Somerset’s annual Inter-house Chess Tournament took place on 28 July in the Spartan Chess room. The event is divided into two round robin tournaments for Senior School as well as one for the Junior School.
The five houses create five rounds in the Tournament, with the inclusion of a bye for each team. Each house is asked to field a team of six players as well as two reserves who often rotate into the team.
With the growing strength of the Senior School’s Chess Programme, it was bound to be a great Tournament. Franklin were favourites going in following convincing wins over the past few years but the question was whether they could regain the title? The additions of the new Year 7 contingent did not make it so easy. Many of the early rounds went according to seeding and both Veivers and Franklin showed strength going undefeated for the first four rounds.
The two highest rated teams met for a six board match to decide the Senior School Champion house. Among these teams are six of the eight highest rated players in all of the Senior School, making this match a real test for both. The top three boards ended in a draw quite quickly, leaving it down to boards four to six. Board five finished next and also resulted in a draw but Veivers won the sixth game. This meant it all came down to board four.
Matthew McConnell played for Franklin against the improving Year 7 Charlie Liu. The game's intensity drew a crowd of students and coaches alike; their attention focusing to the potential Tournament decider. For most of the game, it looked to be a draw until the end game where Charlie became extremely resourceful and found a tactic to win his opponent's Queen. This led to a resignation and with that, Veivers had won defeating the always strong Franklin and ending their long running dominance for Inter-House Chess.
Players on the team were as follows: Kabilan Munaneedi, Jack Luke- Paredi, Jason Li, Charlie Liu, Talia Varcoe, Jennifer Yeung and Hamish Khafaji.
Below are the final team standings:
Following the Senior Tournament, time came to reset and prepare for the Junior Inter-School Tournament. Coinciding with Pyjama Day meant many of the students were still wearing nightwear, adding an interesting quirk to the event. To combat this twist and show house spirit, novelty items matching house colours were given to each team, as well as coloured streamers to decorate accordingly.
Unfortunately this year Starkey was not able to field a team, so the team became a three round, four team round robin, with an extended time control eliminating the bye. Round one was headed for an upset with Nikita Rubis having an advantage over Eason Wang. Anson Qu appeared to be up an entire piece against Oliver Yang; however, experience conquered for the higher rated players and both secured wins.
After round two, lead looked like going to Laver who defeated both Veivers and Franklin, while Andrews drew against both teams. The final matchup of the two highest rated teams was the deciding match. Andrews needed to win 4 to 2, to take the title. Anything less meant both teams would finish equal, on match points and the tiebreak beneficial for Laver. First game to finish was an upset in Andrews favour with Melody Yang defeating Raphael Atia. Boards four and six gave Andrews a huge 3 to 0 lead. Pressure was on in the three remaining games, where Jack Walker and Kenny Ming secured wins.
The two highest rated players in the Junior School, Oliver Yang and Eason Wang (and current members of Somerset College’s successful 2016 Australian Primary School Championship Team) remained. The pair has a long and friendly rivalry, having competed in many tournaments together nationally, however this game was serious. Oliver took an early advantage winning a piece for two Pawns and decided to exchange pieces into an endgame. The final endgame position was Knight and Pawn verse Knight when a draw was agreed. This meant the match score was 3.5 to 2.5 to Andrews.
A tie of match points then went to the tiebreak method of individual scores as below:
The champion Laver team consisted of; Eason Wang, Raphael Atia, Kenny Ming, Aadi Rai, Jack Walker and Joshua Pieri.
With all the excitement of inter-house chess over for the year I wish all participants the best of luck in any of the upcoming inter-school chess tournaments and hopefully we see further success from Somerset College Chess at State finals in October.
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