New format chess tournament sees success for St John’s College students

Posted: June 5, 2020Category: Uncategorized

New format chess tournament sees success for St John’s College students

A new format chess competition has seen three St John’s College students step up to the board, securing a place for the school at the National Finals.

The Chess Power Teams Chess Week 2 Regional Zone tournament, held on May 12 saw 38 students across all three categories; junior, intermediate and senior from Hawke’s Bay, Gisborne, Blenheim and Nelson take part online.
Jeevanjot Singh came first in the senior category receiving the Gold Medal, along with the Picket Fence and Brave Bishop badges.
Ivan Roberts placed 5th in the senior category receiving the Quick Knockout badge.

For Hunter Wilson, having only started learning and playing the game in March, didn’t stop him from placing eighth in the senior category and receiving the Pawn Power Badge.

Jeevanjot said he just wanted to try his best in the tournament.

“I thought the tournament would be a good experience and it means a lot to win because I didn’t think I would.”

The year 9 student started playing a year ago and was drawn to how peaceful the game is, but also the strategy involved. “I saw it on youtube and it just looked cool to me,” he said.

Accounting teacher Simon Thomson, who is in charge of the chess club, said he was proud of what the boys’ had achieved.  Although, he feels like he hasn’t “done much”, rather just coordinate it, as lockdown came into effect a week and a half after their first met for the year.  The new teacher took up the opportunity to lead the club after the teacher formerly in charge of the club retired at the end of last year.

At this stage, they have 20 boys’ registered in the club and are hoping to get more people involved. A chess ladder is being organised to allow the boys’ to play somebody with a higher skill level than themselves.

Operations manager and founder of Chess Power, Paul Macdonald, said Covid-19 and the subsequent lockdown meant they were not able to run in-person events. “With Covid-19, that pretty much destroyed that whole structure that we normally operate in.”  As a result, they built technology that allowed the chess tournaments to be run online which enabled a caregiver to register a participant, and for participants to take part in the tournament in real-time by being able to connect to the arbiter, and also play chess.  “It is very responsive. As soon as they make a move, their opponent will get that move on their board instantly and it keeps track of their time as well,” he said.

They had the intention to run four competitions comprising of the 30 regions, but schools reopened term three tournaments in-person giving the 25 regions who were not able to participate, a chance to make the nationals in November.

Having started Chess Power ten years ago, Macdonald says they believe chess is a “great way” to build key life skills around decision making, focused concentration, how to take risks, and strategical thinking.  “There’s nothing like chess, it’s unique and it is purely intellectual in that you out-win your opponent by thinking and we think thinking is a really important skill for the future,” he said.

The Term 3 Hawke’s Bay Regional Tournament is scheduled to take place on Thursday, August 20.

The Chess Power National Finals will be held in Auckland on Friday, October 16.   A special invitational tournament, Champions Trophy, held for the best youth chess players across the country will be held the following day.

They had the intention to run four competitions comprising of the 30 regions, but schools reopened the following week meaning they weren’t able to continue. They now plan on holding their usual term three tournaments in-person giving the 25 regions who were not able to participate, a chance to make the nationals in November.  Having started Chess Power ten years ago, Macdonald says they believe chess is a “great way” to build key life skills around decision making, focused concentration, how to take risks, and strategical thinking.

“There’s nothing like chess, it’s unique and it is purely intellectual in that you out-win your opponent by thinking and we think thinking is a really important skill for the future,” he said.

The Term 3 Hawke’s Bay Regional Tournament is scheduled to take place on Thursday, August 20.

The Chess Power National Finals will be held in Auckland on Friday, October 16.

A special invitational tournament, Champions Trophy, held for the best youth chess players across the country will be held the following day.