Four members of a Rotorua school's newbie chess club have inspired their fellow pupils after placing second overall at an open division competition.

Rotorua Primary School pupils Foua Tuielu, 10, Manaaki TeNgahue Kingi, 12, Roger Whakaue, 12, and Tuterangiwhiu TeNgahue Kingi, 11, were among the first to join the school's chess club after it was set up by teacher Miu Phillips earlier this year.

The boys competed for the first time as a school group at the weekend in an open competition held in Tauranga.

The competition saw players from 6-17 years old compete in six 30-minute games each. Manaaki was ranked second overall individually, beaten only once, by a Year 12 student.


He said he was nervous during some of the games but loved chess because it "brings out the competitive natures of everyone".

"This is the second competition I've gone to. The first was at the Pa Wars on the East Coast and I won that competition."

The team admitted they played tactical mind games when facing opponents.

"Once we had won the other player's queen we would roll it between our fingers to put the heat on," Manaaki said.

Roger said his inspiration to start playing chess stemmed from the popular New Zealand film The Dark Horse.

The movie is based on the true story of a charismatic, brilliant, but little-known Kiwi hero and chess champion, Genesis Potini.

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"I just wanted to learn all the moves from the movie," Roger said.

Mr Phillips said interest in the club soared the minute it was created.

"There was a big interest when we set the club up but certainly since other pupils heard about the success of the boys, it has inspired and sparked the interests of others."

He said he was excited to take the team to the next competition in May, then hopefully on to nationals in August.

"Now that I know how high the boys are placed, we will definitely be looking at more strategic training."