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New Zealand chess flourishes with Papatoetoe Rapid Junior and Open

by ChessBase India - 06/12/2023

New Zealand has a chess scene that is still in its infancy. The country has only one grandmaster and six international masters, however, it is seeing an increase in the number of younger chess players. Almost all chess players are able to practice and improve their skills with the help of regional clubs. Each club with its own committee organises tournaments, sometimes amidst other clubs, and continue the cycle of introducing new players to the game. One such club in a suburb in Auckland called Paptoetoe held two tournaments on 2nd and 3rd December, one of them an Open category and the other a Junior section. Read on to find out more

As someone who is used to the mega-tournaments that take place in India like most of us are, I decided to visit the 7th Papatoetoe Junior Rapid to get a glimpse of the event myself. It was an astounding experience!

The tournament took place at the Papatoetoe Hunter’s Bowling Club. With the rain and the cold, we were glad it was indoors!

There were six rounds held from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM. It was conducted in a smooth and timely manner. Every board was wooden and eight of them had DGT Live.

The chief organizer for the event and the current club president is CM Stan Yee, and the arbiters for the event were IA Keong Ang and NA Barry Hooton. Also present was the previous president of the club John McRae, who held the role for 30 years. I got a chance to speak with them and get an idea of how the club came to be and what the organizations aspirations are with the tournament. What they had to say certainly added a new dimension to how chess grows in New Zealand.



The winner of the event was Jin Yanbo, rated 1731, finishing with 5.5/6. He took home a cash prize and a trophy of $100 NZD (₹5,068 INR).

The two trophies for the winner and best girl, which was won by Luna Yuexiu Xu.


The winners and the organizing team after a successful day!


The refreshments served during the lunch break were a 'sweet' surprise.


Chess has changed greatly since the birth of these chess clubs, but more so in the last 20 years. More veteran players at clubs become coaches for younger players to continue the cycle. Schools in nearby regions are prime areas for teaching chess, sometimes upto 100 players in each. Covid dramatically decreased club attendances to worrisome amounts, yet this year has seen a resurgence in player counts. The Papatoetoe club reports 87 entries in the last weekend, up from the 50 or so entries that were common during and after COVID. 


"One of the things I miss the most about the clubs, " says John, "are some of the competitions with neighbouring clubs, such as Hamilton and Te Awamutu. This was in the mid '70s to 1982, when they were stopped." Unfortunately, the stint meant fewer visitors from the south, however, the scene with northern clubs, especially Auckland, is growing stronger by the day.


One such example is FM Alphaeus Ang, who defeated IM Russell John Dive in the Open category. He is one of the stronger players in recent years in the region, with a great chance to become an IM in the eyes of the organizers. Naturally, with younger talents and more players, the prize funds have also increased at tournaments, with prizes up to $350 NZD for the winner, aside from category prize winners.


Overall, it put chess into a smaller context than I usually see it. It is an appreciable effort taken by the organizers to encourage more players in a welcoming environment. We hope that New Zealand continues to see a spread in the love for chess and see a wave of new chess players. The link to the results and more information on the chess club can be found here.

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ब्रेकिंग न्यूज़ -ऐरोफ़्लोट ओपन पहला राउंड रद्द - मॉस्को में बम की खबर - सभी भारतीय खिलाड़ी सुरक्षित

@ 19/02/2019 by Niklesh Jain (hi)
Free training camp from GM Saptarshi Roy on the Art of Attack

@ 24/01/2019 by Sagar Shah (en)
Raahil Mullick wins First Move Chess Club 2019 Rapid, Sameer Kathmale wins blitz

@ 24/01/2019 by Shahid Ahmed (en)
Chennai Open 2019 Round 8: Lugovskoy maintains sole lead, untitled Pranesh shocks Nitin

@ 23/01/2019 by Shahid Ahmed (en)
Diptayan, Aravindh and Rathnakaran are the winners of Vishy Anand 49 Online Blitz 2018

@ 07/01/2019 by Shahid Ahmed (en)
मुंबई इंटरनेशनल - भारत के अभिमन्यु नें सम्हाला मोर्चा

@ 06/01/2019 by Niklesh Jain (hi)
The secrets of B. Adhiban's positive approach towards chess and life

@ 04/01/2019 by Sagar Shah (en)
Your last chance to play with the best in Indian chess!

@ 25/12/2018 by Shahid Ahmed (en)
City Chess Club Bhuj and Telugu Chess Warriors wins ACL Challengers League 2018

@ 23/12/2018 by Shahid Ahmed (en)
An explosive line-up for Vishy Anand 49 online blitz 2018

@ 23/12/2018 by Sagar Shah (en)
Amonatov wins Triple C Chess Club November Online Blitz

@ 12/12/2018 by Shahid Ahmed (en)
Online blitz tournament to celebrate Vishy Anand's 49th birthday

@ 12/12/2018 by Sagar Shah (en)
TCW and dpCA are the finalists in ACL Challengers League 2018

@ 10/12/2018 by Shahid Ahmed (en)
ACL Challengers League 2018: MCAA maintains lead, Intermezzo bounces back

@ 03/12/2018 by Shahid Ahmed (en)
मेगनस कार्लसन फिर बने विश्व शतरंज चैम्पियन !!

@ 29/11/2018 by Niklesh Jain (hi)
ACL Challengers League 2018: RKCA and TCW cause major upsets in round 4

@ 27/11/2018 by Shahid Ahmed (en)
16-year old Tarun holds Laxman to a draw in Playchess Simul

@ 26/11/2018 by Shahid Ahmed (en)
Amonatov, Martirosyan, Idani, Nihal, Pragg! What a mouth watering blitz event!

@ 24/11/2018 by Shahid Ahmed (en)
Play Simul with GM R R Laxman this Saturday

@ 21/11/2018 by Shahid Ahmed (en)
ACL Challengers League 2018: Three teams are at 100% score after round 3

@ 19/11/2018 by Shahid Ahmed (en)
ACL Challengers League 2018: Five teams in lead after round 2

@ 03/11/2018 by Shahid Ahmed (en)
Isle of Man Masters: Raunak Sadhwani gives Vishy a major scare in the opening round

@ 21/10/2018 by Aditya Pai (en)
One in a million - Darpan Inani, the strongest blind player of India - Part I

@ 08/10/2018 by Sagar Shah (en)
Why you should play ACL Challengers League 2018

@ 08/10/2018 by Shahid Ahmed (en)
बातुमि ओलंपियाड-आज है बड़ा दिन ! क्या जीतेगा भारत

@ 30/09/2018 by Niklesh Jain (hi)
ACL Challengers League is open for all academies

@ 17/09/2018 by Shahid Ahmed (en)
Diptayan Ghosh wins Gujarat-Goa Online Blitz 2018

@ 05/09/2018 by Shahid Ahmed (en)
Priyanka K wins the MKG Scholarship for Rs.50,000

@ 02/08/2018 by Sagar Shah (en)