The Armidale School’s undefeated First IV Chess team has made the State finals of the NSW Junior Chess League after winning their final round of the New England North West regional competition at TAS on Monday 24 August.
The final result of three boards to one did not reflect how tight the competition was against opponents St Mary’s of Gunnedah who notched up the first win of the day. While TAS students Harry Pollard and Joshua Stevenson won the next two boards, the rankings meant the ultimate result hung in the balance and it was all up to TAS chess captain Ali Ahsan – who after a nerve wracking game lasting 90 minutes, won the top board, and the day for the hosts.
“Losing that first board in a quick game put a lot of pressure on us and it was a close call. Last year we lost our first round so went into the second tier pool, but the games this year have been really challenging, which has been great,” said Ali, who plays chess everyday including lunchtime games against teammates.
It was the sixth consecutive league win for the team, following fixtures against O’Connor Catholic College, Oxley High School (Tamworth), Farrer MAHS, Holy Trinity School Inverell and Inverell High School.
The State finals will be in Sydney sometime in November.
“Hopefully it will be after the HSC exams have finished, so Joshua can represent the school one last time,” Ali said.