New Grandmaster emerges

GM and GM-elect: International Master Mahmood Lodhi (right) from Pakistan won the Asian Seniors 50+, collecting his 3rd and final grandmaster norm. He will become Pakistan’s first grandmaster. Here he is pictured with New Zealand’s first (and only) GM, Murray Chandler.

A new chess Grandmaster has emerged following the eighth Asian Seniors Chess Championships which have just concluded at the Waipuna Conference Centre.

International Master Mahmood Lodhi from Pakistan completed his final qualification for the title of Grandmaster and will become Pakistan’s first ever player to achieve this prestigious World Chess Federation title. He finished on 7 points (6 wins, 2 draws and only 1 loss).

Paul Spiller achieved a draw against him in round 1 and was the only New Zealand player to score any points against him.

The 65+ Veterans section was completely dominated by legendary Filipino Grandmaster Eugene Torre who scored a picket fence 9/9 against his opponents. In second place with a silver medal on tiebreak, was local Howick-Pakuranga Chess Club member and FIDE Master Ewen Green who tied with Edmundo Legaspi (Bronze medal) of the Philippines on 6.5 points.

Both Bruce Watson and Ewen Green as well as Edmundo Legaspi all qualify for norms (or part qualifications) for the International Master title. Edmundo Legaspi also qualifies for the FIDE Master or FM title. The International Master title is the next step up the chess ladder from the title of FIDE Master and one below the coveted Grandmaster title, of which there are only around 1500 of in the world.

The event was put together under chief organiser Paul Spiller of Howick. He was appointed by the Asian Chess Federation and NZ Chess Federation to organise the event. Spiller, a qualified (by FIDE which is the World Chess Federation ) International Chess Organiser, is the current president of the Oceania Chess Confederation.

MP Maggie Barry, whose fiance Grant Kerr competed in the Veterans 65+ category \, was a special guest at the prize giving ceremony on Sunday along with the department chief of the Nepalese Ministry of Sport, Mr Kul Bahadur Thapa.

The competitors from 11 countries including Nepal, Thailand, Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Pakistan, Guam, PNG, Australia and New Zealand were entertained by a local kapa haka group before the prize giving ceremony.