Bud­ding chess mae­stros im­press NZ grand­mas­ter

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

Chess- mad stu­dents from St Theresa’s School re­ceived a visit from one of the game’s su­per­stars last week, grand­mas­ter Mark No­ble.

The Plim­mer­ton school’s 15-strong chess club in­vited No­ble to help judge a de­bate it staged last Tues­day. The sub­ject: ‘‘The pawn is the weak­est piece on the chess­board.’’

No­ble, has won two in­ter­na­tional chess ti­tles and is one of just two New Zealand grand­mas­ters. He trav­elled from his Feild­ing home to judge the de­bate.

De­spite strong ar­gu­ments from both sides, the club’s black team won over the four judges by ar­gu­ing per­sua­sively that the pawn was, in fact, strong.

The grand­mas­ter is a keen ad­vo­cate of mak­ing chess a school sub­ject, as it is in Rus­sia.

He teaches the game to Feild­ing pupils two hours a week and said skills learned in chess, such as strat­egy and pa­tience, im­proved their aca­demic re­sults.

The zest the St Theresa’s pupils had for chess was heart-warm­ing, No­ble said.

‘‘For me, I just see the joy on their faces. That’s what makes me do it,’’ he said.

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