The Kāpiti Junior Chess Championship, played in Paraparaumu in December, saw players representing 22 schools from Wellington to Levin compete across four divisions.
In the premier open division, top seed Ryan Winter (Wellington College) suffered a surprise defeat in round one to Josh Langford (Wellington College).
Former Paraparaumu College student Geoffrey Gunawan held the joint lead at the halfway stage but was not able to carry his early momentum into the later rounds.
Going into the sixth and final round, Henry Zaslow (Onslow College) had a clear half point lead but had to settle for third place, after losing a tough battle to Kayden Loke who took the title on tie-break from Ryan Winter.
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Kayden was unbeaten throughout the tournament, scoring three wins and three draws from his six games.
In the school events, Vincent Lou (HIBS) was an impressive winner in the secondary grade, with five points from six, ahead of Hamish Lester (Paraparaumu College) and Mia Vachon (Marsden Collegiate School).
In the intermediate section, Sravya Moparthi (Hutt Intermediate) had a perfect score going into the last round, and despite a loss playing black against Youan Salt (Levin Intermediate), she held on to win the section on tie-break, from Youan in second and Ryan Goodall (Levin Intermediate) taking third place.
The primary section had the largest field of all the grades and saw Lucas Qu (Churton Park) win the gold medal with silver going to Max Wang (Johnsonville School) and bronze to William Ding (Eastern Hutt School).
The Kapiti Chess Club School Trophy, awarded to the top performing Kāpiti Horowhenua school, was comprehensively won by Levin Intermediate who had a strong tournament.