Chess to challenge young minds these school holidays

Chess expert John Lavery challenges granddaughter Claudia Collins to a game. Mr Lavery is running free chess workshops at The Hub on a Friday morning.
Chess expert John Lavery challenges granddaughter Claudia Collins to a game. Mr Lavery is running free chess workshops at The Hub on a Friday morning.

The international, brain-challenging sport of chess is enjoying a resurgence in Tenterfield with the recent arrival of an expert in the game who is happy to share his knowledge. John Lavery is also mounting a chess competition through the school holidays to offer children an alternative to screen time.

Mr Lavery’s chess credentials are strong, having played for the past 60 years and being a past-president of the Melbourne Chess Club (the oldest in the southern hemisphere). He has performed in countless accredited competitions, taking out the Bendigo club championship, being runner-up in Ballarat and the minor champion in Melbourne.

He has also played in international competitions, and these days says he can always find someone in the world up for an online game no matter the time of day or night. He credits chess’s border-breaking international language and set of rules as one of its biggest advantages.

Currently he runs free chess workshops at The Hub in Rouse Street on Friday mornings, open to those of all skill levels.

During the school holidays, however, he is hoping to whet the appetites of younger players and provide a holiday activity with some friendly competition.

“I’ll challenge multiple players at once,” he said.

“Maybe it will cost them $1 to play a game, and they get $5 back if they beat me.”

All equipment will be provided.

“All we need is some keen kids,” he said. 

Mr Lavery said the joy of chess is that you never repeat the same game.

It’s a fascinating game, the gymnasium of the mind.

John Lavery

“It’s a fascinating game,” he said, “the gymnasium of the mind.

“It’s constantly challenging, not only to beat your opponent but to improve yourself.”

Mr Lavery said chess develops abstract thinking and improves the ability to concentrate, and these benefits flow on to other activities.

Let The Hub know on (02) 6736 4443 if your child would like to exercise their chess strategies at one of the school holiday competitions running 10.30am to 12.30pm on both Fridays of the NSW school holidays, April 20 and 27.

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