An Australian International Master amazed spectators by beating six foreign grand-masters and scooping the top prize at the Queenstown Classic International Chess Festival, which concluded on Saturday.
David Smerdon beat the favourites by half a point to win the Queenstown Chess Classic trophy and $10,000 in prize money.
He secured eight out of a possible 10 points during the Queenstown Classic Inter-national Chess Festival and is now a few points away from achieving grandmaster status.
Festival promoter Murray Chandler said the surprise triumph was a “tremendous result for David and Australia”.
Chasing Mr Smerdon in second equal place, at 7.5 points, were grandmasters Eduardas Rozentalis (Lithuania), Gawain Jones (England), Klaus Bischoff (Germany), Leif Erland Johannessen (Norway), Victor Mikhalevski (Israel) and Dimitrios Mastrovasilis (Greece).
The top New Zealand player, who became the new national champion, was Anthony Ker, of Wellington, who finished in a tie for 12th place equal overall.
He took home the Silver Rook, the oldest national chess trophy in the world, and it became his 10th New Zealand championship win.
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