Watford pre-season (September) programme now agreed - see Fixtures page
4 Nations Chess League - see right-hand column below.  Further interest invited so as to make possible a second Watford team.   Contact Roger Lancaster if interested
New FIDE Laws of Chess effective 1 July 2017 just published


The club committee next meets 7 August, primarily to finalise arrangements for the following month's AGM.   However, if there are matters you feel should be drawn to the committee's attention, please do so in adequate time before 7 August.   This includes any observations you may have on the proposed new constitution.






J4NCL 2017-18 weekend 1 takes place 30 September/1 October at De Vere Wokefield Park, near Reading.   The other weekends are 20-21 January and 21-22 April 2018 at Park Inn, Telford.

In a change from previous years, it is confirmed that Division 1 (open to teams with average strength ELO1400 or ECF standardplay equivalent) will be FIDE-rated as well as ECF-graded.  Division 2 (open to teams with average strength ECF85 whether standardplay or rapidplay) will be ECF-graded only with playing conditions as in 2016-17.   

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 consultation period has expired and the new rules (but still subject to minor adjustment) now appear on the 4NCL website.

Happy juniors (L-to-R, Christian, Kaveer, Karan, Michael) at the April 2017 J4NCL

Two Watford teams took part in this event over the weekend of 22-23 April in Solihull, near Birmingham.   Eleven teams played in Division 2 including, with many of our strongest juniors unavailable, the Watford teams.  

After the first day's play, Watford 1 were the only team with a 100% record while Watford 2 were one of four teams in joint second position.   However, on Sunday, nothing went right and both teams finished in mid-table.   For all board-by-board results, excluding Watford 1's first-round bye, go to the "Latest Results" section.  


After a hard day's play at April 2017 J4NCL, children and parents relax over dinner  

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


Four adults and eight juniors competed with Mace Carnochan (5/5) sweeping all before him and Simon Charles and David Healey joint second on 3.5.


First-teamer Jerry Rudge took on 11 Watford juniors in a simultaneous display on Tuesday, 18 July, winning 10 and drawing with Kian Shah.  Honorable mention - Maanav Nagda who battled on for over 3 hours before conceding.   

Earlier, club president Mike Boyce had taken on 12 juniors on 4 July, winning all 12 games.   Honorable mention -  Kaveer Mehta, "last man standing" who narrowly failed to draw. 


UK Chess Challenge gigafinals, 22-23 July:  Boys:  Maanav Nagda 4.5/6 (4th) in u-8, Kian Shah 5.5/6 (2nd) in u-10, Param Vyas 4.5/6 (6th) in u-13. Girls:  Lettie Ganyushin 4/6 in u-9, Anaya Popat 4/6 in u-13

Omowale Nelson 4/6 in Kings Place u-170, 9 July

Kian Shah 6.5/7 and Avi Chloe Hsu 5/7 (losing only to Kian) in EPSCA u-11 finals, 4-5 July

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 


Until this is updated, please refer to the ECF Calendar 






The club will enter the 4 Nations Chess League (the adult equivalent of J4NCL, although also open to our stronger juniors) which meets over five weekends in 2017-18, starting on 11-12 November.

One team is now definite (selection from Rudge, Boyce, Lancaster, Nelson, Dunlop, Gogna, Yassir, Sloan, Charles, Pigott, Gogna, Shah, Vig, Gurjar) with a second team very possible if there is enough interest from other club members - the club committee will next revisit this at its meeting on 7 August.   For a provisional list of opposing teams, go to http://www.4ncl.co.uk/1718_teams.htm

The four later 4NCL weekends are 13-14 January, 10-11 February, 24-25 March and 5-7 May (3 days), all at De Vere Wokefield Park, near Reading, making a total of 11 rounds.  All games are ECF-graded and FIDE-rated so "gold" 2017-8 ECF membership will be required. 

Main points to note are that it's one round each day, with the rate of play being 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 normally 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 of a weekend.


The Price Cup, the club's individual championship, was again won by Andrew Stone who conceded just a solitary draw in seven games.   Jerry Rudge and Ernest Karumazondo finished joint 2nd with 5 points apiece, ahead of Mike Boyce (4.5) and Neil Dunlop, Samir Yassir and Darrell Pigott (all 4 pts) with 10-year-old Michael Lee among four players on 3.5 points. Seventeen members of the club took part with Darrell winning the Dobson Shield and Michael the Silver Knight.


The junior waiting list is currently closed.  Use the "Contact Us" link for more information.

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.


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

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



Club committee and officers

The club's next Annual General Meeting will take place at the Town & Country Club, Halsey House, Rosslyn Road, Watford commencing 7.45 on Tuesday 5 September 2017.  At the previous Meeting on 6 September 2016, 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



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


Aberystwyth 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 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 normally given for the game ..." which covers this point.  


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." 



 Slip-ups by opposing teams mean that Watford narrowly retained the Division 1 title, which they have 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.


The following incident from this year's Canadian Championship, a Zonal event in the world championship cycle, is described more fully at http://chess.ca/newsfeed/node/972 and is reported in summarised form here:
Mr A attempted to promote to a queen, but not finding one on the table and with only seconds remaining on his clock, he placed an upside-down rook on the board and hit the clock. The arbiter stopped the clock and said that according to the rules the upside down rook is not an illegal move, but it is a rook and not a queen. There was no time penalty, and the game continued. On the next move Mr B promoted to a queen with check, and won a few moves later.
Mr A was seemingly unaware of FIDE Article 6.12.b which states 'A player may stop the chessclock only in order to seek the arbiter’s assistance, for example when promotion has taken place and the piece required is not available.'   There were other aspects to this incident described more fully at the website mentioned above.



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