Inter-College Games 2023: Residents Share Their Experiences

The Inter-College Games (ICG) has flown by as quickly as the first half of the semester have passed. These games are held in the beginning of semester two of every academic year, and see groups from the various Residential Colleges (RCs) come together to engage in friendly and intense competition! With the relaxation of Covid-19 measures this year, student groups were excited to get back into ICG in its fullest form – without being restricted by last year’s safety protocols. To provide a glimpse into what went down in the 2023 iteration of ICG, we have invited a few students from the respective hostels to share their experiences and key highlights – read on!


An exciting and unexpected Chess game for Vaishnav from RC4

Hi! I’m Vaishnav Muralidharan, a Y2 Computer Science student and a resident at Residential College 4 (RC4). I enjoy playing chess and building new things with code. 

I played in the Chess event for RC4, and the tournament spanned over five rounds. In each round, we played a match with another RC across four (chess)boards. Teams usually send their strongest players to play on Board 1 and rank their other boards accordingly. The team with the most wins out of the four boards, wins the round.

Chess players playing games on different boards simultaneously 

“Can you prepare yourself in case I pass out?” I asked the arbiter jokingly, who laughed at my nervousness.

In this game, I was going up against a Candidate Master from NUS College, who is ranked as one of the top 10 chess players in Singapore. He was sent to play on Board 1, as he was considered the strongest player in his team. Having not played chess intensively for a while, I volunteered to ‘sacrifice’ myself to play on Board 1, so my teammates would have a higher chance of winning on their other boards. 

The pressure on me was low in the beginning, as everyone knew that I had less than a 1% chance of winning the Candidate Master. As such, my moves were bold – I took huge risks with my attack and was unperturbed about the safety of my King (a chess piece). I put a ton of pressure on my opponent’s position through my consistent attack, and he was forced to enter an endgame (a stage of chess when few pieces are left on the board), which gave me a huge advantage. By then, a crowd had gathered around our game and many people started whispering tensely.

Vaishnav (left) in a crucial moment of the game against NUS College

The fight wasn’t over – he wasn’t giving up. After many moves, he reached his hand out. I thought it was to move a piece, but instead, he stopped the clock. He was resigning! It took me a while to realise that I was the only player to win against the top seed (the player with the highest ranking) of the tournament.

Vaishnav and his ICG team (Left to Right: Bing Xuan Cheng, Kevin Tang, Bryan Chan, Lee I-Shiuan, Vaishnav Muralidharan, Tejas, Leong Hung Rey)

We eventually won silver for the overall tournament, thanks to our captain I-Shiuan’s relentless strategizing and my teammates’ efforts – a big shout out to I-Shiuan, Hung Rey, Bryan, Tejas, Bing Xuan and Kevin for putting their best into each of their individual games!


Winston’s experience with camaraderie in playing Smash Bros for NUS College

My name’s Winston Jin, and I’m a Y1 Biomedical Engineering student living at Cinnamon College under the NUS College programme. 

I chose to sign up for the Smash Bros event for ICG because it was the first ever video game that I picked up. Going into ICG, I had two goals: firstly, I wanted to have fun, and secondly, I wanted to get to know others who played Smash, so that we could play together outside ICG! Previously, I had a group of friends who would always meet up to play Smash together, but our group disbanded when the pandemic hit and everyone moved on to other games individually.

Winston (leftmost) and his Smash ICG team

I think the greatest experience I had playing in this ICG wasn’t winning the event; it was that during the event, the players from the other RCs gathered and asked if we wanted to start a small inter-college club of Smash players where we could find a time to meet up and play recreationally. To me, that was very heartening to see. Everyone who played in the event was super wholesome, regardless of whether they won or lost the games, and there was even another Nintendo Switch set up on the side for players to chill together and have a fun time playing the game we all love. I had an amazing time, playing alongside my team and playing against other teams, and I hope that the Smash communities in the respective RCs can continue to be so wholesome and fun.


Andrew on leading RVRC’s swim team

Hey! I am Andrew from Y2 Industrial and Systems Engineering and I currently stay at Ridge View Residential College (RVRC)!

I swim for RVRC and help lead the interest group. For ICG, I helped to roster and organise the swimmers for their various events. As captain, I wanted to help RVRC improve upon the results that we had in last year’s ICG as I believed that we had great potential to go far. Furthermore, this year’s ICG was the first time we could hold more events as Covid-19 restrictions were finally lifted. As a result, we had mixed relays (mixed gendered swimming relay) added into the line-up of events which made ICG much more enjoyable and exhilarating.

I competed in the men’s 4x50m relay event. Yale-NUS College has always dominated in swimming events, so we considered them one of our greatest competitors. However, I was able to come from behind in the last leg of the relay event, allowing us to beat Yale-NUS to obtain a Gold medal – this was something I felt very proud of, and was grateful that we managed to achieve this as a team.

Andrew (back, third from right) and the RVRC swim team

I struggled greatly to find players to compete for ICG, even up until the night before the competition. Hence, managing to find the necessary players to compete in the end was a great relief, and I am unbelievably grateful to all of my teammates who had participated. I truly would have been nothing without my team and I was pleasantly surprised by their performance. Beyond the context of my RC, I genuinely appreciated having this opportunity to represent my college whilst fostering valuable bonds with students from other RCs. I think that the ICGs are one of the things that help build integrity and spirit within the NUS community and hope that I will have more chances in the future to participate!


Yong Jun’s eye-opening Tchoukball experience with Tembusu College

Yong Jun (centre) and his Tchoukball friends

Hi! I’m Yong Jun, a Y1 Data Science and Analytics major staying in Tembusu College, and I played Tchoukball for ICG 2023. 

I chose to play Tchoukball as I wanted to try something different, especially after spending all of my schooling life in the performing arts. Having seen a few glimpses of the game in passing, I found there was something rather beautiful about the sport. The welcoming community of Tembusu Tchoukball was definitely a plus point as well. They were really open to beginners and took their time to teach and motivate us, even when we were clueless and made tons of mistakes. Thus, after going for a few sessions, I decided to commit to Tchoukball as an interest group member!

The ICG itself was a blast. It was fun playing against players who we did not normally get to play with. This pushed us to be more alert in game, and really focus on reading where their shots would go when defending. We needed to adapt quickly and change our attacking strategies on the fly if our initial game plan wasn’t working. Tchoukball is really as much a mind game as it is a physical sport!

Tembusu trio watching the ball keenly while defending

Great read and catch by a Tembusu player when defending!

The highlight of my ICG experience, ironically enough, was watching the matches on the side-lines. The final match between Tembusu and RC4 for the champions title was absolutely riveting. There were some really memorable shots taken and caught. The games progressed so quickly and moves that I never fathomed were played right before my eyes. It was truly an eye-opening experience, and the joy and pride I felt when my team won was something that is indescribable.

Yong Jun’s teammate hanging in the air to take a sharp shot 

Though the training leading up to ICG was tough and at times excruciating, I’m glad to have had the chance to participate in such an exciting event. As cheesy as it may sound, the friends that I made along this journey were worth every bit of pain endured, and I’m glad that we came out of ICG with a strong sense of camaraderie.

Tembusu’s Tchoukball ICG team photo


James and his fun Captain’s Ball team from Yale-NUS

Hello! I am James Ham, a Y2 Law & Liberal Arts Double Degree Programme student from Yale-NUS College (YNC). For ICG 2023, I participated in the Captain’s Ball event!

I first decided to join the Captain’s Ball interest group, as my friend, Tay Ying, was holding open sessions for the interest group during last winter break. These sessions catered to people who did not necessarily have experience, but wanted to try their hand at the sport – so I thought, why not try it out for fun? Eventually, when YNC Captain’s Ball needed players to compete in ICG, I decided to give it a shot. Since it has always been a bucket-list-type thing for me to play in an ICG event during my university life, I quickly took the opportunity to sign up!

I would like to give a massive shout-out to our team here. They were the most welcoming and chill group of people to play with, which was all I could’ve asked for. From the beginning, there was no barrier to entry and the team was very welcoming to beginners. The more experienced players helped to guide those who had just joined and brought everyone together. I know that sometimes, teams are framed as ‘open to beginners’, but they may not be as accessible in reality. However, that was definitely not the case with this team. It was the first time I felt genuinely welcomed and didn’t feel out of place or judged just because it was my first time playing the sport. That spirit of openness naturally flowed into our interpersonal relationships, and I’m very happy to say that I’ve made a lot of new friends who I look forward to seeing around school more often.

A BeReal photo of the team having supper together after training

Although we lost every single game during ICG, the highlight was in our last match, when we scored 9 points against the opposing team. We were so ecstatic by this achievement that we even took a picture with the scoreboard, despite the overall loss.

James (second row, left) and the YNC Captain’s Ball team

Photo of the scoreboard with 9 points to YNC – an exciting moment!

I have learnt that the most important thing in ICG is to have fun, and I will cherish these memories for a long time. Thank you team YNC for fulfilling my bucket list experience of playing for YNC in ICGs! I couldn’t have asked for a better team to do it with 🙂.


Eaindra and her second year of Netball ICG with CAPT

Eaindra (centre) and her netball friends

Hi I’m Eaindra Phyo, a Y2 student doing Psychology, and I’m from the College of Alice and Peter Tan (CAPT)! I played both the Netball and Captain’s Ball events for ICG this year, but I will be talking about my Netball experience here! 

I joined ICG because Netball is a sport that I’ve been playing for almost a decade and I find a lot of joy playing it on court. As such, competing for Netball ICG was not an opportunity that I wanted to pass up! Also, this year’s ICG had reverted to its full court version, which is something I haven’t experienced since A Divisions (National School Games for Junior College students). Hence, I was very excited to train for and play full court via a proper 7 vs. 7 match. 

This year’s netball matches were so intense and fun. It was very exciting to see everyone back on court for full court matches. It was also quite fun to recognise some familiar faces from last year’s Netball ICG games, plus see the new faces from the batch of Y1s this year!

Eaindra (second row, second from left) and her CAPT Netball ICG team

Unfortunately, I think the most startling thing about Netball ICG was the terrible number of injuries sustained throughout the three days of games. While everyone tried their best to play safely, accidents became inevitable when the matches became fast-paced and intense. I do hope that everyone is feeling better and resting well now!

Eaindra’s teammates putting on ankle guards before a game

Overall, I think that each team gave their all on court and it was very heartening to see each players’ perseverance and grit! I enjoyed watching the matches between other colleges as much as I enjoyed being on court, and I’m glad to have made new Netball friends at ICG ❤️.

Eaindra’s teammates practising shooting between matches

To future ICG players: Have fun and take care of yourselves (your safety is always the utmost priority and ICG is NOT worth permanent injuries). Take the chance to meet people from other colleges who enjoy the same sports you do and make friends! Perhaps y’all could even play together outside of ICG – I always find it so much more fun to play with new people because you’re unfamiliar with their playing style and it tests your ability to adapt quickly on court. It’s always important to play the matches with sportsmanship and grace so that everyone has fun together! ◡̈

The CAPT team doing a team cheer


Phew, the ICG season seems to have been an intense and exciting one! Time flies quickly, and soon enough, the respective RCs will begin training for the next ICG season. We hope that the stories shared in this article have been insightful, perhaps spurring you on to participate in ICG (if you haven’t already) or simply step out of your comfort zone to take part in similar events at your own hostel! If you have any ICG-related experiences to share, do post them on Instagram and tag us @nusresidentiallife as we would love to share them with the rest of NUS!


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