2009 Queenstown Chess Classic

15-24th January in Queenstown, New Zealand

The 2009 Queenstown Chess Classic is set to take place on 15-24th January in Queenstown, New Zealand. Three years after the unforgetable first tournament, attended by 193 players from 18 different countries, the organizers have put another festival in the heart of this beautiful country. As we learn from the official website, the guaranteed prize fund of NZ $50,000 (approximately Australian $45,000, US $38,000, Euros 28,000, GBP 19,000) is a record for a chess event in New Zealand. There is an additional $6500 in prizes on offer in the New Zealand Rapidplay and Lightning Championships.

The 2009 Queenstown Chess Classic is a 10-round internationally rated tournament, open to all players. For junior players a six-round Queenstown Junior Classic is additionally being introduced, to be played over four mornings. In cooperation with the New Zealand Chess Federation (NZCF), this 2009 Queenstown Chess Classic will also incorporate the official 116th New Zealand Chess Championships. This event has a famous history, being the oldest continuously staged national championship in the world.

The NZCF will actually award two titles. The overall winner of the 1st Queenstown Chess Classic (of any nationality) will become the 2009 New Zealand Open Chess Champion. Tie-break: player with the fewest draws, or, if still tied, best sum of progressive scores.

The highest placed New Zealand player(s) will become the official 2009 New Zealand Closed Chess Champion(s) – there will be no tiebreak.

One place in the 2009 Oceania Zonal in Australia will be awarded, on tiebreak.

Draws are being discouraged, not only by tiebreak rules, but also in a more explicit form:

- For games on any of the top 10 boards each day, agreed draws in under 30 moves are banned. This includes tacit advance agreements to draw (ie deliberate repetitions) and pre-arranged draw agreements. The aim of this rule is to encourage a competitive, fighting tournament, and we trust all players will adhere to this in a sportsmanlike manner. Genuine draws by repetition are allowed.

- For infringements of this rule, the following prize money penalties will be automatically applied to both players: 1st offence, a deduction of 50% of any prize money won; 2nd offence, a deduction of 100% of any prize money won.

Top Prizes (in New Zealand dollars):

1st – $10,000 ; 6th – $3,000 ; 11th – $1,600

2nd – $7,000 ; 7th – $2,500 ; 12th – $1,550

3rd – $5,000 ; 8th – $2,000 ; 13th – $1,500

4th – $4,000 ; 9th – $1,800 ; 14th – $1,450

5th – $3,500 ; 10th – $1,700 ; 15th – $1,400

Prize money will be shared equally amongst players on the same final score.

In addition, each day a book prize, donated by Gambit Publications Ltd, will be awarded by the arbiters for a meritorious performance – on or off the chessboard.

$1000 Incentive for NZ IM norms

Equipment firm Chess Enterprises New Zealand have announced a $1000 bonus award for a New Zealand player who successfully achieves an International Master norm in Queenstown. The award will comprise a generous $1000 contribution towards tournament expenses, for attending any subsequent elite chess event during 2009 (such as Australia’s Parramatta Chess Festival or the Oceania Zonal Chess Tournament). If more than one New Zealand player makes an IM norm, the award will be shared.

Tournament promoter, Grandmaster Murray Chandler, who was also the 2006 Queenstown Chess Classic winner, has done a lot to bring fellow Grandmasters from all over the world to New Zealand.

Top players registered thus far (over 2300 FIDE):

GM Victor Mikhalevski 2608 Israel

GM Eduardas Rozentalis 2590 Lithuania

GM Dimitrios Mastrovasilis 2580 Greece

GM Klaus Bischoff 2545 Germany

GM Gawain Jones 2540 England

GM Leif Erlend Johannessen 2539 Norway

GM Murray Chandler 2518 New Zealand

GM Peter Wells 2513 England

IM David Smerdon 2463 Australia

IM Stephen Solomon 2460 Australia

GM Darryl Johansen 2455 Australia

FM Igor Goldenberg 2398 Australia

IM Merijn van Delft 2397 Netherlands

GM Hajo Hecht 2394 Germany

IM Herman Van Riemsdijk 2392 Brazil

WGM Jolanta Zawadzka 2385 Poland

WGM Alina Motoc 2358 Romania

IM Guy West 2346 Australia

WGM Jana Krivec 2343 Slovenia

IM Alex Wohl 2342 Australia

IM Paul Garbett 2329 New Zealand

IM Anthony Ker 2321 New Zealand

IM Lawrence Cooper 2313 England

FM Nic Croad 2305 New Zealand

More information on the tournament website

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