Chess prodigy and Nelson College student Alexandre de Maupeou d’Ableiges has big goals in the chess world. Photo: Erin Bradnock.

Chess champion sets sights on Grandmaster title


Chess prodigy Alexandre de Maupeou d’Ableiges dreams of making a career out of the game when he leaves school.

The 15-year-old was ranked the top individual player in last week’s virtual Interschool Chess Tournament which pitted 29 teams across Australia and New Zealand against each other.

Then, in October, Alexandre was also named the top individual player and junior master in the New Zealand Chess Power Teams Nationals.

“With chess you’re constantly improving. It’s something I really enjoy doing,” he says.

The Nelson College student has been playing chess for just over three years, having learnt the game from his parents.

“I just practice a couple hours a week and there’s always someone willing to play at lunchtime,” he says.

On the rare occasion he does lose, Alexandre says that’s where he learns the most. “I just like the strategy of it.”

Despite the uncertainties of Covid-19, Alexandre has been surprised by the amount of gameplay he’s been able to have.

“The tournaments have been online which has made chess really accessible. I’ve been able to play more tournaments online than I would’ve been able to in person,” he says.

For now, Alexandre has his sights set on a tournament in Palmerston North this January.

He is preparing for the open round where he can hopefully gain a title.

“My goal is to be a Grandmaster before Year 13 and hopefully then I can play chess as a job,” he says.