One night in Hamil­ton beck­ons for stu­dents

The Leader (Tasman) - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - TIM O'CON­NELL

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.

PHOTO: TIM O’CON­NELL/ FAIR­FAX NZ

En­thu­si­asm and strate­gic nous for chess has taken Nel­son Col­lege Prepara­tory stu­dents to a na­tional tour­na­ment in Hamil­ton.

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