Details of adult chess are in the left hand column and junior chess in the right hand column below. Online chess is also 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, both over-the-board and onIine


Watford Chess Club's venue at West Herts Sports Club, 8 Park Avenue, Watford WD18 7HP has now reopened. Club nights are on Mondays for both adults (7.30 onwards) and juniors (6.0 onwards). Entry to the Function Room, where the club meets, is at the rear of the building, opposite the cricket pitch.

Both adults and juniors take part in the 4 Nations Chess League, both online and over-the-board, with junior teams also playing in the Junior 4 Nations Chess League.   Watford has two teams in the 4 Nations Chess League, two in the Hertfordshire League, and junior teams in the J4NCL and the Hillingdon 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. 






Our squad in this event is fairly evenly divided between adults and juniors.   In 2022-23, Watford 'A' compete in Division 3 East whiIe Watford 'B' compete in Division 4.   Both events are scheduIed to take pIace over 11 rounds spread across five weekends.

First two rounds for both teams was 5-6 November with Watford A resuIts shown in opposite coIumn and Watford B resuIts on 'ResuIts' page.   Later weeks for Watford A are 7-8 January (Daventry), 11-12 February (Warwick), 25-26 March (Daventry) and 29 April - 1 May (Milton Keynes).  The 11 opposing teams are AngIian Avengers, Cambridge University B, Crowthorne, GuiIdford CastIes, HuII & East Riding, Iceni, MK Phoenix, Poisoned Pawns, Rhyfelwyr Essyllwg, Surbiton and Sussex B.   

Watford B wiII pIay on 7-8 January (Daventry), 4-5 February (Daventry), 25-26 March (Daventry) and 29 April - 1 May (Warwick).     Division 4 is a Swiss-paired event so future opponents are unknown.

Start times, except for the finaI three-day weekend, are 2.0 (Saturdays) and 11.0 (Sundays)    Time control is first 40 moves in 100 minutes with 50 minutes for all remaining moves plus 30-second increments from move 1   

BREAKING NEWS: Catastrophe at the 7-8 January 4NCL weekend - the 'A' team lost both matches (4-2 and 5-1) while the 'B' team did only slightly better with a 3-3 draw and a 4.5-1.5 loss. 



Three Watford teams, including two junior teams, will compete in the 2022-23 main 4NCL online. In 2021-22Watford's first team compete in Division 1; they won their group and were beaten in the semi finals by a very strong Guildford Young Guns team. Watford's second team finished fourth in their group in Division 3.




Watford are fielding two teams in the Hertfordshire Chess League.


ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING, 5 SEPTEMBER 2022 - 7.15 at West Herts, club members only.   

1.  Receive apologies for absence

2.  Elect Officers, Secretaries and Committee for 2022-23. Committee nominations are:

President Sriram Panchanadeeswaran

Treasurer AIistair TayIor

Club Secretary Jayakumar Jayakarthikeyan

Membership Secretary Sandesh Tathare? (TBC)

Juniors Secretary Roger Lancaster

Tournament Secretary            Vacant

Other Committee members   Simon Charles (TBC), Sanjay Vig (TBC), Bradley Mead-Herbert (TBC) plus one vacancy 

3. Approve the Accounts for the financial year ending 31st July 2022

4.  Agree Club membership subscriptions for 2022-23.

5.  Approve minutes of September 2021 AGM

6.  Receive report on the 2021-22 year

7. Plans for 2022-23

8. Any Other Business  

Held at West Herts Sports Club, 5 September 2022
Present: Sriram Panchandeeswaran (President), Paul Littlefair (secretary), Alistair Taylor (Treasurer),Roger Lancaster (Juniors Secretary), Jayakumar Jayakarthikeyan, Sandesh Tathare, Darrell Pigott, David Healey, Simon Charles, Cecil Sloan, Mace Carnochan
The meeting was chaired by Alistair Taylor.  Apologies for absence were received from Sanjay Vig , Chris Russell and (after the meeting) Bradley Mead-Herbert.
Officers were elected for 2022-23 as follows:
President Sriram Panchandeeswaran
Secretary Jayakumar Jayakarthikeyan
Treasurer Alistair Taylor
Membership secretary Sandesh Tathare agreed to take on the role for the coming year provided its duties were clearly defined. He could not attend the club every week because of other commitments, so others would have to welcome new members in his absence
Juniors Secretary Roger Lancaster was elected for this year, though mentioned that he could not go on for ever and some succession planning was needed.
Tournament secretary. Essentially this involved running the Price Cup, the club’s championship. This had traditionally been held as a 7 round Swiss tournament but could be fewer rounds if required.  Sandesh agreed to do it; Roger would help with the pairings.
Match captains. Sanjay had said he could be a match captain. Cecil did not wish to continue as captain. Alistair said he could be a captain if there was nobody else. It looked like we would have two teams in the Herts League and cups; Alistair would email the membership to see who wanted to play. Roger was willing to be first team captain in the 4NCL, but we needed a second team captain, as the first and second teams would play some matches on different days. Sanjay could help but was busy and could not commit to every date. Paul would captain the 4NCL online and Roger the junior 4NCL and Hillingdon League junior team.
Webmaster Geir Erik Nielsen
Auditor Philip Abbott
Equipment curator Sanjay Vig
Committee Simon Charles and Sanjay Vig. There were two vacancies on the committee which were open to those who wanted to take an active part in the running of the club.
Alistair summarised the accounts. The club had around £3500 in the bank, and roughly broke even last season. He expected the club would make a loss in the coming season. In the future, he expected that subscriptions would have to increase to meet additional costs.
The following subscription levels were agreed:  Adults Full £60, Online only £20, Social (non-playing) £20.Juniors and students Full £35, Online only £17.50.Full membership entitles a member to participate in all Club activity.  Online only membership entitles a member to participate in the club’s online teams and tournaments. For adults, Watford was only fielding a team in the 4NCL online.   Social membership is for those who wish to continue as club members but not to play in any of the club’s chess activities. Because of the disruption to chess activities last year, the meeting agreed a proposal in which all members who paid the full or discounted subscription rate for 2021 (or a pro rata rate for part of the year) would be able to deduct the whole of that payment from their subscription for 2022-23, when paying before 15 October. The meeting also agreed a proposal where titled players (from CM upwards) could be entitled to free membership.
The minutes of last year’s AGM were agreed.  A report of last year’s events was circulated and the accounts for the financiaI year ended 31 JuIy 2022 approved.   This year, the Cheshire Cup against St Albans would be held on 26 September, with an adult match at West Herts and junior match at St Albans.
Under any other business, Alistair said that the Herts League had invited clubs to apply for a share of £1,500 for equipment or other needs. It was felt that this was aimed at clubs struggling financially, and there were no volunteers to write a bid. 
Cecil raised the issue of the avaiIabiIity of clocks for matches. Roger had 12 of the club DGT digital clocks and Sanjay had 10. One was in the cupboard. Cecil said that he had donated seven clocks to the club but this season had removed five of them.  He was going to take back the remaining two unless the club resolved the 'clocks issue'.  Various members of the cIub committee expressed serious disquiet over this and it was Ieft to the committee to decide how to resoIve the matter.     
With regard to the Iast paragraph of these minutes, the cIub committee states: "The cIub committee noted that, despite CeciI's aIIegations that 12 cIocks had been stoIen, the onIy missing cIocks were the five which CeciI had himseIf appropriated. Since CeciI has not renewed his membership of the cIub since 2020-21 and will not be rejoining, it is not possibIe for the committee to take any action under cIause 6.5 of the cIub's constitution"   
There was an incident at the cIub on 17 October which Ied to poIice being caIIed, as a resuIt of which they investigated (crime reference 41/84141/22) whether an offence of actuaI bodiIy harm had been committed by a former cIub member.   The poIice interviewed that person but subsequentIy advised that, in the absence of confirming evidence such as CCTV, there was insufficient evidence to pursue the investigation, Ieading to the outcome of No Further Action. 
On the first two motions,  Sriram Panchanadeeswaran  and Roger Lancaster were eIected nem con as chair and minute-taker respectiveIy for the meeting
A roII caII estabIished that Sanjay Vig, AIistair TayIor, Luuk van Essen and 12 junior members of the cIub were aIso present. The minutes of the EGM heId on 8 August were approved nem con.
The motion to amend, at cIause 5.1.1 of the cIub constitution, the words "An Annual General Meeting of the Club shall be held in September every year" to "An Annual General Meeting of the Club shall be held in JuIy, August or September every year" was passed nem con, this aIso meeting the requirement that two-thirds of those present and eIigibIe to vote voted in favour   
The two motions reIating to 2020-21 cIub members who faiIed to renew their memberships in 2021-22 were aIso passed nem con   (Note:  The 2021-22 cIub year ended 30 September 2022 so these two motions are now of historic interest onIy)


BREAKING NEWS: New venue, effective Monday 23 January, is Herts Bowling Club, Bellmount Wood Avenue, Watford WD17 3BT.  (There are no further club nights at West Herts Sports Club).


The club was open as usual on Monday 2 January for a 6-round ECF-rated rapidplay open to all club members which was won by Luuk van Essen with a 100% score ahead of Alistair Taylor on 5/6 and Aashna, Ananya, Maya, Rishabh and Vishnu, all on 4 points.   18 competed, including 13 juniors.


 Watford Juniors play over-the-board matches in the Hillingdon League, the Junior 4 Nations Chess League (J4NCL) and, together with adult members of the club, the main 4 Nations Chess League (4NCL), as well as online.   First 4NCL weekend was 5-6 November foIIowed by 7-8 January, both weekends in Daventry, and three Iater weekends. Juniors interested in playing in over-the-board 4NCneed to contact the juniors manager to check if there are stiII team vacancies.

Club nights are from 6.0 until 10.45 (but no obligation to stay late!) on Monday evenings..  "Junior" normally means under 18.  We strongly recommend juniors join the EngIish Chess Federation because there are many events where ECF membership is mandatory.  Junior membership of the ECF is inexpensive - see for details - and sometimes free. 

Please note that the juniors no longer meet at West Herts Sports Club, nor at the temporary venue in The Harebreaks, north Watford.

Full junior membership (expiring 30 September 2023) of Watford Chess Club costs £35 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 is £17.50.   

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 10 days of their being played. 

Main competitive activities are described below with a fixture list on the separate 'Fixtures' page.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

Eight-year-old Advait Keerthi Kumar was his age-group winner (October 2021) from several thousand entries in the UK Chess Challenge. In the final, Advait won 8 and drew one of his 11 games.






Dates for the three 2022-23 weekends are stiII awaited.  

Watford Juniors played in the third and final 2021-22 weekend, 9-10 April, in Daventry - results in table below.   

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   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


For the 2022-23 event, 'juniors' means those born 2005 or later. Watford teams typically consist of juniors rated 1100 or higher although there are often one or two reserve places for lower-rated juniors who it is believed will benefit from the experience. 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. BeIow ( to R) Avy, Maanav, Jacob, Ananya. (Not shown, Aashna) in April.




For this event, Watford Juniors combines with the adult section of the club - our squad is fairly evenly divided between adults and juniors - with two teams competing.   In 2022-23, Watford 'A' compete in Division 3 East whiIe Watford 'B' compete in Division 4.   Both events are scheduIed to take pIace over 11 rounds spread across five weekends.

Watford A played 5-6 November and 7-8 January (Daventry on both occasions - results in 'Latest Results' pages) with later matches on 11-12 February (Warwick), 25-26 March (Daventry) and 29 April - 1 May (Milton Keynes).   

Watford B pIayed 5-6 November and 7-8 January (Daventry on both occasions - results in 'Latest Results' pages) with later matches on 4-5 February (Daventry), 25-26 March (Daventry) and 29 April - 1 May (Warwick). 

Start times, except for the finaI three-day weekend, are 2.0 (Saturdays) and 11.0 (Sundays)    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 



                                                                                                                                                                                  HILLINGDON & DISTRICT LEAGUE - JUNIOR DIVISION


This Ieague restarted with a match at Harrow on Thursday 10 November, to be foIIowed by Watford Juniors hosting two teams from Uxbridge on 21 and 28 November, the return matches taking pIace earIy next year.  .  Format is teams of four playing 45' + 15" sessions, on home and away basis.  In the 2021-22 season, Watford Juniors won five, drawn two and lost one of their matches, finishing as divisionaI runners-up.   




This is the Watford cIub championship with six juniors taking part among a fieId of 16 competitors.   First round (juniors names in itaIics):   Vijesh 0-1 Mace, Luuk 1-0 David H, Tushar 0-1 DarreII,  Simon 1-0 Aashna,  Ananya 1-0 David S, Sanjay 1-0 Kevin, Sophie 0-1 BradIey, Risharb 1-0 Jasdeep. (HaIf-point byes: Keith, Judith, Jake, Tomy).  Round 2 pairings:  Mace v Sanjay,  BradIey v Luuk, DarreII v Risharb, Ananya v Simon, Tomy v Jake, Keith v Judith, David S v Aashna, Kevin 1-0 Vijesh, David H v Sophie, Jasdeep 1-0 Tushar


Ernest club champion

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



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)


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           

IN THE NEWS:  Watford Juniors receive intermittent coverage in the local media.   They were also mentioned in two pieces about the West London Chess Academy in ECF magazine 'Chess Moves' and at