Battles raged across checkered boards with Wairarapa College chess players using all their wits to try and take down the opposition’s king at the New Zealand Interschools Chess Tournament recently.

The team of four students from Year 9 to Year 12 finished 11th in the country with Year 11 Joseph Teofilo’s results placing him in fifth in the top pool.

Wairarapa College won the regional competition which qualified them to compete on a national level against 17 other regions and represent the Wairarapa in Christchurch.

The tournament was organised into Teirs with Teir 1 consisting of the best players and through to Teir 4. WaiCol’s team was represented by Joseph in Teir 1, Year 9 Sam Fletcher Teir 2 and Year 12s Adrian Smith-Beech and Jaden Blown Teir 3 and 4 respectively. Teacher Rory Hughes says it was the first time Wairarapa College had qualified and competed and out of seven rounds of chess they won three, lost three and drew one. This intially had them 7th equal with four other teams on points but later were placed 11th based on prior rankings and tie-breaks.

Mr Huges says that Joseph, wth his unofficial national ranking of fifth in New Zealand, will compete at Chess Power ( national individual tournament) later this year to compete for an official rank. Sam and Adrian also qualified for this tournament as they were unbeaten at the interschools tournament.

Chess is growing in strength at Wairarapa College and Mr Hughes says that the boys really enjoyed their competition and gain an enormous amount of experience.