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.

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)


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 Meeting held on 5 September 2022 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.
1.   Appointment of chair / minute-taker for meeting.
  • Roger Lancaster (RL) appointed as Chair
  • Ushma Chadha (UC) appointed as minute taker
2    Consider, and if appropriate approve, minutes of AGM of 5 September 2022 - Nothing to consider, approved
3.   Consider, and if appropriate approve, minutes of EGM of 19 September 2022 - Nothing to consider, approved  

4.   Consider, and if appropriate approve, minutes of EGM of 13 February 2023 -  Nothing to consider, approved

5.   Consider, and if appropriate approve, minutes of EGM of  21 August 2023 - Nothing to consider, approved

6.   Deal with matters arising from any or all of items 2-5 above - Nothing applicable

7.   Agree to defer consideration of the Club's accounts until an adjourned meeting of this AGM, the date thereof to be fixed once accounts are available.   Agreed, noted that the club treasurer has resigned.  Therefore, there are no club accounts to discuss at present and accounts will be discussed once they are available.   However RL observed that, as far as he was amiss, there was nothing radically amiss. 
8.   Receive and consider report on the past year's activities.  RL provided feedback as follows:
  • Over the board chess has not been strong.   Although the club's first team narrowly avoided automatic relegation in the 4NCL, its first team in the Hertfordshire League finished bottom of Division 2 and were relegated.
  • The club had approximately 40 junior members.  However, around 6 adult members of the club, many unhappy at the way the club is developing, appear to have decided not to rejoin.
  • Last year's treasurer has advised that the club will run at a loss if subs are not increased and the financial arithmetic worsened with the unexpected move, during the year, to HBC.
9.  To consider, and if applicable approve, the committee's recommendations regarding annual subscriptions for 2023-24, being
(a)   For the general membership, being those who attend club nights, £75 due on 1 October or alternatively payable by two instalments of £38 due on 1 October and 1 January; and
(b)   For those who do not attend club nights, £15 due on 1 October but with the committee to consider a supplementary charge for those playing in weekend events such as the 4NCL.   A discussion followed:
  • All in agreement for subscription increase to £75 pa irrespective of age of the member.     Discussion for  non club night attending members, or family discounts to be discussed adjourned to a later date.  
  • A point was raised that junior members should be given a discount.  However this was countered with the fact that the juniors tend to attend club nights and take advantage of any training offered.
  • The £75 rate was agreed with item (b) to be left to the committee to decide
10.    To consider any motions subject to their having been received no later than 4 September - none received 
11.    To amend clause 5.1.3 of the club constitution by replacing the words "aged over 16" by "aged over 14" so that all members eligible to vote are also eligible to join the committee
  •   After much discussion it was agreed nem con that  "aged over 16" in clause 5.1.3 of the club constitution shall be replaced with "aged over 14" so that all members eligible to vote are also eligible to join the committee was agreed.   This vote met the two-thirds constitutional requirement.
12.   Elect Officers, Secretaries and Committee for 2022-23. Committee nominations are:

President:   None at present

Treasurer:   None at present

Club Secretary:   Ushma Chadha (incumbent)

Membership Secretary:   None at present

Juniors Secretary Roger Lancaster (incumbent)

Tournament Secretary      None at present

Other Committee members   Ewan Davids, Tomy Joseph, Maya Saujani, Sophie Mitran (incumbents)

  • Ewan Davids agreed to take on the role of Membership Secretary.  It was felt that it was important that the club offer a meet and greet service to potential new members.  The meeting thanked Ewan for agreeing to perform this vital function.   


13.   Appoint suitably qualified auditor     This can only be done once the accounts are in order.  So, this is adjourned till date TBC.
14.   Any other business
  • A discussion was had around increasing membership numbers for adults and juniors:
  • Suggestions focused on:
    • Attracting sponsorship for the club
    • Reaching out local educational institutions.  Thanks to Mia Scally for offering to share information with Middlesex University students The Juniors offered to share information with their  schools.
    • It was also felt that a club identity and the Membership secretary was much needed role and vital to creating the right impression of the club for new members.
  • The club is heavily reliant on the goodwill and time of Roger Lancaster in teaching the juniors
    • It was noted that whilst the juniors form the larger part of Watford Chess Club's members, there was no desire to be a junior only club.  The club is a community where it is hoped that juniors will progress their skills and continue to play chess as adults for Watford Chess Club, it was noted that a number of members had been here for a number of years and had formed friendships and had no desire to play elsewhere at the age of 16/18.
    • The appointment of Ewan Davids as second coach to some extent removes the single point of failure for the junior coaching but further assistance is still required.  Suggestions for assistance to be adjourned date TBC.  However, there was a discussion around more parental involvement and some of the higher rate juniors assisting in training younger juniors.  It is also felt that the expansion of resources in this space, along with more thought as to playing layout may assist in noise control.  
    • For a fee coaching services to be brought in occasionally.
  • It was agreed that the committee would consider these matters and endeavour to report back at the adjourned session of the AGM

Note to Minutes:   Sophie Mitran's intention to stand down from the committee was not received in time to be recorded in the Minutes but this, and Ewan Davids' agreement to take up the role of Membership Secretary which has an automatic place on the club committee, means there are now two committee vacancies.





Round 4 results as notified to the ECF Rating Officer (junior names in italics):   Darrell ?-? Luuk, Simon 0-1 Risharb, Tomy 1-0 David H, Keith 1/2 Sanjay, David S 1/2 Jake, Sophie ?-? Judith,  Aashna 1-0 Kevin, Jasdeep 0-1 Ananya, Vijesh bye. 





1)  4-round ECF-rated Swiss-paired (10' + 5") rapidplay, first two rounds likely accelerated pairing, depending on entry.   [NB: One purpose of accelerated pairing is to avoid total mismatches in round 1].
2)  Open (and free to ECF members) to all club members, adults and juniors.  Advance notification of entry (before 4.0 that afternoon) needed as 'on the night' entries upset Swiss pairing  
3)  First round 6.30, subsequent rounds at approximately 30 minute intervals (but sooner if rounds finish quickly) so last round expected to finish circa 8.30
4)  Competitors have option of taking one half-point bye.  This option to be exercised before 4.0 in the case of round 1 and, in the case of later rounds, before the conclusion of the previous round.  (It's expected that most byes will be needed in either the first or last round).   

5)  Normal FIDE rules (eg. "touch and move") apply, including illegal moves penalty where (a) first completed illegal move awards opponent extra 2 minutes (b) second completed illegal move in same game normally results in loss of game.



Now confirmed that the South West Herts Primary Schools Chess League scheduled for North Watford on Saturday afternoon 29 June will not take place - further details from This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 


Latest Results:   Hillingdon League: (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 A 4-1 Watford Juniors B


 No description available.


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.

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, the Junior 4 Nations Chess League (J4NCL, but cancelled this year) and, together with adult members of the club, the main 4 Nations Chess League (4NCL), 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 will 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) becomes joint British u-12 champion (and sole English u-12 champion) with 6/7 at Leicester in July

Ananya, UKCC r-up, July 2022.jpg
Ananya - Runner-up, UKCC u-10 gigafinal, July 2022                                                                                                                                                                                       






See opposite. 


Due to difficulties booking hotels, the 2022-23 J4NCL season was cancelled and the2023-24 season looks set to suffer the same fate.   Watford Juniors played in the final 2021-22 weekend when results were as follows:  

1 Oxfordshire A   5 4 0 1 8 15
2 JHJ 1   5 4 0 1 8 14½
3 Staffordshire Spitfires   5 3 2 0 8 13
4 Welsh Dragons A   5 3 0 2 6 10
5 Leicestershire Juniors   5 3 0 2 6
6 Watford Juniors A   5 2 1 2 5 9
7 Fantastic Six   5 2 0 3 4 11
8 3Cs Charmanders   5 2 0 3 4 10½
9 Warwickshire Bears A   5 2 0 3 4 9
10 JHJ 2   5 2 0 3 4 8
11 Harrow Juniors A   5 1 0 4 2
12 Manchester A   5 0 1 4 1 5


If and when J4NCL restarts, the intention is that Watford Juniors will compete again. Each J4NCL weekend consists of 5 rounds [3 on Saturday, 2 on Sunday], at either an 80' + 10" [Division 1] or 50' + 10" [Division 2] rate of play, between teams of four following a Swiss-paired system.



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.  (A third team was withdrawn after insufficient juniors wanted to participate). 

Watford Juniors "A" finished as runners-up with a  record of +7 =0 -3 while Watford Juniors "B", with one match still to play, are fifth of the six competing teams - Harrow and Uxbridge provide the opposition - with a  record   of +3 =0 -6. 


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 rapidplay cross-table follows.  More details of future events to follow here shortly.  Meantime, the description in later paragraphs below describes 2022-23 WLCA activity.

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, along with partners Bucks Youth Chess Association, Gerrards Cross Chess Club, Maidenhead Chess Club, St Albans Chess Club and Uxbridge Chess Club, held the sixth session of the West London Chess Academy ("WLCA") at Uxbridge on Sunday, 22 January.  
January topics: "Understanding Magnus" (Tanmay Chopra, 2415), "Queens Gambit games from the World Rapid 2022" (David Okike, 2197), "Material Imbalances, Rook versus Minor Piece" (Adam A Taylor, 2332).

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 the six junior chess organisations mentioned above.

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.   
The plan is to hold sessions every 4-6 weeks with an attendance charge of £15 per head.    Attendees are normaIIy divided into three groups broadly according to perceived playing strength, largely reflecting ECF ratings.  There will also be three coaches, each of whom will have prepared one subject which they will deliver in turn in a 60-minute session to each of the three groups. Approximate schedule:    . 
12.45 - 1.0 - Arrival - juniors given puzzle sheets to solve
1.15 - 2.20   Coaching session 1
2.20 - 3.25  Coaching session 2
followed by a 45-minute interval which includes one round of rated rapidplay
4.10 - 5.15 Coaching session 3
5.20 onward - If time permits, second round of rated rapidplay (optional)



 Below - Jeshwin wins LJCC u-8 zonal at Uxbridge, September 2022



Ernest club champion

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



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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





Watford Chess Club email address

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(allow up to 2 days for reply)

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' 
BBC 3CR pic1.jpg
BBC 3CR pic 2.jpg
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