Fleurieu schools challenge to be champions at chess

THINKING FINAL: Investigator College student and eventual winner Ashwin  Murugappa and Jasmine Sommerville of Encounter Lutheran take on each other in the final of the chess championship.
THINKING FINAL: Investigator College student and eventual winner Ashwin Murugappa and Jasmine Sommerville of Encounter Lutheran take on each other in the final of the chess championship.

A major sporting contest was played last month by school students and it was not cricket, tennis or basketball.

Competitors at the chess tournament.

Competitors at the chess tournament.

It involved the power of the mind. 

On Wednesday, November 29, nearly 30 students from five Fleurieu schools battled each other and the heat in the second annual Fleurieu Schools Chess Tournament held at Victor Harbor R-7 Primary School. 

With students coming from as far afield as McLaren Vale, all participants played five games over the day with a maximum of 30 minutes time control allowed for each game.

Concentration was intense and great interest was shown in the progress scores and the draws for each round based on the 'Swiss' automated pairing system, where players on similar scores were matched.

Many thanks to Ben Jucius, one of the school's digital technology teachers and the school's chess co-ordinator, for organising the event and the draw.

By the last round, there were only two undefeated players: Jasmine Sommerville of Encounter Lutheran College and 12-year old Ashwin ('Ash' to his friends and family) Murugappa of Investigator College.

In a very high standard game with lots of onlookers watching each move, the advantage ebbed and flowed with Jasmine gaining a significant material advantage by the middle game stage.

However, Ash was finally able to convert a positional advantage into a winning series of moves,"queening a pawn" before a triumphant checkmate!

Hail Ash, the 2017 Champion!

And Ash's nine-year old younger brother, Abinav ('Abi'), played very well to finish in the middle of the field in his first tournament. 

Victor Harbor R-7 Chess Coach Valentine Pypyenko said it was very gratifying to see so many young players involved and enthusiastic about the game.

“Lots of quick games were played between the official rounds and many friendships forged over the board,” Valentine said.

“Chess helps improve children's visual memory and attention span, develops their critical thinking and reasoning and teaches them that their actions have consequences.

“Lots of good life lessons here for tomorrow's grand masters.”

Chess is a two-player strategy board game played on a chessboard, a checkered gameboard with 64  squares arranged in an 8×8 grid. The game is played by millions of people worldwide.

Each player begins with 16 pieces: one king, one queen, two rooks, two knights, two bishops, and eight pawns.

Each of the six piece types moves differently, with the most powerful being the queen and the least powerful the pawn.

The objective is to checkmate the opponent's king by placing it under an inescapable threat of capture.

To this end, a player's pieces are used to attack and capture the opponent's pieces, while supporting each other.

In addition to checkmate, the game can be won by voluntary resignation of the opponent, which typically occurs when too much material is lost or checkmate appears inevitable.

There are also several ways a game can end in a draw.

Chess is believed to have originated in India sometime before the 7th century.

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