Friday, 29 December 2017

New Year and photo boards

I hope you've all had a pleasant Christmas. CJCC will meet back on Tuesday 9th January with the younger players when we will kick off the first round of the UK Chess Challenge. The older players will kick off the following week (16th).

Below are a couple of photo boards I've put together ready for the New Year with photos from last term. The one on the left from our club and the one on the right from the British Chess events I help former CJCC parent and International Master Richard Pert organise.

The next British Chess event is a two-day, junior long play tournament on 10th/11th February with the top section FIDE-rated. There will be analysis of games as they finish and coaching as part of the weekend. Full details of the event can be found at or email me for a flyer.

Ahead of this on Sunday 14th January is the next Essex Junior Chess Association Grand Prix tournament at Southend. Details at

Good luck to our players currently competing at the London Junior Chess Championships.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

CJCC Christmas Buffet

Today was our last meeting before Christmas so all the club were invited to a special Christmas Buffet meeting. Thank you to all the parents who arrived with food. I was impressed - not a bag of haribo in sight. James had even baked some special Christmas cheese stars for the occasion. They were delicious.

Thank you as well to all of you who helped clear up. Tom displayed unexpected enthusiasm for vacuuming which did impress his mum.

Congratulations to Bertie who was my player of the day for his willingness to challenge stronger opponents.

We will meet back on 9th January with the younger half and kick off the UK Chess Challenge (a 7-round tournament for everyone which will run to Easter).

I hope you all have a lovely Christmas and good luck to our players going to the London Junior Chess Championships between Christmas and New Year.

Francesca playing Amelie (plus dog).

Bertie (standing) taking on Eddie in the foreground.

Best Wishes

Sunday, 10 December 2017

H+H Fire Train and Play 10th December

Bad timing for us today with the snow which meant about half the players who entered couldn't take part. Impressive effort by Dagne battling down from Suffolk to be our Guest Coach.

We had a friendly match and coaching by IM Richard Pert and WGM Dagne Ciuksyte in the morning then split into 4 teams (parents and children) for a team competition in the afternoon.

Findlay's Noisy Knights team (with CJCC players Alexander and Maheep) were the winners with the other 3 teams separated by half a point. CJCC parents Jag and Dee were two of 5 players to score 3/3.

A report and photos will appear on the blog at

 Dominique and Charlotte's chess sculpture created at home when they couldn't make the day.

 IM Richard Pert with his coaching group. Anna with her hand up at the front.

 WGM Dagne Ciuksyte's more sedate approach in the classroom.

 Daniel vs Dee in the foreground.

Maheep vs Hugo with Dagne watching at the back.

Best Wishes

Saturday, 9 December 2017

H+H Fire FunMaster Mike evening 8th December

Yesterday saw something of a coup for British Chess with an evening of chess with US FIDE Master Mike Klein alongside IM Richard Pert and me at Moulsham School.

Mike is better known as FunMaster Mike from the excellent ChessKid website. ChessKid's one million users worldwide make Mike arguably the world's best known junior chess coach. The juniors who know Mike so well as their online chess mentor had the weird experience of seeing a virtual figure become flesh and blood.

Mike gave a great talk about looking for unusual moves and then took part in a simultaneous match alongside Richard and me against all the juniors. He was brilliant with the juniors and it was a special evening to be part of.

Congratulations to Moulsham and CJCC's Adam Baker who played a very nice combination to be the only winner in the simultaneous match.

Part two of the H+H Fire Christmas Train and Play is tomorrrow's family challenge event. Report to follow.

 Mike illustrating one of the ideas.

 The audience (parents and juniors) really enjoyed Mike's interactive presentation.

 Richard opposite a row of CJCC players watched by Byon.

 Mike thinking about Madison's position watched by Matthew.

A perfect photo for a caption competition!

Best Wishes

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Today's Meeting

The older players today and we had a team competition. 4 captains picked their teams for a semi-final and final. Congratulations to Felix whose team of Olga, Ed, Adam, Cody and Annie were victorious. Felix also won the "Player of the Week" trophy for his fighting draw with Ben Pickwick in the first match.

Please remember there is no club next week (5th December) but back with a bang on the 12th December with the Christmas Buffet for everyone.

 Two easily distracted teams in the first match. Alex's team (on the left) won 3-2.

 Ben playing Felix (right) in the first match. Felix's team would go on to win both matches.

Nikita - who seemed to end up playing for all the teams - focused in the first match.

Best Wishes

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

CJCC 14th November

Busy afternoon at the club today with the older players. Ben Pickwick was our "Player of the Week" for demonstrating one of his own games on the big board to the rest of the club.

Recording your games so you can look over them afterwards with a stronger player is one of the best ways to improve. It also lets you enjoy your triumphs once again.

Thank you to Min for bringing cake for everyone to celebrate Jixuan's birthday.

Good luck to all our players taking part in the EJCA Grand Prix event at Basildon this weekend.

 Josh is carefully recording his game with Olga. We will look at it together at the adult club in Chelmsford on Thursday evening.

Bertie looks to have gone astray in his match. Francesca and Cody are playing in the background.

Hriday and Lawrence keen to get in the picture. Alex is playing Nikita with behind them Ben watching Stewart playing Jake.

Best Wishes

Monday, 13 November 2017

Train and Play 12th November

As ever it was great to see so many CJCC players taking part in the latest H+H Fire British Chess Train and Play event in Chelmsford on Sunday. Adam was our top club scorer with 3/3 just pipping Ben Chang and Jake who scored 2.5.

I was just as impressed though by the effort put in by some players who didn't end up with any wins and the great spirit everyone showed. One of these players - CJCC's Alice White - won the "Player of the Day" trophy for this reason.

We had a coaching quartet this time with WGM Dagne Ciuksyte and Lateefah Messam-Sparks joining IM Richard Pert and myself. Although the majority of players come from Essex some come from much further afield. This time Rohan Pal had made the longest journey (from Birmingham) so it was good to see him finish on 2/3 and be part of the winning team.

Team Judit Polgar - managed by Dagne and captained by Chris Willoughby - won with 31 points with the other three teams all finishing on 25.5 or 26. The majority of the winning team were girls and it is always nice to see so many girls at our events.

A full report, results and more photos will appear at but in the meantime below are a few photos of the day.

 Lateefah testing out Ranulph in a friendly game.

Kyan on top board for Team Garry Kasparov against Team Judit Polgar.

Rohan keeping a close eye on the top board in the Team Bobby Fischer vs Team Magnus Carlsen match.

The players who scored 3/3 receiving their prizes.

The winning Team Judit Polgar. Chris on the left with the trophy and Dagne standing behind.

Best Wishes

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

CJCC 7th November

A fun and busy afternoon at the club today. Scott Shelley (one of the strongest players at KEGS and a regular helper at the club) played a six board simultaneous match against a rotating team of 10 opponents. Congratulations to Felix (future KEGS student) on his victory and Ben, Jixuan and Sophie on their hard earned draws.

James Naylor from Moulsham was our Player of the Week for a very neat checkmate against Sophie.

Welcome to Charlie and Kaan who came along for the first time.

Lawrence and Felix "helping" Amelie and Theo. In the background on the left Russell White is playing Jixuan while Ben, Leon and Tom are facing Scott on the right.

 Eddie and Olga in the foreground, Lawrence facing Nikita behind them.

James Naylor - our Player of the Week.

Best Wishes

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Halloween Checkmate Challenge and Upcoming Chess

Congratulations to Ben Chang who narrowly won our Halloween Checkmate Challenge on tie-break from Anna to win a skull glass. Congratulations also to Olga who won our "Player of the Day" trophy for her fabulous costume.

Olga recently got 5/6 in the South East Girls U10 Rapidplay so fully deserves to be the first winner of our new prize - a trophy awarded each week (to be held for two weeks) to the Player of the Day.

Ben played at the Bury St Edmunds Congress last weekend and scored 2/5 against a mixture of adult and junior players (including his first win over an adult player in a tournament - always a special moment).

Lots of chess coming up...

12th Nov - H+H Fire Train and Play at Moulsham School. Details at

19th Nov - Basildon Rapidlay. Entry form at

3rd Dec - EJCA Coaching Day (by invitation).

3rd Dec - LJCC qualifier and Suffolk Junior Open at Woodbridge. Email me for an entry form.

5th Dec - KEGS trip to Olympia for the London Chess Classic.

8th Dec - Chess Evening in Chelmsford with Fun Master Mike from - a rare visit to the UK from one of the world's best known junior coaches. Special part of...

10th Dec - H+H Fire Train and Play Christmas Special.

12th Dec - CJCC Christmas Buffet (limited chess but plenty of food).

Best Wishes

Tuesday, 17 October 2017


CJCC finished tonight ahead of a week's break for half-term. We'll meet back on the 31st October with the older group (and Halloween snacks).

Tonight the younger half (plus a few older ones) had a Checkmate Competition. We had queen, rook and king against king and had a competition to see who could checkmate in the fewest moves. For the less experienced players it was a good chance to practice their technique and for the stronger ones an equally good chance to do a bit of teaching.

Congratulations to Olga, Eddie, James and Amelie for their prize-winning efforts and thank you to Leon for donating the swiftly consumed prizes from his refreshment table. Congratulations also to Olga for scoring 5/6 in a strong girl's event at the weekend.

Looking ahead...

Older Group 31st Oct, 14th Nov, 28th Nov
Younger Group 7th Nov, 21st Nov

The club will be closed on 5th December because I'll be at the London Chess Classic at Olympia with the KEGS U13 players so the whole club is invited to a Christmas Buffet on 12th December.

This is from last week with Phoebe and Francesca distracted by Alexander's match against Felix and Adam.

Best Wishes

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Chelmsford Junior Chess Club

Three weeks into the new season now and it is as if we have never been away. It was nice to welcome Tudor to the club for the first time today. A nice day for Tudor to come along because it was Adam's 9th birthday and he very kindly came along with cakes for everyone.

Adam will be one of a number of CJCC players taking part in the Essex Junior Chess Association tournament in Chelmsford on Saturday. I shall be there impartially cheering them all on.

 Francesca getting diverted from her match with Ewan last week.

 Tom showing he shares his sister's enthusiasm for the camera.

Cody focussed on his game with Kai today. Solan on the left playing George.

Best Wishes

Monday, 25 September 2017

Train and Play 24th September

Yesterday was the 5th H+H Fire Train and Play event at Moulsham Junior School in Chelmsford. Joining International Master Richard Pert and me as guest coach was British Grandmaster Chris Ward.

70 children of all levels came along for a mixture of team competition and chess coaching. It was the closest team competition we have ever had and the final scores were...

1st Team Garry Kasparov 28.5 (managed by Essex Junior Chess Association coaching co-ordinator Nate Weersing).

2nd Team Judit Polgar 27.5 (managed by IM Richard Pert).

3rd Team Bobby Fischer 27 (managed by GM Chris Ward).

4th Team Magnus Carlsen 25 (managed by twice Essex champion and CJCC parent Russell White).

18 players from CJCC took part and special congratulations to Jixuan Li for being one of 6 children to score 3/3 in their games.

More details will appear at but for now here are some photos of the event.

Concentration with Ned closest to the camera and the tournament for parents in the background.

 An attentive coaching group doing some work with me in between matches.

 Selina (rightly) looking worried against Henri. Nate and Chris in the background watching the games.

 Team Manager and CJCC parent Russell White keeping a close eye on the action.

 The top board between Jenith (on the left) and Kyan in the last round.

The victorious Team Kasparov with Chris Ward on the left and Captain Kyan Bui holding the trophy. Thank you to Tony Fox for the photo.

Best Wishes

Monday, 18 September 2017

KEGS and Upcoming Chess

The new chess season is well under way now. On Sunday I went with KEGS to Eton College to take part in a one-day tournament. KEGS entered two teams made up of 6 players each with the A team scoring 19.5/30 to finish in the top 10 and the B team exceeding grades and expectations with 15.5/30. 

Finishing in the top half means KEGS B also qualify for the regional section of the National U19 School Championships. As most of the B team were from Year 7 and 8 this was a fine achievement and bodes well for the future. KEGS and their students are lucky to have a teacher in Tim Worrall willing to organise so much chess on behalf of the school. Next on the agenda is a weekend away at the junior 4NCL at the end of September.

CJCC player Ben Pickwick was playing in his first tournament for KEGS and scored a magnificent 5/5 for the B team. CJCC poster designer Elliot Cocks was part of KEGS A after flying back from representing England in the European Youth Championships in Romania the previous week.

Below is a photo of the event which took place in the palatial surroundings of the school hall.

Tomorrow (19th) is the first day of the new season at CJCC then on Sunday 24th is the next Train and Play event at Moulsham School with guest coach Grandmaster Chris Ward. Details at

Also at Moulsham on Saturday 7th October is the first EJCA Grand Prix tournament. Entry form via 

Best Wishes

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

CJCC - New Season Dates

I hope you are enjoying the summer. There is a brief pause in the chess now after the British Championships and Terafinal before things start again in September.

CJCC will open on Tuesday 19th September with the younger players (Years 1-4). This is slightly later than usual because I'm away on holiday. Looking ahead to Christmas (getting closer every day) the dates should be as follows. All Tuesdays from 4.30pm-6pm and the boundaries between the two groups  - and the top and bottom ages - are as fluid as ever. Please email with any queries.

19th Sept - Younger Group (Years 1-4).
26th Sept - Older Group (Years 4-8).
3rd October - Younger Group.
10th October - Older Group.
17th October - Younger Group.

24th October - Closed for half-term.

We'll reopen on 31st October with the Older Group then run through until 12th December.

If the club has to close for any reason on a particular week the groups will change so please keep an eye on the blog and the emails.

Some other chess dates coming up I'm involved with...

3rd September - Essex Junior Chess Association Training Day (by invitation).

17th September - KEGS taking part in a secondary school competition at Eton College.

24th September - Train and Play day in Chelmsford. All welcome. Details and entry via

7th October - EJCA Tournament in Chelmsford. Details via (but not yet!).

Best Wishes

Sunday, 30 July 2017

British Championships and Upcoming Chess

Good luck to all the Essex Juniors at the British Championships which started this weekend. We have 17 juniors playing altogether in the different sections. The easiest way to follow their progress is via the “Essex at the British” link at

I am delighted to say GM Chris Ward had such a good time at the Holiday Camp he has agreed to come to our next Train and Play event in Chelmsford on 24th September. Online registration is open at

The new chess grades are out. Always an exciting time – particularly for children getting their first ever grade. Click on

Below is a photo from the Holiday Camp last week. CJCC’s Maheep is concentrating hard in the foreground in what was a friendly game while Theo and Ben are across the room in the distance. One thing the players did was record the games they played in the team competition so we could analyse them afterwards which is what I’m doing with Jaideep and Isaac.

Best Wishes


Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Holiday Camp

The H+H Fire Chess Holiday Camp organised by Richard Pert and myself took place on 24th and 25th July. This was partly to help prepare the stronger players for the British Championships next week and partly to provide two days of chess fun for junior players.

Photos, a report and even a movie (courtesy of Nina) will appear at

Long-time Essex chess organiser Ivor Smith kindly came along to present Richard with the Essex Championship trophy (the fine silver one) and Essex Rapidplay trophy. Ivor is standing at the back with Richard seated at the front surrounded by some of the Holiday Club players. Those with good eyes will spot Maheep, Olga, Theo, Bertie, Ben and Eddie from CJCC (Jake and Alice were also present).

Best Wishes

Monday, 24 July 2017


Last weekend was the South of England Gigafinal with 9 CJCC players taking part. For many of them it was the biggest tournament they had ever played in and they all did themselves proud.

Particular congratulations to Olga who scored 5/6 in the U8 girls section to qualify for the Terafinal and Alexander Lockett who managed an excellent 4/6 against 6 opponents rated higher than himself.

 Anna ahead of her first game. She would go on to score a very respectable 3/6.

Jerry and Harry Zheng from Chelmsford. Jerry (left) scored 5/6 in the U9s and Harry 6/6 in the U7s. Both boys are off to the British Championships next week.

Essex U11 and CJCC player Alexander before going on to battle all day at the top of the tournament. He lost his last game to finish on 4/6.

Best Wishes

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

End of Season and Good Luck

This week (18th) was our final meeting before breaking up for the summer. It was nice to welcome Tyler and James along for the first time even if it wasn't great timing for Tyler to discover the club in the last week of term.

Good luck to our 9 players  - Alexander, Olga, Anna, Jake, Toby, Adam, Jixuan, Dinil and Andrew - off to the South of England Gigafinal this weekend. They qualified through the Essex Megafinal back in May. Hope I haven't forgotten anyone.

I'll be involved running a chess Holiday Camp next week ( which should be fun. For a number of players it is ideal preparation for the British Championships the following week. For the CJCC players it is just a chance to have a fun two days learning some new chess skills.

For those of you missing playing already have a look at two websites. is a brilliant and safe place for children to play and improve their chess online (there are many puzzles and video tutorials). is a nice tutorial package suitable for older children covering all aspects of the game.

The adult club in Chelmsford will still meet on Thursday evenings through the holidays and I'll be there to sort out the chess for the junior players.

Best Wishes

Sunday, 9 July 2017

CJCC 4th July and KEGS Chess

A busy week of chess following the Train and Play on Sunday 2nd July. On 4th July at CJCC we had a challenge match between Moulsham Junior School and the rest of the club. Josh and Leon selected their teams and we had a match over 8 boards with most of the players playing two games. In the end Moulsham were beaten 7.5/6.5.

 Moulsham on the right. Jixuan playing Felix nearest the camera.

Ben (former Moulsham student) playing Srihan.

On 5th and 6th July I was with KEGS at the U19 National Schools Final at Uppingham School. KEGS were one of 16 schools from across the country to qualify and finished with 2 wins and 2 losses from their 4 matches. The 4 students on the left (Elliot, Daniel, Ben and James) all used to do chess at Christ Church when younger.

There are only 2 weeks left before we finish for the summer. This week (11th) will be the younger players and next week (18th) the older. We will meet back again in September.

Best Wishes

Monday, 3 July 2017

H+H Train and Play 2nd July

This Sunday saw the latest H+H Fire Train and Play at our lovely new venue of Moulsham School in Chelmsford. Plenty of space for the players and parents and even shaded seating outside in the playground. 80 children took part including 20 current CJCC players.

As ever everyone was part of a team and had 3 graded matches against players of their own strength and 2 coaching sessions. This time IM Richard Pert and I were joined by WGM and IM Harriet Hunt (Britain's highest rated female player) and 2017 Essex Lightning Champion (and CJCC parent) Russell White.

Team Bobby Fischer - the youngest of our 4 teams - were the winners by half a point with 32.5 points. Team Judit Polgar (an all-girls team managed by Harriet) were 4th with 26 points so it was all very close. It turned out CJCC Jixuan Li's excited checkmate in the final game of the decisive match (Jixuan was down to his last minute on the clock) nudged his team to victory.

There was some great battling games from players of all levels. For CJCC our best point scorers were Alexander (fresh from a national karate competition the day before) and Bertie on 2.5/3.

Friendly chess before the event started. Matthew (standing left) and Fraser (sitting at the board) will be off to represent Heycroft Primary in Southend at the English Primary School National Finals next week. Heycroft are 1 of only 8 schools to qualify.

Theo for Team Bobby Fischer (left) in a tight game with CJCC's Andrew. Theo has just played pawn to g4 check and would go on to win but from the photo Andrew's pawn on a6 seems to give him the advantage. Many other Moulsham (and CJCC) players in the background on Team Magnus Carlsen.

 IM Richard Pert keeping all but Jake (right) focused on the demo board.

 IM Harriet Hunt with her group.

 CJCC's Adam playing Asci from Team Judit Polgar with Harriet watching over the girls.

 Some of our H+H Fire Grand Prix winners.

(Most of) victorious Team Bobby Fischer that I had the pleasure of managing for the day.

Best Wishes