Adult over-the-board activity suspended [but not juniors OTB - see below] 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:  Over-the-board result, 2 August:   Watford Juniors 3.5-10.5 Hatch End Chess Club.  Next OTB match against Uxbridge Juniors on 16 August, next online match Thursday evening 5 August v Eton College.

NEWSFLASH:  4th Watford Junior [u-12] rapidplay won by 8-year-old Advait Keerthi Kumar with 5.5/6 ahead of runner-up Daniel Shek [Crowthorne] on 4.5 and three more juniors - Jai Aggarval, Varish Tarigopula [both Uxbridge] and Jacob Liu {Herts Jnrs] all on 4 points.   Advait took home £150, Daniel £70 and the others £15 each.  See


Watford juniors are meeting over-the-board.  Indoor meetings take place from 6 until 9 on Monday evenings.  

The club's usual venue, West Herts Sports & Social Club, is currently unavailable due to ongoing rebuilding work which is due to complete "towards the end of the year" so junior meetings are meantime taking place at a temporary venue off St Albans Road in north Watford. Adult members of the club [coaches excepted] are currently excluded. "Junior" means under 18.

In all events, our teams consist of bona fide members of Watford Chess Club.   As from 1 July, juniors newly applying to join the club will join a waiting list until such time as a suitable opportunity arises.   Juniors who have demonstrated exceptional prowess in other events may be given priority, or even exempted, for this purpose.

The nature of Monday evening sessions [£5 charge to cover temporary venue costs] varies from week to week but the first 45 minutes [6.0 - 6.45] are normally allocated to group coaching.  Starting 6.45, those juniors who are members of the English Chess Federation -  usually all, see next paragraph - should have the choice of one classical game [approximate playing time, 60 minutes per player] or two/three rapidplay games [20 minutes] where the results will in each case be rated by the ECF.   Some evenings will see matches against other clubs - see further down this text - and these matches, where arranged, will start at 6.45.

[ECF membership is requested because the ECF charges clubs a fee for games, played by non-members, submitted by clubs for rating purposes.   Junior membership of the ECF is inexpensive and, in many cases, totally free - see for full details].

Watford juniors have already resumed competing in regular over-the-board [as well as online] competitions.   On 14 June, Watford Juniors played Uxbridge Juniors in what is believed to be among the first over-the-board club matches in England in 2021.   There's one pic further down this column with a second to be found at

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 July 2020, on Saturday 24 July - see for results.

Next event is a match against Hatch End Chess Club on 2 August followed by the return match against Uxbridge Juniors a fortnight later and - hopefully - a match against a Watford adult team on 30 August.    However, the main team events in the club's calendar are the first weekend of the Junior 4 Nations Chess League, which is due to take place in Leamington Spa over the weekend of 25-26 September, and weekend 1 of the main 4 Nations Chess League in late November.

Watford juniors also play an annual match in September against St Albans juniors.  The first, in September 2019, was a close affair contested over 2 rounds of rapidplay with St Albans emerging 12.5-11.5 winners.   Watford's chances of recovering the trophy in 2020 were scuppered by the pandemic.

More than 5,000 people, including Watford juniors and their parents, are thought to have attended ChessFest in London's Trafalgar Square on 18 July although Covid restrictions limited the number to 750 at any one time.




At an individual level, Advait, Aarav, Akshata and Avy have all qualified for the UKCC terafinals.   Advait also won the u-8 version of the variant event and finished runner-up in the blitz while Avy, competing in the July 4NCL Major against average 1900 opposition [equal to 160 on the old grading scale] scored +2 =2 -1 to take home a £50 prize.  As already noted, Advait managed to eclipse this fig
ure on 24 July.

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 digital chess clock.









The 2020-21 events were cancelled due to Covid but the 2021-22 season is confidently expected to begin with the first weekend held at Woodland Grange, Leamington Spa, over the weekend of 25-26 September.   We expect there to be two later weekends which, on the basis of pre-pandemic experience, are likely to take place in January and February/March 2022.

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. Historically, Watford Juniors have typically entered 2 or 3 teams depending on demand and on the players available.



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 teams competing in Division 3 South or, less likely, Division 3 Central.   

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


If the club elects to play instead in Division 3 Central, the dates remain as above but the first weekend would be at Daventry and the later four weekends at Leamington Spa.



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 

4 Nations Chess League (incl. J4NCL) 

Tournament chess results (main site for this)






Ongoing/imminent online events:

JUNIOR 4 NATIONS LEAGUE [SEASON 4]: This is due to start 19 August [matches fortnightly thereafter] and entries are now being accepted with the number of participating Watford Juniors teams yet to be decided but unlikely to exceed five.  All Watford juniors have now been asked to indicate availability for this event.
4 NATIONS LEAGUE [SEASON 4] - This is due to start 24 August [matches fortnightly thereafter] and entries are now being accepted with the number of participating Watford Juniors teams yet to be decided but unlikely to exceed three.   All Watford juniors have now been asked to indicate interest in playing in this event.

WORLD 2020 LEAGUE:   Pairings for round one of the new season have just been announced and Watford Juniors' first opponents are Team Brazil.
OTHER:   The juniors also play occasional 'friendly' matches against other junior sides.  That's in contrast to the league competitions where, J4NCL excepted, they mainly face adult opponents.
Recently-completed online events:

HILLINGDON & DISTRICT LEAGUE: This competition has just ended with the 'A' team, after drawing with league winners Harrow 'A' in the last round, finishing sixth [+3 =1 -2] of 20 competing teams - nine adult and 11 junior -while the 'B' team [+1 =2 -3] took 17th place and our 'C' team [+0 =1 -5] 20th.
WORLD 2020 LEAGUE:  127 teams worldwide, some led by grandmasters, entered this event which boasted a $2000 first prize.    In the final round on 20 June, Watford Juniors beat University of Surrey 5.5 - 2.5 to take their final tally to three wins and one draw from 10 matches. which meant they finished in 100th place.
4 NATIONS LEAGUE [SEASON 3] - Arguably the toughest competition in which Watford Juniors compete, this ended in May.   Matches were almost invariably against strong adult teams including players of master strength.
The 'A' team, in Division 4, won just one and drew one of its 7 matches. Although it won as many individual games as two of the higher-placed teams, it won fewer matches and was accordingly placed 7th out of 8 teams and is likely to be relegated.     The 'B' and 'C' teams, in Division 5, found life even tougher with the former managing to win just one match and the latter losing all eight.  
JUNIOR 4 NATIONS LEAGUE [SEASON 3]: This, the premier UK online junior league with five divisions, has now ended its third season. Watford Juniors 'A' finished 5th of eight teams in its Division 1 group.  In Division 2, the 'B' team finished 4th out of eight teams but the 'C' team lost all seven matches despite many being close affairs.   Next division down, the 'D' team finished 7th and was also relegated while the 'E' team had to withdraw due to a player shortage.
FIVE COUNTIES LEAGUE: After the full 9 rounds, the "A" team had won four and drawn one of its matches against opposing [mainly adult] teams, finishing mid-table in Division 2.  The "B" team had a torrid time in Division 3 and finished last-but one.

CLUB SUMMER RAPIDPLAY:   Won by Aarav with 5/5 ahead of Ishaan and Joel, both on 3.5 points. 

CLUB POLO SHIRTS:  Club polo shirts can be bought, in various adult and junior sizes, at costing £6.50 to £7 [juniors] or £8 [adults] with £3.75 delivery charge.  T-shirts also available at similar cost.  Disregard all other items..