HBHS Chess team finishes third at Nationals
Over the course of the first weekend of the recent school holiday our Chess team, consisting of Eushin Kang, Michael Lin, Max Stephens and Nathanael Loy, travelled to Mount Maunganui to compete in the National Final of the New Zealand Chess Federation Secondary School Championship.
The effect of Covid-19 on this year’s tournament was twofold:
- Since the tournament was only confirmed as “going ahead” four days prior to it starting, those schools who had qualified to participate, but had no chance of winning a medal, had withdrawn a number of weeks prior to the event.
- To make up the numbers caused by these withdrawals, the organisers extended a further invitation to the regional runners-up in the powerful Auckland regions.
The net effect was that all teams participating were extremely strong with no easy matches.
After starting with two comprehensive wins in the first two rounds of the seven round Swiss Format Tournament, HBHS played the top seeds, Auckland Grammar, in Round 3. Auckland Grammar have 2 FIDE Masters (i.e. just below International Master and Grandmaster level) in their team, with their top player being a member of the New Zealand adult team. HBHS managed to draw the match 2-2 with Michael doing exceptionally well to beat one of their FIDE masters and Max scoring the other win. This proved to be the only two games AGS lost all weekend.
Given that we would lose the game-point tiebreak to AGS, we were on track to finish second, but a disappointing draw to Mount Roskill Grammar in the final round saw us finish in third place behind AGS and Westlake. Considering the strength of the tournament this year, this is a relatively better result than our third-place last year.
In addition to the team winning Bronze medals, certificates and a Book prize, Michael and Max (pictured) also won the Board prize for being the best #2 and #3 players at the tournament.