, 2nd after a good tournament on 3 points. The fast improving Fukushima earns promotion to the A Grade for the first time, having fought his way up from the C Grade in 2016. New member Brian Williams acquitted himslef well on 2½ points, justifying his placement in B Grade based on rapid and blitz results. Next were David Reid and Max Lough on 2 points, followed by Bob Clarkson on 1 point.

The C grade was a close contest between the top three players. First shared between Hildon Nisa and new member Ryan High, both finishing on 4/6, with Nisa earns promotion to the B Grade. Ryan Lau was third on 3½, just half a point behind. Next was Zohar Gonen on 1, followed by Lorne Brooks on ½ and Liam Gonen on 0.

The rules mean that each grade start with a base score and/or a scaling factor, to allow performances to be roughly compared between grades, based on the average rating of the field in each grade. That allows players in different grades to compete for the same trophy on fair terms. The Championship totals in the link below show the effect of these adjustments.

View all crosstables
View A-Grade crosstable and rating performances
View B-Grade crosstable and rating performances
View C-Grade crosstable and rating performances

Blitz tournament – 21 March

The large turnout of 14 players for the annual Blitz tournament meant that a swiss format was preferred over the usual roundrobin. The five minutes time limit was amenable to new member Brian Williamson, who only lost to top seed Quentin Johnson after falling for a bluff tactic in a drawn position. He won all his other games to finish second on 5/6 a point behind Johnson. Edward Sarfas was third on 4 points, having comeback from an opening round upset loss to another new member Sam Thompson.

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Alan Chang Memorial – 14 March

The Alan Chang 10 minute hourglass tournament as always produced very tough competition for the tournament victory, but as usual the trophy was won by an upset in the first round. Terry Duffield is more used to giving away the biggest upset prize in this event, but a win over Geoff Aimers in round one set a high bar that non-one managed to cross in the remaining rounds. Hamish Gold came closest with his win over top seed Quentin Johnson after opening pressure drew a fatal error and Hamish finished off effectively. This propelled Gold into the sole lead on 3/3, but subsequent losses to Edward Sarfas and Aimers dropped him back into the field. Johnson recovered to win his last two games and win the tournament on 4/5. Aimers cames second on 3½ followed by Gold, Duffield, Sarfas and Max Lough tied for third on 3 points.

View Crosstable and Rating performances

Autumn Rapid Open – 3 March

The 2018 Seasonal Rapids to determine the winner of the Westpac Trophy began with the Otago Autumn Rapid Open. This year the time limit has been changed to 25 mins with a 5 sec delay each move. The turnout of 15 was a good start to the year and included OUSA players Elliot Munro, Jinge Li, Baranbas Radics, Jacob Johnston and Jordy Alsopp, as well as Jared Lau from the DJCA making his debut, in addition to the regulars. Round 1 went with seeding except Shoji Fukushima held Ross Black to a draw. Black also featured in the round 2 upsets when Jinge Li inflicted a full defeat upon him, while Allsopp's estimated rating gave him an upset on paper against Ryan Lau. Elliot Munro showed he was in form by beating Hamish Gold to join top seed Quentin Johnson, Li and Edward Sarfas on 2/2. Round 3 saw a close game on board 1 finally swing Johnson's way as Munro ran low on time. Li continued his strong run, deafeating Sarfas to share the lead on 3/3. The battle for the lead in round 4 was an interesting game in which Li had the advantage against Johnson, but some less accurate pawn moves allowed Johnson to counterattack along the seventh rank and sacrifice the exchange for 2 pawns. Li overstepped the time limit in a tricky postion, though should have had drawing chances in the ending. Munro joined Li on 3 points with a win over Fukushima as did Gold by beating Max Lough and Sarfas with a win over Radics. The final round saw another complex game on board 1, with Johnson blundering a pawn in the opening against Sarfas. The play was complex with both kings exposed, and a second pawn sac by Johnson coordinated his pieces leading to a fatal blunder by Sarfas dropping a piece and the tournament win on 5/5 for Johnson. Munro defeated Li to take second place on 4 points, while Gold drew with Black to finish clear third on 3½. The Under 1500 grade was won by Fukushima on 3 points, after a final round win over Allsopp. The seond place in the grade was split four ways on 2 points by Romero Suggate, Martin Brook, Jordy Allsopp, and Ryan Lau.

The next rapid open is the Winter Rapid on Saturday 9 June.

View Crosstable

2018 Otago chess club AGM – 14 February

Bob Clarkson stayed on a President for another year, as did all the other main officers, except Max Lough replaced Taine Box as Treasurer. Subscriptions remained the same as 2017. The 2018 committee comprises:

President: Bob Clarkson; Vice President: Brent Southgate; Secretary: Leighton Nicholls; Treasurer: Max Lough; Director of Junior Play: Quentin Johnson; Past-President: Geoff Aimers; Committee members: Terry Duffield, Edward Sarfas, Riley Jellyman; Auditor: Bob Glass; Patron: Bob Glass.

Opening Night31 January

The traditional Presidents vs Vice Presidents match took place. With 9 players the play was a match between teams of five players at a time limit of 90 mins no increment. Quentin Johnson played two games sumultaneously for the Vice President's team. The Vice President's team won the match 4½-½.


Vice President

Bob Clarkson


Brent Southgate


Geoff Aimers


Quentin Johnson


Terry Duffield


Edward Sarfas


Hildon Nisa


David Reid


Ryan High


Quentin Johnson


Total Score


Total Score