Chess Classic’s spinoffs

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The organiser of the third Queenstown Chess Classic, starting Sunday, estimates it’ll bring $1 million to the local economy. 

Aucklander Paul Spillane says the 141-strong field includes about 100 overseas players and a record 11 grandmasters. 

“It’ll be a very strong field,” he says. 

Top seed is China’s third-ranked player Li Chao. Second seed is Commonwealth chess champ Gawain Jones of England, followed by six-time Indian champ Surya Ganguly. 

The nine-round tournament, finishing January 23, doubles as the 119th New Zealand Chess Championships. 

The prize pool is $30,000, with the winner pocketing $7000. The event sponsor is semi-retired New Zealand grandmaster Murray Chandler, who owns Queenstown property. 

“It’s probably costing him six figures to run this event,” Spiller says. 

Games start each day at Millennium Hotel at 3pm.