St Josephs Regional College team finish 9th at Australasian National Chess Finals

Chess champs: Harry Freudenstein, Sam Kobelke, Richard Battiston, Michelle Shoobert and Jack Shoobert in Melbourne. Photo: Supplied.
Chess champs: Harry Freudenstein, Sam Kobelke, Richard Battiston, Michelle Shoobert and Jack Shoobert in Melbourne. Photo: Supplied.

THE St Joseph’s Regional College team has completed a remarkable year with a ninth place finish at the Australasian National Chess Finals Open Division in Melbourne last week.

It adds to their title of Regional Champions at the Sydney Academy of Chess Tournament, second at the NSW Country Schools, sixth in the NSW State Finals and second at the NSW Country Titles.

“These results for 2017 are exceptional, as the team consisted of three year seven students, one year nine student and a Year 12 student,” said coach Richard Battiston.

“In fact, in most of the tournaments, we had the youngest team. This was most evident at the National Titles, where we were the youngest team to play in the Open Senior division.

“It has been an exciting year for the chess team and a number of milestones have been achieved.”

They were the first chess team in Port Macquarie to earn an official sponsor, with local companies BrainStorm Rehabilitation and Constable Printing supporting the team financially and with team jackets, polo shirts and travel luggage.

“They really helped us to establish our identity as a team to be reckoned with,” Mr Battiston said.

“In 2018 the team will also be attending senior respite venues to have the chess team share their skills with the elderly.

“The team’s greatest achievement was the national finals in Melbourne. To place ninth in Australasia was an outstanding performance, demonstrating the skills of the team members, especially given that their competitors were all students from years 11 and 12.”

Teams from all over Australia and New Zealand were in attendance and had to have gained a state result of a third or higher to be invited.

Another highlight of the tournament was the opportunity to attend lectures presented by current and past grand masters and world champions.

“It all added up to five days of total immersion into Chess culture, and the rivalries were high,” Mr Battiston said.

“At the end of the Tournament, our team had done the college proud, with a total of nine wins.

“While this is extremely impressive, the individual team members also more than doubled their own personal rankings in Australasian Interschool’s Chess.”

Michelle Shoobert scored a ranking of 1003 (37th in Australasia), Harry Freudenstein 988 (42nd in Australasia), Sam Kobelke 837 (50th in Australasia) and Jack Shoobert 611 (58th in Australasia).

“These results are a true testament to the dedication and devotion from the College Team,” he said.

“I could not expect to get results such as these without their commitment to the game.”