International Master Anthony Ker had a critical win in round nine over the previous 3rd= placed Graeme Spain of Te Awamutu. With the loss of Mark van der Hoorn to FIDE Master Paul Garbett, Ker now has a clear lead and is favoured to win the 109th NZ Chess Championship title. 1.5 points now separate first and second position, with only two rounds left to go.
Martin Haag of Germany is making a strong finish to the tournament, he is now on a +2 score. By winning, he gave NM* Bruce Anderson his second loss in successive rounds.
Paul Garbett of North Shore is also on a +2 score, now in 3rd= position with Haag of Germany.
CM Anthony Dowden has caught up to NM* Bruce Anderson in 5th= position, CM Spain is also on the same score, at +1.
Nic Croad defeated Matthew McNabb to go to an even score, 9th= with Smith, McLaren, and Brian Jones of Australia. McLaren/Dive and Jones/Smith drew their games.
Hilton Bennett broke his losing sequence and is back on his winning way with a win over John Sutherland of Otago. Bennett is now on a -1 score (after being +2 after 4 rounds) whilst Sutherland is on a -4 score from 9 rounds.
The defending NZ Champion, Scott Wastney, drew with the relatively lower ranked Piotr Litwak of Poland, FIDE Master Wastney now has four points out of nine.
Wastney received his FM title at the NZCF Annual General Meeting on the 5th January 2002, only two days ago.
Once again results are proving to be important towards the "business end" of the tournament as the difference between one place and another is as small as half a point.
At the top of the table Bruce Donaldson (6/8) of Canterbury was to meet Barry Martin-Buss (6.5/8) of Waitemata. The game ended in a draw. Co-leader, Nick Cummings of Canterbury (6.5/8) was to meet the knowledgeable Nathan Goodhue (5/8), this game too ended in a draw.
Michael Turner of Wellington, the sole leader after round 6, had his second successive loss, this time to Martin Sims, also from Wellington. The win now puts Sims in 3rd= place overall.
In another upset win, John Pakenham (1540) is playing solidly to pick-up his 4th successive win, this time over Arie Nijman (1766). Nijman is still leading the Grade 1 division but Pakenham has caught up to Nijman to be 1st equal in Grade 1. Both players are six points from nine rounds.
At the end of Round 8, Christopher Riding withdrew from the tournament, since he has some aquatic commitments up north and is unable to complete the full eleven rounds.
Thw withdrawl of Riding from the tournament (1st equal after Round 8) has made life easier for Marciej Wojnar, Stanislav Shatalin, Giovanni Thornton, and Ruwan Fernando to win the Junior Prize. A win from young Wojnar and a draw from Shatalin has put them 1st equal in the Junior division, with Thornton close behind in 3rd place by only half a point.
With Brendan Reedy's loss to the talented and up and coming Giovanni
Thornton from the North Shore, there is now a five-way tie for 1st place
in the Grade 2 division. John Atkinson (Canterbury), Roy Keeling (Ashburton),
Ruwan Fernando (Wellington), Clarry Webber (Upper Hutt), and Brendan
Reedy (Canterbury) all share a place for first after Round 9. Two rounds
|Results and Pairings:|