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Chomping to a checkmate at the Chocolate Festival

News Release

Tuesday 14 August, 2012

Chomping to a checkmate at the Chocolate Festival

Chess is not what comes to mind when we think of chocolate but that is exactly what will be served up to chocolate and chess aficionados in less than two weeks at the New Zealand Chocolate Festival.

Amongst flowing chocolate fountains and culinary demonstrations from chefs and chocolatiers from all over New Zealand, a series of special exhibition chocolate chess games will be played by the members of the Wellington Chess Club with the most tasty of treats. “All the playing pieces and even the chess board are made of solid chocolate and players wear cotton gloves to prevent the pieces from melting in their hands,” says festival organiser Frank Stoltenberg.

“Standard chess rules apply but the players have to eat every piece that they take from their opponent. Handcrafted by Rotorua based Bliss Chocolates, each chess piece weighs between 20 and 35 grams so in order to win, players may end up having to eat more than 350 grams of chocolate which is equivalent to one and a half large chocolate blocks. “Winning a game will clearly require not only plenty of thinking but plenty of eating too! The players will truly discover what it takes to taste success.”

Someone who has already tasted success is Layla Timergazi. At only 11 years old, the Ngaio schoolgirl beat a much older and more experienced opponent, Wellington’s Bill Forster, in a game of chocolate chess which was played last month in the lead up to the New Zealand Chocolate Festival. Bill was a perfect gentleman, offering the young up-and-comer the opportunity to play with the white chocolate set, which as all chess enthusiasts know, would have afforded her the advantage of making the first move. However Layla was quick to decline but not for the reason one might suspect. “I want to eat white chocolate,” she said. “I’ll have to play with the dark set so I can eat the white pieces that I take from Bill.”

And eat them she did in an impressive win which she hopes to repeat as the youngest player at the three day festival taking place between 24 and 26 August at Hotel InterContinental Wellington. To tantalize your taste buds and stimulate your grey matter you will need to be quick as one of the festival’s weekend sessions is already sold out with the remaining sessions expected to follow. Visit to purchase tickets and find out more.


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