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Mount Alexander Schools Chess Challenge

On Tuesday 18 September, five chess club students headed off early for Castlemaine to attend the Mount Alexander Schools Chess Challenge, which was held in the historic Old Castlemaine Gaol. 

Schools competing on the day included Castlemaine Secondary College, Girton Grammar, Bendigo South East, Melbourne High, Olivet CC, and Siena College. The games were timed with students playing seven games each over the course of the day. The chess tables were set up in the corridors of the gaol, with prison cells either side. The cold eeriness of the cells brought to the students the harsh reality of the living conditions of the inmates during the operating time from 1861 until 1990. And the solitary confinement of each stone walled cell reflected the solitary concentration the students have during a game of chess. The only noise you could hear was the clicking of the timers after every turn. I’m not sure if the chill in the air was the actual temperature or the ghosts of prisoners that were hanged for their crimes in days gone by, their bodies buried somewhere on the gaol grounds, standing upright so their souls would never be free.

The results of the day were outstanding, a gold medal to Jasmine Skutela (Year 9) and a Silver medal to Angelina Rodos (Year 7) for coming first and second respectively in the girls division. Both girls along with Zoe Kelly have qualified for Chess Victoria State Girls Final.

The Chess Club will continue next term, Wednesday lunchtimes and the Secondary Girl’s State Final will be held on Tuesday 16 October at St Catherine’s School, Toorak. Parents are welcome to attend the event.

Heather O’Keefe 
Learning Enhancement Department 

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