Ben Symon agonises over his next move during a tournament in Tauranga, where the cream of the country's young chess players matched wits in the ancient war game to decide which schools had the best teams.

As usual, Auckland emerged as New Zealand's chess powerhouse, taking first, second and third in each of the secondary, intermediate and primary school divisions of the competitions held at Mount Maunganui College over the weekend.

Tauranga's three teams finished well down in the Inter-School Chess Finals, which comprised 36 qualifying schools from as far afield as Dunedin.

Organiser Bob Smith said chess remained popular over the centuries because it was a cross between art and maths in which players had to be both logical and creative.


He said players could express their own personalities because there were so many ways to play, from wild attacking chess to defensive chess.

Tauranga Boys' College player Naveen Saily described himself as a moderately attacking player.

The Year 9 student clocked up a good result by winning 4 points from his six games. Tauranga Boys finished ninth out of the 10 secondary teams.