HBHS are New Zealand Chess Champions!

With COVID-19 having caused the cancellation of so many Chess tournaments this year, the online National Secondary Schools Chess Power Championships proved to be the only opportunity our players have had this year to compete at a National level and to test their ability against New Zealand’s finest.

Played in the first week of the Christmas holidays, the dates of the tournament sadly ruled out three of our recent Year 13 graduates who were unavailable due to other sporting fixtures and prior commitments. Whilst their absence was expected to weaken the team significantly, our strength has always been in our depth and their absence gave the opportunity to a number of younger players to step up and make the most of their chance.

Nine of our players had qualified by means of the regional qualification system through the course of the year with the four best HBHS scores in this tournament counting as our team score. Despite the missing seniors, we were well represented by Sean Clark, Michael Lin, Daniel Loy, Nathanael Loy, Ishaan Singh, Andy Song, Aarya Vivekanandan, Aidan Webster and Jovan Xin.

As he had done in the over-the-board version of the championship in both 2019 and 2020, Michael Lin swept all before him and finished with a 100% 9/9 score, defeating three Junior masters in the process. His closest rival finishing on 7/9. However, as much as it helps, one outstanding score is not sufficient to win a team event. Rather predictably, Nathanael Loy recorded our second best score with 6½, as did Year 10 player Ishaan Singh who had another excellent tournament in this form of the game. The ever improving Aidan Webster and the always dependable Daniel Loy both finished on 6 to bring our “Sum of best four” score to 28. ACG Sunderland and Mt Albert Grammar were joint second on 25½ with Mt Roskill fourth on 24½. (15 Teams, 80 players)

Unfortunately, as this was an online event played from the students’ own homes (with 180ᵒ cameras and built-in spyware to ensure players were not tempted to augment their own natural chess ability!) we are unable to include any photographs from the Championship.