Details of adult chess are in the left hand column and 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.

 
CLUB INFORMATION
 
 

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 is as follows:

4 Nations Chess League (4NCL) - two teams

Hertfordshire League - two teams 

Hillingdon League - two teams (juniors only)

World Chess League.live - one team (Chess.com)

Online 4NCL - one team (Lichess)

Online Junior 4NCL - three teams (Lichess)

 

There was a short General Meeting of the club on 8 January to deal with important developments since the adjourned AGM on 18 December, when both motions were passed nem con.  The two motions put to the 8 January meeting were also passed nem con.  

 

Latest OTB results: Hertfordshire League: Hertford 2 1-4 Watford 1 (2 January) Watford 2 2.5-2.5 Little Heath 3 (8 January) Hertford 3 3-2 Watford 2 (30 January) Watford 1 4-1 Enfield 1 (12 February).   National League:  Watford A 2.5-3.5 England Deaf (6 January), War & Piece B 1-5 Watford A (7 January).  Watford A 2.5-3.5 Iceni B, SPTW Uni 6-0 Watford B (10 February), SPTW Young Stars B 0.5-5.5 Watford A, Watford B 3.5-1.5 War & Piece B.  See "Results" (when fully updated) for details of these, and previous, matches.

 

 

 

 

 

 4 NATIONS CHESS LEAGUE

Two teams confirmed for 2023-24 - details to follow.

Our 2022-23 squad (two teams) was fairly evenly divided between adults and juniors.   Watford 'A' played in Division 3 East, Watford 'B' in Division 4.   Both events took place over 11 rounds spread across five weekends.

 

DIVISON 3E - FINAL PLACINGS Match Points Game Points
1 Anglian Avengers 1 17 40
2 Cambridge University 2 16 36½
3 Rhyfelwyr Essyllwg 13 33
4 Hull & East Riding Tigers 13 31
5 Crowthorne A 12 32½
6 Iceni 1 10 31½
7 Sussex Martlets 2 9 29½
8 Poisoned Pawns 8 29½
9 Surbiton 5 22½
10 Watford A 4 20
11 MK Phoenix 1 3 23
12 Guildford Castles (w/d) 0 0

 

DIVISON 4 - FINAL PLACINGS Match Points Game Points
1 Average Wood Pushers A 20 47
2 Poole Patzers 18 44
3 Wessex Some Stars A 16 40½
  ..................    
28 Watford B 7 17
  ..................    
35 Cambridge University Y2 2

 

Time control 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

 

4 NATIONS CHESS LEAGUE ONLINE 

See above.  Contact Paul Litttlefair if interested.

 

HERTFORDSHIRE CHESS LEAGUE

 

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

 

MINUTES OF EXTRAORDINARY GENERAL MEETING, 8/1/2024
 
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.
 
 
MINUTES OF ADJOURNED AGM, 18/12/2023
 
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.
 
MINUTES OF ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING 11/9/2023
 
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.

 

 

PRICE CUP   

 

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. 
 

 

 

  

JUNIOR CLUB NEWS, FEBRUARY 2024: 

Please note that, effective Tuesday 20 February, the club is temporarily ceasing to accept new applications to join the junior club.  This does not apply to those who had expressed interest in writing before 20 February.

Hillingdon League (22 January):  Watford Juniors A 4-1 Uxbridge Juniors B, Watford Juniors B 2-3 Uxbridge Juniors A (5 February) Watford Juniors A 3-2 Harrow Juniors B, Watford Juniors B 0-5 Harrow Juniors A 

Online J4NCL, rd 2 (1 February): Watford Juniors A 3-5 Suffolk Juniors A, Watford Juniors B 6-2 Surrey Juniors E, Watford Juniors C 4-3 Leyland.  

World Chess League.live (Online): Watford Juniors 3-9 Philippines Finest (7 January, commentary at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zm5a91nPQJE),  Watford Juniors 0-6 Warwick University (5 February)

 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 https://www.chessable.com/zwischenzug-a-comprehensive-guide-to-intermediate-moves/course/139623/ 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 https://www.englishchess.org.uk/ecf-membership-rates-and-joining-details/ 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                                                                                                                                                                                       

 

 

 

 

4 NATIONS CHESS LEAGUE

See opposite. 


JUNIOR 4 NATIONS CHESS LEAGUE 

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:  

 J4NCL DIVISION ONE P W D L MP GP
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)       
 

                                                        

HILLINGDON & DISTRICT LEAGUE - JUNIOR DIVISION

 

There will be two Watford teams in this competition for 2023-24, the second team aiming to give match experience to our newer and younger juniors.   After playing all eight matches in 2022-23, Watford Juniors finished as runners-up with five wins, one draw and two losses.  Format is teams of five juniors playing 45' + 15" sessions, on home and away basis, against teams from Harrow and Uxbridge.

 

WEST LONDON CHESS ACADEMY:
 
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

 

CLUB PRIVACY POLICY - FORMAL NOTICE

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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 PLAY AN AI (ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE)

Leela

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

 

 

USEFUL CONTACTS AND WEBSITES

 

Watford Chess Club email address

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

(allow up to 2 days for reply)

English Chess Federation

www.englishchess.org.uk/ 

Hertfordshire Chess Association

http://www.hertschess.com/ 

Hertfordshire Chess League results

http://ccgi.stevelaw0.plus.com/chess-results/

Hertfordshire Schools Chess Association

http://hsca-chess.com/ 

4 Nations Chess League (incl. J4NCL)

http://www.4ncl.co.uk/ 

Tournament chess results (main site for this)

http://chess-results.com/Default.aspx?lan=1

 ARCHIVE:

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           

IN THE NEWS: 
 
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 https://www.hillingdontimes.co.uk/news/19998200.check-mates-young-players-come-together-uxbridge-chess-academy/