In round 8 the two International Masters were to face one another. At a crucial point in the tournament, after seven rounds IM Anthony Ker had taken sole lead of the championship. In round 8 he continued his form by defeating IM Russell Dive, also from Wellington.
Another player in contention for the 109th NZ Championship title is Mark Van der Hoorn of Wellington. He is close behind IM Ker, in round 8 he defeated Brian Jones of Australia (who is difficult to beat), and Van der Hoorn is now on 6 points out of 8, half a point behind Ker.
Another crucial match was between NM* Anderson of Canterbury and CM Spain from Te Awamutu. A win for Anderson meant that he would be tied for 2nd with Van der Hoorn and only a fraction behind the tournament leader Ker. A win for Spain meant that he would rise to the top 3 places in the tournament. CM Spain won the match, sharing 3rd= place with Anderson, with 5 points out of 8 games played.
FIDE Master and five time NZ Champion Paul Garbett picked up some valuable points in the tournament with his win over the consistent Nic Croad, and so to did Benjamin Giles with his win over Matthew McNabb to keep him from the bottom of the table.
Martin Haag of Germany is starting to pick up the pace in the tournament with a win over the defending NZ Chess Champion Scott Wastney. Haag's slow start has been attributed to jet lag.
Robert Smith continued his even score, he drew with Leonard McLaren of the North Shore in the eight round.
In a battle of the South, Otago Chess Club members John Sutherland and CM Anthony Dowden were paired to match one another. Previously, they drew in the recent Otago Chess Championship, but this time Dowden was the victor
Hilton Bennett's string of losses continued, his fourth loss in a row after the cheating allegation from FM Robert Smith. The allegations are untrue.
The numbers in contention for the Henry Hookham trophy are becoming smaller and smaller. A number of important matches were due in round 8. Michael Turner (6/7) was to play Barry Martin-Buss (5.5/7), Arie Nijman (5.5/7), leader of Grade 1, was to play Nick Cummings (6/7), David Wood (4.5/7) was to play Bruce Donaldson (5/7), and Nathan Goodhue (5/7) was to play Martin Sims (4.5/7).
Martin-Buss had an upset win over Turner, and Cummings drew with Nijman to join Martin-Buss in a share for first place. Donaldson and Sims won their games to put themselves in 3rd equal and 5th equal place respectively.
Nijman's consistency and good performance amongst higher rated players has enabled him to maintain his first place in Grade 1, a good one and a half points to the next group of players, that of Wood, Fraemohs, and Aldridge.
Stanislav Shatalin and Christopher Riding both had losses which meant that they are still in 1st equal place for the Junior Prize, that of a chess computer kindly donated by Business Distributors Limited. Marciej Wojnar, the highest rated junior in the competition, drew his match with fellow Wellingtonian junior, Ruwan Fernando - both players are only half a point behind Shatalin and Riding.
Brendan Reedy of Canterbury had his second successive loss, but is still doing extremely well, and is still leading the Grade 2 section. He is joint first with Ruwan Fernando - who has caught up on Reedy to take a temporary share of first place.
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