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By Brendan Rees

Hampton Park Primary School hosted the Casey Regional Chess Championships for the sixth consecutive year last Friday 1 September.
Hampton Park Primary School chess coach and co-ordinator Crispian Deacon said there was a high standard of chess played, with two of the top 12 schools in Victoria attending.
Hampton Park Primary School finished fourth while the junior primary team consisting of Tarik, Bowen, Dhanushka, Josh and Alvin excelled to qualify for the state finals at the end of October.
Hampton Park’s chess captain, Miniya was the best-placed Hampton Park student for the day, finishing 16th overall, and was also the second-placed female player.
More than 700 primary schools across Victoria began the year vying for a place in the state finals in November.
The competition is run by Chess Kids, a competition run and owned by former Australian champion David Cordover.
“Hampton Park Primary School has a recent proud history in chess competition. There is great interest within the school with over 100 students involved in chess club each year,” Mr Deacon said.
“Hampton Park made the Primary School State finals in 2013 and 2014 and the Junior Primary School State finals in 2016 – placing the school in the top thirty chess playing primary schools in Victoria. When you consider over 700 schools compete, this is an extremely good effort,” he said.
Mr Deacon said chess was one of the most powerful educational tools available to strengthen a child’s mind.
“It’s fairly easy to learn how to play – most six or seven-year-olds can follow the basic rules.”
Sydney University senior lecturer in the Department of Government, Dr Peter Dauvergne said research showed there were great benefits for children in playing chess.
“It challenges gifted children while potentially helping underachieving gifted students, enhancing reading, memory, language and mathematical skills, strengthening problem solving skills, and raising IQ scores.”

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