Congratulations: Murray Chandler turns 60!

by Michael Dombrowsky
4/4/2020 – Murray Chandler is author, chess organizer, philanthropist, New Zealand's only grandmaster and owner of a church in Auckland. Chandler has lived in Europe for many years, was a successful Bundesliga player and has played at Chess Olympiads for England and for New Zealand. Today, April 4, he celebrates his 60th birthday. Congratulations! | Photo: Murray Chandler at the Chess Olympiad 2008 in Dresden | Photo: Frank Hoppe

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Wolf in sheep's clothing

When the young man from quite "down under" - i.e. New Zealand - came to play on board one for the Hamburger SK in the newly founded German Bundesliga in 1980, Murray Chandler was still unknown in Europe. However, he had already become World Junior Vice Champion U17 in 1976 and had won the Asian Youth Championship in Baguio (Philippines) in 1977. He had also played no less than three times at Chess Olympiads for New Zealand.

His teammates in the Bundesliga quickly gave him the nickname "Shepherd". But his opponents quickly noticed that he was by no means lamblike, but a "wolf in sheep's clothing". This was underlined by the 12.5 points from 15 games he scored on board one in his first season. And Chandler managed to keep this form: he played a total of 236 games in the Bundesliga, achieving a result of 158-78 (+116, =84, -36).

After he took English nationality in 1983, he played in six Chess Olympiads for England. From 1991 to 1999 he was editor of the British Chess Magazine and finally founded his own publishing house, Gambit Publications, which is still one of the leading international chess book publishers today. In 2006 Chandler returned to New Zealand and, at his tenth Olympiad in 2008, he again competed for his home country, which in 2017 appointed him a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to chess.

The governor-general, Dame Patsy Reddy, congratulates Murray Chandler after his investiture as MNZM. | Photo: New Zealand Government, Office of the Governor-General

Today, April 4, Chandler celebrates his 60th birthday! Congratulations!

Two nice games to celebrate the jubilee

His straightforward and dynamic play brought Chandler many nice wins in the Bundesliga. One example it the very first game he has ever played in the Bundesliga: he convincingly outplayed IM Klaus Wockenfuß, German Champion of 1976, with Black.


Another Bundesliga highlight by Chandler is the following game from 1985 in which he defeated former World Championship Candidate Zoltan Ribli in a sharp Sicilian.


(This is a sligthly revised version of an article that first appeared in Schachkalender 2020. Reprint with kind permission.)

Translation from German: Johannes Fischer


Murray Chandler: New Zealand Open

Michael had been working for almost 40 years as editor and journalist for various newspapers and magazines before he started to write chessbooks. His first chess book was "Berliner Schachlegenden", in which he tells about the lives of a number of famous chess players in Berlin which gives insights into the history of Berlin and a chess culture of the past.


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