The pace was frenetic as 200 students from 17 regional schools used strategy and quick thinking to complete more than 350 games of chess at one of the largest regional tournaments in the State at The Armidale School this afternoon (27 March).
Run by the Sydney Academy of Chess and hosted by TAS for the first time, the day brought together enthusiasts aged 10-18 for seven rounds of matches, played individual ‘Swiss-style’ with clocks counting down every second of each 15 minute game.
Each week the Sydney Academy of Chess coaches thousands of school children across Sydney and organiser Rick Kuning said he was impressed with the day.
“This was the largest tournament we have ever hosted outside Sydney. The hall at TAS was packed and it was a very exciting if sometimes chaotic day,” he said.
“The Armidale School did a great job of hosting it and the students and teachers from the various schools were all so keen to help. There was a great atmosphere and the day was a huge success,” he said.
The spoils were shared across the region, with St Mary’s Catholic Primary School, Armidale,taking out the primary division ahead of Timbumbri Public School and St Xavier’s School in Gunnedah in third.
In the very closely contested senior division there was little splitting the top three placegetters, with Inverell High School pipping Farrer Memorial Agricultural High School Tamworth, and hosts The Armidale School, third.
The top five players from each of these schools will be invited to compete at the regional semi-final in Term 3.
“It was a really impressive turnout, and it was pretty tight up the top with a lot of people playing some very good chess,“ said TAS chess captain Harry Pollard, who won five of his seven games at his fourth Sydney Academy of Chess tournament.
“It would have been the first time a lot have played with clocks, and there’s a lot more pressure when they are ticking along. It’s probably the first competition for a lot of the younger students and for others their fifth or sixth – so there was a good mix of experience and enthusiasm in the room.”