Two budding young chess-playing Havelock North siblings wanted some new competition, so their mum’s bringing a new junior tournament to Hawke’s Bay.
Chess-loving siblings Abigail, 12, and Elijah, 9, struggled to find a regular junior competition to play in without leaving the region.
Mum Victoria Rowe said interschool events were only held twice a year.
“If you wanted to play regular chess as a junior in a tournament fashion, you would have to leave Hawke’s Bay.
“It was quite a commitment to do that every month, so we started looking at what we could do to change the situation.”
Rowe reached out to Chess Power, a New Zealand organisation that helps arrange chess events for juniors, and collaborated with them to help launch its Sarapu Cup event in Hawke’s Bay.
The Sarapu Cup is a fun, social Chess Tournament open to players aged up to 18 years old.
“It’s really cool because the kids are placed in divisions based on their ability. You can have a younger person who’s really good at chess potentially playing a teenager,” Rowe said.
Hawke’s Bay’s edition of the Sarapu Cup will be held on the third Sunday of each month from 1pm to 5.30pm at the Hastings Bridge Club, and the first session on February 19 will be quite the family affair.
While Rowe will oversee operations on the day, her husband Tim will play the role of arbiter as his two talented kids battle it out on the boards.
“I’ve been learning just to try and keep up with them so I don’t fall behind,” he said.
Elijah and Abigail said they were excited to compete in the new tournament.
When asked what they liked about the game, Elijah said he enjoyed the thrill of finding openings, and Abigail said she liked how complex and simple it was at the same time.
The youngest of the Rowe children Eleanor, 6, who hasn’t shown any interest in playing competitive chess (yet), said the game was both “boring and fun”.
With just over a week to go, Rowe said there had been lots of positive feedback and interest from parents in the community.
“I’ve had a lot of parents contacting me to say thank you because there’s only really a couple of events a year kids can participate in, and this gives them the ability to have that competition and actually get better.”
The Rowes encourage those who haven’t yet signed up to register in advance, as there are limited places available.
Eager young chess players can sign up for The Sarapu Cup today on Chess Power’s website.