More than a board game: ACT Girls Secondary Schools Chess Championship

Recently at the ACT Girls Secondary Schools Chess Championship, CGGS finished third overall after some impressive individual performances. However, there was more behind the team’s success than their winning strategies on the board—for Leensaa (Y12), it was an endeavor six years in the making.

After commencing at CGGS as a Year 7 student in 2019, Leensaa joined the Chess and Board Games Club as a way to meet new people and hone her developing chess skills. She recalls vividly her first session with the club. “I walked into the room and I remember seeing Mr Maullin with a bunch of board games, and that was it—at the time no really came to the Chess and Board Games Club.”

Paul Maullin, who was an English teacher, colleague, dear friend and enlightened mentor to many in the Senior School, sadly passed away after a period of illness in March this year. Paul was a passionate leader of the Senior School’s Chess and Board Games Club and an active and engaged member of the CGGS community.

Leensaa recalls playing a game of chess with Mr Maullin at that first session, and discussing how they might encourage other students to join the club. The next time Leensaa saw Mr Maullin, he gave her a flyer to a competition. “It was a promotion for the ACT Girls Secondary Schools Chess Championship. He asked me to put together a team to compete, and that he would supervise us and take us to the tournament. Unfortunately, at the time, I didn’t know a lot of people being new to the School so we weren’t able to field a team.”

When Leensaa was given the same opportunity to compete at the 2024 edition of the Championship, she was instantly reminded of her former teacher and the positive, lasting impact he had had on her. “When I saw the opportunity, I knew we had to enter a team in memory of Mr Maullin. I was able to put a team together fairly quickly under the supervision of Mr Carrick, and we went and achieved third place.”

Paul is remembered fondly by his students and members of the Senior School staff who had the opportunity to know the light he brought to CGGS. He had a great sense of humor and could always be relied upon in staff faculty challenges. Paul’s impact and legacy, as so eloquently recounted by Leensaa, has been keenly felt by current and past students who had the privilege of knowing him.

Congratulations again to our CGGS Chess team on their inspiring performance, in memory of Paul Maullin.