24 September, 2006

GRAND FINAL Day- Monday 9th October

I visited the Old Castlemaine Gaols first public open day today.

The facility has a long-term lease from Mt. Alexander Council to CVGT (Central Victoria Group Training) until 2012. It is CVGT’s aim to develop the site into a hospitality training centre, an upgraded tourism venue and viable community facility.

Their long term strategic plan is about getting the ‘formular right’ and developing a sustainable precinct that will benefit the people of Castlemaine.

Although not yet open to the public, the Goal is operating as a training centre for chefs and catering.

So, what’s this got to do with chess you may ask?

As a celebration and ‘Grand Final’ of our program CHESS-SQUARED Innovations & Excellence have contracted Chess Kids to run a primary school tournament open to the 12 primary schools in our cluster on Monday October 9th.

It will be held at the Old Castlemaine Gaol.

Innovations & Excellence are supplying buses to bring students together for the tournament. Hopefully all schools will support the event, and we are hoping to get 200 students participating.

Castlemaine Chess Club convenor Harry Poulton said: “This will be the biggest event in the history of goldfields chess.”

The top four students for the day will automatically gain entry to the Chess Kids Victorian Championship held the following week in Melbourne.

Particpating schools need to enter their school and students on-line:

Sam Grumont will contact all schools in week 1 of term 4 to clarify any questions.

11 September, 2006

ICT confusing you?

  • Worried about wiki’s? Bamboozled by blogs? Missed DIG-TV on ABC2 last night but don’t know how to get the podcast? Interactive whiteboards not your friend yet?

    Don’t panic. You’re not alone.

    At an in-service last year in Bendigo, Tony Ryan explained the exponential rate of change, where we made a list of things that weren’t invented 5 years ago- and came up with 20 'new' items.

    Frighteningly, in the next five years there will be many, many more than 20 new ‘things’ in our lives. And in 5 years time, the above list will, dare I say it, be somewhat passé.

    Take heart however. Sit back and watch the latest technology from 1930 that set the world alight: ‘The Talkatoon’. (It's best to download, make a coffee, then view when downlaod has finished)

    And if you’re too busy to find 6.11 minutes in your life to enjoy Betty Boo, Bimbo and Koko chances are you’re probably working too hard.

    06 September, 2006

    The 'Big Day Out'

    Castlemaine Secondary College made smart moves at the recent Regional Schools Chess Tournament held at Bendigo, winning 6 of a possible 14 medals and seeing 5 students make their way through to the Victorian Schools Chess Championship.

    Of the 42 secondary students participating, 23 came from Castlemaine Secondary College.

    The result is a marvellous endorsement for our chess program- Chess-Squared- funded by Schools Innovations and Excellence, that started earlier this year.

    The program has seen teachers across 13 schools in the Mt Alexander cluster work in collaboration with tutors from the Castlemaine Chess Club and Castlemaine Community House.

    CSC teacher Mark Johansson has been a key player in the initiative. Johansson has run lunchtime tournaments honing players skills to competition standard, and has incorporated chess into his junior maths curriculum.

    Johansson has also visited primary school classrooms, teaching tactics and strategy.

    “In class students are engrossed in the game. It’s surprising how it consolidates so many maths skills.” Johansson said.

    Johansson commented on the steadily growing chess culture at CSC over the year. ‘Earlier this year, we’d run chess one lunchtime per week. Recently, it’s been running three times a week with healthy student numbers supporting the activity.’ Johansson said.

    We wish everyone well in the State Finals early next term.

    01 September, 2006

    'Poem In Your Pocket Day'

    Congratulations Sam Grumont for success of the Third Annual POEM IN YOUR POCKET Day- an initiative that encourages everyone across the 13 school cluster to carry a poem and share readings throughout the day.

    At Castlemaine Secondary College, morning staff briefing shared poetry, a whole school assembly saw principals, teachers and students share readings. My kids, from Castlemaine North Prmary School, had a visiting poet run workshops and came home overflowing with poetry.

    At CHESS-SQUARED we thought we’d get into the spirit, and came up with the work of Lewis Carroll.

    Carroll’s literary skills are legendary: he was a mathematician and chess player(sounds familiar). His work, Through The Looking Glass, follows the journey of Alice who takes on the guise of a pawn and works her way around the chess board.
    A GOOGLE search of Lewis Carroll and chess returns 120,000 repsonses including the following:

    In Through the Looking-Glass, brooks and hedges divide the countryside into one giant chessboard, Alice plays the part of a pawn. Much has been made of the implausibility of the game by chess masters, and questioned why Lewis Carroll, as a passable chess player, did not construct a more plausible game.
    ... the chess framework is full of absurdities and impossibilities, and it is unfortunate that Carroll did not display his usual dexterity by bringing the game, as a game, up to chess standard He allows the White side to make nine consecutive moves(!): he allows Alice (a white pawn) and Alice becoming a Queen, to be two separate moves: he allows the White King to be checked without either side taking any notice of the fact: he allows two Queens to castle (!): he allows the White Queen to fly from the Red Knight, when she should take it. Hardly a move has a sane purpose, from the point of view of chess.

    One can almost feel the indignation at the liberties taken.

    It’s also interesting to see the concept of ‘continuous development’ apply to both POEM IN YOUR POCKET, and CHESS-SQUARED. Both projects started small, have elements of individual passion, and continue to grow bigger each year.

    Anyway, well done Sam. And everyone who participated.