Details of adult chess are in the left hand column, junior chess in the right hand column below.   Watford teams compete in the national league, local leagues and other over-the-board events, as well as online.


Notice is hereby given that the club's Annual General Meeting will take place at 7.30pm on 22 July 2024.   The report on the club's 2023-24 activities, to be presented at the AGM, appears below.   Other documents follow.

Watford Chess Club's venue is Herts Bowling Club, Bellmount Wood Avenue, Watford, WD17 3BT. Club nights are on Mondays for both adults (7.30 onwards) and juniors (6.0 onwards)


Club nights are from 6.0 until 10.45 (but no obligation to stay late!) on Monday evenings at Herts Bowling Club in West Watford, a comfortable and spacious venue.   As well as the playing area, there's normally an overflow lounge area where parents can sit and relax while their progeny checkmate one another.   The bar isn't usually staffed but there are three admirable vending machines (cash only) respectively dispensing coffee, cold drinks and nibbles.


Intending new members of all levels and abilities (with the obvious proviso that they know how to play chess) are welcome - but, if it's your first visit, we recommend contacting us first to let us know you're coming.  That way, we know to expect you.  Club policy is that newcomers are allowed two 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. 



Adults and juniors play competitively.  League match programme for 2023-24 has been as follows:

4 Nations Chess League (4NCL) - two teams

Hertfordshire League - two teams 

Hillingdon League - two teams (juniors only)

World Chess - one team (

Online 4NCL - one team (Lichess)

Online Junior 4NCL - three teams (Lichess)


Latest OTB results:

Hertfordshire League:   Little Heath 2 3-2 Watford 1 (8 May), Watford 2 1.5-3.5 St Albans 5 (13 May), Watford 2 3.5-1.5 Hertford 3 (20 May), Watford 1 4.5-0.5 Stevenage (3 June)

National League:   Watford A 3-3 Oxford 3 (4 May), War & Piece A 4-2 Watford A (5 May), Ashfield 2 2.5-3.5 Watford A (6 May)

See "Results" (when fully updated) for details of these, and previous, matches.







In the 2023-24 season, Watford A finished 10th out of 27 teams (+5 =1 -5) in Division 4.   This was a disappointing result compared to previous years, largely attributable to the loss of several of the club's middle-ranking players although the playing locations (Warwick and, worse still, Telford) did not help.  Consequently we had difficulty raising a B team which took part in only one of the five weekends.  

Time control in this event is first 40 moves in 100 minutes with another 50 minutes for all remaining moves plus 30-second increments per move starting at move 1. 

Above - the 4NCL scene before the action starts



See above.  Contact Paul Litttlefair if interested.




See above.   Use "Contact us" tab if interested.


1.   There was a quorum at the meeting which appointed Roger Lancaster as chair and Ushma Chadha as minute-taker.
2.   It was proposed that the club open an account with Metro Bank (subject to Metro Bank being agreeable) as soon as this could conveniently be arranged.   This was passed nem con.
3.   Ushma Chadha (club secretary), Sagar Patel (club treasurer) and Roger Lancaster (juniors secretary) had been nominated by the committee as signatories for said account with Metro Bank and their appointment was confirmed nem con.
4.  The meeting's intention was that any one of these signatories would be valid for payments not exceeding £300 but, for larger payments, a second signatory would be needed.   If this was not possible, the club committee was instructed to negotiate with Metro Bank for whatever most closely resembled this arrangement.
1.   There was a quorum at the meeting which appointed Roger Lancaster as chair and Ushma Chadha as minute-taker.
2.   Sagar Patel had been nominated by the committee as club treasurer and his election was confirmed nem con by the meeting
3.   Sagar Patel, Paul Littlefair and Jennifer Hurrell had been nominated by the committee as signatories for any future account with Barclays Bank and their appointment was confirmed nem con by the meeting
4.   EGM called for 8 January to deal with any further matters arising


Minutes of the Annual General Meetings held on 5 September 2022 and 11 September 2023 and the Extraordinary General Meetings held on 19 September 2022, 13 February and 28 August 2023 have been moved to the 'Club Constitution' page of this website.
The past year, starting 1 October 2023, was one of the most unsettling in the club's recent history.   It began with an abrupt reduction in the number of adult members, a group of whom had decided to play elsewhere, which created some uncertainty over the club's ability to meet its league commitments.   Fortunately, others have more than adequately filled the gaps and Watford's first team was noticeably stronger in 2023-24 than it had been in 2022-23.   Then came the totally unexpected news that Barclays Bank were closing the club's bank account - this was not unique to Watford Chess Club but an experience shared by a number of non-profit organisations.   It took some three months to set up a new account elsewhere and, naturally, the fact that the club had no bank account during this period created further difficulties.   Fortunately, the club has now moved on and the committee can report as follows.
At date of writing, and subject to recount, the club has 11 adult and 45 junior members although this disregards several persons who have not paid 2023-24 subscriptions but may yet do so.   There's an obvious imbalance but this report is probably not the place to discuss it.
4 Nations Chess League
In 2022-23 Watford "A" had finished 10th of 12 teams in Division 3 and thus avoided automatic relegation.   However, the subsequent loss of several adults meant that the club could not assemble, in sufficient time, a 2023-24 team capable of performing well in a Division 3.   It was also foreseen that 4NCL weekends taking place in Warwick and Telford rather than Daventry and Milton Keynes would act as a deterrent to some players.   Watford "A" therefore opted for voluntary demotion to Division 4 where it won five and drew one of its 11 matches, finishing in mid-table.   In retrospect, it was a mistake to re-enter Watford "B" as it was possible to assemble a second team for only one of the five weekends.
Hertfordshire League
Watford's decline in the Hertfordshire League - not so long ago, it regularly had two teams in the top division - has been remarkable.   Its second team now languishes in one of the lowest divisions and the past two years have seen Watford 1 suffer successive relegations to Division 3.    In 2023-24, as a result of the departures mentioned earlier, the Watford 1 team was reconstituted and easily stemmed (+6 =2 -4) the relegation process.   In fact, at full strength, Watford 1 was almost certainly the strongest team in its division and it's a matter of conjecture why it managed to lose four matches and so didn't finish higher than third.   * 
The club had some difficulty assembling a Watford 2 team for away matches in Division 4, two of which it defaulted.   Its record (+4 =1 -9) left it tied on match-points with three other teams but the defaulted matches meant that it lost out in the game-point tie-break and was relegated.   If the team had played and drawn just one of those two defaulted matches, it would have survived in Division 4.
Hillingdon League
Watford Juniors "A" and "B" competed in all-junior Division X against their counterparts from Harrow and Uxbridge.   The "A" team finished runners-up (+7 =0 -3) while the "B" team finished fifth (+3 =0 -7) of the six teams.    Again here, it was often difficult to raise "B" teams for away fixtures.    Our youngest players were just 6 years old.
Junior Friendly Matches
Playing in matches against Harrow, Uxbridge and St Albans - sometimes over as many as 20+ boards - Watford Juniors generally more than held their own over the top dozen boards but tended to be appreciably weaker than their opponents below the top 12.   Consequently we lost most of these matches, most by quite narrow margins.
Watford Juniors were due to play an over-the-board friendly against the UK Parliamentary Chess Club, having played them earlier in an online match, in June but this had to be postponed due to the small matter of a General Election.    It is hoped to revive this after the election is over and it becomes clear which of the UKPCC team are still present in Parliament.
One Watford team competed in the Online 4NCL, variously two or three Watford Juniors teams played in the Online Junior 4NCL, and one Watford Juniors team took part in the World Chess - an international event featuring a total mix of teams with the most successful including grandmasters and international masters.
The club played at Herts Bowling Club on Monday evenings throughout the year.   Facilities there were regarded as very good and often commented on favourably by visiting clubs.  Having said that, it was under-used by the adult membership, many of whom appeared only for inter-club matches.   Juniors, on the other hand, were much in evidence.   In the past few months, we have begun to experiment with a satellite venue in North Watford and it is hoped to expand this.
In 2023-24, the club did not have an abundance of committee members or team captains.   Any shortage in team captains, in particular, impacts on the number of competitions in which the club can take part.  It also diverts committee members from considering longer-term matters.  This issue will doubtless be discussed on 22 July.
At time of writing, 4NCL venues for 2024-25 are still unknown.   Also, the Hertfordshire Chess Association - responsible for running the Hertfordshire League - has its Annual General Meeting on 19 July while the Hillingdon League has its Annual General Meeting on 17 July.    Assuming Watford Chess Club is represented at these meetings, it should be possible to report back to the 22 July AGM any relevant developments at those meetings.   However, this report is a historical record which is unlikely to be affected by those meetings.
Within the past few days, the club has made an application to the English Chess Federation to be recognised as a "Centre of Excellence" under the ECF's junior development pathway.   If successful, Watford would appear to be on course to be the first club to attain this status.






Avy Dasgupta scores 5.5/8 (+4 =3 -1) in the South Wales International (performance rating 2241). 


Congratulations to Ramsey Dairi on being selected for the England 'A' team to take part in the Stokes Cup on 23-25 July.


Additional junior training sessions this month on Wednesday evenings, 10 and 24 July, in north Watford


Latest Hillingdon League Results:  (2 May) Harrow Juniors B 0-5 Watford Juniors B, (9 May) Harrow Juniors A 3-2 Watford Juniors A, (24 May), Uxbridge Juniors A 3-2 Watford Juniors A, (7 June) Uxbridge Juniors B 4-1 Watford Juniors B, (21 June) Uxbridge Juniors A 3-2 Watford Juniors B,


Most Monday evening sessions start with group coaching (6.0 to 6.40) following which training games take place.  The length of playing sessions means that we can stage classical games (typically 45' + 15") as well as rapidplay.  Some evenings instead have matches against other clubs.  We aim to ensure that all rated training games at the club, whether rapidplay or classical, count towards juniors' ratings by the ECF within 7 days of being played. 


14 August (see above) saw a departure from normal club nights with WIM Natasha Regan and NI Matt Ball giving a presentation of "Zwischenzug - a comprehensive guide to intermediate moves" based on their Chessable course. Go to for an 18-minute preview video. The session was targeted at players in the 1200-1600 bracket as those below/above that range might find it too advanced/basic

Watford Juniors play over-the-board matches in the Hillingdon League and, together with adult members of the club, the main 4 Nations Chess League (4NCL) and the Hertfordshire League *as well as online.  See details of these competitions below and past results by clicking 'Latest Results [OTB]' tab.


We strongly recommend juniors (under-18) join the English Chess Federation because ECF membership is mandatory for all competitive events..  Junior membership of the ECF is inexpensive - see for details - and sometimes free. 
Full junior membership (expiring 30 September 2024) of Watford Chess Club cost £75 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 will be £15.   Please use the "Contact Us" facility if wishing to enquire about joining the club.
Main competitive activities are described opposite with a fixture list on the separate 'Fixtures' page. 

Ramsey Dairi (below) became joint British u-12 champion (and sole English u-12 champion) with 6/7 at Leicester in July 2023







See opposite. 


The over-the-board Junior 4NCL has not operated since the 2021-22 season, when Watford Juniors finished sixth in the top division.   If and when J4NCL restarts, the intention is that Watford Juniors will compete again.


Results of Club Rapidplay, 24 June


Final Ranking crosstable after 4 Rounds


Rk. NameRtgFED1.Rd2.Rd3.Rd4.RdPts.
1   SALVI Amit (adult) 1634 IND 10b1 7w1 2w1 6b1 4
2   SRIRAM Gautam 1448 ENG 5b1 8w1 1b0 7w1 3
3   KHANDELWAL Akshaj 1480 ENG 14b1 4b½ 9b1 3
    PATEL Aashna 1281 ENG 16b1 3w½ 11b1 3
5   ANAND Reyansh 678 ENG 2w0 15b1 13w1 8w1 3
6   PATEL Ananya 1448 ENG 12b1 9w1 1w0 2,5
7   BANSAL Ayush 1081 ENG 13b1 1b0 14w1 2b0 2
    DAVE Akyra 853 ENG 11b1 2b0 16w1 5b0 2
9   PANKHURST Dylan 0 ENG 18w1 10w1 6b0 3w0 2
10   CHAN Harry 883 ENG 1w0 9b0 18w1 17b1 2
11   AVALA Hithesh 664 ENG 8w0 18b1 17b1 4w0 2
12   ESPASANDIN Maximo 408 ENG 15w1 6w0 -0 1,5
13   KANNADASAN Kirtika 621 ENG 7w0 17b0 5b0 15b1 1
    LUAN Zorian 426 ENG 17b1 3w0 7b0 -0 1
    BAHL Taran 0 ENG 12b0 5w0 -1 13w0 1
    RATHOREE Anaiya 0 ENG -1 4w0 8b0 -0 1
17   DAVIDS Joshua 296 ENG 14w0 13w1 11w0 10w0 1
18   WALLER Lawrence 305 ENG 9b0 11w0 10b0 0,5



Below - Advait Keerthi Kumar, London u-10 champion (+6 =1 -0, December 2022)       




Two Watford teams played in this competition in 2023-24, the second team aiming to give match experience to our newer and younger juniors  The "A" team finished as runners-up (+7 =0 -3) while the "B" team finished fifth of the six competing teams - Harrow and Uxbridge provided the opposition - with a record of +3 =0 -7..  


The seventh WLCA session took place at Uxbridge Chess Club on Sunday 9 June with a 6-round rapidplay tournament combined with inter-round coaching.  Final cross-table below.  More details of future even*ts to follow here shortly.  

Final Ranking crosstable after 6 Rounds


Rk. NameRtg1.Rd2.Rd3.Rd4.Rd5.Rd6.RdPts.
1   DESHPANDE Anay 985 16b1 18w1 3w½ 8b1 10w1 4b1 5,5
2   NEDUNGADI Vedant 1017 20b1 5w0 14b1 9w1 3w1 6b1 5
3   AGGARWAL Aashi 1172 15b1 4w1 1b½ 5w1 2b0 9w1 4,5
4   DUDHE Arjun 1230 12w1 3b0 13w1 7b1 8w1 1w0 4
5   ASTRAKHANTCEVA Elizaveta 998 13w1 2b1 10w1 3b0 6w0 12b1 4
6   YEO Alex 976 9b0 19w1 18b1 11w1 5b1 2w0 4
7   AHMED Zaydan 763 8b½ 15w½ 21b1 4w0 11b1 10b1 4
8   SATHEESWARAN Kavish 1024 7w½ 12b1 11w1 1w0 4b0 15w1 3,5
9   BEKAKHMET Tauyekel 936 6w1 10b0 17w1 2b0 13w1 3b0 3
10   TSE-FONG-TAI Lucas 872 17b1 9w1 5b0 15w1 1b0 7w0 3
11   GADGIL Max 408 19b1 21w1 8b0 6b0 7w0 -1 3
12   BELLARY Soham 836 4b0 8w0 19b1 21w1 18b1 5w0 3
13   ALI Ismael 695 5b0 20w1 4b0 19w1 9b0 18w1 3
14   HUSSAIN Ibrahim 605 18b0 16w1 2w0 17b0 21b1 20w1 3
15   ADAMS Billy 785 3w0 7b½ 16w1 10b0 17w1 8b0 2,5
16   HABBA Maxim 665 1w0 14b0 15b0 -1 20w1 17b½ 2,5
17   HABBA Sebastian 552 10w0 -1 9b0 14w1 15b0 16w½ 2,5
18   TSE-FONG-TAI Oscar 582 14w1 1b0 6w0 20b1 12w0 13b0 2
19   HUSSAIN Amira 413 11w0 6b0 12w0 13b0 -1 21w1 2
20   BAJAJ Anay 316 2w0 13b0 -1 18w0 16b0 14b0 1
21   MUTHUKUMAR Kavin M 511 -1 11b0 7w0 12b0 14w0 19b0 1
Watford Chess Club joins with partner clubs in the area for WLCA purposes.      The object of WLCA is to act as a bridge between club-level and national-level coaching with a view to enabling juniors, if they have the necessary drive and ability, to progress to approximately candidate master (CM) level.  It is not intended, certainly at this point, as a substitute for good-quality club-level coaching.   Participation is open to members of Watford and partner clubs. 
Selection of juniors to take part will ultimately rest with coaches at the partner organisations subject (at any rate, as a general rule) to a maximum of 8-10 participants from each.   As a rule of thumb, Watford reckons to restrict participation to juniors with an ECF rating of at least {100 x attained age} with a minimum rating for this purpose of 1000.   However, given the maximum already mentioned, it is unlikely that all Watford juniors meeting this formula will be invited on every occasion.   



Ernest club champion

Jennifer Hurrell presents Ernest Karumazondo, joint 2019 winner with Andrew Stone, with the Price Cup



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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)


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           

London u-10 champion Advait Keerthi Kumar (in both pics below, along with BBC presenter Farzana Choudry and Watford coach Roger Lancaster) interviewed at BBC 3 Counties Radio on 26 February.   On 15 April,  Advait went on to beat international grandmaster Keith Arkell while scoring 6/11 in the British rapidplay - see also April issue of 'Chess Moves' 
Watford Juniors receive intermittent coverage in the local media.  As well as BBC 3CR, they were also mentioned in two pieces about the West London Chess Academy in ECF magazine 'Chess Moves' and at