Chess develops concentration skills and improves focus

One of the core educational values attributed to the game of chess has to be improved concentration. Lack of concentration during a game of chess can result in loss of a chess piece or even loss of the game. Bobby Fischer, who became the youngest international chess master at the age of fifteen, lists concentration, along with memory and imagination, as the requirements to becoming a great chess player. The game of chess is never completely predictable. It is not a game of chance. Critical thinking skills come into play. Problem solving rates highly on the list of skills needed in a game of chess. Children...
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The Difference Between Healthy and Unhealthy Competition

The current Chess World Champion (the highest honour a chess player can achieve), Magnus Carlsen said “One of the things that first motivated me to take up chess as a child was the desire to beat my elder sister” in an interview with The Telegraph. We all know that competition can get heated, whether its board games with our family, playground games with our friends in primary school, or promotions at work during our career progression. Competition can be healthy for our minds as it can provide challenge and problem solving opportunities. However, when does healthy competition turn unhealthy? Healthy...
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Why every child needs to be an expert in fair play

Every good parent wants what is best for their children. Regardless of our exact hopes and dreams for our children, we all wish that they’ll grow up to be happy individuals, living in security, surrounded by a strong support system of friends and family. But these simple wishes don’t always come easy, with parents working hard to ensure that their children have the best shot at success later in life. To prepare our children for the real world, a bit of tough love can be necessary. Being lenient and fun – sadly – isn’t always the answer. To truly be...
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Why chess isn’t just for kids

“Playing” is (without a doubt) a notion that we associate with children. However, the benefits of continuing to “play” as an adult or elderly person are recognised far and wide. Whilst we may stop playing with toy cars or baby dolls as we get older, many adults still enjoy playing games: video games, board games, card games… you name it! Chess, in particular, is an excellent game to play as an adult, but it does have a bit of an undeserved negative reputation. Lots of people think of chess as overly competitive, too difficult or downright boring. At the end...
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Going for Gold – Sponsors at the Junction Park State School Fete

Fetes are such a wonderful part of school communities and such an exciting part of the year. At Chess Mates we try to participate as much as we can in the lives and communities of our schools and we deeply care about doing what we can for the people we interact with every day. Not only this, but it offers us the opportunity to build networks and close contacts, creating our very own Chess Mates community that we can support and provide for throughout the rest of the year. We care so deeply about Chess Mates message, and breaking the...
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Our unsung heroes – amazing parents!

This week our amazing Sunshine Coast teacher, Amanda Marshall, posted about the unsung heroes that we interact with every day at Chess Mates. “Shout out to all the parents who struggled to get up this morning, but did it anyway, whether to keep your family safe, or to put a roof over your head and food in your bellies. Whether to get your kids to school, or make sure they feel loved and nurtured at home. You’re legends……. keep on keeping on! You’re awesome and heroes here at Chess Mates. And it is because of you we can teach your...
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Sunshine Coast Facebook Launch

This week the Sunshine Coast team, Leah and Amanda, launched their Facebook page. Now in over 8 schools and growing, Leah and Amanda are also branching out into other communities to aid in social-emotional development and reducing social isolation. Leah has years of experience in special education and is passionate about working with kids of all ages, and Amanda is a qualified social worker with a mission to foster risk-taking. Both believe in forward-thinking developed through play rather than generic instructions, encouraging individuality and confidence! More than ever, they wish to foster emotional resilience and cooperation to create a more...
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Chess Mates is now a NDIS Registered Provider

Over the past few months, we’ve been trying to become NDIS compliant and now we have been approved as a registered provider in Queensland! Chess Mates began with the idea of bringing the educational tool of chess to as many people as possible to help everyone think more strategically, become emotionally resilient and to help them create change and the NDIS is an exciting beginning to a new chapter. We are currently under the Innovative Community Participation umbrella and as such are aiming to help diminish social isolation and improve communication skills which aligns greatly with Chess Mates’ mission of changing outdated views of...
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Come and try chess for free on the Sunshine Coast

Chess is such a great educational tool for your little one to start out with, and we know they’ll love it! Held at Fusion in Buderim! But we want the mums and dads to be sure too, so that’s why we’re running a free session on the Sunshine Coast. To teach your child how to play chess, the CHESS MATES way. You’re invited to come and try chess and see the results yourself. To sign up, e-mail

The Tortilla Tutor: Cooking with the Kids

Keep kids’ brains, minds and mouths busy with a trip to the kitchen! Give them a head start in good food, give their learning skills a workout, and have some productive fun. Getting our eating in order is tricky for a range of reasons. It spans an important group of daily challenges: health and nutrition,a household budgets/spending, time and spatial coordination, and that grey area where “hobbies” and “habits” overlap. That’s why it’s a great opportunity, and a big priority, for kids’ growth and learning. The “Why?” The benefits of getting involved in the kitchen are many. Whether it’s knowledge that is...
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Good Movies that Happen to be Chess Movies

Grab some snacks and find the remote! Chess Mates hits the couch with you as we walk through four top movies to watch with chess-lovers old and young. Queen of Katwe (2016) Our first recommendation comes from the parent of one of our students, who started classes with us after seeing it with her family. Phiona spends every day with her brother in the alleyways of Katwe, Uganda, selling maize. She is nine years old, and her parent’s can’t afford to put her in school. She cannot read, is covered in the dirt of the street, and is always hungry....
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National Children and Pets Day… Sort of

It’s a day late, on the opposite side of the globe and in another hemisphere, but happy Children and Pets Day! Just because it’s a US date of minor renown doesn’t mean it can’t be celebrated by us too. By way of celebration, let’s watch some cats failing to be acceptable photographic subjects. Our only suggestion here is a lot of blue-tac, but anyway, back to the kids. The Benefits According to the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, having a pet can help develop such kid’s skills such as: Responsibility Empathy A caring attitude Communication Children with pets are shown...
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Potent Parenting: Four points for your thought

Top tips & avoiding tricks A new term is on its way, bringing a new series of challenges for parents and children alike. Let’s turn to some important thoughts about our kids experiences and development, and how they can get the best out of a difficult situation. Here’s a list of four things to explore in your approach to parenting. 1) It’s not what sport children play, but how they play it that matters.  Sports are not a win-win activity for kids. Despite popular notions, activities like sports are only as valuable as the relationships and self-respect they enable, alongside the physical benefits. That’s why unstructured...
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Early Learning Languages Australia

The Advantages of Being Bilingual Most children have the capacity and facility to learn more than one language. Researchers say that there are advantages to being bilingual. These advantages might include; Being able to learn new words easily Playing rhyming games with words like “cat” and “hat” Breaking down words by sounds, such as C-A-T for cat Being able to use information in new ways Putting words into categories Coming up with solutions to problems Good listening skills Connecting with others Early Learning Languages Australia A key part of the Australian Government’s commitment to supporting language study is the Early...
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Creative Writing Competition

We’re excited to announce our Creative Writing Competition. Children are to write a story about our friend the Castle, the story should feature the words ‘Forwards, Backwards, Side-to-Side’. Winners will receive a $50 gift voucher to Chess Mates, and runners up will get a Chess Mates chess board. Some of our favourite entries will also be put up on our website. The competition ends on November 4th. Entries should be emailed to or submitted to your Chess Mates teacher. Entries should be about one page in length.

Why do we use songs?

Whenever we talk about the program people are often quite surprised that we teach children as young as two years old, they’re also surprised with how heavily we implement stories and songs into our teaching. If you’ve ever seen us teach a daycare class you’ll know that nearly every lesson comes with a song, we find this is especially effective for younger students, students that speak English as a second language, and students with a mental disability. Here’s 5 reasons why: Memory Two years old aren’t going to remember complicated grid coordinates and strategies that require them to think 8...
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Ask Chess Mates

In our latest youtube segment Chess Mates owner and founder Ash shows parents how to play rugby chess. Rugby chess is a fun and catchy way to teach younger children how to use the pawns, we use it in daycares and it works a treat! Watch it here.

Health Benefits of Chess

We’ve found that chess has often been associated with the person who spends too much time indoors, can’t talk to people, and isn’t all that active. At Chess Mates we think this isn’t true, plenty of our students are great chess players but also active, healthy kids who have made friends from playing the game. Whilst chess may not have you jumping around building muscles here are some of the health benefits it offers. 1. Dendrites In simple terms these are brain cells that help speed up processing power and communication within the brain. 2. Both sides of the brain...
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Stopping Naughty Words

We’ve all encountered children who just can’t stop using naughty words to get a reaction, it may be simple potty talk or it may be full blown swearing. Here are some tips to get rid of naughty talk so it doesn’t become a habit. Attention Most children engage in swearing as a way of getting attention from parents, friends, or classmates. One helpful way to get rid of this is to make sure your child is receiving attention for positive behaviour such as good grades or being a good friend. Children who are able to get attention in these ways...
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Chess Mates is moving into the land of selfies and contouring to bring you more images of our fun filled adventures, that’s right we’ve got instagram! If you’d like the latest updates on our activities including fetes, weekly classes, and new products give us a follow on our instagram.  

What’s Good for Concentration?

Numerous sources will tell you that chess is a great tool for increasing your child’s concentration. When we teach classes of 20 kids and over sometimes we notice that some children are able to concentrate for long periods of time and some are able to concentrate for shorter periods of time. So we ask the question, what’s good for helping your child to concentrate? 1. Sleep For young children and developing brains sleep is really important. The recommended sleeping time is 9 hours for children. If the child’s brain is rested it’s usually able to concentrate much better. 2. Stressful...
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Moggill State School Mogganza Carnival

Our tutors Ash and Josh had a fantastic day at the Moggill SS Mogganza Carnival, our team absolutely love attending fetes and teaching fellow fete goers new chess skills. Josh (maroon shirt) is our teacher for our weekly Moggill classes and students have been learning all sorts of fun new tactics such as openings and tips for castles. Our classes at Moggill are on a Friday afternoon and we’d love to have some new faces come along. If your child goes to Moggill or you ran into us at the Mogganza send us an email on and we can...
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Chess Mates Chess Competition

We recently had our term four chess competition. It was great to see our female students out there breaking down perceptions that chess is a game for boys, in fact most of the competitors were girls and they all did fantastic. Congratulations to Ivy for winning our junior division, Max for winning our middle division and Keenan winning our Senior Division. It was a great day and the participants had a lot of fun, it was nice to see some of the kids chatting over their chess games and making new friends.

Edsco Sponsors our Chess Competition

We’d like to introduce Edsco! Edsco are our primary sponsor for our upcoming Chess Competition. Edsco sell educational materials and are a fantastic supplier in education. If you need any school items or educational material for the home check out their website here

Snacks for Children

One thing we have noticed in some of our classes is that kids are almost always hungry and wanting to snack. Some parents are reluctant to give their kids snacks throughout the day or before dinner out of fear it will ruin appetite. Despite this snacks can be a great way to help nutrition in your child if given at the right time and the right type! For younger children snacks can often prevent them from becoming grumpy and chucking tantrums, and for older children it can prevent binging at meal times and ensure your child is always eating a...
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Mummy’s Wish

We have exciting news! Our upcoming chess competition will be done in support of the Mummy’s Wish foundation. This organisation provides support to families where the mother is living with cancer. 10% of all proceeds for the day will go towards Mummy’s Wish to help them achieve their aims.  

Chess Competition

We’ll be having another chess competition on the 12th of June at St Dympnas! The day is sure to be a fun experience where participants learn something new. The junior division is from 10AM to 11AM and should be registered by 9:50AM on the day. The middle and senior divisions are from 11:15AM to 1:30PM and should be registered by 11:10AM on the day. For more details or if you want to register contact us on

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

Mother’s Day is fast approaching, it may be time to show your mum that you’re thinking about her. Here are some simple Mother’s Day tips. ALWAYS LISTEN Chances are your mother knows her day is coming up too and she’ll drop some strategic tips about what she may want for Mother’s Day. We’re sure she would appreciate the fact that you were just listening as well. MAKE IT YOURSELF It’s the thought that counts! If your gift can be home made this is a cheap and thoughtful way of showing your love. Getting any kids or even grand kids to...
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Kids and Gardening

At Chess Mates we support an activity that teaches confidence, creativity, and cooperation through fun, whether it’s indoor or outdoor. Gardening can be a fun and productive way to spend time with your kids. Gardening gives kids a sense of respect for nature and teaches them things like responsibility through having them take care of a plant. Safety When gardening with your children always remember that when using garden tools they need to be supervised as these can often be sharp and potentially dangerous. Children also have a much lower tolerance for chemicals so if you’re going to be doing...
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Are Video Games Good for your Child?

At Chess Mates our students will often tell us that they’ve been playing chess at home on the computer, sometimes they’ll even tell us of other video games they’ve been playing. If you’re wondering what affects this extra screen time has on your child have a read below! Positives There are some benefits of video games. Often phone games and ipad apps can have benefits to logic and problem solving as they will require children to work out timing and certain patterns to succeed. These games can also help develop spacial awareness and fine motor skills as children often have...
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Chess Through the Ages

One thing we always try to promote within our lessons is change; we learn through the Queen Sparkles story that King Sparky is at first scared of change but then learns to embrace it. The game of chess is also constantly changing itself, we’ve seen chess change with different social movements. Early chess games featured lots of daring attacks and tricks, where players would strategise and often engage in piece sacrifices in order to win. This fitted in well with the time that it was played in; the romantic era. During World War 2 we saw a rise in science...
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Saving Money on Back to School

School starts up again in less than a week. If you need to do your back to school shopping check out these simple tips for saving money. Make Sure you Check at Home Saving money can be as simple as checking in cupboards and drawers to make sure you don’t already have that pair of scissors or a spare exercise book. You can even turn this into a game for the kids and give them 20c for each supply they find; you’re still spending money but not as much as you would be if you went out and bought it...
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Thinking of Getting a Pet?

Pets can be great additions to the family, when we tell the story of King Sparky and his friend Paddington the Dog we always ask the children if they have any dogs of their own. If you’re thinking of getting your child a pet here are a few simple tips on how to introduce it to your little ones. Precautions and actions parents can take in introducing pets differ by age, if you have a newborn or small baby it’s always a good idea to introduce the pet to them gradually and always under supervision. Try not to leave your...
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Chess Mates Holiday Programs

Don’t forget to sign up for our upcoming holiday programs! We’ll be having a program on the 30th of March at Bulimba Library and a program on the 7th of April at Sunnybank State High School. If you’d like more information check out the sign up form below or email us on   Sign up here.  

Overcoming a Fear of the Dark

A fear of the dark is normal among young children, however if your child is showing signs of being truly afraid here are some simple steps to help them overcome it. It’s always important to take these fears seriously rather than dismiss them. When fears are taken seriously you can then reassure and comfort your child better. Reassurance can be done by simple things like turning on the lights and showing your child there are no monsters present. However you also must be careful not to validate their fears by telling them that these monsters to exist. It can also...
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Our Goals

At Chess Mates we don’t really mind whether our students grow up to be Grandmasters or not, but there are a few things our lessons, stories, and games are aimed at teaching. 1. Change – Most of our lessons are focused on teaching the students that change can be ok, for example our favourite king, King Sparky, has to learn how to be ok with change. We also teach this by rotating through different activities and chess partners, having the students play games they’ve never played and play chess with people they don’t know is a great way to learn...
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Chess Mates featured on Channel 7!

We were very privileged to be featured on Channel 7 News alongside a very special student of ours. Check out the video below now and find out more about the benefits children receive by learning how to play chess at an early age. We have also included a small gallery of photos from the day.    

Chess Mates Weekend Classes

For those of you who are interested in doing classes with us but don’t go to a school or daycare that we’re in we also offer weekend classes. We run three different weekend classes throughout terms. EAST BRISBANE Bulimba Library – Riding Road Saturday Ages 4-6 (12:30 – 1:00PM) Ages 7-10 (1:00 – 1:30PM) SOUTH BRISBANE Sunnybank State High School Saturday Ages 4-6 (3:00-3:30PM) Ages 7-10 (3:30-4:00PM) NORTH BRISBANE Saturday Ages 4-6 (2:00-2:30PM) Ages 7-10 (2:30-3:00PM) All weekend classes cost $85 for the term or $13 for a casual class. The first lesson attended is free!   If you’d like...
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Chess in the Library

This month we’re doing plenty of holiday programs around Brisbane in the council libraries. We’ll be in the following libraries:   8th-Jan-2016, 2:00PM  Stones Corner Library (4-6 year olds) 12th-Jan-2016, 2:00PM Zilmere Library (7-10 year olds) 12th-Jan-2016, 2:00PM Ashgrove Library (7-10 year olds) 14th-Jan-2016, 10:30AM Mount Gravatt Library (7-10 year olds) 19th-Jan-2016, 3:00PM Sunnybank Hills Library (4-6 year olds)

Having Problems with Food

Some simple tips if your child is a fussy eater:   1. Usually picky eaters are ‘grazers’ which means that they eat small amounts of food throughout the day, this can be solved by having your child eat smaller meals but increasing the amount of snacks they have throughout the day.   2. Offer new foods by simply placing it on the dish or tray without making a big deal.   3. Make small variations to meals rather than offering something completely new.   4. Offer new foods when you know your child is hungry.   5. Make sure your...
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Chess Activities Over the Holidays

If you’re looking for some fun ways to liven up the chess board  over holidays here are some fun chess variations you can play:   Scottish Chess   This is where players get progressively more moves per turn, we teach this as it helps children think ahead more effectively. In order to win you must catch all other pieces first and then the king last, white goes first and has one move, black then gets two moves, white get three moves, etc. This game works well for discouraging students to bring their queen up to quickly, advanced students will wait...
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Chess Mates Holiday Programs

Holidays are a lot of fun… until the first week ends and the new favourite sentence becomes “Muuuuuum, I’m booored”, and unfortunately for parents there are only so many times “Hi Bored, I’m Mum” will work. If your kids love chess and are showing early signs and symptoms of boredom or chess withdrawals have them come along to our holiday incursion programs. This holidays we have two programs running, one of the 16th of December and one on the 15th of January. Both programs run from 9am to 1pm and cost $40. If you’d like to register for a program...
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Making Homework Fun

Children are given a lot of homework and often after a hard day at school they just want to sit down and do something fun. Here at Chess Mates we think that most things can be made fun with the right attitude. Here are some easy tips for making homework more fun for your child   1. Work Space   Children will be more motivated to work where they have a nice working environment. Making a study desk with lots of bright colours and creations will make them more motivated to do their homework.   2. Study boards   Sometimes...
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Making Friends

Children make friends through play, at Chess Mates we’re strong supporters of this ideal and we encourage our students to chat and make friends while playing. If you want to help your child make and develop these friendships here are some easy tips!   1. Ask who your child is playing with   Usually in our lessons children are paired with a different person each week, why not ask them who they played with this week and whether they worked well together?   2. Make time for your child to meet friends   Children get time to socialise in chess,...
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Problem Solving

Problems arise in all parts of life, at Chess Mates we teach our students how to tackle problems, the skills they learn in chess are applicable in all situations and problems they may face.   There are six steps in solving a problem, all of which can be taught though chess.   1. Identifying the problem   We teach our students to always look for problems carefully before they proceed. In a game of chess, if you don’t notice the problem in the first place it’s going to be a quick game. It’s important to be vigilant!   2. Structuring...
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Girl Power

Mainstream media focuses on chess as a male-dominated sport, here at Chess Mates little girls rule! Chess Mates Chess is equally for boys and girls – so if you know a mum or dad looking for an activity for their active little girl, point them towards Chess Mates. In one of our classes we have four girls (normally 5 girls) and one boy. How’s that for Girl Power?

A new approach to chess

At Chess Mates we are passionate about giving children the best foundations for life.  We focus on developing healthy habits to take with them through childhood into adulthood. Chess has been shown to provide countless benefits for social and cognitive development.  We believe that traditional teaching approaches for chess have made it inaccessible to many children. Instead, we focus on positive re-enforcement as well as creating a fun, supportive and interactive environment.  Interaction and movement is the key to our approach.  We insist on encouraging toddlers to learn through movement, while having fun with their friends. Before they know it...
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You can now like us on Facebook

We are happy to announce that you can now follow our progress and updates via our facebook page.  Like us to stay up to date with children’s health and well-being issues as well as new programs coming to schools or child care centres near you!  This is also the best way to find out about special offers. To enroll your child in one of our programs, simply complete this form.  Alternatively, email us at for some more information.

The benefits of chess from an early age

It is very important to start good habits off at an early age.  Little ones’ brains are still developing and can absorb infor   mation at a phenomenal rate.  Making new connections helps them to become more flexible and increase their mental capacity. Chess has been shown to promote critical thinking, spatial awareness and problem solving skills.  Due to the ability of toddlers to absorb information, teaching chess from an early age has the greatest effect.  Learning chess from 3 years old has been shown to improve overall performance at school by nearly 20% compared with children who have not...
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King Dyno

King Dyno introduces you to his home, Dynoville. He also teaches how the King can move in chess.