Saturday, 12 January 2019

George Trundle Prizegiving, two norms achieved!

The "George" as this tournament is colloquially called is an annual event in Auckland that I have played in several times, is named after a famous New Zealand chess player, George Trundle. At the closing ceremony today, we heard a bit of history about this remarkable man. He learned chess during the second world war, from a Russian officer, in a POW camp. He went on to become one of New Zealand's best players, tying for second (best New Zealander) behind Ortvin Sarapu in a very strong open in 1966.

The main idea of this tournament is to give local players the chance to play against foreign masters, gain experience and hopefully norms. In the July 2018 edition, Ben Hague made his second IM norm, and this time two norms were made, although not by locals.

Brandon Clarke, from England, secured his third norm and the title, winning the tournament in the process. He did get half a point extra in the first round from the "incident" but scored half a point more than he needed so that's a moot point. From my observation, he played the best chess as well.

Dusan Stojic came second, making his first norm. Sometimes you need a bit of luck and Dusan did benefit from a gift from me and a tilt game from Ben, who lost motivation halfway through. Ben did, however, turn up so as not to deprive Dusan of his norm chances. 

Vasily Papin was third, getting one free point from Ben and playing solid chess throughout the tournament. His only loss was against my kitchen sink attack.

Darryl, Izzat and I tied for 4th with 5/9. 

The Kiwi's played some good chess in parts, but lack of regular practice and opening knowledge let them down at times. Bruce Watson, my host, won the prize for the best Kiwi.

The link to the final standings is below.

Mike Steadman, who was run off his feet, looking after 4 tournaments simultaneously, is all smiles as he hands Bruce his trophy for best Kiwi. 

Alongside the Masters there was also a Qualifiers for next years Greorge. This was won by John Duneas with 7 points, with Alexandra Jule and Zi Han Goh tying for second on 5.5/9

Then there was a third tournament, the reserves, where Chahal Aman and Alana Chibnall tied for first, 7/9, with Hilton Bennett coming third with 5.5/9.

I haven't included either of my two last round games as they were short draws. After my horrendous blunder in round 7, I didn't really feel much like playing chess at all, ever. but stayed in the tournament. When early draw offers came I took them. Instead, here are some pictures of beaches I visited the last two days.

The first one is from today, Takapuna beach. It looks very nice and was quite crowded, but it's near a sewer line, so unless you have no sense of smell, avoid. The locals must be used to it.

In Australia, we have to watch for bluebottles and sharks, in NZ.....

And the day before Island Bay. This was nice and close.  

This was indeed the strangest tournament I can think of right now. There are many things to think about, not only about the incident but how I let it affect me, but how tournaments should handle such situations in future.

I spoke to Izzat at length after our very short draw. It was a way to put this whole mess behind us, which affected both of us badly. One thing we agree on completely is that it is up to the governing bodies of chess to regulate in such a manner that ambiguity is eliminated. 

On the last note, I have to mention my game, the very next round, against Bob Smith. After an inaccurate opening Bob played the first engine move for almost the rest of the game in a very difficult position. He missed a brilliant win just two moves before the end. I'm not suggesting for a millisecond that Bob had any help. I would place my hands in a fire to vouch that he never did anything dubious on the chessboard in his entire life.

Yet if he had found the win, and had his game submitted for testing, he may well have been suspected of cheating by people who didn't know him. 

Sometimes things are not as they appear 😐


  1. Interesting and insightful commentary, thank you. I have taken the liberty of stealing a couple of these photos for the NZCF results page. I hope that's okay, I will take them down if not. I'd like to add an appropriate photo credit - did you take them yourself?

  2. "Yet if he had found the win, and had his game submitted for testing, he may well have been suspected of cheating by people who didn't know him. "

    This is not how the system would (or should) work. A player 'matching' an engine move in a single game happens so often it isn't worthy of notice. A useful analogy is someone scoring a 'hole in one' in golf. It might be a shock if out of 1000 players Shaun Press does it, but it isn't a shock if out of 1000 players, someone does it.
    What should happen, is if there is other evidence that a player may be using an engine (usually reported by the tournament arbiter), then a players games may be checked to see if they match engine choices. Other evidence is usually suspicious behaviour such as multiple trips to the bathroom, fiddling in bags, or leaving the board for too long.