Candidates (current world ranking in brackets) line-up, Berlin, March 2018:   Aronian (2), Mamedyarov (3), Caruana (4), So (6), Kramnik (7), Ding (10), Grischuk (11), Karjakin (13).   Double-round all-play-all.
Coaching sessionsfor juniors at the Coach & Horses, Croxley Green, every Sunday from 6 until 8.
Visit Geir Erik Nielsen's new YouTube channel Sack And Mate at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCiKX5RA0DR7JW

CLUB NIGHTS 

The club meets on Monday evenings at West Herts Sports & Social Club, Park Avenue, Watford, from 6.30 to 10.45.   

Chess is played in the Function Hall although members and visitors also have access to the separate and comfortable lounge bar area - as well as alcoholic beverages, the bar serves tea, coffee and soft drinks and a limited range of snacks including rolls.   Juniors have priority during the first hour .  There is ample free parking on Mondays at the new venue.   

It is suggested that intending new members visit the club before 7.45.    That's because inter-club matches begin at 7.45 and members than become immersed in their games.

  

 HERTFORDSHIRE CHESS LEAGUE

 The 2017-18 season began in early October.   Watford, which has headed the Hertfordshire League for the past five years, is running four teams in the main section of the league (in Divisions 1, 2, 3 and 4 respectively) and a fifth team in the under-120 league.    

Prospects of retaining the title look fairly bleak with the Division 1 table (teams play 12 matches in total) as at 16 February reading as follows:

 

HERTS DIVISION 1

P

W

D

L

GPs FvA

MPs

Little Heath

6

5

0

1`

18½-11½

10

Hemel Hempstead

7

5

0

2

20 - 15

10

Watford

7

3

1

3

18 - 16

7

Hertford

7

3

1

3

18-16

7

St Albans

7

1

2

4

15-18

4

Royston

6

1

2

3

13 -17

4

Letchworth

6

2

0

4

10½-19½

4

 

Watford teams also entered the four knock-out cup competitions, with three still in contention.    

As last year, the Watford team in the separate Hertford & District League (under-160 players only) is an all-junior side.

 

 

 

 

 

JUNIOR 4 NATIONS CHESS LEAGUE

Final J4NCL weekend is 21-22 April 2018, again at Park Inn, Telford, when we hope to be back to our normal entry of two or more teams.

20-21 January was the second J4NCL weekend at Telford, with just one Watford team taking part.    On arrival on Saturday, having braved the snow, our team found it had been given a first-round pairing against one from near-neighbours, Barnet Knights   The team navigated this successfully 3-1 and next drew 2-2 against Manchester 2.

After this, four teams had won both opening matches while three more teams, including Watford, were on 3/4.   However, a third-round 0.5-3.5 loss against Buckinghamshire juniors left our team off the pace.   Sadly, it stayed that way.

 

Teams arrived in snowy Telford from far and wide - picture courtesy of Alex Holowczak

There were two more rounds on Sunday, beginning with a match against Manchester 1.   As with our previous match against a Manchester side, this ended in a 2-2 draw.   Last match was against Brown Jack from Wiltshire, who had been top-seeded for the event as theoretically the strongest side.   We lost this 3-1.

Four points (+1 =2 -2) left us in joint 14th position (but 17th on tiebreak) from a field of 22, which was a bit worse than our normal performance, but our team seem to have enjoyed themselves and will have benefitted from playing some tough opposition.  The final table is shown below.

JANUARY J4NCL, DIVISION 2

P

W

D

L

GPs

MPs

Welsh Dragons Green

5

4

1

0

14

9

Barnet Knights 2

5

4

0

1

13½

8

Robin Hoods (Nottingham)

5

3

1

1

12

7

Oxfordshire A

5

3

1

1

12

7

Welsh Dragons Blue

5

3

1

1

11½

7

Warwickshire Bears C

5

3

1

1

10½

7

Brown Jack (Wiltshire)

5

3

0

2

12

6

Manchester 1

5

2

2

1

10

6

Camberley B

5

3

0

2

11½

6

Warwickshire Bears D

5

2

1

2

10

5

Welsh Dragons Yellow

5

2

1

2

5

Warwickshire Bears B

5

2

1

2

9

5

Warwickshire Bears E

5

2

1

2

5

Leicester Blues

5

1

2

2

10

4

Manchester Girls

5

1

2

2

4

Buckinghamshire

5

2

0

3

11½

4

Watford

5

1

2

2

4

Sleepless Knights 2 (Essex?)

5

2

0

3

9

4

Manchester 2

5

1

1

3

3

Oxfordshire B

5

1

0

4

9

2

Oxfordshire C

5

1

0

4

6

2

Barnet Knights 3

5

0

0

5

3

0

 

To maintain its elite status, Division 1 is restricted to teams with average strength ELO1400 (or ECF standardplay equivalent) while Division 2 is open to teams with average strength ECF85 (whether standardplay or rapidplay).  

To meet FIDE requirements, Division 1 games will be played with a longer time-control, i.e. all moves in 80 minutes but with 10 second increments from move 1.   Saturday's games will commence 10.0, 13.30 and 17.0 with Sunday's games at 10.0 and 13.30.  Coaching sessions have been retained, aligned with the Division 2 timetable, but Division 1 players will be unable to attend these unless their games finish early.  The new rules  now appear on the 4NCL website.

 

Inter-round coaching at the January J4NCL - picture courtesy of Andrew Martin

More background on J4NCL appears at http://www.watfordchessclub.org/index.php/junior-4-nations-weekend

 

JUNIOR WAITING LIST / TRAINING

The junior waiting list has now reopened.   To establish a place on the list, please use the "Contact Us" link at the top of the page to supply a junior's name, gender, and month and year of birth along with any other information you consider relevant.      

Sunday evening training sessions (6 until 8) take place at the Coach & Horses, Croxley Green.  This is an open-to-all (club members and non-members alike) drop-in and all standards, from junior international down to near-beginner, are welcome.   There is no charge as the pub lets us have the free use of several tables - but please do buy the occasional drink otherwise we shall become unwelcome customers!

NEWS IN BRIEF:

Kian Shah, Roshan Gurjar each overturn ELO1950 opponents in 4NCL defeat, 11 February

Siena Gurjar 5/6 (jt 3rd) South of England u-8; Jeff Tomy 4.5/5 (jt 1st) u-11, 27-28 January

Kian Shah 6/9 (jt 8th), London u-12 (major) final; Bruno Zheng 5.5/9 u-12 (minor); Adithya Pramod Paleri 4.5/6 (jt 2nd), Xmas major; Roshan Gurjar 4/6 (jt 4th), Xmas minor, 28-30 December

Roshan Gurjar 6/7 (jt 2nd), London u-10 (major) final, 16-17 December

 

Jeremy Davies (right, above) got to meet and play ex-world champion Garry Kasparov on 4 October.

UPCOMING CONGRESSES (MAINLY LOCAL):

Until this is updated, please refer to the ECF Calendar 

  

   

 

 

         4 NATIONS CHESS LEAGUE - DIVISION 4

The next (fourth of five) weekend takes place 24-25 March at De Vere Wokefield Estate, near Reading.   League table after round 4 of 11 was as follows:

 4NCL DIVISION 4 P W D L GP Pts
1 Oxford 3 6 5 1 0 25 11
2 CSC 2 6 5 1 0 23 11
3 Iceni 1 6 5 0 1 24 10
4 Iceni 2 6 5 0 1 24 10
5 Crowthorne 6 5 0 1 22½ 10
6 All Anands on Deck 6 4 1 1 22 9
7 Surbiton 6 4 0 2 24 8
8 Fischer's Catch 6 4 0 2 22½ 8
9 Brown Jack 2 6 3 2 1 21 8
10 Wessex B 6 3 1 2 20½ 7
11 Kent KJCA Kestrels 6 3 1 2 20 7
12 K Kings 2 6 3 1 2 19½ 7
13 Throw in the Tal 6 3 1 2 18½ 7
14 Poisoned Pawns 2 6 3 0 3 19 6
15 Watford 6 3 0 3 18½ 6
16 MK Phoenix 2 6 2 2 2 18 6
17 The Pitstop 6 3 0 3 18 6
18 West is Best 4 6 2 1 3 17 5
19 Sussex Martlets 3 6 2 1 3 14½ 5
20 Oxford 4 6 2 0 4 16 4
21 CSC 3 6 2 0 4 15½ 4
22 Camberley Juniors 6 1 2 3 15 4
23 Cambridge University 3 4 2 0 2 10½ 4
24 Barnet Knights 2 6 1 1 4 15½ 3
25 Iceni 3 6 1 0 5 10½ 2
26 D&D United 4 1 0 3 10 2
27 Invicta Chess 6 0 2 4 10 2
28 Barnet Knights 4 6 1 0 5 6 2
29 Brown Jack 3 6 0 1 5 10½ 1
30 Barnet Knights 3 6 0 1 5 9 1 

The final weekends is 5-7 May (3 days), at the same Berkshire venue, making a total of 11 rounds.  All games are ECF-graded and FIDE-rated. 

Main points to note are that it's 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.   Starting times are 2.0 on the first day of a weekend, 1.0 on the middle day of a three-game weekend, and 11.0 on the final day with reserve games starting one hour later on each day.

Watford will, in all probability, enter a second team in 4NCL in 2018-19.     Go to http://www.4ncl.co.uk/ for more information, game scores appear at http://www.4ncl.co.uk/downloads.htm:

 

  

Simon Charles, en route to winning the club rapidplay on 1 August, takes on Theo Hurrell with eventual runner-up Cecil Sloan in the background

 

 

 

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETINGS

The club's Annual General Meeting took place on Tuesday 5 September 2017 and a motion passed adjourning matters to a further session held on Tuesday 10 October, following which the following elections/appointments were made:   

post

(** = committee)

Postholders

2017-18

   

** President

Hanisha Gurjar & Jennifer Hurrell (joint)

** Club Secretary

Paul Littlefair 

**Treasurer

Hanisha Gurjar & Jennifer Hurrell (joint)

** Membership Secretary

Vacant 

Juniors Secretary

Roger Lancaster 

Match Captains, 2017-18

 

Andrew Stone (1st, Russell)

Mace Carnochan (2nd) 

Cecil Sloan (3rd)

Paul Littlefair (Sharp)

Sanjay Vig (4th, u-140 k-o)

Pete Edwards & Geir Erik Nielsen (joint u-120 & u-120 k-o)

Christian Bland (Hertford & District)

Sanjay Vig (4 Nations Chess League)

Various (Junior 4NCL)

Webmaster 

Geir Erik Nielsen 

Equipment Curator

Mace Carnochan 

** Other Committee members

(up to 5 additional positions)

Roger Lancaster, Cecil Sloan, Sanjay Vig, Darrell Pigott, Simon Charles 

Auditor

Philip Abbott 

 

 

 HERTFORDSHIRE CHESS LEAGUE, 2016/7

 Slip-ups by opposing teams meant that Watford narrowly retained the Division 1 title, which it has now won for the 5th consecutive year, before completing a "double" by winning the county open knock-out cup (known as the Russell Trophy) for the third time in those years.

Watford amassed 15 match-points (+6 =3 -3) from a maximum of 24. In a close finish, this left them just ahead of Hemel Hempstead and Little Heath (both with 14 match-points), Royston (13), Hertford (12), St Albans (10) and Bishops Stortford whose total of 6 match-points meant relegation.

Watford 2 (+5 =1 -6) and Watford 3 (+1 =1 -10) each played in Division 2, with the former ending in mid-table but the latter relegated.   Watford 4 (+10 =1 -3) won its last match to gain promotion, albeit only on tie-break, from Division 5. Another Watford team finished third (+8 =2 -4) of eight teams in the related under-120 league while yet another lost to Stevenage in the final of the county under-140 knockout cup.

The separate Hertford & District League, restricted to players graded under 160, was contested by the club's junior team (+1 =1 -6) against adult opposition. The juniors found the opposition tough but enjoyed the experience.  Full results of all events may be found in the "Latest Results" section.

 

KEITH ARKELL SIMULTANEOUS

The English Chess Federation's "Chess Master @ The Local" programme arrived at The Happy Hour pub in Eastbury Road, Watford, on 25 August 2016   

Local juniors turned out in numbers to take on grandmaster Keith Arkell, along with some adult members of the club and rather more members of the general public who had been attracted by the publicity.   In all, 20 people played against Keith (a couple more than once!) but only former Zimbabwean international Ernest Karumazondo prevailed.

For more information, go to this Watford Observer article 

ABERYSTWTYH 2014 - FIDE AMENDS RULES

Those interested in the history of this dispute can find details at http://watfordchessclub.org/index.php/c ... cle?id=118  The FIDE Laws of Chess now include a new law 10.2 reading "The total score of any game can never exceed the maximum score normally given for the game ..." which covers this point.     

 

 

 

 

 

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/ (up to date)

Hertfordshire Chess Association

http://www.hertschess.com/ (appears to be somewhat out of date)

Hertfordshire Chess League results

http://chess-results.e2-e4.co.uk/ (up to date)

Hertfordshire Schools Chess Association

http://hsca-chess.com/ (variable but currently seems up to date)

4 Nations Chess League (incl. J4NCL)

http://www.4ncl.co.uk/ (up to date)

 

 ILLEGAL MOVES - SUMMARY OF 2018 LAWS

The 2018 Laws of Chess, which became effective on 1 January,  made several changes regarding illegal moves.   The 2018 Laws will be applied in competitive games unless the event organisers have notified in advance departures from these Laws. .   Although arbiters do have discretion to be lenient over interpretation of the Laws where young and inexperienced players are involved, it is best not to rely on this – and, of course, arbiters are unlikely to use this discretion in the case of more experienced juniors.

 First important change is that there are now four types of illegal move – (1) the original one of making an incorrect move (including taking the opponent’s king – it is important to remember that this is always an illegal move!) or leaving the king in check (2) promoting a pawn and pressing one’s clock without first replacing (and a upturned rook is not an acceptable substitute for a queen!) the pawn  (3) moving (including castling) using both hands and (4) starting the opponent’s clock without moving.

 In the case of (1) and (3) it is always possible to remedy the illegal move as long as one does so before pressing one’s clock.   Take the example of someone who uses both hands to castle and then, before pressing his or her clock, realises the mistake.   The move has not been completed (because the clock has not been pressed) so the player has the right to “uncastle” and then castle again, this time using one hand only, before pressing the clock.  

Second important change is that, in blitz and rapidplay games, one completed illegal move was sufficient to lose the game, except in the case where there was insufficient mating material.    This no longer applies. The new situation is that blitz and rapidplay rules have been brought into line with standard play rules with a first completed illegal move incurring only a time penalty.    A second such move will however lose the game except in the case of insufficient mating material.

Where one action constitutes two types of illegality – for example, a player whose king is in check castles using both hands – this shall count only as one illegal move.    And, as earlier, if the player in question recognises this before pressing his clock, he can remedy any illegality before pressing his clock.   In this particular situation, having touched both pieces, the player would be required to make any legal king move or any legal rook move depending on which the arbiter deemed he touched first.

Much of the above refers to the procedure to be followed when an illegal move is made or completed.   It is not particularly straightforward (and that’s probably an under-statement) for inexperienced or young players.   My strong advice is to take care to avoid making illegal moves in the first place.    Even then, all players should have some awareness of the Laws to cater for the situation where an opponent makes or completes an illegal move.   

 In summary, if an opponent completes an illegal move, the solution is simple – stop your clock and call for the arbiter.   If the opponent makes an illegal move, but does not complete it by pressing his or her clock, wait to see what he or she does next!