09 November, 2007

The 'J' Factor

Mark Johansson has ‘gone the extra yard’ this year with chess coaching on the junior campus of Castlemaine Secondary College. And the tournament results have been rewarding.

Twice a week, for the whole year, Johansson’s voice booms over the lunchtime announcements: : “CHESSSSSSS……. IS……ONNNNNN….….IN …..LAWWWSON….. HAAAALL!” where the ‘true believers’ refine their skills in a relaxed and informal environment. But, on the tournament circuit it’s a different story.

On August 16 a team competed at Bendigo where they won their age division and finished third overall behind Red Cliffs Secondary College seniors and Bendigo Senior Secondary College.

The troupe ventured over to Ballarat in early September, where they won not only their age group (junior secondary) but won the open secondary division also. Out of 50 students the team monopolised individual placings earning 14 of the top 20 spots.

In the September holidays, Mark and Harry took 6 students to the Victorian Youth Masters. The best finisher was Shay Keillor-Reed, coming third in his age category.

Hungry for match practice, Johansson organised a tournament at CSC Junior Campus where players ventured over from Maryborough. Again, Johansson’s team won their category.

Having now qualified 10 players for the State Finals they finishied a creditable ninth in Victoria. Shay Keillor-Reed finished 16th and Max Nanchman finished 20th out of the state’s elite 110 players.

Johansson was upbeat: “These guys were great- they are only in yr 7 but were competing against yr 8’s and 9’s. The next few years should see our school perform really well.”

As recognition to our cluster’s commitment to promoting chess, the junior campus has been given a ‘wild-card entry’ into the National Interschool Championships to be held in Melbourne in December.

Overall Mark, a great years work!


Leanne Preece said...

Well Done Mr J, i love that booming voice at the beginning of lunchtime and i love how committed you are to chess and our students. Way to go.
Leanne Preece

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to Mark and all the CSC chess team. They are a terrific bunch of kids and Mark has built on the achievements of the Mt Alexander primary schools Chess Squared initiative, bringing the program to fruition on the Castlemaine Secondary College Junior campus with his rigorous approach to tournament building and his ability to motivate and inspire students to develop their talents over the board and partake in a great school chess culture that now rivals and surpasses many of the private schools who still see themselves as the enduring bastions of Chess.
The chess program has not only given low academically achieving boys a chance to shine and experience real success in their school life but many girls are dominating the clusters in-house tournament and have discovered the joys of chess.
Chess is exciting for kids with its tournament structures and they learn to defer from emotion and make complex decisions in the heat of tournament battle. It brings out the best in kids and teaches them to take responsibility for their emotions and to analyze their games, and learn from their mistakes, and it is a skill that can easily be applied to other areas of their life and education.

Sam Grumont said...

A great effort. No doubt the world championships float around in Mark's mind or maybe the Susan Polgar chess centre in Texas. Also, well done Steve on keeping the posts going.