Pare­mata’s bud­ding grand­mas­ters

Kapi-Mana News - - CONVERSATIONS - DANIEL WHIT­FIELD

Th­ese four Pare­mata School pupils would have felt like kings af­ter shout­ing ‘‘check­mate’’ and claim­ing vic­tory at an in­ter­school tour­na­ment back in 1996.

But where are they now? We man­aged to track down one of the play­ers and it turns out he’s the brother of Porirua mayor Nick Leggett.

Alex Leggett, front left, was part of the team of four – along with Nick Morten, James Morten and Daniel Red­ding­ton – that took on nearby schools for brag­ging rights as Porirua chess cham­pi­ons.

Kapi-Mana News had to go global to con­tact Alex Leggett.

We con­tacted Nick Leggett, who was in Samoa, and he gave us his brother’s email ad­dress. Alex Leggett lives in Lon­don, where he works for a bank.

‘‘There were a num­ber of lo­cal schools tak­ing part and our team won the tour­na­ment,’’ Alex Leggett said.

‘‘I think Pare­mata had three teams in the com­pe­ti­tion, be­cause chess was very pop­u­lar at the time.’’

Leggett said he was 12 in 1996 nd be­lieved Nick Morten would have been 11, and James Morten and Daniel Red­ding­ton 8.

Chess was no doubt a pop­u­lar sport at the time.

Nearly 60 com­peti­tors rang­ing in age from 7 to 13 played in the in­au­gu­ral tour­na­ment.

Pukerua Bay, Ad­ven­ture, Dis­cov­ery, Post­gate, Pa­pakowhai and Pare­mata schools fielded teams.

Red­ding­ton, Leggett and the Morten brothers formed Pare­mata School’s A team and claimed top hon­ours.

Leggett said it was pretty amaz­ing that Pare­mata won the school chess com­pe­ti­tion be­cause they were play­ing against older chil­dren.

De­spite his brief and suc­cess­ful ca­reer as a chess cham­pion, Leggett stopped play­ing when he left Pare­mata School said he had barely played a match since.

‘‘Chess had a pe­riod where ev­ery­one was play­ing it – the school chess club had about 70-odd mem­bers as I re­call.

‘‘I don’t know if it’s like that now, but it was fan­tas­tic at the time and ev­ery­one en­joyed the strat­egy and the com­pe­ti­tion.’’

We won­dered if Leggett had ever chal­lenged his brother, Nick, to a game of chess.

‘‘I don’t think Nick has ever played chess, cer­tainly not to my knowl­edge.’’

Chess cham­pi­ons, clock­wise from left, Alex Leggett, Nick Morten, James Morten and Daniel Red­ding­ton.

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