The last 2 days have been quite a manic affair for me. I have been getting up in the middle of the night (well, quite early) to drive to the finals of the Chesskids National Interschool Championships, provide lectures and post game analysis, and then driving back. The finals were held in Kyneton which is about an hour and a half from Melbourne by car, and most of the teams (if not all) stayed on site over the couple of days. The Interschool tournament was preceded on the Sunday by our last RJ Shield of the year. These one day tournaments are 7 round 15 minute tournaments for kids divided into age groups. They are a great introduction for young chess players to tournament chess, though there are quite a few experienced players who still love competing in them.
The Interschool tournament started on the next day, Monday 28th November, and was played at a slower rate of 25/10. Players were required to record moves until the final 5 minutes of their game. Although this may not strictly be required by International Chess Laws, this tournament is still an educational event for the players. So the emphasis is on improving a players ability through imitating proper tournament standards, and then analysing games after they've been played. The players could consult a host of coaches who were on hand to look at games and give post mortem analysis. The tip of the iceberg of the coaching staff was Mr. RJ himself, ex Australian Champion, and Olympiad player, International Master Robert Jamieson, but the rest of us are pretty good players as well :)
There were 2 tournaments, a Primary Schools event and a Secondary Schools event, and teams from new Zealand also competed. In fact the teams from New Zealand walked away with both titles this year. The Secondary division was won easily by Auckland Grammar School who came over fielding a remarkably strong team: Daniel Shen (FIDE 2182), Luke Li (FIDE 2105), Alex Huang (FIDE 2060), Hans Gao (FIDE 1898). It is no surprise that this team won their division comfortably! The Victorian Champions, Glen Waverley Secondary College finished in the runners up spot.
The Primary section was much closer and with 2 rounds to go, any one of about 5 teams could have won first. But the strongest finishing team was the New Zealand Takapuna Normal Intermediate School who ended up one and a half points ahead of Melbourne team, Doncaster Primary.