Young wildcard gives senior chess players a run for their money
Year 8 student Nicholas Pizzino won the Christ Church Middle School Chess Tournament and a wildcard entry into the Open tournament. He claimed a number of senior scalps but was ultimately defeated by pre-tournament favourite Christopher Doukakis (Year 12).
Teacher in Charge of Chess Dominic Hodnett said 18 boys from Years 7 to 9 contested the Middle School tournament on Tuesday 15 May. Mr Hodnett said while Nicholas was the outright favourite, others were keen to upset the form book in the ‘Swiss Method’ competition.
By the end of Round 3, only Nicholas and James Tonnison (Year 7) remained undefeated. Round 4 pitted them together and a close match saw Nicholas get the edge on James to retain his crown and earned him the right to challenge the Year 10 to 12 boys in the open tournament.
The following day, 12 boys contested the Open Chess Tournament. The venue was M8, the new home of Philosophy and Chess at Christ Church. “With some of histories greatest thinkers gazing out into the room from posters adorning the cupboards, boys were inspired to focus their own minds on the task at hand and think deeply about each move,” Mr Hodnett said.
Pre-tournament favourites included Doukakis, Liam Kearney (Year 11) and Vaughan Greenberger (Year 11), along with wildcard entrant Pizzino, fresh from defending his Middle School champion title.
Round 1 left a notable casualty with Vaughan suffering defeat at the hands of Michael Zhou (Year 11). Round 2 saw Liam defeated by Christopher. Nicholas, however, was maintaining his impressive form with another confident win.
In Round 4, Chris met Nicholas in a match that would ultimately prove decisive under the ‘Swiss Method’ format - as Matt Freind (Year 11) beat Vaughan and Liam lost to Nicholas in the fifth round - Christopher calmly beat Nicholas and cemented his status as a “living legend in Christ Church chess”.
Mr Hodnett said with a strong showing across the board, attention now turned to the forthcoming inter-school tournaments.