Zhao Xue convincing winner of 2015 New Zealand Open

GM Zhao Xue (China) was the convincing winner of the 2015 New Zealand Open, finishing a point in front with 8/9.

Zhao won 7 of her games and conceded draws to top seed GM David Howell (ENG) and IM Irene Sukandar (INI). Howell was in the group of players tied for 2nd on 7/9, along with GM Klaus Bischoff (GER), GM Allan Rasmussen (DEN) and CM Eu Wen Teh (MAS).

Zhao Xue

Zhao Xue

The tournament also doubled as the 2015 New Zealand Championship, with the title to be awarded to the highest placed New Zealand player. This resulted in a big tie for the title, with an incredible 10 players finishing on 6/9. As the NZCF policy is to award the title to all players involved in a tie for first (no playoffs or tiebreaks), this meant that 10 names will be added to the Championship trophy.

The 2015 New Zealand Champions are – IM Russell Dive, FM Nic Croad, FM Ben Hague, IM Paul Garbett, IM Anthony Kerr, Gino Thornton, FM Bob Smith, Leonard McLaren, WIM Alex Jule, and Gordon Morell.

Replay games with analysis

The tournament was held in the seaside village of Devonport, at the New Zealand Chess Centre. The Chess Centre was previously a church and was purchased by GM Murray Chandler in 2012. It has since been refurbished and will now become home to a number of important New Zealand events.

After the main event a two day rapid tournament was held. First prize was shared between GM Zhao and GM Rasmussen. The final event of the festival was the New Zealand Blitz Championship and was won by GM Bischoff with an impressive 8.5/9.

(Report by Shaun Press)

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