Saturday, 28 January 2012

The Adventure at The Edge of The World

After exchanging some emails with GM Murray Chandler, whom was introduced by my best friend WGM Gu Xiaobing, I have confirmed to play in New Zealand in the last minute. That time I was in China to play the Chinese Chess League in the beginning of December (see this Starting from a casual conversation with Gu Xiaobing (aka Vivian Gu), about our tournament schedule, she told me that she will play in NZ and has been planned it since last February. NZ has always been a place that I want to go (maybe not only me, but everyone) and I told her so. Although a bit hesitant about the timing, because the Queenstown Chess Classic will begin on January 15th and on December 7th, (when I was first told about it) I still have not done anything related to my departure there. It looks easy, I just need to buy a ticket and make a visa, but it is actually more difficult than it seems. Mid-January is summer in Queenstown which means lots of people come to vacation and make it increasingly difficult to get my flight right there. And about the visa, it takes about 1-2 weeks. But please remember, the staff at the Embassy also need a vacation, especially for Christmas and New Year season. Even so. all was settled a day before my departure.

About Queenstown
Situated in the heart of the South Island, on the shores of Lake wakatipu and surrounded by the beautiful Remarkables mountain range.The town has been regularly rated as one of the world's top tourism destinations, seeing 1.2 million visitors a year. Queenstown is the Southern Hemisphere's premier four-season alpine and lake resort. Queenstown was named because ' was fit for Queen Victoria.' Certainly it's lived up to that expectation. Today it's an exhilarating alpine resort, perfect for both adventurers and leisure seekers.

Queenstown History
William Gilbert Rees was Queenstown's first European settler and the community's founding father. He established the first farm in the Queenstown area in 1860, and played a key role in the gold rush that followed soon after. Before settlement, Queenstown frequently saw visiting Maori on their quest for greenstone. Soon after settlement, Thomas Arthur and Harry Redfern discovered gold in the Shotover River bringing many men and women to the Queenstown site that saw the second largest haul of gold in history as well as the government's purchase of the town. The year 1900 not only farewelled the gold, but also thousands of settlers, leaving a population of only 200, however, as statistics show today, the current population in Queenstown is 8538.

Things to do and see
The lake and mountain landscape make it suited to all kinds of adventure. There’s skiing in the winter and activities such as bungy jumping, canyon swinging, jet boating, horse trekking and river rafting all year round. If hardcore adventure isn't your thing, there are plenty of mellow options available. Experience one of the many walking & biking trails, sightseeing tours or indulge yourself  with spa treatments, boutique shopping and excellent food and wine.

Head out of Queenstown and the drama of the Central Otago landscape unfolds around you. If you’re a Lord of the Rings fan you’ll recognize many of the locations of Middle-earth here. Twenty minutes from Queenstown, Arrowtown’s gold-mining history is alive and vibrant. Visit the Lakes District Museum or go gold panning. Forty minutes from Queenstown at the northern tip of Lake Wakatipu is rural Glenorchy and Paradise Valley. From here it’s a short drive into the Mt Aspiring National Park and the start of some of New Zealand’s great walks.

Queenstown Chess Classic 2012

The 2012 Queenstown Chess Classic is a 9-round international tournament, open to players - of any playing strength - from both New Zealand and abroad. The tournament was played from 15th-23rd January 2012 at the Millennium Hotel, Queenstown's premiere events venue.The tournament is the inspiration of New Zealand chess Grandmaster Murray Chandler, and is overseen by a team of volunteer organizers from New Zealand and Australia. Following two successful previous events - in 2006 and 2009 - Queenstown has truly become established as the "perfect tournament in the perfect location." The 2012 Queenstown Chess Classic was FIDE (World Chess Federation) rated, and the presence of several foreign masters and grandmasters have given opportunities for players to achieve title norms. The relaxed schedule of one game per day (and all rounds starting 3 pm) allowed ample time for sight-seeing. This tournament also has documented in Chessbase, check them out: and

I'd also like to let everyone knows that my game has chosen to be the best game of the tournament, but unfortunately the 700 NZD prize went to the winner. Congrats Gawain! :P

Final standings (after nine rounds)

Rk. Title Name FED Rtg
1 GM Johansen Darryl K AUS 2403
2 GM Li Chao B CHN 2693
3 GM Zhao Jun CHN 2569
4 IM Akshat Khamparia IND 2414
5 GM Rozentalis Eduardas LTU 2592
Tao Trevor AUS 2422
7 GM Hansen Sune Berg DEN 2572
8 GM Ganguly Surya Shekhar IND 2639
9 GM Bojkov Dejan BUL 2553
10 FM Ikeda Junta AUS 2349
Bird Andrew AUS 2216
12 FM Steadman Michael NZL 2258
13 WGM Sukandar Irine Kharisma INA 2325
Dragicevic Domagoj AUS 2277
15 FM Illingworth Max AUS 2388
16 FM Cheng Bobby AUS 2375
17 FM Smith Robert W NZL 2273
Zelesco Karl AUS 1990
19 FM Stojic Dusan AUS 2294
20 GM Bischoff Klaus GER 2537
21 IM Dive Russell John NZL 2345
22 IM Morris James AUS 2354
23 GM Zhao Xue CHN 2551
24 GM Jones Gawain C B ENG 2653
25 IM Solomon Stephen J AUS 2375
26 IM Ly Moulthun AUS 2376
27 IM West Guy AUS 2323
28 IM Garbett Paul Anthony NZL 2290
29 IM Van Riemsdijk Herman BRA 2401
30 WGM Nadig Kruttika IND 2234
31 GM Haznedaroglu Kivanc TUR 2455
Pyke Malcolm AUS 2132
33 FM Hartvig Ove Weiss DEN 2210
Tang Jason AUS 2030
35 FM Wallis Christopher AUS 2259
36 IM Xie George Wendi AUS 2459
37 WGM Gu Xiaobing CHN 2244
Drummond Matthew AUS 2227
Schon Eugene AUS 2188
Matheson Laurence AUS 2167
Li Zuhao Luke NZL 2165


Millennium Hotel, where the tournament was being held

Playing hall

GM Murray Chandler with the winners

Your dearest writer, before the starting of round 1

With Gu Xiaobing at the Lake Wakatipu

The view from my balcony at night

With Moulthun and Junta at Fergburger, see their blog at

With IM Akshat Khamparia, GM Surya Shekar Ganguly and wife during the closing.

Girls Power! WGM Kruttika Nadig, me, WGM Gu Xiaobing, and WIM Sue Maroroa

Getting the prize. Photo by: Wolfgang Thiele

And this when getting my 4th IM norm. Photo by: Wolfgang Thiele

Cookie time!

Went up with the gondola after the tournament

And went down with the luge

The view from top

A magic attraction at the park

Painting... also at the park

Piano man whom later I found out named Mathias

Many things you can see at the park , lol

While I just sat back and watched them all

Can't miss to go on this cruise

Isn't it lovely to cruise on a sunny day?

Captain Irene :)

with Kruttika at the Ice Bar

Andrew, Kruttika, and I at the gondola ice

And last but not least, gunaxf sbe urycvat zr jvgu gur gvgyr, Whagn xha :)

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