Endgame beckons for school players

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Waitaki Boys’ High School is getting the royal treatment this month.

The Oamaru secondary school will be paid a visit from kings, queens, knights and bishops from across Otago and Southland — in the form of chess pieces — hosting the Otago-Southland secondary interschool teams championship chess competition for the first time, on June 18.

Waitaki Boys’ teacher in charge of chess Greg Familton expected more than 70 pupils from schools across Otago and Southland to join. He wanted to encourage more pupils from

Waitaki schools to make the most of the opportunity, as Waitaki Boys’ was the only local school to attend last year, he said.

‘‘Hopefully, we can get some more local schools involved — [that’s] what I’d like,’’ Mr Familton said.

Waitaki Boys’ competed at the event in Dunedin last year, but it was a coup to host it this year, he said.

‘‘It’ll be good to bring all the kids here.

‘‘They get to meet [like-minded people] and they’ll get to play against people that are of good ability as well and challenge themselves against that.’’

Ian Repia-King (15) and Hunter Frith (14) played in the competition last year. Ian has also competed at national and Canterbury events.

Ian started playing aged 9, after learning from his uncle, Ray Repia. Hunter started at the same age but could not remember how he got into the game.

Both pupils said they enjoyed chess as it challenged them, forcing them to learn something new each time and how to be strategic. They both encouraged people to learn the game and take part in the competition.

Anyone interested in taking part in the competition should contact Mr Familton at gregf@waitakibhs.school.nz.