Kings kids make the right moves at tourney

CHECK-MATES: Looking every bit a team in their matching hoodies, Ka Pai Kaiti Kings Chess Club members did the district, club, families and themselves proud at a tournament in Upper Hutt. Back row (from left) are Akuhata Keelan, Tayze Samuels, Levi Soto, club coach Noble Keelan and Kane Soto. Middle: Micah Soto, who travelled with mum & Nanny for support) Sean Molloy, Amber Dearness and Georgina Moeke. Front: Tekuramea Karere and Kruize Lee. Picture supplied

Ka Pai Kaiti Kings chess players are making a name for themselves on the North Island circuit.

Set up five years ago by Ka Pai Kaiti manager Tuta Ngarimu, the club had the good fortune of attracting chess “legend” Noble Keelan and he and wife Jodie have run the club for the past three and a half years.

The Kings attended a tournament in Upper Hutt where they exceeded their coaches’ expectations and achieved impressive results.

There were 16 entrants in the junior section and the Kings claimed three of the top five placings.

“We took nine kids to the tournament as we wanted to give them an opportunity to play outside of Gisborne,” said Mr Keelan.

“Three of our boys were grade C and were matched against opponents well above their skill level.

“Out of six games they got two wins each, which we didn’t expect at all due to the calibre of players they faced.”

Club member Georgina Moeke won five out of six games to place second.

Kruize Lee was in contention for second but missed out in the last round by 0.5 of a point.

“Georgie was the only junior female in the prize-giving. All the other placings went to males,” said Mr Keelan.

“Out of our six juniors, she wasn’t the strongest player so this was a huge achievement for her.

The club did a different sort of fundraising campaign to get to the tournament.

“We didn’t want to use traditional methods like raffles, as it is a form of gambling, so decided to stage a chess-a-thon.

“All the kids got sponsors and hammered it for 12 hours.

“Community support was awesome. We had pledges from all around North Island. We raised $4500 in 12 hours.

“A lot of these kids aren’t from ‘well-to-do’ backgrounds so they were all so proud of what they accomplished.”

The club has grown over the last three years and now has more than 35 members.

“When we started, it was mainly whanau who came along and we had about 12 kids total,” said Mr Keelan.

“Now we are having to delegate responsibilities and have started involving some of our older members in running things.

“The kids have elected a club captain, who has also stepped up to run the club, which gives them a sense of ownership.

Mr Keelan said he had been coaching for a long time but his enthusiasm for chess had not diminished.

“Chess is great because it teaches kids to think about what they’re doing before they actually do it, so it’s good for making the right decisions and learning to deal with wrong decisions.

“Our kids are starting to understand that getting picked for the team isn’t about being the best player.

“It is about attitude, attendance and behaviour.”

Mr Keelan said the efforts of the team over the three-day trip were amazing.

“Our kids are all winners. They represented their whanau, Ka Pai Kaiti, Tairawhiti and themselves so well, and did us all proud.”

Ka Pai Kaiti Kings chess players are making a name for themselves on the North Island circuit.

Set up five years ago by Ka Pai Kaiti manager Tuta Ngarimu, the club had the good fortune of attracting chess “legend” Noble Keelan and he and wife Jodie have run the club for the past three and a half years.

The Kings attended a tournament in Upper Hutt where they exceeded their coaches’ expectations and achieved impressive results.

There were 16 entrants in the junior section and the Kings claimed three of the top five placings.

“We took nine kids to the tournament as we wanted to give them an opportunity to play outside of Gisborne,” said Mr Keelan.

“Three of our boys were grade C and were matched against opponents well above their skill level.

“Out of six games they got two wins each, which we didn’t expect at all due to the calibre of players they faced.”

Club member Georgina Moeke won five out of six games to place second.

Kruize Lee was in contention for second but missed out in the last round by 0.5 of a point.

“Georgie was the only junior female in the prize-giving. All the other placings went to males,” said Mr Keelan.

“Out of our six juniors, she wasn’t the strongest player so this was a huge achievement for her.

The club did a different sort of fundraising campaign to get to the tournament.

“We didn’t want to use traditional methods like raffles, as it is a form of gambling, so decided to stage a chess-a-thon.

“All the kids got sponsors and hammered it for 12 hours.

“Community support was awesome. We had pledges from all around North Island. We raised $4500 in 12 hours.

“A lot of these kids aren’t from ‘well-to-do’ backgrounds so they were all so proud of what they accomplished.”

The club has grown over the last three years and now has more than 35 members.

“When we started, it was mainly whanau who came along and we had about 12 kids total,” said Mr Keelan.

“Now we are having to delegate responsibilities and have started involving some of our older members in running things.

“The kids have elected a club captain, who has also stepped up to run the club, which gives them a sense of ownership.

Mr Keelan said he had been coaching for a long time but his enthusiasm for chess had not diminished.

“Chess is great because it teaches kids to think about what they’re doing before they actually do it, so it’s good for making the right decisions and learning to deal with wrong decisions.

“Our kids are starting to understand that getting picked for the team isn’t about being the best player.

“It is about attitude, attendance and behaviour.”

Mr Keelan said the efforts of the team over the three-day trip were amazing.

“Our kids are all winners. They represented their whanau, Ka Pai Kaiti, Tairawhiti and themselves so well, and did us all proud.”

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