2024 Toowoomba district primary school Individual chess championship

On the 5th March 2024, the Toowoomba district primary school Individual chess championship was held at the Toowoomba Anglican School in their "Millennium Centre". There were 258 players in the "open division" and 123 players in the "novice division" (year 1 to 3). Emma Sharp from Glenvale Christian School won the "novice division" with a perfect score of 7 out of 7. I have been coaching Emma for the last couple of years at her school in a squad; and more recently she has joined one of my private chess squads for gifted players which have training on a weekly basis.

Emma is a very enthusiastic, dedicated and determined young girl with a bright chess-future ahead. She is very keen to learn theory and advance her chess knowledge and skills. Emma is another example of how girls can do well in chess with hard work and application.

2023 Toowoomba Teams Championship

On Tuesday, the 29th August 2023, the "2023 Toowoomba district primary school TEAMS chess championship" was held in the Sports Centre of Toowoomba Christian College. In total, 28 schools; 110 teams; and 464 players participated in this premier school event. The Toowoomba Grammar School ( open 1 ) team won the 7 round event with 23.5 points out of a possible 28 points. From there, the top 12 teams from the event battled it out on the following Saturday in the " State Qualifier " to see which 5 teams would represent the Toowoomba region at the State primary school Finals. Once again, the Toowoomba Grammar school ( open 1 ) team won the event.

The 4 players ( from left to right ) in the Toowoomba Grammar School are as follows :- Isaac Tebbutt, Ruhan Bulchandani, Hiresh Wanasinghe, and Aarav Kansagara. All 4 players are coached & trained privately by professional chess coach Les Lord.

2023 Toowoomba Championship

On Tuesday, the 7th March 2023 the "2023 Toowoomba district primary school Individual chess championship" was held at Highlands Christian College. It was a large chess tournament with 323 players participating; 215 in the open division and 108 in the novice division. The winner and champion of the "open division" was year 6 student, Mirabelle Lee. She won with a perfect score of 8 out of 8. Her younger sister, Elisabelle Lee came an amazing 7th overall, winning the "best year 4" prize with 6.5 out of 8 points. Mirabelle is the first girl since 2010 to win this prestigious title. An amazing achievement!!

Both Mirabelle & Elisabelle are coached and trained by local chess coach, Les Lord. They have been having lessons on a fortnightly basis for the last 2 years. During this time, they have learnt numerous theoretical principles and progressively developed their chess skills. Some of the lesson content over this period include opening theory/repertoire; endgame studies; tactical themes; the creation and exploitation of weaknesses; position evaluation, analysing and planning skills; calculation and thinking ahead; puzzle and exercise testing; etc etc.

Both Mirabelle & Elisabelle are very active in chess, playing many chess tournaments locally and throughout SE Queensland.

Read some reviews from happy students
Dr Conall O Murchu

"As an adult who started playing chess a few years ago, I sought coaching to improve my game. I was fortunate to find Les, who has been an exceptional coach throughout my chess journey. This was my first experience receiving chess coaching, and I thoroughly enjoyed every moment.

Les's structured approach to lessons, covering different aspects of chess, including tactics, strategy/planning, openings and endgame theory, was incredibly effective. He has a unique ability to break down complex concepts and make them easily understandable. One of the standout aspects of Les's coaching was his attention to my weaker areas particularly planning and strategy, helping me build a solid foundation and develop a deeper understanding of the game. Les's passion for coaching was evident in every lesson, and learning from someone who genuinely enjoys what they do has inspired me to continue learning. Each lesson with Les was tailored to my needs, making the experience enjoyable and immensely useful.

Since getting coaching with Les, I have significantly improved my chess game. My rating has increased, and my results in over-the-board chess have markedly improved. Unfortunately, due to moving away, I had to discontinue my coaching sessions. However, the skills and knowledge I gained from Les have left a lasting impact on my chess knowledge, shaping me into a better player.

I highly recommend Les to anyone looking to improve their chess skills. His expertise, patience, and enthusiasm make him an outstanding coach. I am truly grateful to Les for his invaluable guidance and support, which have significantly enhanced my chess skills. Thank you, Les."

Michael Gearing

"Les coached me for the better part of 10 years. He helped me to improve in many aspects of the game (openings, middlegame, endgame, planning, calculation, tactics, and more). I started out as an enthusiastic kid and through his tutelage went up the ranks to place several times in state and national tournaments. Les is thorough in his preparation and communicates complex strategy simply and clearly. His passion for the game is infectious and he opened up avenues for me to discover and enjoy the exquisite art and beauty of chess, for which I will always be grateful."

Brock McIntyre

"I am privileged to have been coached by Les both as a student of Toowoomba Grammar and later as an adult. Les uses a mix of established chess theory with modern theory to achieve a well-balanced approach that has and still is competitive in the wider Australian chess community. Under the tutelage of Les I have played representative chess in New Zealand in 2006 and placed 11th in the 2014 Queensland Championships. Importantly, Les instils a mentality of hard work, respect and dedication to the game and opponents. It is for this reason that Les remains such a high-quality coach."

Alex Miles

"I played chess from a young age with my father but my game went to another level due to what I was able to learn from Les. With Les we explored all aspects of how I played and the game itself focusing on areas where I need work. We went move by move though many of my games focusing on the ones that I lost so that I could learn. I played competitively for several years and while I don’t play competitively anymore, I still believe that exploring chess in detail helped me greatly especially at an early age. Chess is a great game to improve logical reasoning, memory, concentration and patience (I really needed this). More importantly, I still play socially and enjoy it greatly."

TGS Chess Workshop 2021
From the 14th April to the 16th April 2021, Toowoomba Grammar School hosted a 3 day intensive chess camp/workshop on their campus. Sixty five (65) top juniors (from the primary & secondary school sector) from around the Toowoomba district participated in the event. International master Gary Lane (former Australian/Commonwealth/Oceanic champion & author) along with local professional chess coach Les Lord (& 2 junior coaches) teamed up on behalf of the Toowoomba Grammar School to coach and train these juniors over the 3 day period. The juniors did a combination of comprehensive chess lessons, tournament games, and participated in a "simul" during the course of the chess camp/workshop. Due to the success of the chess camp, it is expected to be an annual event.
Certificate from Australian Sports Commission
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