Hawke's Bay Today sent its most experienced player to take on Napier's 6-year-old chess maestro. What followed was a bloodbath on the board. Doug Laing reports.
It could be said there was nothing too startling about the foundation of Napier boy Eyvind Frovjik Moberg's career as a potential national schools chess champion, at the age of six.
Last year he was doing what every young boy does, watching games on YouTube.
It was there, as mum and Napier nurse Katarina relates, he saw a "horse" and watched it "smash" something that had a "cross on its head".
Aficionados of the game of chess would recognise the move as actually that of a "knight" completing a check-mating of the "king", and so it was that the young boy was hooked on the board game in which each player starts with 16 pieces, also including a queen, bishops, rooks (er, castles), and pawns.
Within a few months, having been told then at the age of five he was too young for the school team — despite his pleadings that he was quite good at the game — he was winning four of his six games in the Hawke's Bay primary schools individual tournament in November.
Having established his credentials, the Year 2 pupil and Year 6 schoolmates Sebastian Croft, Matthew Cook and Cordell Henare earlier this month won the primary schools A grade teams title in Hastings and qualified to represent the region at the national tournament in Palmerston North on September 28-29.
Tackling the youngster at his favourite game is thus a mission of trier-beware. Take your own set of pieces, and secret them away for illicit introduction during the game, for those you have on the board will start disappearing very quickly.
In a short time, watched by his mum, dad Anders, and 9-year-old sister Eir, he had removed my queen, and seven to eight other pieces and used his queen to lock me in.
My King had barely moved, and it was checkmate, unspoken I do have to say, and no high-fives — a humble 6-year-old triumphing with no great fanfare, just shaking hands politely with another of the growing list of vanquished.
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It reminded me a little of the day 18 years ago that I took on world-ranked Hawke's Bay scrabble player Jeff Grant, who as we shook hands to start the game reeled-off an anagram of my "full" name within seconds of establishing what the name was, and then proceeded to give me a lesson in his game. It was a little easier to take, for Grant was in his 40s.
This time I came prepared, and to profess my knowledge of the game I introduced names such as Magnus Carlsen, the reigning world champion and who has the highest rating ever.
Then there are perhaps the most-familiar names, 1985-2000 champion Garry Kasparov, and Bobby Fischer, who won 20 consecutive matches in the "1970 Interzonal" as well as the symbolic US-Soviet Union Match of the Century against Boris Spassky in 1972. Then there's another memorable name, 1975-1985 champion Anatoly Karpov.
Essentially, Eyvind had heard of them all, so, aware he and the rest of the family had arrived in New Zealand less than two years it was time to pull out a couple of trump cards, although I had no intention of taking him on at 500 or euchre.
Had he heard of Anthony Ker, who's been New Zealand champion a fair few times as far back as 1996, and Estonia-born Ortvin Sarapu, whose name intrigued me a lot when I became aware of it some time about the middle of his 20 New Zealand championship wins between 1951 and 1990 - the subject of biography Mr Chess: The Ortvin Sarapu Story , and in the Queen's Birthday Honours in 1980 a recipient of the MBE, for services to chess?
That's about as much I know, some of it thanks to the Grand Masters of information, Google and Wikipedia, which also confirms my knowledge that "Chess is a two-player strategy board game played on a checkered board with 64 squares arranged in an 8×8 grid".
The game, it says, is played by millions of people worldwide, and is believed to have originated in Indian game chaturanga sometime before the 7th century.
Fortunately, he hadn't heard of Ker and Sarapu, enabling the greyer-haired one on the other side of the table at least a moment of ascendancy in the hour, er, minutes, of defeat.
As it happens, there is a bit of family history from back in Sweden, where mum Katarina had learned to play, from her father.
The family have fallen "in love" with both New Zealand and Napier, having made their move in November 2017 from Falsterbo, a town near third-biggest Swedish city Malmo.
Dad Anders had "been here" on a bike tour in 1996-1997, and the family holidayed in Napier in 2015, when, according to mum Katarina, Eyvind and Eir "fell in love" with the playground on Marine Parade.
Chess has enveloped the Hospital Hill homestead to an extent. Eir says there's at least a game every day. Anders says he plays because "I have to" and Katarina has had the bug reignited, and according to Eir is the only one that can beat the youngest in the family.
Katarina concedes her wins are not often, leaving Eyvind to hint at the mark of a champion.
Q: "Do you like playing against mum?"