With all others fallen away Nic Croad of Wellington needed two victories in the last two rounds over Smith and Lukey to gain the much sort after IM norm. Unfortunately for him Smith chose a very solid variation of the Slav and held Croad out for 67 moves.
Round 8 Standings: 5½ Solomon; 5 Croad, Johansen, Toth; 4½ Steadman; 4 Smith; 3½ Baider; 3 Watson; 2½ Reilly; 2 Lukey.
In the Qualifying IM event Thornton seems to be cruising to first place after creating a 2 point gap on the field in the earlier rounds.
Round 8 Qualifier Standings: 6½ Thornton; 5½ Shen; 4 Bennett, Goodhue, Wheeler; 3½ Chen, Latimer, Milligan, Stuart; 2 Fuatai.
Thornton,G (2126) - Wheeler,B (2071) [C01]2008 George Trundle Qualifier (8.3), 05.10.2008
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 exd5
Draw agreed 1/2-1/2
Games and results are at http://www.newzealandchess.co.nz/results.html