Cham­pion chess trio keep it in the fam­ily

The Leader (Nelson) - - FRONT PAGE - CARLY GOOCH

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.’’

MARTIN DE RUYTER/ THE LEADER

Troy Kelso one of three broth­ers trav­el­ling to Hamil­ton to com­pete at the Ju­nior Na­tional Chess Tour­na­ment.

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