Letchworth Junior Chess and Go Club

We meet Thursdays: 6.30pm to 7.30pm juniors, 7.30 - 8.45pm intermediates

Central Methodist Church Hall, 109 Pixmore Way, Letchworth Garden City, SG6 3TR Hertfordshire

Chess boardImage result for go board 

NEWS UPDATE:      The club is currently not meeting due to the Covid restrictions. 

In light of the Prime Minister's advice that everyone avoid clubs for the immediate future, we are ceasing club meetings early this term.  There will be no further meetings before Easter.  

We are currently exploring options for commencing virtual club meetings using a chess and go server. We will be emailing members as we set up the new arrangements.  All current members have already been emailed about the club's future. If you did not receive an email it means we have an out of date or incorrect email address for you. Please email or telephone us to be added to our mailing list if this is the case. 

We will update this website when we recommence club meetings or have further news about our proposed online club.

We normally meet term time only. Juniors at 6.30-7.30.  Intermediates 7.30 - 8.45.  However cClub meetings are currently suspended due to the coronavirus advice to avoid unnecessary social gatherings.  

We have finished our UK Chess Challenge tournament which also determines our club champions for the year.  We had 18 players at our junior session last week and 12 at our senior group.  It was good to see the concentration as everyone settled down for their tournament game. We will be announcing our winners on this site shortly. 

This term three of our seniors were fortunate to be able to play at the European Youth Go Championships which took place in Croatia in March 2020 (shortly before travel restrictions were imposed).  Congratulations to David Baldwin and Hilary Bexfield who finished on 3/6 in the U20 section and to Adrian Kabashi who finished on 4/6 in the U16 section.

NEWS:  It was good to see three of our older members play in the Letchworth rapid play on Sunday 29 September. Well done to Luke for a very creditable 3.5 points out of 6 to finish 4th.  

NEWS:  It was good to see two of our members reach the gigafinals this year in the UK chess challenge. Well done to Luke who scored 3/.6 in the U16 section and Ethan who scored 2/6 in the U11 section. This is a great achievement. 

NEWS:  The new grades are out. And with four players in our older group with grades betrween ECF 80-100 we are considering entering a junior team in one of the local leagues.  

This term we are running our junior section from 6.30 - 7.30. This section is aimed at our younger members who tend to be years 3 - 6. It caters for those from near beginner level to more experienced juniors who are keen to try out junior competitions. We offer group coaching at the start of each session, a paired game and then self pairing with individual coaching accoding to player needs. 

Our intermediates and seniors meet from 7.30 - 8.45. This group is for those who are older (years 7 - 13) and for some younger players who are more advanced for their age and capable of benefitting from the more advanced coaching that this group receives. 

During the autumn term we will be offering trips to the British Youth Go Congress at Aston on 1st December and also a chance to see the top world players in action at the London Chess Classic. 


We saw three of our members take part in the southern gigafinal stage of the UK Chess Challenge in the summer.  Luke (U15 boys), Hilary (U14 girls) and Khushal (U8 boys) all managed a number of wins against tough opposition.  Hilary also played in the U120 section of the Kings Place Chess Festival in July, achiveing a very creditable 4/6 and beating a number of players rated much stronger than her. 

During our summer term we will held our club Go tournament. We also ran our open chess tournament and were very pleased to welcome WIM Natasha Regan and former British Chess champion Matthew Sadler as guest coaches. 

Last term we finished our club chess tournament which was also the qualifier for the Chess Challenge megafinals.  We have new club champions:  Joe won our junior section and in our intermediate group Luke Garner and Hilary Bexfield were joint winners.   We also have a number of qualifiers from our junior section for the county megafinals. (All senior school age players can apply directly without need to qualify).  This year there are a number of megafinals in Hertfordshire.  We are recommending all our players who are eligible take part in the one on 5 May in Harpenden. 

Past news

We welcomed a former British Chess champion, Paul Littlewood as a guest visitor on 8 March. Paul gave a short coaching session and bravely took on 20 young players in a simultaneous display ( a few more than we had expected so it was a tight squeeze).    

Due to a rise in numbers we have now split the club into two sections:  Juniors meet 6.30 - 7.30pm.    Intermediates meet 7.30 - 8.45pm.  Broadly speaking, intermediates are those of secondary school age (or older juniors who are very advanced for their age in playing ability).  This change is to accommodate growing numbers and a growing age range so that we can better tailor coaching. 

We currently have about 15 players in our junior section and have space for up to 4 more.  The group currently includes a number of novice players around year 3 and 4 as well as some more experienced members in years 5 and 6.  

Our intermediate section is averaging around 10 players with members ranging from year 7 through to year 12.  We welcome new players to this group. 


We are taking several menbers to play in the British Youth Go Championships on Saturday 18 November.  Around 50 players are currently entered so it should be a good event.  

Our three qualifiers did well at the gigafinals, with all winning some games. Abigail made it through to the terra finals. 

Abigail Lloyd, Luke Garner and Hilary Bexfield were successful in qualifying for the southern gigafinal in the Delancey UK Schools Chess Challenge. This was the third time Abigail and Luke had qualified and the second time for Hilary. Abigail achived third place overall in the girls U14 section, meaning she qualifies for the overall final where southern and northern winners meet.  Both Hilary and Luke won some games against strong competiton in their U13 girls and U14 boys sections respectively.

We held our annual tournament, the Pixmore Open on 24 June.  We had 36 entrants split between three age bands and representing over 20 different schools.  In the senior section (those of senior school age) club member Hilary was our top player finishing 4th overall.  The winner was Nevan Masterson from St George's school.  In the intermediates (years 5-6) Adrian was our highest finisher, with third place. Players finishing first and second in each section took home a cup while all entrants who played in all five rounds and attended the coaching sessions were rewarded with an engraved medal. The day ended with a simultaneous display by Paul Littlewood, a former British Chess Champion. 

Nine of our members took part in the Hertfordshire county megafinals (as part of the UK Chess Challenge).  It was pleasing to see that all our members won some games.  We had most success in the senior school age groups with Luke Garner (U14 boys), Abigail Lloyd (U14 girls) and Hilary Bexfield (U13 girls) all qualifying for the south of England stage of the competition.

We have finished our club chess tournament with Abigail winning the senior section with an unbeaten record.  The junior section had a tie for first place between Adrian and Alex. Our club tournament acts as our qualifying tournament for the Hertfordshire megafinals 2017 and we expect a number of our members to be playing in these later in April.  We are now running our club go tournament.

We had a visit on 9 January from a former British Chess Champion Paul Littlewood who will led our coaching session at the start of the meeting and dispensed tips to our members.

We have started a small junior beginners group.  We have a few spaces in this group as it is good for beginners to learn together in a group with a variety of players their level to play.  Do contact us if you may be interested in this group.

We had a fun visit to the Chess Classic tournament in London in December 2016 to see the top players in the world competing.  It was also a chance to top up chess book collections.

Three of our members took part in the British Youth Go Championships held in Leicester on 22 November 2016. It was good to see wins for all three (Adrian, Hiary and David) with Adrian taking a prize in the challenger section for 4/5 wins.  All three of our members showed that that they have progressed nearly to 25kyu on the grading scale which is good to see.

We had an excellent turn out for our first meeting of the new year, welcoming back existing members and new members. We have a good mix of seniors and juniors and boys and girls across the age groups with around 20 members playing each week.   If you have not visited us before and want to try out the club please contact us in advance to check availability as we are close to our current capacity. As our numbers have grown we are considering starting an intermediate section for the older seniors on a Monday night (in the same building as the adult chess club).  

Club background: We are a friendly club which has been running for over three years. We welcome players of all abilities including beginners.  We offer a variety of activities.  Each week we offer some coaching and encourage friendly games. Coaching is tailored to the level of individual members. We run club tournaments, including heats of the UK Chess and UK Go challenges, and support juniors in entering local and regional tournaments when they are ready for these.  We have a mix of ages amongst our members and a good mix of girls and boys. A weekly newsletter provides problems to be studied at home.  The emphasis is on having fun playing these fascinating board games.

Club meetings:  We start these with a coaching talk about either chess or go.  If appropriate, depending on the subject matter of the talk, we will split members into different ability groups for this part of the meeting.  During last term the talks including a mixture of tactics, openings and game reviews. We then pair people up for a semi serious game of either chess or go in the club tournaments and ladders.  After this members are free to self pair for additional friendly games or seek extra coaching according to their own choice.

Our adult helpers:  We always seek to have at least two adults running the club each week.  Parents are welcome to stay and assist.  In the event that we have insufficient aduts we will cancel the club.  This only happens very rarely but do check the website as meeting information is always shown here.  Our current adult helpers are all experienced chess players around 120-140 ECF or 1600 FIDE in grade.  Additionally Mrs Bexfield is a dan player at Go and runs the British Youth Go Squad.

Summer term 2016We have finished the club go tournament. Well done to Hilary (senior champion) and Daniel Chen (junior champion).    There has been some fierce competition with a lot of good progress made by those new to the game last term.  We had 16 players taking part (8 juniors and 8 seniors). 

As well as the go tournament, we also start with a short teaching session - currently chess based while the go tournament is running - and juniors have the opportunity to play friendly games of either chess or go and seek additional ad hoc coaching from Mr Coates and Mrs Bexfield.

Five of our members took part in the Hertfordshire chess megafinals (part of the Delancey UK Chess Challenge) on 30 April.   Abigail LLoyd (U13), Hilary Bexfield (U12) and Emma Lloyd (U11) all qualified for the next stage of the competition - the South of England gigafinals - which takes place in July.  Luke Matthews (U13) and Adrian Kabayshi (U10) also achieved a creditable result in the megafinals.

Three of our members took part in the Southern gigafinals.  Abigail (U13), Hilary (U12) and Emma (U11) all achieved a creditable result with several wins and Abigail narrowly missed a place in the ultimate terafinal.

Spring term 2016: We had 21 players take part in our club chess championship this term. This also comprised our club heats for the UK Chess Challenge 2016. and was run over 7 rounds.  Our club champions for 2016 are again Abigail Lloyd with Emma Lloyd the junior section champion.

Current club champions:

Chess 2015:  Overall club champion:  Abigail Lloyd    (Junior champion:  Emma Lloyd;  Senior champion:  Abigail Lloyd)

Go 2015:       Overall club champion:     Daniel Chen     (Junior champion:  Daniel Chen;  Senior champion:  Luke Garner) 

Other successes this year:

Well done to Abigail for winning the Herts U14 title and to Emma for winning the Herts U11 girls title in autumn 2015. 

Club Details

This club is a place for young people in the age range 7 - 17 to come and play chess and go (if you don't know what go is, look at www.britgo.org for a quick introduction to the game, or download igowin, an excellent free go-playing program -size 786k - which runs under Windows and includes a go tutorial).

The cost for the Thursday club sessions is £1.50 per week. There is a car park by the hall.

Go is sometimes known as igo (the Japanese name for the game), weiqi (the Chinese name) or baduk (Korean name).

We are always pleased to welcome new members to our club. We expect our members to range from complete beginners to improving players initially but we will also cater for stronger players. It does not matter if you come every week or just occasionally. And it does not matter if you cannot stay to the end.

Every week we will have at least 2 adult helpers, experienced in both chess and go, to help organise things. They will be happy to provide some hints to improve your games if you want this. If you have not played either game before, there will be someone who can explain the rules and help you to get started.

If you would like more information about chess and go clubs, events and services in the UK, then go to the English Chess Federation and British Go Association web sites.

Club Contacts

The club organiser is Alison Bexfield. You can contact Alison on telephone 01462 684648 for more information. You can also email us at Letchworthjunchessgo at bexfield.com

Alison is an experienced player of both chess and go. She will provide teaching to club members appropriate to their level during club meetings. Alison prepares weekly problems in each game for members to take away and try at home. Mr Coates also assist in running the club. Mr Coates is an experienced chess player and has run school chess clubs across a number of primary schools in North Herts for many years, He provides chess coaching at the club. He is an active player for the Letchworth and Hitchin chess club.  We have recently welcomed Mr Thurl as an additional chess coach. Mr Thurl has spent much of his career in education and run various school chess clubs.