The current WA chess structure

The diagram below demonstrates the current pathways for junior chess players in Western Australia.


  • Young chess players usually begin their chess journey at the school level.
  • From there they often enter the world of competitive chess through inter-school competitions. Lakner Chess has been arbitrating the highly successful state-wide Chesskids Inter-school competition for many years and has been using those tournaments to direct new chess players to tournaments and clubs.
  • Once the student is attending a strong junior chess club, such as the Perth Chess Academy or the Maccabi Junior Chess Club, they are encouraged to participate in individual competitions. This begins with junior competitions and eventually adult competitions.
  • Once the student becomes strong enough, it is time for them to join an adult club where they can gain experience against some of the state's strongest players.
  • From there, they gain the skills and experience needed to compete at a state level, and eventually, a national level.

Current problems with the WA Chess structure

Junior Chess Tournaments

There are not enough junior events being held throughout the year to give students the experience needed to develop quickly. Also, the chess players participating at the tournaments that do exist are playing at such a high standard that new players lose almost all their games and quickly get discouraged.

Interschool Competitions

CAWA's home-and-away format only allows each student to play one inter-school chess game every fortnight meaning that the competition does not give students a real taste of a chess tournament experience. Also, the format does not allow for advertising clubs and other events.

Learning Materials

Searching through the vast array of online resources for appropriate learning materials is like looking for a needle in a haystack. And the existing chess literature is often too advanced and disconnected to efficiently teach students the lessons they require.

Adult Chess Clubs

There are only 3 major adult chess clubs in Perth, and they meet on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights; meaning children are unlikely to attend due to having school the next day.

Adult Chess Tournaments

Adult tournaments are often held over entire weekends, both Saturday and Sunday, which clashes with all the other weekend activities that children are engaged with.

Our 3-tiered approach

Below is our year-by-year plan which began in 2018. This plan will be modified and expanded as time goes by and we gain a greater understanding of the specific needs of the WA chess community and/or find we need to adapt to changing circumstances.

Our Year by Year Plan


Organise the Perth Chess Academy with a tiered system of instruction that allows chess players to progress to more and more difficult classes. 

(Outcome achieved)

Increase the time control on the Perth Chess Academy Master Class to 60 minutes so the games can be ACF rated and also act as an excellent stepping stone for students to begin participating in adult events. (Outcome achieved)


Establish the Perth Junior Chess Grand Prix as an annual series of tournaments which tracks chess player's results throughout the year and rewards consistent high performances.

(Outcome achieved) 

Establish at least 5 new school chess clubs.

(Outcome achieved) 

Polish beginner level and intermediate level instructional materials.

(Outcome achieved) 

Create more advanced level instructional materials.

(Outcome achieved) 

Variations of the Perth Chess Academy tiered instruction system are introduced to other clubs and classes to enable students to learn more rapidly.

(Outcome achieved) 

Work with CAWA to restructure the School Chess League into a series of one-day events. This will promote more participation and enable tournament organisers to use these events to promote chess clubs and other chess events to a wider audience.

(Outcome achieved) 


Introduce novice tournaments to allow inexperienced chess players to develop the skills necessary to compete in major chess competitions.

(Outcome achieved)

Introduce girls-only tournaments to give young female chess players greater opportunities to enter and compete in major chess events.

(Outcome achieved)

Polish advanced level instructional materials.

Create more elite level instructional materials.

Create additional beginner, intermediate, advanced and elite materials to be used as extra homework for students to complete during school holidays.

Train new coaches in the Lakner Chess system of learning and establish three extra chess clubs (either school clubs or open clubs) in the Perth area for those new coaches.

Establish an adult chess club that meets on either a Friday or Saturday night which could cater to the needs of Perth's best juniors by providing them with experience against much stronger opponents.

Work with CAWA to create a series of half-day adult tournaments to act as an introduction for students to the world of adult chess.


Eliminate age divisions from the Perth Junior Chess Grand Prix and instead set up a tiered system of divisions based on skill. This also replaces dedicated novice tournaments. For example: 

A Division (Elite)

B Division (Advanced)

C Division (Intermediate)

D Division (Novice)

The divisions will more accurately inform students, parents and coaches of each chess player's level and what they need to work on to reach higher levels.

Polish elite level instructional materials.

Continue to train new coaches and establish at least three more junior chess clubs (either school clubs or open clubs) in the Perth area.

Visit our Trello Page!

To see what we're currently working on and track our progress, click on the following link below.