20 February, 2010
John Lavery is a legend in the local chess scene. In the 1990’s he retired from his job and moved to Castlemaine. He now spends his time tutoring young children in the game of Chess at seven different schools and has taught about 400 students in his three years of tutoring. Lavery stays motivated when teaching children chess, by always hoping that he will discover ‘exciting chess talent’.
Throughout his chess journey he has had many successes; including winning the Victorian Minor Championship, coming third in the Australian Seniors championship and winning the Victorian country championship, just to name a few.
It was by pure chance that John discovered the game of chess. When he was around 15 or 16 he found himself in hospital, with nothing to do. To relieve his boredom the man in the bed next to him offered to teach him how to play Chess. From then on he learnt more and more and persisted until he became the Junior Chess Champion of Northern Ireland, when he was 17 or 18. He then moved to England and played in big chess leagues.
In 1962, he migrated to Australia and in 1964 he joined the Melbourne Chess Club; the oldest Chess club in the Southern Hemisphere. His impressive chess feats helped him become the President of the Melbourne Chess club.
When John was in his 50’s he retired from his office equipment business. He then had his own business, but then moved to Castlemaine in the 1990’s.
Lavery has a very deep and meaningful view on the game of chess. He believes that chess mirrors life. It is full of accidents; mistakes and bad luck yet, it gives you a chance to meet new people. If you make a mistake it is your fault, not somebody else’s, therefore allowing you to take responsibility for your actions.
John enjoys chess because the more you learn, the more you enjoy the game. He believes it is ‘a game of continual renewal’ and is always challenging. Through great perseverance and persistence John has succeeded in becoming a well known identity in the Victorian chess scene.
By Amy Green and Jayden Daldy. Yr9 Journalism