Entries are rolling in (123 so far!) for the St Albans Congress on 1-2 April at St Columba's College.  Five standard-play rounds, three on Saturday, two on Sunday.   Five events - "open", under-181, u-161, u-141 and u-121.   You can enter online at http://www.stalbanscongress.com/index.php/en/enter-online.    Last year's entry, around 225 players, more or less stretched the event to full capacity and I can see them putting up the "Full up" sign early this year so don't leave entry until the last minute!
The 2017 British Chess Championships will be sponsored by Capital Developments Waterloo
The ECF Board will be presenting, in April, a proposal to abolish the present Game Fee for events where only bronze-level ECF membership is required.  Congresses are unaffected.  The proposals are quite complex but may be found at http://www.englishchess.org.uk/proposed-abolition-of-game-fee/


Hertfordshire Chess League, 2016/7

 The Division 1 title looks set to pass into other hands, after 4 years, as defending champions Watford 1 lost a third match and now (16 March) have just 13 match-points (+5 =3 -3) from a maximum possible of 22 with one match still to play.    That's against Royston who are now vying with Little Heath for the title.

The team has however progressed to the final of the "open" county knock-out cup, the Russell Trophy, courtesy of a nail-biting 3.5-2.5 win against Royston.   Either Hemel Hempstead or Letchworth awaits.

Watford 2 (+4 =1 -5) and Watford 3 (+1 =0 -6) are each contesting Division 2.   The club has withdrawn its fifth team from the main league but Watford 4 (+7 =1 -1) are challenging to win Division 5.   There is also a team (+5 =2 -2) in the related under-120 league.  

The club has also reformulated its policy with regard to the separate Hertford & District League, restricted to players graded under 160, which is now being contested by the club's junior team (+1 =1 -5) against adult opposition. Full results of all events may be found in the "Latest Results" section.





Watford is currently assembling either two or three teams to contest the last 2016-17 weekend (22-23 April) of the Junior 4 Nations Chess League at St Johns Hotel, Solihull.   Soon after that, it will be time to consider plans for 2017-18 including the feasibility, and indeed desirability, of entering its adult equivalent, the 4NCL, which meets over five weekends.

[The five 4NCL weekends are now confirmed as 11-12 November, 13-14 January, 10-11 February, 24-25 March and 5-7 May (3 days), all at De Vere Wokefield Park, near Reading.  Total of 11 rounds.].

Unfortunately, most of our stronger players were unavailable for the January J4NCL weekend so our mainly middle-ranking juniors formed three evenly-balanced teams to play in Division 2.    However, the three teams had vastly differing fortunes, finishing with 5, 7 and 1 match-points respectively from a possible maximum of 10.  But none of our 13 team members went home completely disappointed as all won at least one game over the weekend.

Watford J4NCL team in October 2016 - seated L to R, Christian, Karan, Kian, Jeff

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


March 2016:  Watford 1 team (L to R, Aman, Jeff, Dhruv, Avi) with the J4NCL runners-up trophy 
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.   

Main event of the day was a simultaneous display given by international grandmaster Keith Arkell starting at 7.0.   Keith initially took on 12 opponents and, as the first batch of games ended, the retiring opponents were replaced by fresh faces. There was free entry, with ECF prizes plus a £20 meal voucher from The Happy Hour awaiting the first person to beat Keith.

Local juniors turned out in numbers to take on the grandmaster, 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


Kian, Christian, Ralitza, Karan and (background) Maanav hard at work against grandmaster Keith Arkell


News in brief:

A games cafe has opened at 87 Queens Road, Watford.   Distinguishing feature is that it stocks a wide range of games, including chess, for hire (cover charge, £1.50 per hour) for play at the cafe.   Menu at d20cafe.co.uk

Lettie Ganyushin 5/6 in Bury St Edmunds u-9 rapidplay, 5 March

Roshan Gurjar joint u-9 Northern champion, Siena Gurjar u-7 and joint u-8 girls champion, 18-19 February

Lettie Ganyushin top girl in West of England u-9 with 3.5/6, 18-19 February

Siena Gurjar 6/6 in Barnet girls u-7, Lettie Ganyushin 4/6 in u-9, Avril Chloe Hsu 4.5/6 in u-11, 12 February 

Kian Shah 4/6 in Golders Green U-145 rapidplay, 12 February


Upcoming Congresses (mainly local):

Until this is updated, please refer to the ECF Calendar 


Barry David, seen here (left) with  the President of Armenia Deaf Sport, finished 6th in the World Deaf championships held in Yerevan, May 2016

Junior club membership

The junior waiting list is currently closed.  Use the "Contact Us" link if interested in joining.

As well as its Tuesday club-nights, the club offers two-hour (6-8) training sessions on Sunday evenings at The Happy Hour pub in Eastbury Road which are free and open to non-member juniors.   You can just turn up.   At least one adult member of Watford Chess Club is always present to supervise matters.

Coaching for juniors

We're still looking for club members willing and able to give talks (with large demonstration board available) on any aspect of chess to our juniors - preferred start time 7.0 with 30 minutes duration but flexible to accommodate speakers. Choice of three levels - basic (mainly targeted at juniors below ECF50), intermediate (ECF50-100) or advanced (ECF100+) at speaker's choice 

English Chess Federation topics

Consultation is under way (closing date for submissions, 12 March) separately on (1) ECF voting reform and (2) British Championship qualifying regulations changes.   Go to the ECF website for full details.


 Jeff Tomy, joint winner of London under-10 championship, December 2016, with Southern Counties junior organiser, Angela Eyton





L to R, Maanav, Theo and Layla in play against Keith Arkell 

Kian Shah, 9, ran grandmaster Keith Arkell close but former Zimbabwe international Ernest Karumazondo (background) was the only one to beat him


Club committee and officers

The club's Annual General Meeting took place at the Town & Country Club, Halsey House, Rosslyn Road, Watford commencing 7.45 on Tuesday 6 September 2016 and the following appointments were made:


(** = committee)




** President

Mike Boyce

** Club Secretary

Paul Littlefair


Jerry Rudge

** Membership Secretary


Juniors Secretary

Roger Lancaster 

Tournament Secretary

Mike Boyce

Match Captains

Andrew Stone (1st, Russell)

Mace Carnochan (2nd) 

Cecil Sloan (3rd)

Paul Littlefair (Sharp)

Sanjay Vig (4th, u-140 k-o)

Pete Edwards (u-120 & u-120 k-o)

Christian Bland (Hertford & District)


Geir Erik Nielsen

Equipment Curator

Mace Carnochan

** Other Committee members

(up to 5 additional positions)

Roger Lancaster

Cecil Sloan

3 vacancies


Philip Abbott


 Main points from AGM - annual subscriptions unchanged except for £5 junior increase to cover extra J4NCL costs, Cecil Sloan elected to executive committee, Watford fifth team withdraws from Herts League (although u-120 team remains) due to insufficiency of available players, and Watford junior team poised to compete in Hertford & District League




 Youngest (Harish) and oldest (Simon) players at Keith Arkell simul

 Theo Hurrell celebrates third place in the Shenley u-10 event, November 2016

Aberystwyth 2014 - FIDE says, "Don't do it again!"


Those interested in the history of this dispute can find details at http://watfordchessclub.org/index.php/c ... cle?id=118  

The new draft FIDE Laws of Chess, just published, include a new law 10.2 reading "The total score of any game can never exceed the maximum score of a normal game" and it is hard to avoid putting two and two together.  


Interim Child Protection Policy

Club members are asked to note the addition, effective 2 November 2015, of an extra sentence reading "The Interim Child Protection Policy shall be interpreted as applying to vulnerable adults as well as to children."