Alphaeus Ang is no ordinary 11-year-old boy.

The Year 7 pupil at Liston College in Henderson was yesterday named the New Zealand sudoku champion at the inaugural New Zealand Festival of Mindsports in Thames.

As well as the sudoku title, the Aucklander also won the draughts competition and placed second in the chess tournament, only beaten in a play-off against 57-year-old former national champion Bob Smith.

Alphaeus picked up four gold medals and one silver, with most of his competitors many times his age.


For some, like his father, Keong Ang, Alphaeus' talents are not surprising.

He started playing sudoku aged 4 and last year, while in Year 6, he gained NCEA Level One mathematics endorsed with merit - a level normally reserved for Year 11 students.

"I think he's just a mathematician at heart and by nature," Mr Ang said.

He was unsure where his son's talents had first come from, as neither he nor his wife, Ivy Ang, has any particular interest in mathematics or mindsports.

While sudoku was Alphaeus' first passion, his favourite mindsport is now chess.

He is the top ranked under 12-year-old chess player in New Zealand and last year placed second in the under-12 World Amateur Blitz Chess championship in Romania.