Intermediate the only local team

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Photo: Ashburton Intermediate School pupil Steven Harris, competing in Ashburton at his second South Island school's Chess Championship tournament.

Ashburton Intermediate School players had the weight of Mid Canterbury on their shoulders at the annual South Island school’s chess tournament last week, in what may be the final event held in Ashburton.

The team, made up of Hector Diamante, Steven Harris, Donnie Ross and Caleb Sluys, were the only team from the district in the event, held at their school hall.

Tournament co-ordinator Ken Pow said the number of entries and results were on par with previous years but there were plans to change the tournament location.

“It is likely to be the last time in 10 years that the South Islands will be held in Ashburton, with a move afoot to host the tournament in alternating years in Dunedin and Christchurch,” he said.

However the decision would be made after consultation with the schools and NZ Chess.

Mr Pow said the competition, across the three age sections, saw some quality play from seasoned chess players.

“In convincing fashion, Otago Boys High School (OBHS) repeated their success of 2018 (in the secondary section). Only Logan Park was able to foot it with them, drawing their encounter.

“Burnside was the top qualifier from the Canterbury region, but the difference in quality was on display when OBHS took out a clean sweep victory over them,” he said.

The intermediate section, featuring the Ashburton team, was “an extremely tight grade”. Although the Year 8 Ashburton pupils were unable to place, it was a close battle at the top toward the end.

“Going in to the penultimate round the final positions were in fact reversed, but a stunning win by Cobham over Cathedral Grammar in the final round saw them leapfrog into first place.

“Balmacewen was the defending champion and only a disappointing last round result prevented them from repeating their success.”

In the primary section teams from St Marks, Waimari, St Theresa’s and Ladbrooks competed in a double round robin.

“A close battle ensued between the two top teams, with St Theresa’s, who had travelled the furthest to get to the tournament, coming out on top.”

Their team also contained the only two girls competing across all grades, he said.

John McGlashan College’s Martin Brook (left) is locked in chess battle with Otago Boys High School’s Max Lough during round play in the South Island school’s Chess Championship.

All the teams had qualified at earlier regional age group tournaments to be at the South Island event. The top teams were also using this tournament as a final practice before nationals event, in the North Island later this month.

The results were secondary – Otago Boys High School (HS), Dunedin (41pts), Logan Park HS, Dunedin (32 pts) and Burnside HS, Christchurch (30pts); intermediate – Cobham Intermediate, Christchurch (48pts), Balmacewen Intermediate, Dunedin (44pts) and Cathedral Grammar, Christchurch (40pts); and primary –

St Theresa’s School, Invercargill (45pts), Waimairi School, Christchurch (41pts) and St Mark’s School, Christchurch (30pts).