Isaac Ratcliffe, from Scots PGC Year 5 ponders his next move.
Isaac Ratcliffe, from Scots PGC Year 5 ponders his next move. Chris Lines

Kids get checked in chess tournament

NINETY students from 10 schools in the Southern Downs region clashed in a game of wits and grit at Assumption College.

The second Warwick Regional Inter-school Chess Tournament had students battling it out across the primary and senior school levels for mental supremacy.

For tournament organiser Carmel Wooding, it provides the perfect opportunity to sneak in some learning while the kids have fun.

"Chess has well-researched educational benefits for concentration and problem-solving, all within a games format,” Mrs Wooding said.

Angus Brown a Year 6 Scots PGC College student said he had been practising for the tournament against his friends and parents - and he said he can beat them occasionally.

"I like the strategy of it and how much maths is in it - maths can be fun sometimes,” he said.

The more senior students had their own reasons for pursuing the timeless pastime.

Stanthorpe High Year 11 student Chandra Glickson put it simply.

"Sports suck.”

Her classmates joined in to elaborate on her point.

"I've been playing chess since I was in primary school, it is a great way to practise lateral and critical thinking,” said Year 11 student Saige Mungo.

Another Stanthorpe Year 11 student Dante Giammattei had some tips for people looking to get committed to the game.

"You need to practise heaps but do not take it too seriously otherwise you will get frustrated with each loss,” he said.

"Learn how to do openings right, it is not the kind of hobby you can pursue half-heartedly - you need to be committed.”

Chemistry teacher at Scots PGC Stephen Annastasi runs a strategy games club in the college.

The club has been focussing on chess as of late but also experiments with other popular games such as Magic: The Gathering.

Mr Annastasi said it gives an opportunity to kids who might not enjoy sports to become involved in extracurricular activity.

"We have older students teaching younger students how to play and students teaching me how to play sometimes, so it really is great for building those relationships.”

When the the kings had all been checked, the winners of the tournament were.

Primary:

1st - Isaac Ratcliffe, Scots PGC College (Year 5)

2nd - Joash Cranney, Border Rivers Christian College (Year 4)

3rd - Jonah Hill, Glen Aplin State School (Year 5)

Secondary:

1st - Dante Giammattei, Stanthorpe State High School (Year 11)

2nd - Brendan Lunn, Assumption College (Year 11)

3rd - Jack McFarland, Scots PGC College (Year 11)