Road works shake up chess champs

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Heavy vibrations from road works have literally shaken up the Queenstown Chess Classic.

Australian chess grandmaster Darryl Johansen was declared 2012 QCC champion last night (Monday) after a tie-break.

The tournament, which incorporates the New Zealand National Championships, wasn’t without its wobbles.

Organiser Paul Spiller says they had problems with road works being carried out on Frankton Road outside the venue Millenium Hotel.

“The big compactors were actually vibrating the pieces on the board and the whole room was shaking. But they were pretty reasonable and stopped the work at 3.30pm.”

An intense final day of matches resulted in a three-way tie for first place.
 
Johansen finished on equal points with Chinese grandmasters Zhao Jun and Li Chao.
 
The three players will share the $7000 prize money but Johansen takes the trophy home based on a complicated count-back system.
 
Spiller says: “It was very intense.
 
“We didn’t finish the last game until 9.30pm – a six-and-a-half-hour game – very tough.
 
“The players were trying very hard to win the matches. That probably cost the English grandmaster Gawain Jones, who could have forced a draw against Johansen. He tried to win but lost.”
 
The top placed New Zealander was Michael Steadman. He finished joint ninth and won the New Zealand Championship, held as part of the tournament.
 
“The games were played at a very high level, not much in it at all,” Spiller says.
 
“Many of the overseas players commented that it was the best tournament they have ever played in and are very keen to come back. 
 
The tournament, sponsored by New Zealand grandmaster Murray Chandler, is expected to return to Queenstown in 2015.