In-person Extra-Curricular & TY Classes in Schools & Workshops Nationwide
Hi there! If your school is interested in Mark giving a weekly chess class in Kilkenny or a one-off TY workshop with WCM Una O'Boyle nationwide etc., please fill out the form below or email or call 085-1526889


Extra-Curricular and TY Classes in Kilkenny Schools & Workshops Nationwide

“Mark, The Chess Bud, taught chess in our school last year. Word spread quickly about his classes and in no time the class was full of happy, focused boys ready to take each other on in games. The children loved the classes and chess has become a vibrant and competitive lunchtime activity in our school. Staff and parents are delighted to see the boys taking an interest in a new hobby and developing problem solving skills and strategic thinking skills in a fun way with their friends. Mark takes a personal interest in each student and is encouraging and supportive in his teaching. We are delighted to have Chess Bud in De la Salle BNS!”

Doireann Hester, Principal, St. Patrick’s De la Salle Boys National School, Kilkenny City


Dear Principals and Teachers in Kilkenny and all over Ireland!


In January 2023, I began offering chess as an extracurricular activity in CBS Primary and St. Patrick’s De la Salle in Kilkenny City.  I currently have three afternoons free and would be delighted to offer chess classes to three more schools in Kilkenny City or County.  I have my own third-party public liability insurance and am garda vetted both by local schools and, Ficheall, the voluntary primary school chess association for whom I run comórtas fichille in Kilkenny and Waterford.  I am a qualified FIDE Chess trainer and was coach to the Irish Junior Chess Squad in 2023.


This year in addition to teaching chess in schools in Kilkenny, I am delighted to announce that WCM Una O’Boyle ( and I will be offering workshops, either individually or together, nationwide.  To find out more just fill out the form opposite and Una or I will give you a call to find out more about your school and what kind of workshop will best suit your students.



So how do 1 hour in- person school classes in Kilkenny City Work?


Classes last 1 hour approximately.  I bring a large demonstration board which takes 2 mins to set-up. I bring all the chessboards and sets that the kids use each week, so there is no need to store equipment in whatever classroom is used.


Kids get a 20 minute lesson followed by 30 minutes play and then five minutes at the end to clear up and put the classroom back the way we found it. I run a competition from the third week and provide trophies and medals at the end of each term. If a student signs up to chess but then decides it is not for them, they get refunded for the cost of the remaining classes.


Access to the Chess Bud Coaching Portal for the Duration of the Term


This year I am delighted to be able include access to the Chess Bud Coaching Portal for every student enrolled in my extra-curricular classes in Kilkenny Schools.   The online platform allows Chess Bud Students from to head into the portal and solve quizzes, puzzles, play friendly games against mates (Every pun intended!) and also to participate in weekly portal tournaments during term time against similar strength players.

The price is 1 Euro extra per student per class.  Schools can of course choose to have an extra-curricular class only.  Any student in a school that does not wish to include the portal as part of the chess program can get access to the portal for the duration of the term, by simply paying 1 Euro more per class, i.e. 8 Euros.  All that is required to set up a student in the portal is a parent’s email!


Note: All chat is disabled in the Portal, so it is a perfectly safe environment for kids to develop their chess and have fun!


I have started creating short 1-3 minute explanation videos that explain how to use all the features of the portal.  So Kids can learn how to use the portal by themselves without any extra pressure being put on parents.  It’s a very user friendly and safe platform!  See my ‘Userguide to the Chess Bud Coaching Portal’ Video Showreel’ immediately below, which will have all relevant videos added by the time classes begin.




Chess Background


In addition to being an International Master of Chess and FIDE Trainer,  I am currently one of the coaches of the Irish Junior Chess Squad.  See   After playing for Kilkenny Chess Club since 2001 in the Leinster Leagues, I moved to the Marble City with my family in 2019,  I was coaching in schools in Dublin for many years while completing my third-level studies and also working in Irish Tourism.


Teaching Experience


I established Chess Bud Ireland in September 2019 and offered free online classes during the pandemic.  I have been teaching groups of adults and kids online since then and also ran an Easter Chess Camp in O’Loughlin Gaels and a Summer Camp in Kilkenny Rugby Club this summer as well as Summer camps for kids in Dublin, Cavan, Monaghan, Cork and Killarney.


A number of my individual students have gone on to become Irish Internationals at Junior and Senior Level, but I would like to think my biggest contribution has been getting kids to appreciate the magic and the beauty of the game and above all to have fun playing chess!


Additional teaching experience includes tutoring first years in the School of English, Drama and Film in UCD for several years and leading a seminar on Contemporary American Literature while completing a PhD dissertation on Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow.


Teaching Philosophy


In terms of coaching in schools, where there are often classes with kids of mixed level of standards, I am a big believer in integrated learning. Classes are informative and structured but also light and fun. My role is to the fire the imaginations of kids and make them aware of the magic of chess but also their own unique potential, whether they decide just to play chess for a few weeks or to make the game a bigger part of their lives going forward.

I also provide links to instructive Youtube videos that schools can forward to parents so their kids can go over what we have covered in class. This is important as chess learning isn’t linear and some kids need a little more time than others to grasp specific concepts or rules of the game.



8 Euros per Child Per Class – 6 Euros per Additional Sibling

(Includes access to the Chess Bud Portal for the duration of the term).


7 Euros per Child Per Class – 5 Euros per Additional Sibling

(Without access to the Chess Bud Portal)


Classes take place according to the school calendar and require a minimum of ten enrolled kids to get going up to a maximum of 26 kids per class.


*I am also open to teaching chess in-person in schools in Kilkenny County, but may need to charge an additional petrol expense depending on how far away your school is situated.


To help get a chess club moving in your school, I would be happy to come in a give a free talk and demonstration so students can see my coaching style and staff can gauge the level of interest.


Media Links: 


Here is a link to an interview I gave to Paul Brophy of Community Radio Kilkenny City where I discuss the history of the game, the strong chess tradition in Kilkenny City and my coaching philosophy.  Principals and teachers could share this link in an email shoot to parents so they and their kids would have an idea of what kind of chess coach to expect!


Click here for the radio interview: