Daniel Gong wins New Zealand Chess Championship

FM Daniel Gong is a new champion of New Zealand. The youngster from Auckland won his maiden national title just a few days before his 19th birthday.

The New Zealand Championship (dating back to 1879!), a nine-round Swiss tournament, took place in Christchurch on the South Island and brought together 24 players. The future champion got off to a flying start winning four straight games but faced very dangerous opponents – seven times NZ champion IM Russell Dive and the defending champion FM Nicolas Croad – in Rounds 5 and 6.

Daniel rose to the occasion and ground down both rivals in long endgames to grab a commanding lead. Gong made three draws in the end to finish on 7½/9, a half-point ahead of another youngster CM Felix Xie (pictured above), who claimed silver. Fourteen-time NZ champion IM Anthony Ker and FM Nicolas Croad scored 6 points each and tied for third place. The bronze goes to Ker, who has a slightly better Buchholz.

Final standings:

1 FM Gong, Daniel Hanwen 2352
2 CM Xie, Felix 2301 7
3 IM Ker, Anthony F 2441 6
4 FM Croad, Nicolas 2449 6
5 IM Dive, Russell J 2388
6 McNabb, Matthew D 2231
7 Sole, Michael D 2004 5
8 FM Lukey, Stephen G 2353 5
9 CM Rains, Edward 2178 5
10 Winter, Ryan 2186 5

The Junior NZ Championship run concurrently with the Major Open. The winners in five age groups are:

U8 Leo Yitao Lian

U10 Justin Zhide Wang

U12 Emily Gan, William Rui Liu, and Ryan Hwang

U14 Isabelle Yixuan Ning

U16 Ollie Archer

2022 NZ joint junior champions – Ollie Archer and Gavith Dharmasena

Girl Champion – Isabelle Yixuan Ning

The NZ Championship also includes rapid and blitz events scheduled for January 11 and 12.

Official website: newzealandchess.co.nz/

Photo: NZ Chess Federation Facebook page

From fide.com