CHE SS CHAL­LENGE

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

His open­ing move: Set­ting up a chess club at St Theresa’s School.

His mid­dle game: Cre­at­ing a pri­mary school chess league span­ning Porirua.

His endgame: De­feat­ing his teacher and fiercest op­po­nent – his mother.

Plim­mer­ton school­boy Toi Royal has chess fever, and is keen for it to spread. The eight- year- old signed up 18 of his school­mates this term to join a lunchtime chess club at St Theresa’s, and is now keen for other schools to join in.

The aim is to have fun, gain skills and pre­pare play­ers for re­gional and na­tional tour­na­ments next win­ter.

The club meets each Tues­day at lunchtime. Some mem­bers bring along their own chess boards and Toi’s mum Jen Deben coaches any­body wait­ing for a turn to play.

Most kids in the chess club are sporty, and the board game has ap­pealed to them on rainy win­ter lunchtimes this term, Toi says.

‘‘It’s a game to play inside on a wet day,’’ he says. ‘‘I think they think it’s re­ally fun.’’

When he’s not check­mat­ing his mates, Toi is a keen soc­cer and tennis player, and gets a thrill from an­other tac­ti­cal game, Rum­mikub.

All the chess club kids knew how to play when he re­cruited them, and are good op­po­nents, he says. ‘‘They chal­lenge me a lot.’’ The one per­son he has yet to beat is his mum, who taught him to play two years ago.

‘‘We have the say­ing ‘ al­ways play to win but don’t be afraid to lose’. Toi’s never beaten me but we want him to work for it,’’ Mrs Deben says.

‘‘I think it’s a re­ally in­tel­li­gent game for kids. It teaches them strat­egy, struc­ture and pa­tience,’’ she says. ‘‘Chess is a bat­tle, so you can see why sporty kids are drawn to it.’’

Mrs Deben en­cour­aged Toi to take the lead in or­gan­is­ing the chess club and league.

‘‘I thought it was a re­ally cool way to bring the community to­gether.’’

The chess league is open to pupils in years 3, 4, 5 and 6. Contact St Theresa’s School, 233 8093.

Check­mate: Eight-year-old chess

en­thu­si­ast Toi Royal hopes to es­tab­lish a Porirua-wide pri­mary

school chess league.

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