Patience, poise, tactics and tenacity were all on display at St Joseph’s Primary School on Friday as the Inter-schools Chess Challenge attracted over 50 students from throughout the region.
The biannual tournament, hosted in St Patrick’s Hall, saw 56 students of all ages from three Tamworth schools, as well as students from Manilla and Quirindi playing for both a schools team trophy as well as individual honours.
Coordinator Maureen McNeil said each student plays seven round games, before the semi final and final rounds.
“Most of these students play once or twice a week at school, or during lunch,” she said.
“We play this tournament twice a year, and generally get some very good numbers – unfortunately the Gunnedah team couldn’t make it this time.
“Chess is generally played by boys and men, but we have got at least one third girls this time which is great to see.”
McDonalds and Forum 6 generously sponsored this year’s tournament’s, and while every player took home some vouchers and participation awards it was year five St Joseph’s student Charlie McKenzie who lifted the trophy after beating all nine opponents on the day.
St Nic’s students Hugh Burnett, Ben Cinin and Eva Burke were equal runners-up, with the school taking out the team’s trophy.
“Chess really helps build self-esteem,” Ms McNeil said.
“It gives the children confidence, teaches them about strategies and critical thinking, as well as patients – you really have to concentrate and think at least a couple of moves ahead.”
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