London Chess Classic, starring world champion Magnus Carlsen, is at Olympia 29 November to  8 December 

CHRISTMAS/NEW YEAR -  The club will be open on 23 and 30 December unless it becomes clear that there is little demand on those evenings.   An open-to-all rapidplay is proposed for 30 December.

Wanted - Strongish club member prepared to undertake simltaneous versus club juniors on 23 December 


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

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.


Ernest club champion

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







Slightly disappointing result from the first weekend which took place at the Holiday Inn, Maidenhead/Windsor, on 9-10 November (the hotel is actually on the outskirts of Maidenhead) when the club's first team commenced to renew its attempt to gain promotion to Division 3.   

Watford A made hard work of beating one of the weaker teams 6-0 in the first round but then, in a match it should almost certainly have won, was held to a 2.5-2.5 draw in round 2.   Meanwhile Watford B faced two significantly stronger teams and lost 5-1 and 6-0, although some of our players will feel disappointed not to have done better.

The club is still seeking two or three players - preferably reasonably strong players - to reinforce its squad for later weekends.    Dates/venues for the 4 later weekends are shown on our 'Fixtures' page, with the earliest on 10-11 January and again in Maidenhead. Interested new players are invited to contact the club committee (as an option to personal contact, anyone can use the 'Contact us' tab at the top of the page) to express their interest.

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.  

Starting times are 2.0 on the Saturday of each weekend followed by (except in the May three-day weekend) 11.0 for Sunday's games.    All games are ECF-graded and, subject to meeting the usual conditions, FIDE-rated.

More information about 4NCL appears on its website.  

Division 4, standings after round 2:
  P   W D L   GP   Pts
1 Sussex Martlets 2 2   2 0 0   10   4
2 Warwickshire Select 2 2   2 0 0   10   4
3 CSC 2 2   2 0 0     4
4 Fischer's Catch 2   2 0 0   9   4
5 The Full Ponty 2   2 0 0   9   4
6 Wood Green Youth 2   2 0 0   7   4
7 Watford A 2   1 1 0     3
8 All Anands on Deck 2   1 1 0   7   3
9 Cambridge University 3 2   1 0 1     2
10 Ashfield 2 2   1 0 1     2
11 Crowthorne 2 2   1 0 1     2
12 Oxford 4 2   1 0 1   7   2
13 West is Best 3 2   1 0 1   7   2
14 Sussex Martlets 3 2   1 0 1     2
15 Throw in the Tal 2   1 0 1     2
16 Celtic Tigers 2 2   1 0 1     2
17 MK Phoenix 2 2   1 0 1   6   2
18 War and Piece 2   1 0 1   6   2
19 Iceni 3 2   1 0 1   6   2
20 CSC 3 2   1 0 1   6   2
21 Poisoned Pawns - Next Generation 2   1 0 1     2
22 Wessex C 2   1 0 1     2
23 Iceni 2 2   1 0 1   5   2
24 Banbury Bulldogs 2   1 0 1   5   2
25 The Pitstop 2   1 0 1     2
26 Wessex D 2   1 0 1     2
27 Barnet Knights 2 2   0 0 2     0
28 Oxford 5 2   0 0 2     0
29 Surbiton 2 2   0 0 2   2   0
30 Barnet Knights 3 2   0 0 2   2   0
31 Warwickshire Select 3 2   0 0 2     0
32 Barnet Knights 4 2   0 0 2     0
33 Watford B 2   0 0 2   1   0
34 Celtic Tigers 3 0   0 0 0   0   0



The 2019-20 competition began on 30 September.   After the initial few matches, our u-120 team has a perfect record with two wins from two played.   In the main league, star performers are currently Watford 2 with two wins and one draw from its three matches.

See 'Fixtures' page for a list of fixtures over the first half of the season.

Please note recent HCL rule changes which include

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.




Letchworth rapidplay, 17 November:  Cecil Sloan 4/6 [2nd=] in  u-145.

Basildon LJCC u-8 qlfr, 17 November:  Aarav Arora 4/6.

North London LJCC u-12 qualifier, 3 November:  Avy Dasgupta 4.5/6 [2nd].

Letchworth rapidplay, 27 October:  Cecil Sloan 5/6 [1st], Dhruv Radhakrishnan 4.5 [2nd] in u-145.

Watford match results are now reported on this site by team captains - a change from the past 5 years.

Golders Green open rapidplay, 12 October:  Ernest Karumazondo 4/6 [4th=]

Letchworth rapidplay, 29 September: Dhruv Radhakrishnan 4.5/6 [1st=], Cecil Sloan 4/6 [3rd=] in u-145; Avy Dasgupta 5/6 [2nd] in u-120; Keith Hylands 5.5/6 [1st] in u-105.

Hertfordshire Closed championship (aka Capel), 21-22 September, won by Andrew Stone with +3 =1 -0

Hampstead u-1700, 21-22 September:  Avy Dasgupta 4/5 [2nd=]

Uxbridge junior open, 21 September:  Denisz Demjan 5/5 [1st] 

Barnet LJCC u-10 qualifier, 15 September:  Avy Dasgupta 6/6 [1st], Denisz Demjan 5/6 [2nd=] in u-10


Barry David (first left) and Neil Dunlop (third left) playing for the London team in the 24th European Deaf team championship, 16-20 July

Neil Dunlop (see pic above) scores 5/7 at the European Deaf team championships, 16-20 July



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








The first 2019-20 J4NCL weekend took place 5-6 October at Basingstoke Country Hotel, Hampshire, with two Watford teams in Division 2.   Of or 12 squad members, only four had played in previous J4NCL weekends so the squad was short on experience.

In the event, Watford 'A' finished in mid-table with 5/10 while Watford 'B' narrowly avoided bottom place with 2/10, with a lot of experience being gained over the weekend.   Standout performers were the teams' respective top boards, Jeff and Sean, who both went through undefeated to score 4 points from their 5 games.    For full results, click on the 'Results' tab at the top of this page.



Later J4NCL weekends are on 18-19 January (South Normanton, Derbyshire) and 15-16 February (Mercure Daventry Court Hotel) 2020 when the number of Watford teams will reflect demand.     Interested new players are still in time - use the "Contact us" facility on this website - to join for all or part of the second and third weekends.  To be eligible, juniors must be under 18 on the date of the game in question. 

More background on J4NCL appears on the 4NCL website



Watford juniors will play an annual match against St Albans juniors to coincide with the longstanding Cheshire Trophy match between the two clubs - but at the opposite venue.   The first, in 2019, was a close affair contested over 2 rounds of rapidplay with St Albans emerging 12.5-11.5 winners.

Watford juniors also play twice a year against Uxbridge juniors in a double-round rapidplay where virtually the entire junior membership is invited to take part.    There were two well-contested matches in January and June 2019, with Watford running out winners on both occasions.   Next Uxbridge match is on Monday 9 December.










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 - prizewinners are pictured elsewhere on this page

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



 Cecil Sloan is the proud winner of the Dobson Shield

David Healey wins the Silver Knight 




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

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English Chess Federation 

Hertfordshire Chess Association 

Hertfordshire Chess League results 

Hertfordshire Schools Chess Association 

4 Nations Chess League (incl. J4NCL) 

Tournament chess results (main site for this)






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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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.