In what had been built as one of the great underdog stories of our time, 5 students from NCS made the journey down to Batemans Bay to participate in the NSW Secondary School’s Chess Competition. This was the first round and the students were keen to test their skills against other, bigger, schools. The trip down was mostly taken up with an inspirational pep talk from Mr Walker. You can find the full transcript below:
‘If you win I’ll buy you a McDonald’s slurpee.’
Buoyed on by this meaningful and intrinsic motivation, students retreated into the quiet of their minds to channel their inner Deep Blue (look it up).
The four competing players are ranked 1 to 4, with the top match carrying more weight in the event of a draw. Our players, in ranking order, were: Rohan B, Harrison F, Hamish Mc and Isaac P, with Isaac C as reserve.
Hamish and Isaac both put up brave fights, with Isaac in the game right till the end. However, both fell short in pivotal moments and the team was down 2 to 0 after half an hour of play.
Rohan was initially intimidated by his opponent's full and wise-looking beard. He managed to calm his nerves and settled in quickly to his match. His opponent attacked early with his knights, but rather than playing his opponent's game, Rohan stayed calm under pressure and used the opening to set up his structures. Having controlled the centre of the board, Rohan was able to push his opponent's knights around and take them. Field position became key, and Rohan was able to control the game through steady advancements. He eventually queened one of his pawns and went on to win his match.
The last remaining team member to play a game was Harrison F and the pressure was squarely on his shoulders. If he won, the team would progress to the second round, if not, the consequences were severe. Harrison shuddered to think of a trip home with no slurpee.
With his mind on food, Harrison quickly lost his queen and was backed into a corner. He was down on pieces, position, and confidence. Digging deep, Harrison refused to give in and ever so slowly he clawed back the advantage. After about an hour of play, Harrison steamrolled over the top of his opponent to finish strongly and win the match.
The team had won, and they reminded Mr Walker of his promise many times until he finally pulled into McDonald’s. Pulling up to the window, Mr Walker ordered six slurpees and we were all quickly rewarded with ‘sorry, machine's broken’.
The team will just have to win again next time.