Making all the right moves

2016-11-15 06:00
The A Team, Jade Smith, Warren Lucas, Tylor Claasen, Principal Cliff Chateau, Keano Jordaan, Mphutumi Shete and Munashe Kantuda. PHOTOS: Samantha lee

The A Team, Jade Smith, Warren Lucas, Tylor Claasen, Principal Cliff Chateau, Keano Jordaan, Mphutumi Shete and Munashe Kantuda. PHOTOS: Samantha lee

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After only a few months of practice, a Westridge school team has taken home the gold at a recent chess competition.

The A team at Duneside Primary School did their school proud when they competed and won their first competition following only a few months of training.

School principal Cliff Chateau, who is also the chess coach, says they did not expect to do so well at the competition.

“I did not have any expectations for the tournament. I just wanted to introduce them to competitive chess and let them have fun. Their first game was very tense and they were very nervous but they won,” says Chateau.

The A team did well to win the tournament with a considerable lead while the B team placed 6th out of 12 teams. The A team even beat high school teams.

Most of the players only learnt the game this year and Chateau has high hopes for the players.

His involvement with his son, who was selected for the provincial chess team in 2010, sparked an interest in the game.

“We started in March and it started because my son played and reached the Western Province U16 team and that is where my interest in chess started. That is when I decided to introduce chess at the school,” says Chateau.

A lack of equipment saw the effective implementation put on hold, until recently.

The initiative has been supported by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport who have donated chess boards.

Old Mutual also donated boards to the school with a few boards also being purchased by the school.

His time working with his son also enabled him to grow his own knowledge of the game and he went on to become a member of a local chess club board.

He recalls making an experience where he played against an eight-year-old girl, who beat him.

“Because I was the chairman and had some level of skill, I played in the tournament for them. When [the girl] beat me I did not feel the expected embarrassment. I was looking at her from a father’s perspective. There was no fear in her, she would make a brilliant move and then look at me. She inspired me,” he says.

“That is the beauty of chess, you can have an eight-year-old playing against a 60-year-old.”

Chateau says the teams will be entered into Western Province level competitions moving forward.

“Club chess is much more intense than the schools tournament,” says Chateau.

With the success of the two existing teams, Chateau says chess at the school will become a permanent fixture with the sport being taught and introduced from Grade R.

With most of the players also being in Grade 7 and leaving the school soon, Chateau has also urged them to continue playing competitively and starting clubs at their respective high schools.

V Anyone who would like to donate chess boards to the school, call 021 392 1819.

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