Over-the-board activity suspended [except for exclusively junior events - see below] but 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 Chess.com - 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: https://www.watfordobserver.co.uk/sport/18247132.watford-chess-club-looking-sponsors-ahead-international-tournament

Club rapidplay, 30 December 2019, results at  http://chess-results.com/Tnr501649.aspx?lan=1

3rd Watford Junior (u-12) Rapidplay, 29 July 2019, results at http://chess-results.com/tnr457143.aspx?lan=1

Club rapidplay, 8 July 2019, results at http://chess-results.info/tnr453784.aspx?lan=1

Price Cup (2018-9 club championship), October 2018 to June 2019, results at  http://chess-results.com/tnr382758.aspx?lan=1

2nd Watford Junior (u-12) Rapidplay, 27 May 2019, results at http://chess-results.com/tnr435032.aspx?lan=1

Club rapidplay, 13 August 2018, results at http://chess-results.com/tnr374277.aspx?lan=1

1st Watford Junior (u-12) Rapidplay, 30 July 2018, results at http://chess-results.com/tnr373197.aspx?lan=1





Watford juniors are now meeting again over-the-board.

There had been little over-the-board chess for Watford juniors since last March although the club reopened for 2 weeks in the summer before being obliged to close again.   More recently, there was a "Chess in the Park" session - see pic below - in late March [but these are weather-dependent] and indoor sessions restarted on 26 April.

The club's normal venue, West Herts, is currently unavailable but junior club meetings [Mondays, 6 until 9] take place throughout May at a temporary alternative venue in central Watford.    Legislation prevents adult members of Watford Chess Club from attending.

As from Monday 10 May, we are in a position to invite new junior members. If your son/daughter wishes to join, please use the "Contact us" link above to get in touch.   In order to comply with the letter and spirit of Covid legislation, we request prospective new members not to turn up unannounced on Monday evenings - please get in touch first. 

The content of Monday evening sessions varies from week to week but typically includes some coaching, some friendly games and, in the case of juniors who are members of the English Chess Federation, at least one competitive [ie. ECF-rated] game.

As to outside competition, the first weekend of the 2021-22 over-the-board Junior 4 Nations is set for 25-26 September




Watford Juniors lost 3.5-6.5 against Pentland Hills
from Scotland on 2 May in a match streamed live
on Twitch.tv.   You can replay the match video at
at 5 hrs 57 minutes into the recording.
No description available.
In the following round, this Saturday, the team
drew 4-4 against Cieszyskie Legende from Poland.

ONLINE 4 NATIONS CHESS LEAGUE - This, the toughest competition in which Watford Juniors compete, has just ended.   Matches are against, almost invariably, 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 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.
The next O4NCL season, in common with its junior equivalent, will start in August.

ONLINE JUNIOR 4 NATIONS CHESS LEAGUE: 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.

As well as the Online Junior 4NCL, there are other online events. The "A" team regularly faces adult opposition [except in the Junior 4NCL] but our lower-ranking teams play mainly, but not exclusively, against other juniors. If your son/daughter wishes to join, please use the "Contact us" link above to get in touch

ONLINE WORLD CHESS LEAGUE: Over 120 teams worldwide, some led by grandmasters, have entered this event which boasts a $2000 first prize.   Our team has so far won 2 matches, drawn one and lost six.

FIVE COUNTIES ONLINE CHESS LEAGUE: After the full 9 rounds, the "A" team won four and drawn one of its matches against opposing [mainly adult] teams, finishing mid-table in Division 2.  The "B" team, playing against other juniors, has won one and drawn one of its eight matches so far - three rounds yet to play! 

HILLINGDON & DISTRICT ONLINE LEAGUE: A new event for us, with the first round taking place on Thursday 15 April.  The "A" team won 4-0 while the "B" and "C" teams lost by the same score.    In round 2, all three teams lost, 3-1 in the case of the "A" team but 4-0 for the junior sides.

There are also internal events and the club's Online Spring Rapidplay was won by Seb [main pictureabove, seated left].







The 2020-21 events were cancelled due to Covid but the 2021-22 season is 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, most likely in or about late January and early March.

Each weekend consists of 5 rounds [3 on Saturday, 2 on Sunday] of chess, at a 75' + 10" rate of play or thereabouts, 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.

Third and final 2019-20 J4NCL weekend was 15-16 February 2020 at Mercure Daventry Court Hotel where two Watford teams were among the 22 teams taking part.     Several of our players were off form so the results were a little disappointing, with both teams finishing in the lower half of the table.   


Watford Reds [L to R:  Jeff,  Jake,  Theo,  Judith] at the J4NCL February 2020 weekend



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.    Watford Juniors would expect to combine, for this event, 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. 

Rds 1-2: 20-21 Nov'ber 2021 - Kents Hill Park, M Keynes

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

Rds 5-6: 12-13 February 2022 - Holiday Inn Maidenhead

Rds 7-8: 26-27 March 2022 - Kents Hill Park, M Keynes

Rds 9-11: 30 April-2 May 2022 - Kents Hill Park, M Keynes


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.




Details of participation in leagues other than 4NCL and J4NCL are not yet known.   Watford Juniors also have two traditional 'friendly' fixtures.

Watford juniors play twice a year against Uxbridge juniors in a double-round rapidplay where virtually the entire Watford junior membership is invited to take part.      Watford won the third match, on 9 December 2019 , by 18 points to 10.   

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 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.


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

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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




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". 


LICHESS CHANGE - In early June, one of our juniors' parents, with club support, contacted FIDE to complain about the prima facie defamatory nature of the "This player uses chess computer assistance" allegations prominently displayed on several Lichess accounts despite no evidence being produced to support such allegations.   Lichess have since switched to an alternative, and less unacceptable, legend.



Club polo shirts can be bought, in various adult and junior sizes, at  https://myclothing.com/ costing £5.50 to £6 [juniors] or £7 [adults] with £3 delivery charge.   T-shirts also available, junior sizes only, £5 to £5.50.