While researching Senior chess in other part of the world I discovered the Oceania Seniors Championships in Canterbury on the webpage of the New Zealand Chess (http://www.newzealandchess.co.nz/). After reading aobut the tournament I sent an email to the webmistress, Helen Milligan, inquiring about the state of Senior chess in here area. She was kind enough to get back to me, writing:
Give me a few days, and I’ll write you a report with some background and
details, and you can pick what you want from that for your Blog. You don’t
seem to be using photos much – but if you want you can use the photos from
my website, so long as you credit me (most of the photos are mine and there
will be a note somewhere if they are not). This is not just vanity; I claim
back various things against tax and the more proof I have that I am a ‘chess
reporter’, the better!
True to her word, several days later another email appeared in my inbox. It is everything one wants to know about Senior chess cown under, and more. Thank you, Helen!
OK, here’s a collection of info about NZ Seniors and the recent event…
We use the FIDE criteria. A man is eligible to play in Senior events from
January 1st in the year of his 60th birthday. A woman is eligible from
January 1st of the year of her 50th birthday. Unlike FIDE, we do allow women
under 60 to win the NZ Seniors (FIDE does not allow these women to play in
the Open World Seniors; they are only eligible for the Women’s World
Seniors. Women who satisfy the same criterion as men can play in the Open if
they choose, of course).
Note: these criteria will be changing in 2014 and we will follow the
changes. The age for men and women will be brought into line at 50 (ie, you
can play in Senior events from January 1st in the year in which you reach
your 50th birthday). There will be another age point at 65, described as
NZ Seniors Championship;
This is held annually; the dates and venue change from year to year
depending on which NZ Chess Club agrees to hold it. However, the format is
always the same; a 7-round swiss-system event with a time control of 90
minutes for the whole game with an increment of 30 seconds per move from
move 1. There are two rounds a day; one on the final day (or sometimes the
first day!). We have never found it necessary to award a Women’s prize;
women regularly pick up various placings and grade prizes. Only New Zealand
citizens and permanent residents are eligible to play.
Oceania is a sub-zone which holds its own Zonals, etc. It comprises
Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Palau, and
Guam. Only players registered to play for these countries can take part.
Recently, there has been an annual Oceania Seniors event, with prizes
including a free place in the Open World Seniors (for an eligible winner –
see my note about women’s ages above!) and a free place in the Women’s World
Seniors for the top woman.
This was in fact an Oceania Seniors Championship, incorporating the New
Zealand Seniors. Australian David Lovejoy and New Zealander Arie Nijman (who
is in his 80s) were first equal; on tiebreak Lovejoy took the Oceania title.
Nijman was the highest-scoring New Zealander so he took the New Zealand
Seniors Championship and the massive trophy (for a year). I was third and
took the Oceania Women’s Senior title; I will be travelling to Croatia in
November to take part in the Women’s World Seniors. Not yet clear if Lovejoy
can take up his place in the Open. Arie is too old to want to travel that
far. I am not next in line for the Open because I am too young; only
eligible for the Women’s. So, possibly Paul Glissan (Australia, 4th) will
go. We will see.
Obviously it will be all change for 2014 but we don’t know the regulations
yet. There will be an Oceania Seniors Championship in Sydney (Australia) in
early July, but it is not clear who qualifies, or for what. Will there be
Open/Women’s and also Veteran/Veteran Women’s? With the alignment of ages,
will there still be separate titles for Women? I really don’t know and I
haven’t had a response from the Oceania president with regard to this yet!
Other Senior issues:
We have an annual Grand Prix in New Zealand. Sponsors come and go but there
are always prizes (even if funded just by the income from the tournaments
that comprise the GP). There is a Senior prize. Next year, we will probably
have a Senior prize and a Veterans prize – since many of our stronger
players will suddenly become Seniors overnight on 31st December, and will be
swamping the Seniors section next year!
I hope this is useful!