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Chess is my hobby
Written by Puchen Wang   

Arriving in New Zealand in November 1997 from Shanghai, China, I was a joyful 7-year-old, believing that all the beautiful things would lie ahead of me. Yet, reality is usually quite different.

I represented New Zealand internationally on seven occasions. In 2000, I came 5th in the World Junior under 10 group. I came after such big names like Sergey Karjakin who came second equal that year. Now I noticed many of my peers have already become world famous stars. I am hundreds of miles away from them.

It really puzzles me how these young chess players (I refer to my peers) rise to fame. How are they trained? Do they have to go to school to study? Is there any aid from their governments to support them? Are they simply the chess professionals? As for me, chess is totally a hobby. I have got no coaches. I can proudly and tragically claim that I have received 0 training and 0 funding from the governement agencies here in the last ten years.

In spite of that, my focus here today is to express my sincere thanks to all these people who helped me along the way.

Mum and Dad first want to say a big thank you to the Waitakere City Library management team. It is because of them, Su Scott, Jo Brewster, Mary Forbes, Margaret Cundall who offered both of them the jobs so that they get the income to pay me to represent New Zealand.

Two non-government organisations provided a portion of travel costs for me in some tournaments. They are the Lion Foundation and Scottwood Group.

The following kiwis helped me in different forms: Mr Bob Grover, Mr Hugh Burrett, Mr John Morris, Mr Hilton Bennett, Mr Bob Mitchell, Mr Gordon Hoskyn, Mr Prince Vetharaniam, Mr Don Stracy, Mr Michael Steadman, Mr Tommy Tay, Mr Jim Granville and Mrs Jacqui Granville etc.

The following Oceania chess officials showed their interest and much care to me in my chess development. They are Oceania chess president Mr Gary Bekker, GM Ian Rogers and Cathy Rogers, Jenny Oliver and Dr Virgilio de Asa.

Special mention must me made of Paul Spiller (NZCF vice president) and Bob Smith (NZCF president). They offered me plenty of assistance in my growth.

Thank you guys. You keep me warm-hearted and make me hang on there with my chess.

After the Oceania chess tournament this May, I wished I hadn´t accepted this invitation. First of all, I lost the motivation to go for the IM title. Yet, more importantly, I am in my last year at the secondary school. I genuinely can´t afford the two weeks´ absence from the school. After all, my schooling will play a far more important role in my future life. Nevertheless, I wouldn´t go back on my promise. Even though I am such a lightweight and an amateur in this strong field, I have agreed to go and is too late to avoid my great opponents now. I hope I am not so rusty by the time (hardly possible with the incessant exams) and give good resistance to my respectful opponents.

Lastly, I must thank the organising committee members and IM Herman van Riemsdijk for offering me such luxurious hospitality and VIP treatment. And I wish this tournament a great success.

Best regards,

Puchen Wang