We have decided to step aside and hand over to our erstwhile staff members, the dynamic duo Andrew FitzPatrick and Justine Jule, who undoubtedly will breathe fresh life into an already thriving business. Their contribution to the success of Gardiner Chess has been outstanding, having had almost full control over the business for the last couple of years. Graeme will, if required, happily continue working for them as a part-time employee.
Graeme will use his extra time wisely, riding his road bike as always, and continuing towards his Masters research degree – which very aptly is concerned with chess and education. Wendy, who has had very limited time in the business in the last couple of years, will enjoy her garden, chooks, dogs and continue her new passion for art.
It has taken 15 years to reach this point, having achieved Graeme’s dream of creating a successful chess business and through that, making a difference to many children who are growing up with a love of the game while gaining huge life-time benefits as they learn.
Obviously we couldn’t have achieved this without fully committed staff. Since we commenced the business, we have had approximately 200 casual staff working for us as chess coaches in our client schools around south-east Queensland and northern New South Wales. Many of these were university students who came up through the junior chess ranks. We are so grateful to you all for your wonderful efforts.
What a journey it has been! The memorable moments have been many; here are just a few:
within a day of opening our brand new, unique chess centre, a storm brought down a massive tree branch which speared through the verandah roof and rain-damaged the new furniture. We didn’t regard this as a bad omen needless to say!
apart from our full programme of chess tournaments, we ran some highly regarded chess events such as:
the Australian Championship play-off between Daryl Johannsen and Nick Speck
the Australian Championship and Australian Junior Championship in Brisbane
Australian Schools Teams Championships at Bond University, Gold Coast
we attended and participated in the Chess in Schools Conference in Aberdeen, Scotland
we hosted chess students from the Nanyang School, Singapore, for a week of chess
we proudly achieved great results with several autistic children who found chess to be ‘their’ sport, in particular we celebrated one child achieving the FIDE Master title at the Oceanic Zonal tournament in Fiji
The following photo is Gene Nakauchi with Grandmaster Ian Rogers. Ian, who for 25 years was Australia’s number one ranked player, and has been coming to the Gold Coast regularly in the June/July school holidays almost every year since 1993.
the children attending our afterschool chess lessons thoroughly enjoyed interacting with our 7 gorgeous border collie puppies
they also were fascinated by our enormous resident carpet snake, fondly known as ‘Eric’ which made regular appearances at the chess centre
we were very proud to host the largest one day chess tournament in Australian chess history with 1004 students attending the Gold Coast Primary Interschool Finals at the Carrara Basketball Stadium in 2005 – the only venue large enough to accommodate them all
we also hosted the 2015 Gold Coast Open at the Somerset College Great Hall with a record attendance of 145. This is believed to be a Queensland record attendance for an open event.
Some people have questioned whether Graeme has actually ever played tournament chess – well he can prove it! For those doubters Dr David McKinnon, the Queensland Junior Ratings Officer, has kindly provided the following 2 games played in 1993 and 1994!
We wish Justine and Andrew every success in their new venture.
Graeme and Wendy Gardiner