It's Victorian Interschool Chess Finals week and today saw the Middle Years Competition in action. This tournament sees a top end of Primary years added to the lower High School years. It encompasses kids in years 5-9 which is great as Primary players get a chance to compete with Secondary players rather than being thrown straight into the older group, and years 7-9 have a competition where they aren't having to compete with older kids from High School.
While it might sound like a half-way house competition, the Middle Years event has been extremely popular, and very competitive. Previous winners of the Victorian Middle Years event have included Bobby Cheng who is now a Grand Master and Ari Dale who is now an International Master!
Todays tournament made history as it was won by a Primary School, with only years 5 and 6 players. Balwyn North Primary won a very close competition by just 1 point from St Michael's while the defending champions, Mazenod were a further half point back in third place. Just to show how strong Primary School chess is in Victoria, Balwyn North only came third in yesterday's Primary Finals!
Leonard Goodison was the event winner scoring an incredible 8.5/9. Leonard comes from regional Victoria and this may be one of Ballarat's best results. In this position Leonard is White and has a lot of pressure. If you were Black what would you play in defence of your position? Black actually played 1..Bd7 but this was a mistake which allowed mate in 3. Can you see how White would win?