One night in Hamilton beckons for students
Students of Nelson College Preparatory School must be saying ‘‘checkmate’’ in their sleep, having been crowned kings of intermediate chess in the region.
Along with older Nelson College students, the Year 7 and 8 boys are members of the school’s chess club, where they learn the strategies and nuances of the ancient board game from Nelson Chess Club president Dan Dolejs and club co-ordinator Vikki Heays.
The tuition seems to have paid off, with the school dominating the Chess Power Nelson Zone Term 2 Interschool competition at Nayland College last month.
Prep teams finished first and third in the intermediate section, bookending the second-placed Nelson intermediate team and ahead of other teams from Mapua School and Broadgreen Intermediate.
Individual members of the winning intermediate A team – Samuel White, Freddy Griffiths, Samuel Holmes and Samuel Brookes – took out the top four positions, while Alex Bryant came sixth out of 39 registered players.
Following their success, Prep will now each send a five-person team to the Chess Power teams national finals held at Hillcrest High School in Hamilton on October 28-29.
According to Brookes, the key to winning the game of strategy is predicting and recognising patterns and taking advantage of an opponent’s weaknesses.
The boys were undecided as to what piece is the most valuable on the board, with the queen and knight deemed equally useful when plotting an opponent’s downfall.
Chess is believed to have originated in India around the 6th century, where it was called Chaturanga.
Enthusiasm and strategic nous for chess has taken Nelson College Preparatory students to a national tournament in Hamilton.