Budding chess maestros impress NZ grandmaster
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.