St. Canice’s is proud to have a strong tradition of chess in our school. We begin in 3rd class by teaching the basic principles of the game and how the pieces move. The boys soon progress on to playing a full game with many developing a strong affiliation with the game. We draw on the 4th, 5th and 6th class boys for members of our Chess Club. We meet weekly and work on our opening, strategies and endgames and bring a healthy level of competition into our meetings with a Chess Ladder. The Chess Club also help with mentoring the 3rd classes and it is you will often see an ad hoc chess lesson taking place around the school during some downtime! Such is the demand for the game that the boys requested outdoor tables they could play on at lunchtime and now outdoor chess is a daily fixture on our school yard.






Chess encourages good sportsmanship and self-regulation. We always place great emphasis on shaking hands, congratulating your opponent and trying not to give your game away by showing too much reaction to a win or a loss however hard it may be!

Probably the most obvious benefit is in the field of mathematics. Not just in the layout of the board but also in learning the values of the pieces, totting up captures, using the co-ordinates of the chess board to explain the game (e.g. Bishop c5 is pinning Rook f2) and crucially engaging the children in problem solving skills and learning to think one, two and even three steps ahead.

Being a confident player also encourages leadership skills in the pupils. We use peer to peer coaching to good effect and, as chess is the great equalizer, some boys have coached teachers and on occasion they may even let them win!

As well as in house tournaments St. Canice’s have participated in the Leinster Schools Chess League with some players returning home with medals!  Many thanks to Ms. Egan for her expert coaching.