Otago Chess Champs at the National Finals

By John Major | Posted: Wednesday November 16, 2022

After coming 1st in the Otago / Southland Interschool Chess Champs our number one team of Alexander Sun, Naoki Kozakai, Tyne Grant and Fen McIntosh headed to Christchurch for the Nationals at the start of the October holidays.

The last time the school went to a National tournament in Christchurch it was October 2010 and in between the 2 big Christchurch Earthquakes. The Christchurch Boys High School Auditorium looked a lot different then. Regular aftershocks kept everyone on edge.

Two years ago we attended the Nationals in Mount Maunganui and got 5th so we were hopeful for a similar result - our goal was to be the top South Island team. Last year the event was cancelled due to Covid.

We started the first game against hot favourites Rangitoto College (who eventually won the whole tournament). We lost to them 4 - 0. Second game was much better. One Tree Hill College, a win 3.5 - 0.5. We started to gain some confidence only to lose our 3rd gain to Takapuna Grammar 3 - 1. Although this was a loss all of the games could have gone either way and often it takes one poor move to lose a game. Similarly our 4th game against Hamilton Boys was also a 3 - 1 loss. Our confidence was shot. Lucky for us a Bye instead of a 5th game for the day meant a brief reprieve.

Question: What do Chess players do in their down time?

Answer: Play more games of Chess.

The Sunday morning saw us bounce back for a hard-fought 3 - 1 win over New Plymouth Boys and then an even tighter 2.5 - 1.5 win against Mt Roskill Grammar.

Overall 3 wins, 3 loses, 1 bye, we ended up 10th out of the 17 teams but behind Christ’s College and St Andrews, so 3rd best in the South Island. We ended up on 7 points, Christ College were only on 8, close.

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