Chess, Cheating and Yoghurt

It’s June, 1978. The Philippines are about to bear witness to a clash of titans. Anatoly Karpov and Viktor Korchnoi, two of the greatest chess champions of all time are set to play for the title of Grandmaster. The stakes are high and the tensions higher. Both teams are on their guard. Korchnoi has brought his own personal chair.

Top Five Tips When Looking For a Coach

As children grow up many of them will seek out and participate in competition sport. This is both a natural and healthy development that should be encouraged. In almost every school and sporting club, there is a team coach, their job being to teach and to train the players in their team. The importance of this position cannot be understated. It is imperative that the coach for your children be the right man or woman for the job.

Chess and Sportsmanship

Chess is the game that simply keeps on giving. Studies have shown that a steady diet of chess increases your attentive spans, improves your memory and enhances your capacity for logical thinking. It may seem odd that a game like chess could do anything to promote social development. Chess is a game that is usually played in silence, with a bare minimum of interaction between the players during play. It is, however, these very conventions and demonstrations of etiquette that build a culture of sportsmanship.

Welcome to our new Coach HuiSi Yee!

Actually, HuiSi has been with us at Chesslife for over five years, starting her chess journey at the Campbelltown Library where she is now coaching and we are thrilled to have her with us.

HuiSi started playing Chess when she was ten years old.  She loved the challenging nature of the game, it’s individuality and the new friends she made (and still continues to make) in her Chess journey.

Computers Have Transformed Chess into the 21st Century’s Global Game

Chess is arguably the oldest game still played globally today. And it’s changing more rapidly than ever before. Chess has evolved for thousands of years from early Indian variants, to the modernized strategies of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries respectively. But chess is not done. In fact, it’s still changing – thanks to computers.

Chess Movies, Books (and Art!) You Have to ‘Check’ Out if You’re a Chess Fanatic

For some of us, sitting down over a chess board of an evening just isn’t enough. We need to fill our bookshelves with chess books, our walls with chess art and our Netflix queue with… you guessed it: chess films. We are excited to share our recommendations of the best chess content out there!

The science behind those bulging chess brains

The most rewarding part of my job as a chess coach is seeing my students improve in so many ways, which I truly believe can be traced back to playing and learning chess. One of the reasons I’m so confident that chess is ‘good’ for kids is that it brings in so many different parts of the brain. To truly ‘play’ chess, the brain has to work pretty hard (to put it mildly), and the best thing is that kids often don’t even realise how much they’re learning.

How Chess Has Changed Our World

While at Chesslife we’ve seen the impact chess has had on our students’ lives, in this blog poost we are talking about how chess has impacted the world for the better. From Kasparov to Disney film Queen of Katwe, we think we’re better off because of chess #chess #activism

Breaking Barriers at Campbelltown Library Chess Club – an Interview with Connor

Whether you think of chess as a sport or a hobby, it is a readily accessible activity for people of all abilities to participate in. At Chesslife we cater to a wide range of players, including many on the Autism spectrum, whom chess has been shown to benefit. In our blogs we love to talk about the players who have come to chess with different abilities, so this week we interviewed 15-year-old Connor, a regular at our Campbelltown library-based club.

Four Brain Training Tips!

David Koetsier is an international professional chess coach based in Adelaide, Australia. At the World Youth Chess Championships in 2016, he had plenty of practice keeping some of Australia’s most promising young players in the optimal brain state for sports performance. In this blog edition he gives Chesslife blog readers tips on keeping their minds fresh, active and in the perfect ‘frame of mind’ for creative thinking on, and off, the chess board.

Junior chess in South Australia has been steadily growing over the last few years, with more tournaments being hosted and more competition among the junior players. But how are we comparing on a National level? Do SA students have what it takes to play interstate? And when do you know it is time to travel across the country to play in a chess tournament?
We spoke to local player Ethan and his mum about their journey over the last 12 months from when they started travelling interstate and how it has changed his play.

How an Adelaide Hills Boy ‘Checkmated’ His Anxiety

Gabriel and his dad Andrew
Gabriel and his dad Andrew

Gabriel lives with Autism Spectrum Disorder, formerly known as Aspergers Syndrome, and has co-morbid anxiety. Because of his autism, Gabriel perceives the world in a more intrusive way than people who are lower on the autism spectrum. His brain reacts intensely to even mundane stimuli, so sounds, lights and touch can be distressing. Through chess Gabriel has overcome many hurdles.  Gabriel says, “I have made heaps of friends. I like having friends at chess because it means friendship and it feels lovely.” Read his heartwarming story here.

12 year old Lillian Lu from Victoria


If you have traveled around Australia to chess tournaments, you would have undoubtedly encountered the wonderful and bubbly Lillian. Always running around with a big smile on her face, whether she has won or lost.  With the incredible support from her mother, who is also super friendly, they have visited almost every state.

So when Lillian showed up in Adelaide to play in the Junior Masters, it was time to sit down with her and ask her some questions.

17 year old Li Tian Yeoh from Malaysia


In the first week of December Yeoh Li Tian traveled to Adelaide for the Lidums Young Masters. He was invited to play in this week long tournament with 9 rounds. It is not an easy task to become a titled player and we were therefore very interested to know what makes Li Tian so passionate about the game. With already 2 IM Norms guaranteed, he is eager to secure his final norm in Adelaide.

Magnus Retains World Chess Title in Dramatic Tie Break

Photo courtesy of @vgnett
Photo courtesy of @vgnett

Picking up where we left off in our last blog on the 2016 World Chess Championship, the draws continued in rounds nine, eleven and twelve, leaving the players dead even after the specified twelve classical (long) games of chess. Despite an interesting attempt to mix things up Karjakin ended up worse and slowly but surely lost the final game of the match ending in an incredible queen sacrifice by the Norwegian champion. And suddenly, that was it for another year of World Championship chess!

Seven Draws and One Win does it Remind us all to Practice our Endgames?


Just over half way into the 2016 World Chess Championship and we have just seen the first dent with the score 4.5 to challenger Karjakin against 3.5 for Magnus Carlsen. Before this we had seven rounds resulting in seven draws. So how important is it to know your endgames (and are draws really so dull)?

Nathan Darjana from New Caledonia 

Nathan at the Adelaide Hills Open

We have decided to continue our blog ‘About Juniors, For Juniors’ due to its popularity. Over the next few months we will be featuring Australian and International juniors that we meet along our travels and find out what makes them tick and what makes them love chess. Today we meet Nathan Darjana from New-Caledonia. In the Adelaide Hills Open Nathan played some amazing games and finished equal second in the U14 age category. So what does he like about chess and who are his role models?

Youngest Ever Chess Champion Contenders to Face Off in November for $1,250,000


The World Chess Championships are about to kick off on November 11 in New York. Here is our first take on the event.

What do kids really get out of learning chess?


For all the teachers who have wondered, to all the parents who have thought about it, and to the students who are often unaware just how good chess is for their developing brains, here is something to get you started.

Spotlight on Girls in Chess: Athena-Malar Retnaraja


We continue our series ‘Women in Chess’ Athena is one of the Campbelltown Library Chess Club‘s rising stars. At only 7 years she has already been in many tournaments. We stole a few minutes of her time to ask her what it’s like to compete in a typically boy dominated sport.

2016 World Youth Chess Championships review of games


The 2016 World Chess Championships are in full swing. Find the Australian games analysed here!

Is chess too slow? ‘Not for those with a quick mind’, says Campbelltown Junior Yi Yang


A lot of people think chess is for those that are able to sit still for hours. We hear it all the time: ‘My son could not sit down for a chess game that goes for over an hour! He would get bored and distracted.’ But that could not be further from the truth!

Blog Special on the 42nd Olympiad.

15 year old Segan and 17 year old Gabriela from Barbados

15 year old Segan and 17 year old Gabriela from Barbados

Interviews and reviews  About Juniors For Juniors from the Olympiad in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Spotlight on Girls in Chess: Susanne Wells


What it is like to compete in a typically male-dominated sport

Australian Researcher on Why Pokemon Go and Chess Benefit Autistic Youth


What do Pokemon Go, chess and autism have in common?

Exclusive Interview with creator of Step-by-Step- Method


Cor van Wijgerden is not a name many South Australians are familiar with. But the Dutch chess coach and Step Method co-creator deserves recognition for the structured chess education of hundreds of our brightest young minds.

What does ‘Autism Friendly’ mean?

autism friendly image

It means we are open, accepting and understanding of chess players with Autism.

Interschool Chess Championships and how a local council has made a difference


Chesslife would like to once again thank the Campbelltown Council, without whom hundreds of budding young players would be without a club.

Coaching junior level chess is as challenging as it is rewarding


Want a mental health boost? Play Games!


It’s well known that playing chess makes you smart, but did you know it also makes you happy?

Why do we use the Dutch Learning System?


When head coach and Chesslife founder David Koetsier along with Sabrina came to Australia in 2005, they brought more than their Dutch accents and an appreciation of European coffee with them.

Why should you choose an accredited tutor?

At Chesslife we pride ourselves on the quality of the coaching we deliver to the schools, disability support services and community groups we work with. While we believe firmly that chess is an exciting and accessible sport for anyone to learn and play, we also know that teaching it isn’t something just anyone can do.

What age should you start learning chess?

How old does my child have to be to learn chess? Is there an age that’s too young or is there an age after which students are too old to start playing?

University Chess Club President Gives Advice For Aspiring Young Players

We are happy to welcome Sebastian Teagle to the Chesslife team this year. Sebastian is the President of the Adelaide University chess club and manages two teams in the South Australian Chess Association‘s Interclub tournament – here he gives his advice to his students who want to compete at the top.

David’s Top 10 Chess Tips

David’s tips for practicing at home

Stories from a Chess Coach

Read about how I started, why I do what I do and why I love what I do!

Chess and Autism

Chess can be the bridge between two worlds

Chess Player vs Chess Coach

A coach does not need to be the best chess player, they need to be able to transfer their skills and aim to have their students become better chess players then they are.

Time Management

These skills are of course not only useful for playing chess, but will help you for the rest of your life.

Is Chess  a Game or a Sport?

Most people consider a game to be a sport when it includes physical exertion, like running, and they can’t imagine a game whereby you sit still for 6 hours could be considered a sport.

Brain Man

Article that was originally published in the Adelaide Hills Magazine.

You do what!? 4 business lessons I learned from being a chess coach

Article that was originally published on Flying SoloChess Coaching business a winner in schools

Article that has been published on the Inside South Australia website

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