World championship match is in London, 9-28 November - see FIDE website for more information
London Chess Classic is 9-16 December - see   
Herts individual championships details at    Three events, each 5 rounds - Capel (open to all), Burn (u-170) and Bunce (u-135) played 22-23 September at Hertford.
BREAKING NEWS - First Herts League matches of new season - Mon 1 Oct W4 v Hemel Hempstead 3, Mon 8 Oct W3 v Bishops Stortford 2, Tues 9 Oct Enfield 1 v W4, Thurs 11 Oct Bishops Stortford v W2.   Sharp k-o, Mon 1 Oct W v Little Heath.    U-120 league, Mon 8 Oct W v Welwyn-Hatfield.   [Fixtures page being slowly updated].



The club meets on Monday evenings (6.15 - 10.45) at West Herts Sports Club, 8 Park Avenue, Watford WD18 7HP.   It is open on public holidays except 24 and 31 December but this year will also be closed on 5 November.

Chess is played in the Function Room although members and visitors have access to the separate and comfortable lounge bar area - as well as alcoholic beverages, the bar serves tea, coffee, soft drinks and a limited range of snacks.   Juniors have priority during the first 75 minutes.   

There is usually ample free parking on Mondays, but less so when cricket matches are being played.   

Intending new members of all levels and abilities are welcome.  Club policy is that newcomers are allowed three visits as guests to sample the atmosphere and decide whether they wish to join the club - or, in the case of juniors, the junior waiting list.  (Juniors on the club waiting list are able to continue as guests).

Sunday evening sessions for juniors at Croxley have ended.



Happy walkers on completing the 9km walk

Darrell, Geir, Phil and Cecil after the walk

Club members and others raised £575 (plus Gift Aid contributions) to support Alzheimer's Society on Saturday 15 September when taking a 9 km walk through Cassiobury Park and Whippendell Woods.   The latter is an ancient woodland and a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) due to its diverse range of fungi and invertebrates, while mammals to be found there include bats, badgers and deer.

"Relive" the walk by going to

You can still contribute to the fundraising by going to  

Memory Walk Logo


 Watford, which headed the Hertfordshire League for the previous five years, ran four teams in the main section of the 2017-18 league (in Divisions 1, 2, 3 and 4 respectively) and a fifth team in the under-120 league.    

By way of change, Watford's first team (14 pts) could only finish third behind Little Heath (17) and Hemel Hempstead (15).

None of the other Watford teams were promoted or relegated, each finishing in mid-table.   There's a separate under-120 league which the Watford team has won comfortably.  

As last year, the Watford team in the separate Hertford & District League (under-160 players only) was an all-junior side - except for one match where adults had to help out.   Our team won three and drew one of its 8 matches.

New players interested in representing the club in 2018-19 should get in touch!

The following rule changes apply for 2018-19:

3.6.4 Each pair of players decide on a rate of play (3.7). A proxy (e.g. team captain) may act on behalf of a player who is not present.
3.7.4 The home player (or a proxy acting on their behalf) must first decide, before starting the clock, whether they wish to invoke the 35 moves in 75 mins, plus 7 moves each 15 minutes rate of play. If they decline, the away player (or a proxy) then can decide. Note that the player choosing to play this rate of play travels in the event of the match continuing after adjournment.
3.8.1 For games played using the Fischer Timing rate of play (all moves in 70 mins plus 10 secs) clocks are stopped immediately by the player having the move when “time” is called and the game shall be sent for adjudication (3.12).
4.1.1 In grade-limited competitions, U120 League, knockout, etc, the ECF Grading List autumn revision will determine the grade for the whole season ahead, i.e. the January Grading List will be ignored.
4.1.2 In grade-limited competitions the team playing White on odd boards will be determined by the toss of a coin.

Note:  Para 4.1.1 refers to what is colloquially described as "the August grading list", being the revised and definitive version of that normally published at the end of July ("the July grading list") 




Tired of playing the boring old computers that always beat you or play so weirdly you can't understand what is going on, asks webmaster Geir Erik Nielsen? Read our article on Artificial Intelligence and how you can install it at home

Also embedded in the updated article is now a video of how to get the best of Arena and Leela at home







There has been a change of plans over 2018-19 venues with the first weekend (29-30 September) taking place in Daventry, the second (19-20 January) weekend in Solihull with the third (2-3 March) back in Daventry.   Due to an unexpected sequence of events, we're short of players for Saturday 29 September which may restrict us to one team for that weekend.  Anyone newly interested in playing on the Saturday (3 games) is asked to contact the Juniors Secretary asap.

Coaching at J4NCL - picture courtesy of Andrew Martin

To maintain its elite status, Division 1 is restricted to teams with average strength ELO1400 (or ECF standardplay equivalent) while Division 2 is open to teams with average strength ECF85 (whether standardplay or rapidplay).  

To meet FIDE requirements, Division 1 games will be played with a longer time-control, i.e. all moves in 80 minutes but with 10 second increments from move 1.   Saturday's games will commence 10.0, 13.30 and 17.0 with Sunday's games at 10.0 and 13.30.  Coaching sessions have been retained, aligned with the Division 2 timetable, but Division 1 players will be unable to attend these unless their games finish early.  These rules appear on the 4NCL website.

More background on J4NCL appears at



The junior waiting list is currently closed until late September when, to join the waiting list, you should use the "Contact us" facility to notify a child's name, gender, and year and month of birth.

The club's junior team trials have now ended except for a final session on 24 September - standard games, 60 minutes each, starting 6.30 at West Herts.   Anyone newly interested should contact us using the 'Contact us' facility.

Sunday evening training sessions at the Coach & Horses have now ended with the last session having taken place 1 July.




The club's annual 10-minute blitz tournament takes place 7.45 onwards on Monday 17 September

Jeff Tomy 4.5/6 (jt 4th) in UK Chess Challenge u-12 terafinal 15-16 September

Mace Carnochan conceded just one draw in 14 games while undertaking his simultaneous display on 3 September

Anton Pavlov 4/6 in CCS LJCC u-10 qualifier, 1 September

Andrew Stone scored 4/6 (jt 3rd) at the Mindsports Olympiad Chess 960 (aka Fischer Random) tournament, 26 August, en route defeating top-ranked English player Matthew Sadler.   Earlier in the week, Andrew scored 5/6 (jt 2nd) in the Mindsports Rapidplay.

Club rapidplay on 13 August resulted in a 4-way tie between Simon Charles, Ernest Karumazondo, Nick Papathanasopoulos and Cecil Sloan, all on 4/5.  Cross-table at

Watford Junior (u-12) Rapidplay, 30 July, results on this site and at

Cecil Sloan 4/6 in Golders Green u-145 rapidplay, 16 July

Neil Dunlop England board 2 in Deaf Olympiad, July 2018



Until this is updated, please refer to the ECF Calendar 






After an inaugural season, when Watford finished in mid-table, to familiarise ourselves with 4NCL, the club has decided to enter a second team (and possibly a third) in Division 4 for 2018-19 and for our first team to push for promotion.  

We currently have a squad of 28 interested members - if you are among that number, you will have received an email about the event on 1 September - but would like up to half-a-dozen more to ensure a third team.   With that in mind, the club is looking for more 4NCL players both from existing members of the club - adults or juniors - and from any new members who may be interested.   (You can use the 'Contact us' facility on this webpage to get in touch).

Next season will see four 4NCL weekends taking place at Daventry, Northants, and one at Bedford.  All are within comfortable driving distance of the Watford area. 

Main points to note are that it's one round each day, with the rate of play 40 moves in 100 minutes (plus 30 second increments from move 1) followed by the rest of the game in 50 minutes (again with 30 second increments). That means a 60-move game could conceivably take as long as 6 hours, far longer than local league chess.  

Starting times are 2.0 on the first day of a weekend, 1.0 on the middle day of a three-game weekend, and 11.0 on the final day with reserve games starting one hour later on each day.   All games are ECF-graded and FIDE-rated.

Go to for more information, game scores appear at


Jeff Tomy (left) collects his share of first prize at St Albans, April 2018, from chief organiser Ray Claret.


If you are a member of Watford Chess Club (the "Club") or a junior on the Club's waiting list, your personal data will be processed by the Club for the purposes of Club and membership administration and to facilitate your participation in club competitions and similar events.  For fuller information, click "Privacy Policy" link under "Policies and Procedures".



Watford coach Simon Charles plays a mini-simul against three juniors at the Coach & Horses - but Sunday evening sessions have now been suspended until further notice


Results as follows:   1 Ivan Chetverikov (£100 + £25 u-10 prize) 5.5/6; 2 Emily Maton (£70) 5; 3= Kyrylo Tokar, Max Yau (£20 each) 4.5; 5= Lettie Ganyushin, Tuhin Mitra, Ethan Yau 4; 8= Avyukt Dasgupta, Theo Hurrell, Dev Kotecha, Olivia Lisowski 3.5; 12= Harshini Mahesh, Elias Ruzhansky, Derek Yuan (these three shared £25 u-8 prize), Seb George 3;  16= Aarav Chavan, Parth Malhotra 2.5; 18= Daniel Ayoola, Timo Birke, Ishaan Chadha, Zara Dhorne, Oscar Kong, Rory Lynn 2; 24 Rohan Tathare 1.5; 25= Dhruv Kotecha, Thenral Manimaran 1.   Click item in 'Policies and Procedures' menu or go to  for cross-table.

The 2nd Watford Junior (u-12) Rapidplay is scheduled for Monday 29 July 2019 although it is entirely possible that an extra event will be held meantime, in which case the event on 29 July will become the third in the series.



Incumbent FIDE president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov has finally dropped out of this October's contest to elect a new president.    KI remains on the United States proscribed list for - and we will be cautious here - real or imagined misdeeds and the US has implemented sanctions against KI and organisations with which he is involved including FIDE, whose main bank accounts have been frozen.  

The three-way race to succeed him includes Georgios Makropoulos whose record as deputy president appears to show him, until recently, as supportive of his predecessor and many of his more controversial decisions.    Also standing is English grandmaster Nigel Short - on a platform of, among much else, cleaning up FIDE - and former Russian deputy premier Arkady Dvorkovich also advocating change.   Short and Dvorkovich now seem to have found common cause in an anti-Makropoulos alliance.    Eng,lish loyalties are divided with ECF director Malcolm Pein part of the Makropoulos team.



Extract from the rules for the imminent Batumi Olympiad.   It is not intended (well, LOL, not yet!) to replicate these locally.

2. DURING THE ROUND: there will be fast random checks for approximately 20 to 30 players. The checks will be done by the Anti cheating Arbiters with the use of the non linear scanners and detectors and will take 5 to 10 seconds for every check. These checks will not take place during the times of pressure (during the first time control and close to the end of the game). In the case where there is any indication, a thorough check will follow, according to the art. 11.3.3. of the Laws of Chess (in a private room, in the presence of Sector Arbiter and/or Deputy Chief Arbiter and so on). If a player refuses to cooperate with these obligations, the arbiter shall take measures in accordance with Article 12.9 and will forfeit the player.




The 2018 Annual General Meeting was held at West Herts at 7.45 on Monday 10 September. The agenda below omits various attachments sent by the club secretary.   There proved to be no contentious issues; club membership subscriptions kept at 2017-18 rates; new constitution adopted;  officers, secretaries and committee all elected as per agenda.


1.  Receive apologies for absence

2.  Approve minutes of September and October 2017 AGM (copies are attached)

3.  Receive report from the President on the 2017-18 year, and to approve the Accounts for the financial year ending 31st July 2018

4.  Agree Club membership subscriptions for 2018-19

5.  Decide whether to adopt proposed new Constitution (attached)

6. Present trophies to winning individuals

7.  Elect Officers, Secretaries and Committee for 2018-19:



(** = committee)


Nominations received for 2018-19


** President/**Treasurer (joint)

Hanisha Gurjar, Jennifer Hurrell

Hanisha Gurjar, Jennifer Hurrell

** Club Secretary

Paul Littlefair

Paul Littlefair

** Membership Secretary



Juniors Secretary (newly **)

Roger Lancaster

Roger Lancaster

Tournament Secretary


Andrew Stone 

Match Captains

Andrew Stone (1st, Russell)

Mace Carnochan (2nd)

Cecil Sloan (3rd)

Paul Littlefair (Sharp)

Sanjay Vig (4th ,u140ko)

Geir Erik Nielsen/Pete Edwards (u120,u120ko)

Christian Bland (H&D)

Andrew Stone (1st, Russell)

Ernest Karumazondo (2nd)

Cecil Sloan (3rd)

Paul Littlefair (Sharp)

Geir Erik Nielsen/Pete Edwards (4th )

Sanjay Vig (u120,u120ko)

Christian Bland (H&D)


Geir Erik Nielsen

Geir Erik Nielsen

Equipment Curator


Bradley Mead-Herbert

** Other Committee members

(up to 4, previously 5, additional positions)

Simon Charles

Roger Lancaster

Cecil Sloan

Sanjay Vig

Simon Charles

Bradley Mead-Herbert

Cecil Sloan    

Sanjay Vig


Philip Abbott

Philip Abbott

 8.  Any Other Business  

Paul Littlefair





Those interested in the history of this dispute can find details at ... cle?id=118  The FIDE Laws of Chess now include a new law 10.2 reading "The total score of any game can never exceed the maximum score normally given for the game ..." which covers this point.     






Everyone is welcome (to access, click on pictorial below) at Geir Erik Nielsen's YouTube channel at

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Watford Chess Club email address

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (allow up to 2 days for reply)

English Chess Federation (up to date)

Hertfordshire Chess Association (appears to be somewhat out of date)

Hertfordshire Chess League results (active after 1 October

Hertfordshire Schools Chess Association (up to date)

4 Nations Chess League (incl. J4NCL) (up to date)

Tournament chess results (main site for this)