The Hong Kong national school team competition was held on Saturday 23 February (Secondary) and Sunday 24 February (Secondary and Primary) at the South Island School premises. The event attracted over 240 participants and about as many supporters and spectators.
Although at least 6-7 players from Caissa go to Discovery Bay International School (DBIS) there was unfortunately no DBIS team. Discovery Bay was thus represented through Discovery College participating with one team in the Secondary and four teams in the Primary section: a growth of four teams compared to last year!
Day 1: Secondary
The Discovery College Secondary team had a rough first day, scoring one draw in the four rounds played. The team had two players competing for the first time in this section: Caissa’s Sophie Whalley, who played her first tournament ever, and Kevin Xin, last year still playing in the Primary Section.
Day 2: Primary and Secondary
To avoid traffic conditions related to the Marathon a coach bus was organized for door to door transport of all the teams. Unfortunately the bus ride was 45 minutes longer than was indicated and instead of 8.45am the teams arrived at 9.30am. Secondary was well in time with a BYE in their round 5 and as the event was delayed a little bit and because our four DC teams were paired against each other in round 1 there was luckily no impact.
The second day went much better: excluding the BYE the team had in round 5, all players made their marks: Kevin Xin winning both games, Michael Xin and Sophie Whalley scoring 1.5 out of 2, and Ken Arima scoring 1 out of 2.
Because of this good end sprint the team climbed up to end on 16th place out of 23.
With the exception of two or three players, our players in teams B, C and D had never played a tournament yet – some players had only learned how to play chess several weeks or months ago. Obviously the experience of participating in the event, and hopefully liking it while scoring a point here and there, was the main purpose. Team A was the DC team with the most experienced players and it was their target to rank higher than last year’s 32nd place out of 47 teams.
In a nutshell, DC teams achieved all the goals set for this year. In team D, ending 65th of 66 teams, the average score of the players was over 2 points so no player remained empty handed in their first appearance!
From team B and team C, ending 51st and 52nd respectively, we see some noteworthy performances from Jonathan Chow and Max Moore (team B) scoring 3.5 and 5.5 points respectively but also Aryan and Joaquin scored in their first appearance. Suneh Bhatia and Kian Heathman (team C) scoring 4.5 and 3 points respectively is an excellent result, but also Eshanya and Feliz managed to win in their first chess event. Great!
DC team A was a contender for a top 5 position up until the last round. However, 3rd place in the final ranking was taken by ISF team A through a 4-0 win over our DC team A that pushed us down to 22nd place of 66 teams – still a significant improvement indeed over last year’s performance. Noteworthy here are the scores of Chor Wei Tang with 5 points (5 wins in a row) and of Miguel Angel Garceran Wang on board 1 who with 6 points won some silverware, the 4th prize of the individual players of board 1. Congrats Miguel Angel! But also Bryant and Mei Jing performed well as this team, scoring well, continuously faced the strongest opponents.
In addition to the highlighted “noteworthy” scores, the most noteworthy fact of the day was the individual commitment of all players trying to push their own boundaries among great team spirit and it seems the foundation is laid to grow this further.
The team spirit, by the way, was not in the least thanks to the many parents who accompanied the players with good mood and with over a dozen homemade dishes, drinks and other snacks. If there would be a prize for coziest corner, it would definitely have gone to the DC conquered tables in the waiting area.