It's 'check mate' to Levin East School students who took first and third placings at the Whanganui Regional Chess Tournament, earning them a spot at the nationals in Hamilton next month.

Ten Levin East students attended the competition, four of them as 'rookies' playing in their first tournament.

Hazel-Breeze Manihera-Bal playing in her second competition placed third in the overall junior section and first in junior girls.

Competing in their first tournament, Rihara Norgrove-Rangihuna placed first in the junior section and received a Certificate of Excellence, Kahurangi Skudder took first for Rookies and Rookie Girls, while Tapata Matakatea placed third for Rookies.

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It is only the second time the school has entered the competition and teacher Giselle McCashin said it was an impressive achievement and a first for the school.

"The students only first started playing at the beginning of last term," she said, after the school bought a number of competition chess boards which were distributed through the classrooms.

Ms McCashin said the students are playing chess at every opportunity.

"Chess is great because they are practising their maths at the same time."

Chess player Keanu Jennings said the game has taught him a lot of life skills like strategy and problem solving.

Levin East School principal Rikki Shetterline said the children competed well.

"They followed the chess tournament protocols as required, which was fabulous as it was new to many of them.

"The results were outstanding."

He said discussion is under way for Levin East School to host a round of the competition in 2018 to bring chess as a competitive sport to Levin.

Students from Levin East School who have been selected to play as a team in the Chess Nationals in Hamilton on October.
Students from Levin East School who have been selected to play as a team in the Chess Nationals in Hamilton on October.