Somerset has won the Queensland Primary Schools Open Chess Championship for the fourth year in a row. In the Secondary Open Championship, our top team came second behind the hosts, Anglican Church Grammar School.
The culmination of every year’s Queensland Interschool Chess Championship is the “State Finals”. Over 1,000 teams from across every corner of Queensland compete all year in the gruelling qualifying stages, and last weekend there were a record number of finalists: 38 teams in Primary, and 18 in Secondary.
Somereset’s top Secondary team (James Kay, Kevin Song, Byron Morris and Kabilan Manuneedhi) were keen to improve on their second-place finish last year and take out the title. They fought bravely in the crucial Round 4 match-up against Churchie, but ultimately came up short, despite James’ crushing victory against the Churchie Board 1.
James Kay won his board prize with a score of 5.5/6 – higher than any other player in the event. Kevin Song also performed superbly, finishing on 5/6.
Although the team had its sights set for gold, I congratulate them for an outstanding result. I also congratulate our second team (Jack Luke-Paredi, Ben Atia, Keanu Matsuura and Jason Li) on finishing in equal 8th place.
Somerset came into the event as the rating favourites and defending champions (as well as reigning National Champions). But as always, the decisive match-up came down to the wire. Our boys handled the pressure brilliantly, and in the end were once again crowned champions.
Our top team (Oliver Yang, Eason Wang, Raphael Atia and Kenny Ming) went through the first day of competition with four team wins, and 15/16 individual points. The single game the team lost was to Somerset’s second team.
According to tradition, the champion was decided in the crucial match-ups on Sunday. Somerset fought off a strong challenge from Robertson SS in Round 5, winning the match 3 to 1. The real cliff-hanger came in Round 6 against Macgregor SS, who needed to win the match to overtake Somerset.
With Boards 1 and 2 tied at 1-1, it all came down to Boards 3 and 4. Just as everything seemed lost, Raff Atia and Kenny Ming stayed composed under immense pressure, and held two crucial draws.
Huge congratulations to our winning team! Congratulations also to our second team (Melody Yang, Anson Qu, Nikita Rubis and Michael Rossiter) on finishing equal sixth. Special mention to our individual gold medalists, Eason Wang 6/6 and Nikita Rubis 5.5/6.
It was my privilege to coach these gifted students, and many thanks to Graeme Gardiner and the other coaches, Doug Williams and Shaun Curtis.
Australian Schools Teams Championships, Sydney Grammar School, 2 to 3 December
(Somerset will be sending two teams to represent Queensland, Primary Open and Secondary Girls)
Gold Coast Individual Age Championships, Wednesday 25 October at Emmanuel College
Junior Masters Saturday 4 November to Sunday 5 November
One Day Challenge Sunday 5 November
A group of 20 Somerset College girls visited Salisbury State School to compete in the Queensland Girls Inter-school Chess Championships, Friday 13 October. The competition is the girl's state finals, with teams as far as Cairns travelling to compete, with the winner of both Primary and Secondary who will qualify to represent Queensland at the Australian inter-school teams championships (Sydney).
We had three teams of four girls in the Primary Girls Division as well as two teams of four in the Secondary Girls Division. The atmosphere was quite casual prior to the start of the tournament with many of the players having practice games and chatting among themselves. As the first round was set to begin each player found their board and took their seat opposite their first opponent. As the round began and the chess clock started, the tension set in with all players concentrating on giving their all over the board.
As there are in all tournaments, there are favourites in each division, Kings CC were a big favourite in the Primary Division with three girls rated over 650. In the Secondary Division the main competition was Brisbane Girls Grammar School (BBGS) boasting two girls selected to represent Australia in the World Youth Olympiad later this year in India.
Our top teams in both divisions had quite a difficult start both teams conceding a few points in the first three rounds. Primary girls captain Melody Yang was playing on Board 1 against some of the best Primary School girls from all over Queensland. While in the Secondary tournament many of our girls were paired against each other (eg. players in Team 1 against players in Team 2) and took points off each other.
Round 4 was a good round, in Secondary Tournament where we were able to catch up with the team score of BGGS to be equal first going in to Round 5. Our Primary team began to have some very difficult games against some of the Brisbane girls but managed to hold their own. Unfortunately in the final two rounds we were overcome by a few teams including Kings CC who finished first, Somerset Team 1 finished fifth.
Rounds 5 and 6 Somerset remained completely tied with BGGS it all came down to the final round, the excitement and nerves in the hall were felt by all. We needed to score more than BGGS in order to win the tournament and with two of our top team playing two of their top team anything could happen. Talia Varcoe was first to finish with a win, Lyanna Chan finished at the same time as BBGS top player both won. Moments later another BBGS won their game as did Mayuri Yamaguchi this meant Somerset had taken a 3 to 2 lead against BGGS however both teams had one player still playing, and to they were paired against each other.
If BGGS' player wins then the two teams are tied and the title goes down to a tie break method known as count back. However if Jennifer Yeung is able to win or draw against the higher rated player her team would win and qualify for the National Finals. This game was the last to finish with a large group of spectators gathered around the board to watch possibly the most crucial game of the tournament play out.
Jennifer was under pressure early but was able to defend well and work her way into an endgame where she was slightly better, both players began to get low on time and the tension intensified. Jennifer exchanged her pieces at the ideal point to force a winning endgame position that she converted to a win. As soon as the game was over and Jennifer stood up members of her team rushed over to hug her and share their excitement and joy in winning the tournament. It was a great moment for the high school girls to over come some extremely strong competition in order to win the State Championships.
The Secondary Girls team that will be representing Somerset College at the Australian Interschool Chess Championships is as follows:
We are extremely proud of all the girls who competed, not just for their performance over the board but their sportsmanship and manner was exceptional, as always. Please wish the girls luck for their next challenge at the National Championships in December.
« Back to IndexNext article in this edition »