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View Full Version : Biggest ever Australian chess playing event held at the one place at the one time?



Kerry Corker
17-04-2021, 09:22 AM
478 juniors filled the Great Hall at Somerset College on 17/09/97, a new Qld., and possibly Australian record for the highest number of chess players in the one place at the one time. The occasion was the second round of the Gold Coast Primary Schools Championships managed by Graeme Gardiner and his team.

Meanwhile in Knoxville Tennessee, the USA Elementary, Junior High and Senior High Championships were held together.

The hall was the size of TWO FOOTBALL FIELDS and it was a tight squeeze fitting in all - 4234 - players.
That is not a typo! And is from 1997.

Good sports-person-ship was shown by most except for one player in Knoxville who shook hands after losing, walked outside and threw his chess clock in the river!
A case of “time and tide” waiting for this young man. I know, the Holston river is probably not tidal but I couldn’t resist.

My question is this.
What has been the greatest number of chess players competing in one place at one time in Australian chess history?
I don’t know the answer but I have a few clues.

1. It goes without saying it will be a team’s event

2. It won’t involve adult players because we make the shrewd move away from team’s events once players leave school.
You have to get rid of them somehow!
You don’t want them hanging around and clogging up the system with massive hall hires, massive management nightmares, massive media exposure etc.
And yes, they will hang around if you give them teams to play and network within.

Private schools employ people whose ONLY TASK is to arrange senior sporting team's competitions, dinners, lunches, fund-raisers, movie nights and the like.
With them it is "womb to tomb", and business is gooooood!
What do we do?
We ditch by far the most successful, lucrative event format we have when they finish school.
This is where the chess mind is proven to be vastly superior to that of those running the financial side of private schools.

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Thanks to Patrick Byrom for passing on some old copies of Chess Express published by the CAQ Inc. in the late 90s. This article was the first one I opened. I had forgotten that they even existed. The nation’s chess history is out there, in bits and pieces, all over the place.
That is why it would be good if every state could put together a single spreadsheet of their state’s history. CAQ Records 18.0 will be out soon.

Kevin Bonham
17-04-2021, 10:02 AM
gardinerchess notes:

"we were very proud to host the largest one day chess tournament in Australian chess history with 1004 students attending the Gold Coast Primary Interschool Finals at the Carrara Basketball Stadium in 2005 – the only venue large enough to accommodate them all"

https://gardinerchess.com.au/gardiner-chess-has-new-owners/

I don't know if that has ever been beaten but I think that if so it would be some other event in the same region.

Shaun94
17-04-2021, 10:09 AM
Prior to Covid Gardiner Chess would regularly have interschool events with over 500 participants, with the term 3 gc primary tournament consistently over 800.

Patrick Byrom
17-04-2021, 12:32 PM
... Thanks to Patrick Byrom for passing on some old copies of Chess Express published by the CAQ Inc. in the late 90s. This article was the first one I opened. I had forgotten that they even existed. The nationís chess history is out there, in bits and pieces, all over the place.
That is why it would be good if every state could put together a single spreadsheet of their stateís history. CAQ Records 18.0 will be out soon.While it was a CAQ publication, I believe that Ian Murray deserves sole credit for those. And I'm fairly sure that the six I sent you (as scans) are the only issues ever produced.