Student chess enthusiasts from all over the Whanganui competed in a regional tournament, with two local schools standing above the rest.
Seventy-five students from schools around the region gathered at Churton School for the ChessPower Whanganui Regional School Chess Championship on Monday.
It was the hosts, Churton, who did the damage in the primary school group, taking out all three podium spots.
Reilly Thomas won the competition, with Daetyn Hutchens second and Jett Wilson rounding out the top three.
In the intermediate bracket, St George's Liam Meijer won, with Whanganui Intermediate's Matt Smith second and St George's Jack Bowen third.
It was a clean sweep in the senior (secondary school) bracket, with Whanganui Collegiate's David Su winning the competition, and schoolmates Mike Viriyautsahakul and Josh Keenan finishing second and third respectively.
Churton School deputy principal and sport co-ordinator Gary Johnston said the sport had slowly been gaining traction in schools over the last few years.
"ChessPower started running tournaments five years ago," Johnston said.
"We started with around 20 students. Just before Covid, we were above 100 but have dropped down a little this year."
Churton had a pretty strong chess programme, with around 12 students in the group, he said.
"The Chess Club is student-run. It is pretty cool actually, the Year 6s teach the juniors and pass on their knowledge before they leave, and we just have this cycle."
Although Upokongaro School didn't claim any podium spots, Johnston said they also had a strong programme.
He said chess was one of those sports that transcended class and social barriers, with anyone able to get into the game and learn how to play.
"All you need is a board, and you are away."