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 (4NCL, teams in Divisions 3 and 4) and other over-the-board events.    Online chess also takes place - main club communities ["Watford Chess Club" and, for junior members and others known to us, "Watford Juniors"] are on Lichess with corresponding communities on 


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).

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   

Above - the 4NCL scene before the action starts



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"   
Update:  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)
13 February 2023 - 7.15 at Herts Bowling Club  

1    To appoint Alistair Taylor (failing whom, another committee member who shall be present) as chair of the meeting
2    To appoint Roger Lancaster (failing whom, another committee member who shall be present) as minute-taker
3    To ascertain who is present and that this constitutes a quorum.   (NB:  Clause 5.3.3 of the constitution states "Only Members aged 14 or over at the date of the General Meeting shall be entitled to vote at that Meeting" although others are entitled to attend).
4    To amend clause 8.1 of the club's constitution to "The financial year shall be 1st June to 31st May", such amendment having immediate effect so that the club's current financial year will be the 10 months ending 31st May 2023.
5    To renumber clause 6.5 of the club's constitution as clause 6.6 and include new clause 6.5 stating "In the event of a Member behaving in a disruptive way, any two members of the Committee acting together may temporarily suspend that member.   'Temporarily' here means for the remainder of the club night in question, or the whole of a later club night, or such lesser period as the two committee members may agree."
6.   To replace "8" by "6" in clause 5.3.5 of the club's constitution
7.   To appoint Luuk Van Essen as a member of the committee
Note:   Members are reminded that clause 10 of the constitution states  "A resolution to amend the Constitution shall be proposed only at a General Meeting and shall be passed only if two thirds of those present at the vote and eligible to vote do so in favour".   This applies to Agenda items 4, 5 and 6..
Alistair Taylor and Roger Lancaster were unanimously appointed chair and minute-taker respectively.   It was established that 4 adults (Alistair, Roger, Luuk and David S) and 5 juniors (Sid, Rish, Maya, Maanav and Sophie) over age 14 and therefore entitled to vote were present, the meeting consequently consisting of more than its quorum of 8 members. All four motions were passed unanimously.   



This is the Watford cIub championship with seven juniors taking part among a fieId of 20 competitors.   Round 2 results (junior names in italics):   Mace d-1 Sanjay, Bradley d-1 Luuk, Darrell 1-0 RisharbAnanya 0-1 Simon, Tomy 1/2 Jake, Keith 1/2 JudithKevin 1-0 Vijesh, David S 1-0 Aashna, David H 1-0 SophieJasdeep 1-0 Tushar.
Mace, Bradley and Tushar withdrew after round 2.
Round 3 pairings:  Luuk (2) 1-0 Simon (2), Sanjay (2) 0-1 Darrell (2), David H (1) 1-d David S (1), Judith (1) 0-1 Tomy (1), Risharb (1) 1-0 Ananya (1), Kevin (1) 0-1 Keith (1), Jake (1) 1-0 Jasdeep (1),  Aashna (0) 1-0 Vijesh (0),  Sophie (0) - bye.



BREAKING NEWS: Club rapidplay on 29 May won by Avy Dasgupta and Jonathan Rubeck, each with 5/6, ahead of Ananya Patel (4), Sid Sethi (3.5) and 8 others.


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. 

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 EngIish Chess Federation because ECF membership is mandatory for all competitive events..  Junior membership of the ECF is inexpensive - see for details - and sometimes free. 
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.   
Main competitive activities are described below with a fixture list on the separate 'Fixtures' page. 
Ananya, UKCC r-up, July 2022.jpg
Ananya - Runner-up, UKCC u-10 gigafinal, July 2022                                                                                                                                                                                       






For the national league, Watford Juniors combine with the adult section of the club - 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
4 MASCeteers 14 40
5 Celtic Tigers 2 14 37
6 Wotton Hall 14 36
7 She Plays To Win Lionesses 13 35½
8 CSC/Kingston 2 13 34½
9 War and Piece A 12 39
10 Ashfield 2 12 35½
11 Guildford Young Guns 12 34
12 Sussex Martlets 3 12 33½
13 Anglian Avengers 2 12 28
14 The Full Ponty 11 35
15 Coventry 11 30½
16 Barnet Knights C 11 30½
17 Iceni 2 10 36½
18 Oxford 3 10 35½
19 Average Wood Pushers B 10 32½
20 She Plays to Win Young Stars 10 31½
21 Cambridge University 3 10 25
22 She Plays To Win Uni 8 26
23 Cambridge University Y1 8 25
24 Iceni 3 8 24½
25 Ashfield 3 8 23½
26 Wessex Some Stars B 8 20½
27 Deaf England 7 23
28 Watford B 7 17
29 Oxford 4 6 19½
30 Celtic Tigers 3 6 16½
31 Crowthorne B 5 25½
32 War and Piece B 4 24
33 CSC-Kingston 1 4 12
34 Barnet Knights D 2
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. 



Due to difficulties booking hotels, the 2022-23 J4NCL season was cancelled.  Watford Juniors played in the final 2021-22 weekend when results were as follows:  

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 ( to R) Avy, Maanav, Jacob, Ananya. (Not shown, Aashna) in April 2022. 



Below - Advait Keerthi Kumar, London u-10 champion (+6 =1 -0, December 2022)       




Watford finished as divisional runners-up in 2021-22 in this competition which is designed 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 four playing 45' + 15" sessions, on home and away basis.


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



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           

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.  Roger also appeared 4 days previous. 
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