Oceania Zonal Chess tournament 2009

Twin Towns Resort, Tweed Heads, Gold Coast 20-26 June 2009

ocenia zonal chess 1

by Graeme Gardiner, Organiser of Oceania Zonal Chess

The Oceania Zonal chess tournament will take place in the Twin Towns Resort, Tweed Heads, Gold Coast 20-26 June 2009. The Oceania Zonal is the official World Cup qualifying event for the Oceania Region of FIDE. It is held in every second year, and most recently was held in Fiji in 2007 at Denarau Island. In 2005 it was held in Auckland, New Zealand. It was also held in Fiji in 2003.

The event was held twice on the Gold Coast in 1999 in Surfers Paradise, and 2001 at Palm Meadows. The most recent winner of the open competition was GM Zong Yuan Zhao, Australia’s third and most recent Grandmaster. Zhao has been in excellent form in recent months, with several 2600+ performances.

Many players will be hoping to earn an IM or WIM title. The highest ranked player scoring at least 6/9 gains the title in each of the open and women’s events. So who should we look out for to win the Zonal? If he participates, the New Zealander GM Murray Chandler must be the favorite, together with GM Zong Yuan Zhao. One can never discount GM Darryl Johansen, whilst Queenslanders IM David Smerdon and IM Stephen Solomon are likely to be challenging. Smerdon has three GM norms, and just needs to get his FIDE rating over 2500 to gain his GM title.

Australia’s number one player over the past 25 years was GM Ian Rogers, who is now retired due to health reasons. Ian will be giving live analysis of games at the Zonal. Many of the games will be shown live using Monroi. Another attraction for those watching remotely will be live blogging by the Closet Grandmaster. This gentleman has attracted quite a following with entertaining blogs at recent international events including the Sydney International and Dresden Olympiad.

The Zone President Gary Bekker is also Assistant Arbiter (the Chief Arbiter being IA Charles Zworestine). He has been very keen to get more Pacific Nations affiliated with FIDE. Papua New Guinea are usually represented at Zonals and Olympiads. Palau are now affiliated with FIDE. It is hoped that the Solomon Islands and other nations will get involved in the not too distant future. See details of the zone on Gary’s webpage.

More details about the Oceania Zonal Chess 2009

* approximately 80 participants are expected

* 7000 AUD is the prize fund

* time control is forty moves in 90 minutes; 30 minutes to finish, plus 30 seconds per move from the start

For more information visit the official website

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