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NEWSFLASH:   Two sad deaths in the past few weeks of long-standing stalwarts of British chess, Richard Haddrell (many roles in British chess, latterly grading administrator) and John Philpott.    John, for many years company secretary of the ECF, died unexpectedly at the early age of 62 without having made a Will.   This has  left his family in difficulty financing his funeral and, if you are able to make a contribution in John's memory, you are asked to do so at


Hertfordshire Chess League, 2016/7

 Watford 1 is defending the Division 1 title, which it has held for the past four years, while Watford 2 and Watford 3 are each contesting Division 2.   The club has withdrawn its fifth team in the main league but Watford 4 plays in Division 5.   There is also a team in the related under-120 league.  

The club has also reformulated its policy with regard to the separate Hertford & District League, restricted to players graded under 160.   In future, the club's junior (under-18) team will contest this event.    First results in both leagues can be found in the "Latest Results" section.






Results from the 1-2 October weekend of the 2016-7 Junior 4 Nations Chess League, where both Watford teams finished with 50% scores on 5/10:

Watford 1 lost 1.5-2.5 v Dragon Queens, drew 2-2 v Chess in Schools 1, won 2.5-1.5 v Barnet Knights 2, won 3-1 v Warwickshire A, lost 0-4 v Midland Monarchs 1 

Watford 2 lost 1.5-2.5 v Northampton, drew 2-2 v Barnet Knights 3, won 3-1 v Manchester B, won 3-1 v Barnet Knights 4, lost 1.5-2.5 v Welsh Dragons Blue

Many of our leading juniors were unable to make this weekend so our teams were somewhat weakened, being seeded 8th out of 11 teams in Division 1 and 12th out of 18 teams in Division 2, so 50% scores were a reasonable outcome. Full results for both teams are now included in 'Latest Results' - see panel on the right.   More background on J4NCL appears at

Later J4NCL weekends are 21-22 January and 22-23 April in Solihull when we hope to field three teams once again.


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



ECF Logo

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

Events kicked off at 3.30 with two 4-round (time meant lopping off one of the planned 5 rounds!) 15-minute tournaments, one for relative novices and one for more experienced players, both with free entry.

Main event of the day was a simultaneous display given by international grandmaster Keith Arkell starting at 7.0.   Keith initially took on 12 opponents and, as the first batch of games ended, the retiring opponents were 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, 25 August.   Watford juniors turned out in numbers to take on the grandmaster, along with some adult members of the club and rather more members of the general public who had been attracted by the publicity.   In all, 20 people played against Keith (a couple more than once!) but only former Zimbabwean international Ernest Karumazondo prevailed.

Kian, Christian, Ralitza, Karan and (background) Maanav hard at work against grandmaster Keith Arkell


News in brief:

Club champion Andrew Stone scored +20 =2 -0 in a simultaneous display on 20 September, drawing only with Jerry Rudge and Ernest Karumazondo

London Chess Classic - early reports are that all events here will be FIDE-rated, a departure from last year, meaning that gold ECF membership (or, instead, payment of a £10 surcharge) is required to take part

Roshan Gurjar 5/6 in Hampstead Garden LJCC u-10 qualifier, sister Siena wins girls u-8 qualifier 

Maanav Nagda wins UK Chess Challenge u-8 Silver Plate, 10 September, Siena Gurjar runner-up in u-8 girls

For another account of grandmaster Keith Arkell's ECF-sponsored visit to Watford, go to this Watford Observer article


Upcoming Congresses (mainly local):

Hampstead, 22-23 October:  See ECF calendar

Hertford, 12-13 November:  See ECF calendar

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

The junior waiting list is closed but will reopen later in the year.  Guest juniors are currently able to attend the club, without charge, between 6.30 and 7.30 but will normally be asked to leave after that hour has elapsed.

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.

Laws of chess

One gap in our juniors' knowledge which emerged during the recent J4NCL - and maybe some adults are also unaware! 

During a standard game, a player is permitted to stop keeping score if it's a single playing session (for example, 80 minutes to complete all one's moves) and one's remaining time dips below five minutes.   If one is furthermore playing with increments (for example, 75 minutes plus 5 second increments to complete all one's moves) then there is no requirement to resume keeping score if the remaining time later increases, due to increments, to more than five minutes

However, this in no way relieves the opponent - if he or she has more than five minutes on his or her clock - of the obligation to continue to keep score.

The one downside, from the first player's viewpoint, relates to making any claim which relies on the movecount (such as draws due to threefold repetition or operation of the 50-move rule) since the absence of a score means there may be no evidence to support the claim.

Coaching for juniors

We're still 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 


L to R, Maanav, Theo and Layla in play against Keith Arkell 

Kian Shah, 9, ran grandmaster Keith Arkell close but former Zimbabwe international Ernest Karumazondo (background) was the only one to beat him


Club committee and officers

The club's Annual General Meeting took place at the Town & Country Club, Halsey House, Rosslyn Road, Watford commencing 7.45 on Tuesday 6 September 2016 and the following appointments were made:


(** = 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)

Paul Littlefair (Sharp)

Sanjay Vig (4th, u-140 k-o)

Pete Edwards (u-120 & u-120 k-o)

Christian Bland (Hertford & District)


Geir Erik Nielsen

Equipment Curator

Mace Carnochan

** Other Committee members

(up to 5 additional positions)

Roger Lancaster

Cecil Sloan

3 vacancies


Philip Abbott


 Main points from AGM - annual subscriptions unchanged except for £5 junior increase to cover extra J4NCL costs, Cecil Sloan elected to executive committee, Watford fifth team withdraws from Herts League (although u-120 team remains) due to insufficiency of available players, and Watford junior team poised to compete in Hertford & District League




 Youngest (Harish) and oldest (Simon) players at Keith Arkell simul

 Jeff Tomy with trophy after his gigafinal win, July 2016

ECF Logo

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


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

The new draft FIDE Laws of Chess, 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 putting two and two together.  


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."