LIFE sometimes resembles a chessboard of puzzling manouevres and challenges with winners and losers.
Warrnambool East Primary School chaplain Janet Ferguson calls it therapy as she teaches life skills to challenged children.
"It shows them strategies, leadership skills and how to handle emotions," she said.
"The rules never change, they learn to handle the challenges and plan ahead.
"I use chess as part of an enrichment process to help children with social issues.
"They see that it's not just a game for nerds. They enjoy it and then can go on to play in bigger games including on-line international challenges.
"Next Monday five of pupils from Warrnambool East grade six will travel to Melbourne for state championships where they will meet polished performers from some of the more privileged private schools.
The Warrnambool team has already won its way through local and regional heats.
A Warrnambool East team has played in three previous state finals.
The school teaches board game strategies from a young age with draughts for prep to grade two and then chess from year three onwards.
Mrs Ferguson has suggested a large community chess board be built near the foreshore skatepark or Civic Green.
"The game has a lot to offer the wider community," she said.
"There are quite a few kids who have learnt chess and would enjoy playing tournaments on a big board.
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