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Interhouse rivalry expressed itself in yet another form recently, when a house chess competition was held for the first time at St John’s since 1978. With 54 pupils taking part, an atmosphere of intense concentration reigned in the Dining Hall where the competition was held, as the contenders from each house aimed to surpass their opponents in terms of strategy and tactics.
Each of the School’s nine day and boarding houses, including the three girls’ houses, chose a team of three juniors and three seniors to represent them in the competition. The competition itself was played in true tournament fashion, consisting of five rounds spread over two afternoons. Every time a player won a game, they earned a point for their house. The tournament brought very different groups of pupils together: girls often played against boys, juniors often against seniors and always pupils played an opponent from a different house, but with roughly the same point score as them.
The competition was tightly contested, with Surrey House coming first with 20 points, just one point ahead of runners up Churchill House. Montgomery House and West House boasted the best performing individual players, Sam Walton and Matt Cappell respectively, who each won 4.5 points out of 5. The top performing girl was Harriet Harman (Gloucester House), with 3.5 points out of 5. The best performing junior was Max Phillips (Surrey House), whose 4 points out of 5 contributed significantly to his house’s victory.
‘Chess is a game especially known for engaging bright young minds,’ said Nick Johnston-Jones, Housemaster of the winning house. ‘This tournament has uncovered a lot of talent.’
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