Sunday, 23 October 2011

Queensland Inter-School Teams Chess Championship

This the best Schools in the state of Queensland battled for titles in Brisbane at Somerville House, a prestigious Girls School with a long and good reputation for encouraging and promoting Chess. Here is a picture of the School with one of the successful teams showing off their trophy.

The tournament was excellently organised and there was a large turnout from many different regions. Some teams were local (Brisbane), others from the Gold Coast, Toowoomba and Bundaberg. Everything was still wide open until the very end but the dominant teams in both the primary and secondary level were from Kings and Grammar.

Brisbane Grammar won a last round nail-biter against Somerville to win the Secondary School division while Kings held 2-2 against Grammar to win the Primary division. Don't quote me on that because I am working from memory. I have not been able to find the exact results on any website.

The Somerville Girls acquitted themselves very well and were fighting for one of the top places going into the last round. Amongst the coaches were International Master Moulthun Ly, a promising younger player, Veteran IM Steven Solomon and WIM Alexandra Jule pictured below going through the game of one of the competitors...and having lunch. No rest for the wicked :-)

Many thousand school children and students play chess in Queensland and there are many events for them to play in. Parents and teachers support these events as does the Queensland Chess Association  and the Gardiner Chess Academy  . This is Graeme Gardiner who spends a lot of his time helping to organise events like these.

As you can see there are a lot of people enthusiastically involved in Junior Chess. So why is it that Junior events look like this

and open tournaments look like this?

IM Steven Solomon receiving first prize at the Wendy Terry memorial a few weeks previously. A solid performance by Steven who out-rated his nearest rival by nearly 300 elo points. Hardly any adults compete anymore and much of the tiny field was made up of juniors. Something is happening in the transition between School and Adult life. Anybody got any ideas?


  1. Great question. I wonder if perhaps all sports/disciplines see considerable drop off as participants age. Is there something in our culture that says, if you can't be among the best at something, don't do it? Or don't do it publicly? "If you're not in the top 100 by 21, get out." That can't be all there is to it. What do you think is going on?

  2. I think it snowballs from the top. I am from Brisbane and built up my rating to 1800+ a few years ago.

    I found that by the time I was 1800+ in club tournaments and a lot of weekend tournaments I was almost the top seed, and it all became a bit dull. There were virtually no stronger players in my range to keep me interested.

    So, I haven't played a local tournament for 4 years now, and in a small way I presume that has contributed to a reduction of interest of players weaker than me (because there aren't a lot of stronger players in their range relative to themselves) and so forth.

    A final point with my situation. Now that I have children I can still get my chess fix over the internet. I still play a few blitz games almost every day, and I can follow top level tournaments live on the internet. Without the internet I am sure I would still play club/weekend tournaments at least a little.

  3. Wow,

    It's been a while,, since your stay at KL.

    Wish you all the best!

    -Abdullah b Salim, from Batu Caves, Kuala Lumpur

  4. Perhaps it is something to do with the ubiquity of electronic gaming. I have a friend with an 18yo son who is in a Halo team. They have twice qualified to travel to the US to compete in Halo tournaments with big prize money.

    Maybe young adults are attracted to the breadth of computer gaming opportunities rather than depth of chess?

  5. PS. I think there is a bug in this comment system (I am using Chrome). Twice I tried to 'Post Comment' and nothing happened and then I tried preview-> post and nothing happened, then I clicked preview again and a 'captcha' appeared and I was able to post. It seems that I was being denied posting because I hadn't filled in the captcha, but it wasn't visible.

  6. I am sure electronic gaming has an influence. Many friends of mine play Poker online.
    The proliferation of entertainment on television and the internet may also contribute.

  7. Besser nicht mehr auf Balkons fotografieren. Da kann die Sonne nie von hinten kommen.

    For your followers: Better don't take photos on balconies. The sun will never be behind.

  8. Full Results can be found at

    On the drop out, i have worked in other sports previously and there is a marked drop out once players leave school. Chess in Australia has a large junior base because of the Interschool System and coaching within schools and after that it tails off with the odd weekender here or there. Publicising the events seems to be an issue (ok there is chesschat etc) to the outside world. Sponsorship and the money involved is another issue.