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The Federation's "Chess Master @ The Local" programme comes to Watford tomorrow (Thursday 25 August) at The Happy Hour pub in Eastbury Road.   The Happy Hour is also the venue for the club's Sunday evening junior training sessions but this is a totally separate one-off event.   It is designed primarily to attract the "interested but occasional" chess player but regular club players, adults and (accompanied) juniors alike, will also be welcome.

Events kick off at 3.30 with two 5-round 15-minute tournaments, one for relative novices (anyone without a recent ECF grade or with a grade less than 50) and one for more experienced players.   Chess clocks will be used in the latter event only.  Both should end by 6.30.   Free entry with £10 and/or book prizes from the ECF for the winners.   

Main event of the day will be a simultaneous display given by international grandmaster Keith Arkell starting at 7.0.   Keith will take on 11 or 12 opponents and, as the first batch of games ends, the retiring opponents will be replaced by fresh faces.   Again free entry, with ECF prizes plus a £20 meal voucher from The Happy Hour awaiting the first person to beat Keith.

Update (24 August). There are a few spaces still available to be among Keith’s first cohort of opponents at 7.0 although these are likely to be claimed by early arrivals on Thursday.    More spaces should begin to open up around 7.30 as early games end.





 Watford is now assembling its teams (it expects to field three) for the 2016-7 Junior 4 Nations Chess League, where the first weekend will take place on 1-2 October at De Vere Harben, Newport Pagnell.   The two later weekends will be 21-22 January and 22-23 April at St Johns Hotel, Solihull.  Interested club members should contact the juniors secretary.

Watford 1 finished second (7/10 points - 2 wins, 3 draws, no losses) in Division 1 of the final 2015-6 J4NCL weekend in West Bromwich on 12-13 March.  Full results (except matches where our teams beat reserve sides) appear in our 'Latest Results' feature.

Fifteen Watford juniors, accompanied by parents, took part with Watford 2 and Watford 3 both competing in Division 2. Website contains more background on J4NCL including previous weekends results.    

March 2016:  Watford 1 team (L to R, Aman, Jeff, Dhruv, Avi) with the J4NCL runners-up trophy

Coaching for juniors

We're now looking for club members willing and able to give talks (with large demonstration board available) on any aspect of chess to our juniors - preferred start time 7.0 with 30 minutes duration but flexible to accommodate speakers. Choice of three levels - basic (mainly targeted at juniors below ECF50), intermediate (ECF50-100) or advanced (ECF100+) at speaker's choice


Graded rapidplay tournament, 9 August

This was won by 11-year-old Aman Gogna who, after taking a half-point bye in round 1, won all four remaining games to finish a half-point ahead of brother Avi.   Simon Charles was third on 3.5 points with a multiple tie for 4th place between Cecil Sloan, Harshil Mehta, Alex Lever, Maanav Nagda, Roshan Gurjar and Roshan's 6-year-old (!) sister Siena.   Eighteen competitors took part.


Laws of chess

There's been one interesting development of which club members should probably be aware although, and I stand to be corrected on this point, it appears to apply only to blitz and rapidplay games (although possibly also to quickplay finishes in standard games) played with increments.

An illegal move typically stands to lose the game if it is "completed" and, to complete any move other than checkmate or a similar move which itself ends the game, it is necessary to press one's clock.   Some arbiters now take the view that, if for example you knock over a piece (not necessarily the one you have moved) before pressing the clock, then - if the knocked-over piece is still displaced - pressing the clock results in an illegal position and loss of the game.   Any displaced piece, they argue, must be correctly replaced in the time of whoever displaced it.

Similarly, if a player promotes a pawn and - in the absence of a queen - replaces the promoted pawn with an upturned rook (as commonly happens!) then this too can result in loss of the game.   From what I can see, there isn't total consensus among arbiters but the general rule is - don't press the clock prematurely!

Quite separately, the new draft Laws, just published, include a new law 10.2 reading "The total score of any game can never exceed the maximum score of a normal game" and it is hard to avoid concluding that this is the result of a previous ECF executive trying to defend a poor "point-and-a-half" decision.  It's probably unfortunate as several UK arbiters have pointed out circumstances (which did not apply in the case in question) in which a "point-and-a-half" decision might well be the least unsatisfactory solution.



News in brief:

UK Chess Challenge future in balance after HMRC bankrupts organiser Mike Basman, more follows

Aman Gogna and Jacob Yoon are representing England in the European Youth championships, u-12 and u-10 sections respectively, starting in Prague 18 August

Avi Gogna jt 1st (4/5) at Hampstead u-1900, 14-15 August

British championship, Bournemouth, August 2016:  Chris Duncan 9th= with 7/11 (+5 =4 -2)

British championships, Bournemouth, July 2016:  Jacob Yoon 6/7 (jt 1st) in u-10's; Kian Shah 5/6 (jt 2nd), Dhruv Radhakrishan 4.5, Parth Malhotra 4 in u-9's; Roshan Gurjar 5/6 (jt 3rd) in u-8's

Jerry Rudge scores 9.5-0.5 in a simultaneous display against selected club juniors on 2 August

Andrew Stone scores 6/9 (+3 =6 -0) in the Eastman Open, Ghent, Belgium, including a draw against a 2467-rated GM

Kian Shah and Jeff Tomy win UK Chess Challenge under-9 gigafinal on 15 July, both qualify for terafinal.  Maanav Nagda and Timo Birke (u-7s), Roshan Gurjar (u-8s), Karan Bhagat and Conrad Dickinson (u-10s) all qualify for Plate final.

For news of some earlier junior successes, read the Watford Observer articles  here and  here


Upcoming Congresses (mainly local) 

Jessie Gilbert International, Coulsdon, 16-28 August:  Multiple events, see website

Thanet (Kent), 19-21 August:  Five rounds.  Open, u-170, u-140 and u-110 sections.

UK Chess Challenge terafinal, 20-21 August:  Open to qualified juniors only

Docklands rapidplay, 20 August:  Six round rapidplay, two sections, u-171 and u-130

Berks & Bucks, 27-29 August:  Six rounds, graded sections, with top two sections FIDE-rated

Godalming (Surrey) junior rapidplay, 3 September:  Five round rapidplay, u-18, u-13. u-11, u-10 & u-9 sections


NB: The above list contains only selected events from the ECF Calendar which also contains more information on the events listed above


Barry David, seen here (left) with  the President of Armenia Deaf Sport, finished 6th in the World Deaf championships held in Yerevan, May 2016


Junior club membership

Pressure of numbers means the junior waiting list is currently closed.   Guest juniors may attend the club, without charge, during August but guest numbers will be restricted from September onwards.

As well as its Tuesday clubnights, the club offers two-hour (6-8) training sessions on Sunday evenings at The Happy Hour pub in Eastbury Road which are free and open to non-member juniors.   You can just turn up.   At least one adult member of Watford Chess Club is always present to supervise matters.






All juniors playing at Bournemouth received a commemorative certificate - Theo looks happy with his 

Ethan (far right, white/red top) gets ready in the BCC U-8s.  Photo by A Lutton & M Carr


Club committee and officers

Please note that the club's next Annual General Meeting will take place at the Town & Country Club, Halsey House, Rosslyn Road, Watford commencing 7.45 on Tuesday 6 September 2016 and all club members are invited to attend


(** = committee)




** President

Mike Boyce

** Club Secretary

Paul Littlefair


Jerry Rudge

** Membership Secretary


Juniors Secretary

Roger Lancaster 

Tournament Secretary

Mike Boyce

Match Captains

Andrew Stone (1st, Russell)

Mace Carnochan (2nd) 

Cecil Sloan (3rd, Sharp, H&D)

Sanjay Vig (4th, u-140 k-o)

Pete Edwards (5th, u-120)


Geir Erik Nielsen

Equipment Curator

Mace Carnochan

** Other Committee members

(up to 5 additional positions)

Roger Kearns,

Roger Lancaster

3 vacancies


Philip Abbott








Jeff Tomy with trophy after his gigafinal win, July 2016



Roshan (far left, yellow top) en route to joint 3rd in the BCC U-8s.  Photo by A Lutton & M Carr


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Aberystwyth 2014 - FIDE says, "Don't do it again!"


Those interested in the history of this dispute can find details at ... cle?id=118  



Interim Child Protection Policy

Club members are asked to note the addition, effective 2 November 2015, of an extra sentence reading "The Interim Child Protection Policy shall be interpreted as applying to vulnerable adults as well as to children." 



  Hertfordshire Chess League, 2015/6

  Watford's first team retained the Division 1 title with seven wins and one draw from its 10 matches. Watford 2 (Division 2), Watford 3 (Division 3), Watford 4 (Division 5) and Watford 5 (Division 7) all finished in mid-table.