Chess master sweeps the board
Manawatu Standard
Last updated 09:20 17/03/2010

CHESS grand master Gawain Jones won 28 out of 29 games – at once.

The English chess champion was brought to Palmerston North by Palmerston North Boys’ High chess club master Martin Sims to simultaneously play the school’s best and brightest.

There are fewer than 100 grand masters in the world – only one lives in New Zealand.

It is the highest ranking in chess.

Mr Jones, 22, has been in Wellington for the past few months to be with his New Zealand fiancee. The pair plan to return to Europe so he can play in international chess tournaments.

The Yorkshireman makes a living out of chess, playing in professional tournaments and writing about the game. He said he plays about 120 serious games every year. He first played when he was four. By age six, he was entering tournaments.

Yesterday, none of the Boys’ High chess club got the better of him, although school champion Michael Yuan managed a draw.

The simultaneous chess took about 3 1/2 hours, with Mr Sims saying he was “deliriously happy” with the day.

“The boys are so happy.”

Boys’ High chess club captain Sunny Dama, 17, had the honour of playing Mr Jones on an enlarged set, so the game was fully visible to the hundreds of pupils who turned out to watch at lunch time.

“I feel like I’m going to get smashed, but I’m going to get smashed on a big scale,” he said.

After five moves Sunny said he was planning on a defensive strategy.

Ultimately, though, Mr Jones got the better of him and 27 others.

Mr Jones was last night going to be at it again – playing members of the local chess club.

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