International Master Anthony Ker of Wellington has won the 109th New Zealand Chess Championship. This is the sixth time that Ker has won the New Zealand Championship, second only to Ortvin Sarapu who won the New Zealand title twenty times. Ker has won the New Zealand Championship in 1989, 1991, 1993, 1994, 1995, and now in 2002.
In the final round many were playing for a win, since a win would mean a share for the prize fund. There were a number of decisive results.
Martin Haag of Germany defeated Mark Van der Hoorn of Wellington. Mark was leading the 109th NZ Championship after the first six rounds. Martin Haag finished the tournamnet strongly to finish in second place overall, having scored six points from his last seven games. Haag finished on a +3 score with 7 points out of eleven.
International Master Russell Dive of Wellington defeated Benjamin Giles of Maruia, so Dive finished tied for 3rd equal place with Anthony Dowden of Otago. Dowden drew with Bruce Anderson in the final round.
FIDE Master Scott Wastney, the 108th NZ Chess Champion, did well to defeat FIDE Master Paul Garbett. Garbett's loss meant that he was half a point off a six-way tie for 5th equal and had to settle for 11th equal place and 11th on countback (65.5).
FIDE Master Bob Smith drew with a determined Piotr Litwak of Poland, so Smith also had to settle for 11th equal position but was 12th on countback (60) because he had received easier competition in comparison to Garbett.
Hilton Bennett who had a great start to the Championship made a comeback towards the end of the tournament to share 11th equal position also. Bennett made an even score (5.5/11) and was 13th overall (57.5). FM Wastney was 14th on countback (55).
Nic Croad of Wellington won his game in the final round over John Sutherland of Otago. Croad shared a spot for 5th equal (+1) whilst Sutherland struggled throughout the tournament with 3/11 points (a -5 score) but did reasonably well in proportion to his rating.
Leonard McLaren drew with Graeme Spain in the last round, both of them shared for 5th equal and a +1 score. Brian Jones of Australia, determined to beat the new NZ Champion, had to settle for 5th equal place and a respectable draw against the International Master.
Overall, congratulations to International Master Anthony Ker on winning the 109th NZ Chess Championship, and maybe for a defence of the title at the 110th NZ Chess Congress in Wanganui.
Barry Martin-Buss's lead that he gained from round 10 was enough to put him in good position to win the Henry Hookham trophy going into the last round. The trophy was named after the first New Zealand Chess Champion, a Christchurch player, at the 1st NZ Chess Congress, Christchurch, 1879. Barry Martin-Buss, from Waitemata, drew in the last round with Jacek Wojnar of Wellington to win the New Zealand Major Open for the year 2002. Congratulations!
Nick Cummings who was in second place after round 10 gained a draw with Martin Sims in round 11 to keep his share for second place. The other second place-getter, Michael Turner from Wellington, gained an important win over the #3 seed Bruce Donaldson. Jacek Wojnar finished in 4th place overall.
5th equal were Bruce Donaldson (Canterbury), Martin Sims (Wellington), Nathan Goodhue (Wellington), and Arie Nijman (Canterbury).
Grade 1 was won by Arie Nijman (Canterbury). Peter Fraemohs (Canterbury) along with Don Stracy (Wellington) were 2nd equal in Grade 1. John Pakenham lost his last round match to Nathan Goodhue and Alan Aldridge drew his last game, allowing Fraemohs and Stracy to overtake them in the last round.
Grade 2 was jointly won by 14 year old Giovanni Thornton (North Shore) and Brendan Reedy (Canterbury).
Marciej Wojnar (Wellington) won his match over Rex Scarf (Ashburton)
in the last round. Marciej finished with a +1 score and won the Junior
prize, that of a chess computer kindly donated by NZCF and sponsored
by Business Distributors Limited.
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