Champion chess trio keep it in the family
Three young Nelson brothers stealing knights, promoting pawns and capturing castles are preparing to head to a national junior chess tournament.
Kelso brothers, Troy 7, Dallas, 9 and Jordan, 11, have all qualified for the Chess Power Champions Trophy 2017, a competition to find the best junior player in New Zealand.
Their checkered past starts at a very young age.
The boys’ mum Keryn Kelso said they all started the game around five years old, learning from their dad and grandad.
She said while they all played each other, they wouldn’t play her anymore.
‘‘They tell me it’s a waste of their time because I’m not very good and it’s boring ‘cos they beat me too easily.’’
While Kelso calls herself ‘‘hopeless’’ at the game, chess runs through the men in the family with their dad’s twin brother and older brother also enjoying the game.
The three brothers aren’t oneeyed chess players though.
Kelso said she was amazed that they were all involved in team sports including football, hockey and cricket.
Jordan plays for under 13 development hockey.
‘‘They’re active, out-there kids ... who enjoy chess as well as other things. It’s pretty cool.’’
Troy’s chess prowess has him playing his cousin of similar age via email and online, bridging the gap between Turkey and New Zea- land.
Kelso said he beat his poppa the other day, ‘‘which is no mean feat’’, and recently won a game against James Hebberd in four moves.
Hebberd runs the Clifton Terrace chess club, overseeing chess games during lunch breaks, class and before school.
He said the kids ‘‘love it’’. ‘‘Instead of going on the ipads before school, they’d rather play chess.’’
With a ‘‘fairly even’’ participation from both sexes he said that the stigma of chess being quite nerdy and bookish was unwarranted.
Hebberd said it was ‘‘more and more important’’ to include something like chess in a curriculum ‘‘which is quite digital’’.
‘‘It requires kids to think and plan and sequence and all these sorts of things ... to be able to sit and plan something out like a game of chess it has lots of transferable skills.’’
‘‘Some children have just got the ability to see in advance all the moves, it’s a skill, it’s a gift, and those Kelso kids have it.’’
The Chess Power competitions will see more than 100 junior players between the age of five and 17 converge in Hamilton on October 22.
Chess Power manager Paul Macdonald said a lot of life skills could be gained from chess including improving thinking, problem solving, decision making and dealing with losing.
‘‘The other key thing is focus.’’ He said most children started to learn aged seven and eight.
‘‘We do have students at five and even four years old.
‘‘It’s recommended to start as early as possible, even a threeyear-old can learn with the right coaching.’’
Troy Kelso one of three brothers travelling to Hamilton to compete at the Junior National Chess Tournament.