Saturday, 28 September 2013

George Trundle Masters

It has been a few years since I have been to Aotearoa, aka New Zealand, and I have missed it. The country is the most beautiful one on planet earth, or at least the most beautiful I have seen. The chess scene is vibrant and friendly despite it's distance from the rest of the world.

One of the reasons for its success is the Auckland chess centre. It is located just south of the city near Dominion road where one finds a plethora of nice restaurants and take away's. Helen Clarke, a former three term prime minister, lived a few doors away, also on Cromwell street.

And here is the tournament hall, complete with DGT boards.

Here is where I won the Oceanic zonal in 2000, qualifying for the FIDE world championship in Delhi.
The main reason though is not a single building but the people who play and promote chess tirelessly.

I would like to mention Helen Milligan to start with. I am told she is responsible for the New Zealand chess federation website, where you can follow all the games from this tournament live and also inform yourself about past and future tournaments. There are also other chess related stories like a tribute to George Trundle, after whom this tournament is named.

Another pillar of New Zealand is Bob Smith, my opponent today. He has won the New Zealand Championship in correspondence, rapid and classic time-control! He has represented NZ in 12 Olympiads! Apart from playing he has also been president of the chess federation and captained the national women's team. This list is nowhere near complete.

I have played him before and he is always a tough customer. I got lucky with my choice of opening today. The main point of 2...a6 is that 3.d4 gives black an easy game. In the end I was even allowed to sacrifice a piece although admittedly it was not too deep.

Well thanks for watching and don't forget, you can watch all the games live here
Enjoy :-)

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