Adult over-the-board activity suspended [but not juniors - see below for over-the-board junior activity] with online chess taking place - main club communities ["Watford Chess Club" and, for junior members and others known to us, "Watford Juniors"] are on Lichess but there are corresponding communities on Teams compete in 4NCL and other events


With suspension of over-the-board play, Watford is currently playing online only with its most active communities being on Lichess - see main heading.

Both groups took part in the 4 Nations Chess League Online [and, in normal circumstances, the over-the-board version] and current Watford Juniors activities are shown in the right-hand column.

The club normally meets throughout the year on Monday evenings (6.0 - 10.45, usually ample free parking on Mondays) at West Herts Sports Club, 8 Park Avenue, Watford WD18 7HP.    Juniors have priority during the first 90 minutes.  

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 and soft drinks.   The club plays in the 4 Nations Chess League and the Hertfordshire League with junior teams playing in the Junior 4 Nations Chess League.

Intending new members of all levels and abilities (with the obvious proviso that they know how to play chess) are welcome.  Club policy is that newcomers are allowed three visits as guests to sample the atmosphere and decide whether they wish to apply to join the club.   This website aims to give full information about the club but, if you find there is anything not covered here, please use the "Contact Us" facility and a committee member will get in touch.







Five Watford teams, including two junior teams, compete in the main 4NCL online.   Watford results/pairings as follows:

ROUND 1, DIVISION 1:  ChessPlus Alpha 3-1 Watford A   DIVISION 3:  Wessex Stars B 2.5-1.5 Watford B   DIVISION 5:  Watford Juniors A 0.5-3.5 Kent Kestrels D, Watford C 1-2 Battersea Pawnbreakers, Watford Juniors B 1-3 Uxbridge Knights.

ROUND 2, DIVISION 1: Watford A 2.5-1.5 Spirit of Atticus  DIVISION 3:  Watford B 3-0 Railsport, DIVISION 5: Grangemouth 1-3 Watford C, Bishop Auckland Knights 2-2 Watford Juniors A, Streatham C 2-2 Watford Juniors B

ROUND 3 [21 April], DIVISION 1: Watford A 3-1 Sussex SI, DIVISION 3: CSC C 4-0 Watford B, DIVISION 5: Watford C 1-3 Darnell & Handsworth, Watford Juniors A 4-0 BBC Foxes, Watford Juniors B 1-3 Bishop Auckland Knights

ROUND 4 [28 April], DIVISION 1:  Sussex Auguries v Watford A, DIVISION 3: Watford B v Shropshire B, DIVISION 5: Manchester Juniors  B v Watford Juniors A, East Kilbride v Watford C, Sheffield Deaf v Watford Juniors B.


Division 1 has four groups of eight teams each, with the top teams in each group clashing in the final rounds

1 Guildford Young Guns 3 3 0 0 6
2 Northumbria Vikings 3 3 0 0 6
3 Watford A 3 2 0 1 4
4 ChessPlus Alpha 3 1 2 0 7 4
5 Spirit of Atticus [L'pool] 3 1 0 2 6 2
6 Sussex Social Isolators 3 0 1 2 4 1
7 Sussex Auguries 3 0 1 2 1
8 Alba [Scotland] 3 0 0 3 3 0







Rounds 7-11 of this year's 4NCL will no longer take place on the original dates in April and May due to the present pandemic.   Tentative plan at present is reschedule these for later in the year with a knock-on effect on the 2020-21 4NCL which will accordingly not get under way until early 2021.    That could change - up-to-date information should be available on the 4NCL website although it is planned to summarise this here.

Main points to note are that 4NCL entails 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.  All games are ECF-graded and, subject to meeting the usual conditions, FIDE-rated.

Division 4 [34 teams] summary after round 6:  

  P   W D L   GP   MPts
1   Sussex Martlets 2 6   6 0 0   27   12
2   Fischer's Catch 6   5 0 1   21½   10
3   Wood Green Youth 6   5 0 1   20   10
4   Watford A 6   4 1 1   23½   9
21   Watford B 6   3 0 3   14½   6


Above -





The 2019-20 competition, which began on 30 September, has been suspended as a result of the present pandemic.  See 'Fixtures' page for a list of fixtures and 'Results' page for reported results.    No recent results reported here for Watford 1.

Watford 2 are well-placed in Division 2 and promotion back to Division 1 is not out of the question.


     P   W  D   MPs     For  Agst
1 Watford 2 8   6 1 1   13   26.5 13.5
2 B Stortford 1 8   5 2 1   12   24.5 15.5
3 H Hempstead 2 8   3 2 3   8   19.5 20.5
4 Borehamwood 1 8   3 0 5   6   17 23
5 Stevenage 1 8   2 3 3   7   21 19
6 Welwyn H'f'd 1 8   0 4 4   4   14.5 21.5
7 St Albans 2 8   2 2 4   6   17 23


In Division 3, Watford 3 is also doing well with four wins, three draws and one defeat, from its first eight completed matches.   Watford 4, in the next division, is in mid-table with three wins, two draws and four losses from its nine matches to date.    In the separate under-120 league, the Watford u-120 team has won five, drawn one and lost two of its first eight matches.



Article in Watford Observer, 19 February:

Club rapidplay, 30 December 2019, results at

3rd Watford Junior (u-12) Rapidplay, 29 July 2019, results at

Club rapidplay, 8 July 2019, results at

Price Cup (2018-9 club championship), October 2018 to June 2019, results at

2nd Watford Junior (u-12) Rapidplay, 27 May 2019, results at

Club rapidplay, 13 August 2018, results at

1st Watford Junior (u-12) Rapidplay, 30 July 2018, results at




NEWSFLASH:  British championships at Milton Keynes, 2-3 October:  Avy Dasgupta [3/5, u-12], Dhairya Kataria [4/7, u-10] and Advait Keerthi Kumar [4/7, u-8] 

NEWSFLASH:  UKCC u-8 terafinal 9-10 October won by Advait Keerthi Kumar [8.5/11], pictured below


The club's usual venue, West Herts Sports & Social Club, remains unavailable due to ongoing rebuilding work which is due to complete "towards the end of the year" so junior meetings currently take place at a temporary venue off St Albans Road in north Watford.  Adult members of the club [coaches excepted] attend by invitation only. 

Junior club nights are from 6 until 9 on Monday evenings. "Junior" normally means under 18, although some events are open to those under 21. 

We strongly recommend juniors to join the English Chess Federation because there are many events where ECF membership is mandatory.   Junior membership of the ECF is inexpensive and, in many cases, totally free - see for full details

In all events, our teams consist of bona fide members of Watford Chess Club.  Full junior membership (expiring 30 September 2022) costs £35 and is subject, in the case of new members, to their already being able to play chess at a reasonable level, taking age into account.   "Online only" membership is £17.50. 

New enquiries for membership, using the 'Contact us' facility on this website, are welcome but a waiting list applies for applications received after 15 October.  [Exceptions may be made for juniors with high ECF ratings relative to their ages].

The nature of Monday evening sessions [£5 charge to cover temporary venue costs] varies from week to week and sometimes feature matches, normally starting 6.30, against other clubs.   Other evenings typically start with a group coaching session (6.0 to 6.40) following which training games - sometimes ECF-rated, sometimes unrated - take place.   The length of playing sessions means that we can stage classical games (typically 45' + 15") as well as rapidplay.

The above pattern changes when Watford Juniors have matches against other clubs.  On 14 June, we resumed over-the-board chess with a match against Uxbridge Juniors. There's a pic below with a second at and the juniors have since had three more matches as well as taking part in the first Junior Nations Chess League  weekend final Division 1 table below - over 25-26 September. 


Ahead is the annual fixture against St Albans juniors (25 October) and the first match in the new Hillingdon Junior League (Friday, 10 November, at Uxbridge).

Further ahead, there's weekend 1 of the main 4 Nations Chess League on 20-21 November - in this competition, where we're currently assembling two or three teams,  Watford juniors expect to combine with the adult members of the club -  and 4NCL weekend 2 [15-16 January] followed by weekend 2 of the Junior 4NCL on 29-30 January - the list of known fixtures may be viewed by clicking on 'Fixtures' in the main menu.

We have also resumed the series of open-to-all under-12 rapidplays, held in 2018 and 2019 but a victim of the pandemic in 2020.   This July, the 4th Watford Junior [u-12] rapidplay was won by 8-year-old Advait Keerthi Kumar with 5.5/6.

Full results of this event appear at 

IMG-20211010-WA0004 (2).jpg


At individual level, in the UKCC terafinal challengers, Ananya [6/9], Akshata [5], Aashna [4] and Aarav [2/5] played in the u-8, Dhairya [4.5] and Prem [2.5] in the u-10 and Avy [6.5] in the u-12.   Advait had already qualified for the final u-8 stage which he won [8.5/11] on 9-10 October.  All those named had to reach these stages after fighting their way through earlier rounds.      


AWARD:   Watford Juniors are confirmed as 2021 recipients of a British Chess Educational Trust award, having been nominated by the Southern Counties Chess.   Each such award, derived through the generosity of the late Sir George Thomas, comprises an engraved board, a wooden set and a DGT3000 digital chess clock.







The 2020-21 events were cancelled due to Covid but the 2021-22 season began with the first weekend at Woodland Grange, Leamington Spa, over the weekend of 25-26 September.   The two later weekends are on 29-30 January [Holiday Inn, South Normanton] and 9-10 April [Mercury Daventry Court Hotel].

Each weekend consists of 5 rounds [3 on Saturday, 2 on Sunday] of chess, at either an 80' + 10" [Division 1] or 50' + 10" [Division 2] rate of play, between teams of four following a Swiss-paired system. For the first [September] weekend, Watford Juniors entered two teams with 11 juniors making the trip to Leamington Spa.  

Watford A finished 6th of 10 teams in the elite J4NCL Division 1 in September - see table - while the B team finished 12th in Division 2.  Round-by-round results are on the 4NCL website or at "Latest Results" here. 

1 Oxfordshire A 5 4 1 0 9 15
2 J Hawkins Jnrs B 5 3 1 1 7 11
3 J Hawkins Jnrs A 5 3 0 2 6 11
4 Warwickshire B 5 2 2 1 6 11
5 Warwickshire A 5 3 0 2 6 11
6 Watford A 5 2 1 2 5 9
7 Manchester A 5 2 0 3 4 10½
8 Warwickshire C 5 1 2 2 4 8
9 Welsh Dragons A  5 1 1 3 3
10 Barnet Knights A  5 0 0 5 0 5


For this event, 'juniors' means those born 2004 or later. As an approximate guide, the Watford teams typically consist of juniors rated 1100 or higher although there should be one or two reserve places for lower-rated juniors who it is believed will benefit from the experience.



IMG-20211010-WA0002 (2).jpg

WATFORD JUNIORS "A" [Above, L to R, Advait, Hamza, Avy, Sean] AT LEAMINGTON, SEPTEMBER 2021

WATFORD JUNIORS "B" [Above, L to R, Sloka, Ishaan, Dhairya, Sam] AT LEAMINGTON, SEPTEMBER 2021
In addition to those pictured above, Emilia, Akshata and Gautam also participated at Leamington.
Unlike the 4NCL next described, which is a single event spread over five weekends, each J4NCL weekend is a separate self-contained event.


In common with its junior equivalent, the 2020-21 main 4NCL was cancelled due to Covid but the 2021-22 season is expected to go ahead.    For this particular event, Watford Juniors would expect to combine with the adult section of the club with two or more teams competing in Division 3 South.

Dates for the five weekends, along with the Division 3 South venues, are as follows. 

Rounds 1-2: 20-21 November 2021 - Kents Hill Park, Milton Keynes

Rounds 3-4: 15-16 January 2022 - Holiday Inn Maidenhead

Rounds 5-6: 12-13 February 2022 -  Maidenhead again

Rounds 7-8: 26-27 March 2022 - Milton Keynes again

Rounds 9-11: 30 April-2 May 2022 - Milton Keynes again


Format for Division 3 South will be an 11-round team Swiss-paired event, one round taking place each day with Saturday's games normally starting at 2 and Sunday's games at 11.     Time control is first 40 moves in 1 hour 40 minutes (100 minutes) with a further 50 minutes for all remaining moves with the addition of 30-second increments per move starting from move 1.    To be clear, these time controls are 'per player' so it's theoretically possible for the first 40 moves alone to take almost 4 hours' play.   ECF 'gold' membership (or above] is required for English players.   Club members interested in playing should notify their interest before 25 October.




A new junior division has matches starting in November.   Format is teams of four playing 45' + 15" sessions, on home and away basis, starting 6.30.   In the first season, Watford Juniors will play 8 matches - 4 home, 4 away - on dates appearing on this site's "Fixtures" page.



Juniors are eligible to play for Watford teams in the Hertfordshire League which is likely to start in mid-November.  Likely format is teams of five playing 70' + 10" sessions or something similar, on home and away basis, starting 7.30.   Mainly adult opposition in this league.




Watford Chess Club

Annual General Meeting

held at

West Herts Sports Club, Park Avenue, Watford WD18 7HP

on Monday 16th September 2019 at 7:30pm 


1.  Receive apologies for absence

2.  Approve minutes of September 2018 AGM (copies are attached)

3.  Receive report from the President on the 2018-19 year, and to approve the Accounts for the financial year ending 31st July 2019

4.  Agree Club membership subscriptions for 2019-20. The Committee proposes:

Adults Full £60, Associate £40 and Social £20. 

Juniors and students Full £35 Social £20.

Full membership entitles a member to participate in all Club activity.

Associate membership: a member can take part in the Club’s inter-club competitive activities (but not the Price Cup) but not otherwise use the club’s facilities on club nights, except for designated special events.

Social membership entitles a member to full use of the Club’s facilities on club nights but not to participate in any of the club’s competitive activities (including the Price Cup), except for designated special events.

The subscriptions represent an increase on last year because the club will pay next year for all (adult and junior) 4NCL fees. There will be a £2 discount in all categories for everyone who pays by bank transfer, with the member’s name as a reference, before 1 October 2019.

5. Present trophies to winning individuals 

6.  Elect Officers, Secretaries and Committee for 2019-20:


(** = committee) 

2018-19 post holder

Elected/appointed 2019-20

** President/**Treasurer (joint)

Hanisha Gurjar, Jennifer Hurrell

Hanisha Gurjar, Jennifer Hurrell

** Club Secretary

Paul Littlefair

Paul Littlefair

** Membership Secretary


Sandesh Tathare

** Juniors Secretary

Roger Lancaster

Roger Lancaster

Tournament Secretary

Andrew Stone

Andrew Stone

Match Captains

Andrew Stone (Herts 1st, Russell)

Ernest Karumazondo (Herts 2nd) 

Cecil Sloan (Herts 3rd) 

Paul Littlefair (Sharp)

Geir Erik Nielsen/Pete Edwards (u140,u140ko)

Roger Lancaster (4NCL 1st)

Sanjay Vig (u120,u120ko, 4NCL 2nd)

Christian Bland (H&D)

Andrew Stone (Herts 1st, Russell)

Ernest Karumazondo (Herts 2nd) 

Cecil Sloan (Herts 3rd)  

Paul Littlefair (Sharp)

Sanjay Vig (4th , U140 ko, 4NCL 2nd)

Roger Lancaster (4NCL 1st)

Keith Hylands and Karthik Ramesh [joint] (u120,u120ko)

No H&D entry this year


Geir Erik Nielsen

Geir Erik Nielsen

Equipment Curator

Bradley Mead-Herbert

Bradley Mead-Herbert

** Other Committee members 

(up to 4 additional positions)

Simon Charles

Bradley Mead-Herbert 

Cecil Sloan

Sanjay Vig

Simon Charles

Cecil Sloan    

Sanjay Vig

Ernest Karumazondo


Philip Abbott

Philip Abbott

7.  Any Other Business  

Paul Littlefair



Ernest club champion

Jennifer Hurrell presents Ernest Karumazondo, joint winner with Andrew Stone, with the Price Cup


Watford players celebrate after beating St Albans in the season-opening Cheshire Cup match on 23 September. Above, from left, David Shaw, Chris Russell, Alistair Taylor, Omowale Nelson, Barry David, Neil Dunlop, Paul Littlefair (non-playing captain), Sandesh Tathare, Sanjay Vig.



If you are a member of Watford Chess Club (the "Club"), 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". 


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

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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.

As a teaser for it all, and as an incredibly instructive game, here is how Leela deals with the Benoni





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English Chess Federation 

Hertfordshire Chess Association 

Hertfordshire Chess League results 

Hertfordshire Schools Chess Association 

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Tournament chess results (main site for this)




"Unfortunately, it was impossible to schedule the 2021 AGM on a date when all committee members were available so this year I anticipate submitting apologies for absence.  However, the following report summarises what I might otherwise have wished to say.
"Covid-1meant that the first half of 2020-21 was restricted to online chess when, despite the interest generated by the appearance of 'The Queens Gambit' on Netflix, the active junior membership of the club remained obstinately in the 24-30 range, although the club treasurer assures me that there were around 10 further, inactive, members.    Some juniors didn't take to online chess, some were turned off by accusations [mostly false, in my opinion] of cheating by online chess platforms, and others - although initially keen on online chess - soon tired of the novelty.  
"So it was with some relief that, on 29 March, we were able to arrange some over-the-board chess in the shape of 'Chess in the Park'.  It took a little longer to play indoors, largely beca