Plenty of check mates

TOP SEED: Anthony Ker.
TOP SEED: Anthony Ker.

An early upset in the New Zealand Chess Championship has put 12-time national champion Anthony Ker on the back foot.

Top seed Ker, of Lower Hutt, was defeated after a blunder against fellow Wellington player and 10th seed Brian Nijman when the event kicked off on New Year's Eve.

"It's not the type of game I'd put in my memoirs. I can still win, but it's going to be hard," the 45-year-old veteran of 33 national championships said.

He was philosophical about the first-round loss as he prepared yesterday to take on rising star William Li, 14, of Auckland, who also lost in the first round.

The 18th-seeded teenager began playing when he was 5 and was modest about being flagged as an emerging talent. Ker went on to beat him.

Eighteen players are competing for the national championship at CQ Hotel in Cuba St.

The Dominion Post