By Peter Odgers | Posted: Wednesday October 18, 2017
During the first weekend of the holidays Riley Jellyman, Max Lough, Ryan Lau and Ethan Lau travelled up to Christchurch to represent Otago at the National Secondary Schools Chess Finals. The top eighteen schools from all regions of New Zealand took part in the event and a high standard of chess was played over the course of two days with each team playing seven rounds of rapid chess.
The young Otago Boys’ team first came up against Nelson College which they comfortably beat by three games to one. This result put them into the upper section of the draw which meant they had to take on the might of MacLean’s College in the second round. A 3- 1 loss was a better result than previous clashes between the two schools with Riley gaining our only victory. The Auckland challenge continued in the next round with us playing Auckland International and Max did well to secure us a point. Hamilton Boys’ were our next opponents and we had a good 3-1 win which once again put us up against a strong Westlake Boys’ team in the final round of the day which we lost 1-3 with Riley once again beating a top player on the number one board.
After a good night’s rest and takeaways it was back to the battle field for the second day with our first opponents being our arch rivals Christchurch Boys’ High School. The team was up to the challenge and gained a very resounding 3-1 victory. The last round of the tournament saw us up against another South Island opponent in Burnside High School and things did not go according to plan and after convincingly beating them at the South Island Champs we only managed a 2-2 draw on this occasion.
It was a disappointing way to finish off the tournament but overall it was very successful with the team finishing in seventh position compared to last year when we finished 6th with only 14 teams participating and due to the vagaries of the Swiss system used for the draw we had to play three of the top Auckland teams. A special mention must be made of Riley Jellyman, playing in his fourth and final National final achieved the second best score on the no.1 board at the event and must be rated as one of the top ten school students in the country. His hard work and dedication to Otago Boys’ chess over the past five years has been outstanding.
The South Island Championships were played in Dunedin during the holidays and Riley came 3rd with Max Lough also distinguishing himself with third place in both the championship and rapid events.