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It was great to see everyone again at a very well-attended and enjoyable first Coventry Chess Academy session of 2020 today! A very warm welcome to all our new members, we hope you enjoyed the experience and look forward to seeing you at future sessions!

We had a big round of applause for all the numerous fantastic achievements of members over Christmas. It was then straight onto coaching and finding good captures, avoiding bad ones and converting material advantages in the endgames were all on the menu. An additional treat was in store as Billy ‘The Kid’ Fellowes showed one of his brilliant games from the London Junior Chess Championships U8s on the demo board along with CCA Director Paul Lam. Members soon realised why the game’s quality of play had been dubbed worthy of a strong county player by a chess master recently, but they were nevertheless up to the job of working together to decipher some of it’s most profound moments, with excellent contributions from Keatan Patel and Henry Wood.

Challenge Matches featured some heavyweight contests with some of the strongest pairs having an average grade of well over 160 ECF. One of the most keenly contested battles was between rising stars Roger (aged six) and Reyaansh (aged four), possibly the youngest matchup in CCA history. A Silence Score of 9.8/10 was achieved, hugely impressive considering the inexperience of some of our new members with tournament rules. The reward was an extra 5 minutes of fun time and members took advantage to play all their favourite variants. CCA Coach Roy Watson was ambushed by Oscar Sturc in Scotch chess, but got some measure of consolation by showing his game from round 2 of the Shropshire Chess Congress to members eager to see how he won in a mere eleven moves.

Imogen Dicen showed fantastic commitment by attending the session despite receiving a late notice call-up for the Warwickshire Select 1st team in Division 2 of the 4NCL, making the trip down to Daventry straight afterwards. Further down south, a number of her younger clubmates are also in action representing Warwickshire Select’s 2nd team in Division 4 South. At the time of writing, Jude Shearsby has won the battle of England players against Ruwan Dias, while Manvith Sandhu, Daniel Chen and Imogen are still battling away, all facing strong opponents. Well done Jude and good luck to everyone still playing, we’re all cheering you on from home!




Don’t forget that the Coventry Chess Academy resumes sessions THIS SATURDAY 11TH JANUARY!😀 We are VERY EXCITED to be back and to see everyone again!

We hope that you’ve all had an enjoyable Christmas break and are ready for the new school term. The festive break is a time for rest and relaxation, but also for reflecting on the year gone and planning for the future. There have been some very positive developments behind the scenes and some exciting plans for our club are in the pipeline for 2020, so watch this space!

Looking forward to seeing everyone on Saturday and may 2020 be the biggest and best year yet for our club and members!




A very Happy New Year to all from the Coventry Chess Academy! We’re delighted to report on a successful start to 2020 for members competing at the Shropshire Chess Congress in Telford.

Our very own irrepressible brother-sister duo of Rohan and Rhea Pal were in action, having only recently returned from an enjoyable and successful chess trip to Switzerland. Rohan played in a very strong Major section (U170 ECF) which featured the likes of none other than CCA Asst. Director Andy ‘Fire On’ Ward. Facing strong and experienced adult opponents who out-graded him in every round, Rohan produced a fine performance to finish on 2.5/5, the same score as Andy.

Playing in the Intermediate section (U135 ECF) was inimitable CCA Coach Roy Watson. He got off to a shaky start, losing his first round game. However, he rebounded in the next round with a personal record, winning his shortest ever game with the Black pieces in a mere ELEVEN MOVES😲 and subsequently finished on 2.5/5 as well. At the CCA, our members are regularly reminded of the danger of not thinking about what a piece is doing before you move it. The final position from Roy’s round 2 game, given below, should serve as a salutary reminder of this!

In the Minor section (U100 ECF), Rhea was playing in her first ever adult standardplay chess congress. Aged just eight years, she was by far the least experienced competitor in the whole tournament. Despite being massively out-graded in every round, she put in a remarkable effort, playing for three hours in her first round game and coming within a whisker of a win in the final round! Moreover, she thoroughly enjoyed the tournament experience, with big smiles😊 all-round at the end.

In other news, Manvith Sandhu’s campaign in the Hastings Masters has come to an end. Manvith finished with a very creditable 3.5/9 against opponents who outrated him in nearly every round, had his fair share of long, tough struggles, and will gain 46 FIDE rating points. An excellent experience for Manvith in one of the world’s most famous chess tournaments!

Well done all on a great start to 2020!



We’re delighted to report on some marvellous results for Coventry Chess Academy members in the post-Christmas period! Our superstars have made a habit of creating waves on the international chess scene in the last two years. Countries such as Latvia, Spain, Turkey, Ireland, Slovakia, China, Belarus and Estonia have all been visited. Now Switzerland can be ticked off the list as well! Flying the flag for us in Zurich – the mountainous European state’s biggest city – was the one-and-only Rohan Pal! He competed in the Weihnachtsopen Allgemeines tournament, featuring a 2088 FIDE-rated top seed. Facing opponents who out-rated him by 200+ points in every single round, he produced an excellent performance to finish on 3.5/7, gaining nearly 100 FIDE rating points. Well done Rohan, just tremendous! Moreover, it was a fantastic tournament experience for Rohan who thrived from some long, hard-fought games against strong and experienced opponents.

Rohan’s enthusiasm for chess is absolutely infectious and some of it seemed to rub off his dad! A quickplay ‘hobby’ tournament was organised alongside the main sections and Mr Pal was among the entrants. The name given to the tournament however turned out to be quite misleading! It featured a 1785 FIDE-rated top seed and dozens of experienced Swiss club players rated over 1400. Mr Pal battled against overwhelming odds, but with a complete lack of experience, this was one Alpine mountain that could not be conquered and he finished bottom of the list. He could however still emerge from the tournament a very proud man as playing in the same section was daughter Rhea, by far the youngest competitor at eight years of age and the only girl! It was Rhea’s first taste of competitive chess against adult opponents and she did brilliantly, managing to score one win, coming within a whisker of a draw against 1608 FIDE-rated opponent and being agonizingly close to beating a 1678 FIDE-rated opponent in the final round. Furthermore, the quality of her play deservedly won her a huge number of fans who tipped her for great things in the future. What a great experience! Well done Rhea!

Back in the UK, Manvith Sandhu has made a fine start in the prestigious Hastings Masters. The tournament has a long and prestigious history, with almost all World Chess Champions having played in it. This year, the top seed is Grandmaster David Howell. Manvith has been out-rated in all three rounds, but has nevertheless achieved two draws, one of which came against respected veteran John Sugden (FIDE 2065), a multi-time competitor in the British Chess Championship Main Event. Well done Manvith! Good luck for the rest of the tournament and keep it up!

Moving from the south coast to the capital, the second half of the prestigious London Junior Chess Championships was underway at the University of Westminster. Playing in the U8s and defending his title was our very own Billy ‘The Kid’ Fellowes, AKA ‘Kid Dynamite’! Billy of course won the U8s in stunning fashion last year as an U7, scoring 6.5/7, finishing atop the cream of the British chess crop an age group above him. In 2019, he had already caused a sensation earlier this month when he finished third in the U10s and was a whisker away from defeating the eventual winner, Max Pert. Now competing in his natural age group, Billy was the clear favourite heading into the event, but still had to contend with some very talented opponents and rising stars in the same position as he was last year. This top seed was not going to crash and burn though! Billy was simply brilliant as he played some of the best chess you’re likely to see in an U8 tournament, deeply impressing CCA Director Paul Lam who was in attendance for the event. Prophylactic subtlety mingled with tactical flair as he comprehensively outplayed all his opponents, including the dangerous number 2 seed, en route to retaining his title, this time with a perfect 7/7 score! We’ll leave you with a simple (by Billy’s standards!) but attractive combination which crowned his round 5 game. Congratulations Billy, awesome stuff!



A very Merry Christmas to everyone from the Coventry Chess Academy!🎄🎅⭐️ We hope that you and your families have a great day!🎁🥂🍗



It’s been a simply fantastic weekend for Coventry Chess Academy members in tournament action! Following on from an outstanding Saturday, our superstars did not hold back today. In the Leyland Congress U1900 FIDE-rated section, Manvith Sandhu finished in joint-second place with 3.5/5, a really good result, and won the grading prize, a cool £40!💵 Clubmate Rohan Pal finished on 2.5/5, a fine achievement considering he was second-to-bottom in the section seeding. Both played well above their current FIDE ratings and will add some good points as a result.

Simultaneously, good news was pouring through from the prestigious London Junior Chess Championships held at the University of Westminster. In a very strong U14 Major Section featuring a 2000+ FIDE-rated top seed, Daniel Chen finished with a fine 4/6. There were two superb performances from Olivia Chen and Vassily Sagyaman in the U10 Minor Section. Olivia finished on 5.5/7 and was also the joint highest-placed girl in the section🥇. Vassily had a ridiculously tough draw, facing opponents who outgraded him in all but one of the rounds including the top seed, the mighty Patrick Damodaran, in the final round. Nevertheless he finished on 5/7, performing far above his grade.

The last word goes to the CCA’s youngest member competing this weekend, the one-and-only Billy ‘The Kid’ Fellowes🤠, playing in the U10 Major Section despite being an U8. He entered day 2 on the back of an outstanding Saturday which saw him storm to 4/4 ahead of some of the finest U10 chess players in the country. In round 5, he faced a very stern challenge in the form of fellow England star, the highly talented Aayush Dewangan. In a long, tough game Billy achieved a draw, a fabulous result against the reigning UK Schools Chess Challenge Terafinal Champion! In round 6, it got even tougher. He faced leading U10 Max Pert, son of International Master Richard Pert, on top board. The older and higher-graded player eventually prevailed, but not after another long, tough game in which Billy gave it everything. Kid Dynamite💣🧨 was not done however. He finished on a high by winning his final round game to end with a magnificent 5.5/7. For an U8 to come this close to winning the LJCC U10s is almost unheard of and Billy was rightly rewarded with THIRD PLACE on tie-break, ahead of a veritable ‘who’s who’ of English U10 chess and the BEST U9 PLAYER prize🏆, although he is of course an age group below this!

Congratulations to all our members who competed this weekend! You’ve been amazing yet again and we’re so proud of you all!👏👏👏




We’re delighted to report on some fantastic performances from Coventry Chess Academy members in tournament action today! Manvith Sandhu and Rohan Pal are playing in the Leyland Congress in a strong U1900 FIDE-rated section. Rohan has been outgraded in every single round, but has more than held his own. A hard-fought loss in round 2 to the 1888 FIDE-rated top seed was sandwiched by two comfortable draws against ECF 150 and 167-graded opponents; all highly experienced adult players. Manvith produced an assured performance in round 1 to outplay and defeat the top seed. Although he lost on time in the second round, he showed what champions are made of by bouncing back with a win as Black in round 3 which included a simply lovely finish! In the below position, Manvith played the precise 25…Rxc4! After his opponent’s reply 26.Qxc4, how did he bring proceedings to a quick end?

At the other end of the country, CCA members have been setting the capital alight in the London Junior Chess Championships, one of the most prestigious junior tournaments on the UK chess circuit! In the U10 Minor, Olivia Chen and Vassily Sagyaman stand on an excellent 3.5/4 and 3/4 respectively. It’s worth noting that both are technically U9 players and that Vassily has also been outgraded in three of the four rounds. Tremendous stuff! In the U14 Major, Olivia’s big brother, Daniel, has 2/3 and finished day 1 with a fine win against England teammate Ruben Evans. The CCA big hitter for the day has been our very reigning London U8 Chess Champion, Billy ‘The Kid’ Fellowes! Billy is in fact still an U8 and eligible to defend his title later this month, but having qualified for the U10 Major earlier this season, he bravely chose to take a step up and play in this as well for experience. The tournament is packed full of the very best U10 players in the country, including numerous members of the England National Team. A daunting prospect for any U8, but not ‘Kid Dynamite’! but With day 1 having concluded, Billy stands on a PERFECT 4/4!!😲 Yes, you read that correctly! Just remarkable!

A massive well done to all our members for today’s outstanding performances! Keep it up, you’re all doing brilliantly and we’re so proud of you all. Wishing you all the best for tomorrow’s rounds, we’ll be cheering you on every move of the way!




Although the Coventry Chess Academy is now on break for Christmas, quite a few of them still have the chess bug as is evident from the number of them in tournament action this weekend! A number of members competed in the Coventry Rapidplay, playing against largely adult opposition. In the Minor section, Ethan Vas and Vassily Sagyaman both finished on 4/6, a fine result for both and particularly for Vassily considering he is only eight years old and was outgraded in all but one round. In the Major section, Billy ‘The Kid’ Fellowes, the youngest tournament participant, was once again in top form. He was outgraded in every single round, but finished on 3.5/6 including taking the scalp of the Warwickshire U140 County Team Captain.

Further afield, CCA members were in action in the prestigious London Chess Classic, one of the UK’s premier chess events. Every year, this event attracts the world’s strongest chess players, including the current World Chess Champion, Magnus Carlsen. With a wide range of tournament sections appropriate to your playing level, there’s something for everyone! Juniors and humble club players alike can rub shoulders with their chess heroes and even end up playing against them!

The Women’s Open Rapidplay featured some of the best female players in the country, among them our super sister duo of Imogen and Elis Dicen! They even had to play each other in round 6(!), an encounter won by Imogen, before both eventually finished on a fine 4/7.

In the Super Blitz, playing in Group A headed by top seed Grandmaster Michael Adams, was our very own Manvith Sandhu. He scored a fine 5.5/11, which included a good win against fellow England player Shahjahon Saidmurodov (ECF Rapid 173). He also got to play against International Master Ali Mortazavi and gave a good account of himself before the time pressure took its toll.

In Group B headed by Grandmaster David Howell, was David ‘The Assassin’ Phillips, playing in his first tournament since the 2019 British U16 Chess Championships. David produced an excellent performance to finish with 6.5/11, alongside IM John Cox and Viktor Stoyanov (ECF Rapid 205) who he drew against and half a point ahead of IM Peter Roberson. A great result for the comeback kid!

Well done to all our members who played this weekend!



It was the Coventry Chess Academy’s final session of 2019 today and we celebrated in style as only we know: with a massive, fun-filled Christmas Party!! We had a fantastic turnout with members of all ages attending. Prefect William Morris was at his SIXTH CCA Christmas Party, whereas it was the first for Roger Zhu, who was not even born when our club was formed in 2013!

A lovely cake was made for the occasion by Mrs Pal which left everyone with jaws dropped; it was almost too good to eat, but that’s what happened! Food🍕, drink🥤, music, fun activities and lots of chess was the order of the day! Paul’s Puzzle, a mate in two with the pieces arranged in the shape of a Christmas tree, proved popular again, as did the Chess Openings quiz. Who knew that the Razzle Dazzle Gambit was such a thing?! One of the surprises was that CCA Director Paul Lam was nowhere to be seen; with his person having been taken over by a jolly bearded-fellow speaking in a dubious voice and constantly saying ‘ho ho’, none other than Father Chessmas!🎅 Another surprise was the production of ground-breaking research revealing that CCA Coach Roy Watson is actually greater than the World Chess Champion, Magnus Carlsen. We were never in any doubt!

The Exchange Tournament was extremely popular and proved a very keenly-contested affair! Bronze🥉 medals went to ‘A Name’ (Oscar Sturc and Andrew Gordon), ‘Team Santa’ (Vincent Xia and Keatan Patel) and ‘I don’t Know’ (Vassily Sagyaman and Leo Guo). Silver🥈 medals went to Cityzens (Jude Shearsby and Billy Fellowes) and Gold🥇 medals were won by the aptly named ‘The Winners’ (Rohan Pal and Henry Wood) with a perfect 6/6 score. The winner of the Openings Quiz was Roger while the winner of the prize for Paul’s Puzzle was Rithanya.

A massive thank you to all our coaches, parents, Cheylesmore Community Centre and other supporters for today and everything you have for us this year. Above all, a massive thank you to our amazing members who make our club what it is. Our club keeps growing and growing; we’ve had many new people join us this year and become a valued part of the CCA family. It’s been an amazing year with multiple tournament winners, Warwickshire Junior Champions, Midlands Junior Champions, British Champions, Terafinalists, England Selectees; the list goes on! Friendships have been formed, confidence has been gained, personalities have emerged and the chess progress has been phenomenal. You can all be very proud of yourselves, we sure are!

There will still be plenty of chess taking place beyond the Academy’s doors this month. Members will attend the London Chess Classic, arguably the UK’s premier chess event that features the world’s top chess players. Members will also compete in the prestigious London Junior Chess Championships. We look forward to updating you on their endeavours. For now, may we wish you all a very Merry Chessmas🎄 and Happy New Year! We look forward to seeing you in 2020!



It’s that time of year! Yes, the legendary annual Coventry Chess Academy CHRISTMAS PARTY is upon us! It takes place this SATURDAY 7TH DECEMBER and will also be our final session of 2019. What an amazing year it’s been for our club and members! We will be celebrating in style with plenty of food and drink, music, the return of ‘Father Chessmas’, puzzles, fun activities, prizes and of course plenty of chess! We look forward to seeing all members there, we can’t wait!!!




After two epic days in Estonia, the European Youth Rapidplay and Blitz Chess Championships have come to an end. Today saw the Blitz take place and it was a final chance for the terrific trio of Billy Fellowes, Shriya Sastry and Elis Dicen to finish with a bang. They did not disappoint!

With there being no separate U8 Blitz, Billy had to play in the U10 Open Blitz, facing children up to two years older. The top seed was a 2145-FIDE rated Candidate Master which gives you an indication of the strength of the field. A daunting prospect for anyone who only recently turned eight years of age, but yet again though, Billy exceeded expectations! He produced another brilliant performance to score 5.5/9, finishing incredibly strong with four points from the final five rounds and performing over 100 points above his FIDE rating. His final ranking was 51 out of 151 participants and he was the joint second highest scoring England player alongside the older, higher-graded and vastly more experienced Shlok Verma.

In the U10 Girls Blitz, Shriya finished on a fine 4/9. She showed her battling qualities by recovering from a slow start and, like Billy, finished very strong with three points from the final five rounds; a trio of wins against Eastern European opponents. In the same section, Elis scored a superb 6/9. From standing on a single point after three rounds, she then went on an absolute tear and was unbeaten till the end of the tournament, scoring four wins and two draws against strong FIDE-rated opponents mostly from Russia and Ukraine, including a Woman Candidate Master. Once again, she was the highest-placed England player in the section with a final ranking of 12 out of 83 participants. It also meant that she finished with a grand total of 17.5 points from 25 games, the HIGHEST CUMULATIVE NUMBER OF POINTS SCORED BY ANY ENGLAND PLAYER across all age groups! Wow!!😲

It’s been a truly memorable experience in Estonia for everyone, on and off the board. Tallinn has provided a beautiful location for the Championships and there has been time for sight-seeing and some good photo opportunities! Billy, Shriya and Elis, you’ve represented yourselves and Team England brilliantly and we’re so proud of you all! Congratulations, a hero’s homecoming awaits!👏👏👏



When it rains it pours, so the saying goes, and such is the case for good news involving Coventry Chess Academy members! No fewer than three featured in this month’s edition of CHESS, the UK’s most popular chess magazine. Elis and Imogen Dicen star in a feature on the English Girls’ Chess Championship in which both reigned supreme while Jude Shearsby features in an article on local chess pictured alongside the reigning British Senior Chess Champion and Coventry chess legend Mark Page, a great friend of the CCA, with our club also getting a very welcome and positive mention!

Meanwhile, more terrific news has come through from the European Youth Rapid and Blitz Chess Championship in Estonia! The Team Rapidplay event took place this afternoon and while it had a fun and relaxed dimension to it, there was no stopping our terrific trio of Shriya, Billy and Elis! Shriya played for the England Reds and scored a fantastic 3/7. She performed 200 points above her FIDE rating and defeated talented and higher graded England teammate Anirudh Muppidi. Billy played for the England HFBR team and was his team’s TOP SCORER with an excellent 4.5/7, including a fine win over older and higher-graded England teammate Yunus Ahmed. Elis was fittingly in the same team as Shriya and scored a brilliant 5.5/7 on top board, finishing as her team’s TOP SCORER and performing 250 points above her FIDE rating. She held the 1774-rated Vladyslav Garsky to a draw and defeated dangerous Russian talented Iakov Korovko (who had beaten England superstar Denis Dupuis two rounds previously).

The England team tallies from the Rapidplay have also been confirmed and Billy has snagged another feather in his first England cap; he was in fact the joint HIGHEST-SCORING ENGLAND PLAYER in the whole tournament across ALL AGE GROUPS!

Just brilliant again from all three! Well done to them and bring on the Blitz tomorrow!



We are delighted to report on some AMAZING news from Tallinn, Estonia where the European Youth Rapid and Blitz Chess Championships are taking place! Eighteen years after Coventry Chess Academy Director Paul Lam set foot in the scenic Baltic city to make his international debut, three talented players from our club are making a name for themselves in the same location. The Rapid Championship has just concluded and there are some marvellous results to report.

In the U10 Girls, Shriya Sastry scored 3/9, a really creditable result in her England debut and first overseas international facing the best girl chess players in Europe. In the same section, Elis Dicen, also making her England debut, finished on a superb 6/9 for a final ranking of 10th out of 52 competitors. It also meant that Elis finished the tournament as the TOP-PLACED ENGLAND PLAYER in her section.😲 Just brilliant! Well done to both girls who fulfilled their dreams to play chess for England and did themselves and country proud. No doubt there will be many more such occasions to come!

In the U8 Boys, Billy ‘The Kid’ Fellowes🤠 was making his second appearance in England colours. In August this year, he took the chess world by storm with his outstanding performance in the World Cadets Rapid and Blitz Championship in Belarus, in which he finished the Rapidplay with 6/9 and was the highest-placed England player in his section. To repeat would prove a tough ask. Playing in his section were England teammates Ayush Dewangan and Patrick Damodaran, two brilliant little players in their own right, along with a monstrous contingent of prodigies hailing from the chess heartlands of Eastern European and the former Soviet Union.

Undeterred, Billy once again reached deep into his pocket of talent to produce another performance to go down in CCA folklore! He finished on a magnificent 6.5/9, bettering his score in Belarus, once again finishing as the TOP-PLACED ENGLAND PLAYER in his section and the TOP-PLACED PLAYER FROM THE WHOLE OF WESTERN EUROPE, finishing 9th on tie-break out of 84 competitors and JOINT-FOURTH overall! Congratuations 💣🧨Billy, take a bow, you’re the real life Kid Dynamite!

The chess party hasn’t finished just yet though! We have the Team Rapidplay coming up and then the eagerly-awaited Blitz Championship tomorrow. It should be an absolute blast and we can’t wait to see how everyone gets on! Shriya, Elis and Billy, you’ve all done brilliantly and we are so proud of you just as Team England should be!👏👏👏 Good luck for the rest of the Championships and have a great time in the Blitz!




We are delighted to report on an absolutely magnificent day for Coventry Chess Academy members! The Warwickshire Junior Chess Championships took place today at Kenilworth School and there was a sizeable CCA contingent present for the occasion spanning all age sections, with CCA Director Paul Lam also attending in support.

In the combined U14/U16/U18 section, Henry Wood was the youngest and lowest-graded participant, but scored a very creditable 3/7. The U12 section saw bronze medals🥉 for Margarita Sanchez, Rugved Shedbalkar and Zain Amir, a silver medal🥈 for Vincent Xia and gold medals for Silas Bowcott-Terry and Manvith Sandhu who justified their billing as the top two seeds by winning golds🥇 with 6/7 each and sharing the title of Warwickshire U12 Champion (having shared the U9 Championship a couple of years ago!). The U10 section saw bronze medals for Aayush Chitre and Aaron Suthi and gold for rising star Tom Junde He who was crowned Warwickshire U10 joint-Champion🏆, the first time he has achieved this feat.

Finally in the U8 section there were some sparkling performances as Adit Nahar, Julia Kozhan, Sai Prajan Venkatesh and Zak Nahal all won bronze medals. This was a special performance from Zak in particular as he was playing in his first-ever chess tournament and he was delighted not just to take home a medal but to have won games using ideas learned in Saturday lessons! A special mention must also go to Rhea Pal who not only won bronze with 4.5/7 but was the highest-placed girl in the section. She scored the result of the tournament by outplaying and defeating the number 1 seed Jamie Walker (ECF 68), despite being massively outgraded, for her best win to date, beating her previous record just a week after setting it!😮 She also gave the eventual tournament winner, the hugely talented Adithya Vaidyanathan, by far his toughest game, pushing him all the way to a king and pawn ending with level material in the final round. Finishing with a silver medal and 5/7 for joint-second was the one-and-only Ezekiel Ho who continues to impress all with his outstanding progress and commitment.

Furthermore, each and every CCA member who competed today deserves our congratulations. It was a long, tiring day due to the longer format consisting of seven instead of five rounds, but they coped admirably with the demands. Many of those who competed were playing in their first ever tournament and had a fantastic day, thoroughly enjoying the experience. Well done everyone, you all did yourselves and our club proud!👏👏👏

In other news, our terrific trio of Billy Fellowes, Shriya Sastry and Elis Dicen have been lighting up the international scene while on duty for TEAM ENGLAND in the European Youth Rapid and Blitz Chess Championships being held in Tallinn, Estonia! The Championships kicked off today. In the Rapid U10 girls Shriya currently stands on a fine 2.5/6 and Elis has an excellent 4/6 which makes her the joint highest-scoring English representative in the section at present. In the Rapid U8 Boys, Billy Fellowes has been on a tear, winning three games on the trot to stand on 4.5/6 which also makes him the joint highest-scoring English player in his section. His prize is a mouth-watering clash with the top seed tomorrow! Well done to all three, you’re doing brilliantly and we’re so proud of your efforts! Wishing you all the very best for tomorrow’s rounds, you can do it!



We’re delighted to report on more success over the board for Coventry Chess Academy members! Two familiar faces were recently spotted on the social media pages of Bablake School, namely our very own Keatan Patel and Vincent Xia playing on the high boards of the House chess competition! CCA Director Paul Lam, a Bablake old boy, commented that the chessboards don’t seem to have changed in twenty years! It transpires that both guys had performed brilliantly, despite only having started senior school this year, with Keatan making it to the quarters of the competition while Vincent made it the final where he vanquished his sixth-form opponent to be crowned champion representing his House, Crow, which Paul happened to belong as a pupil. Great stuff!

In other news, the London Chess Classic, one of the most eagerly-anticipated events on the UK chess calendar, has kicked off! This event is attended by CCA members every year who have a great time not just playing in one of the many tournament sections but also getting to meet their chess heroes, as all the world’s top players are in attendance! Rohan Pal made an excellent start in the U2050 FIDE rated section, defeating an 1826 FIDE-rated and 165 ECF graded opponent, despite a very tiring week away on a school trip. Well done Rohan and wishing you all the best for the rest of the tournament!

Tomorrow, the European Youth Rapid and Blitz Chess Championships starts in Tallinn, Estonia🇪🇪 and we can’t wait to see our terrific trio of Billy Fellowes, Shriya Sastry and Elis Dicen in action as they fly the flag for TEAM ENGLAND! Results and live games will be available online and we look forward to updating you on their progress! Good luck to all three! We’re so proud of you all and just know you can do it!

Sadly we must conclude with some rather sad news. At today’s CCA session, it was announced that the double A force of Aarav and Arnav Agarwal will shortly be leaving the UK with their family.😥😥😥 Aarav and Arnav have been outstanding members ever since joining us at an incredibly young age and have made superb advances with their chess, reaching the UK Schools Chess Challenge Gigafinal, representing the Warwickshire Junior Chess Squad and Warwickshire Bears in the J4NCL and medalling and winning at numerous tournaments across the country, among numerous achievements. An almost ubiquitous presence on Saturday mornings, they have brought infectious smiles and big personalities with them and made numerous friends at the CCA who will likewise be very sad to see them leave. It was fitting that for the last part of today’s session, Aarav and Arnav took over as CCA Co-Directors, with Paul relegated to the role of simul-giver!

Thank you Aarav and Arnav not just for the lovely goodies you brought in today but for everything you’ve done for our club and achieved in chess. We’re incredibly proud of you both and will miss you lots. Wishing you and your family all the best for the future and please stay in touch.




It’s been another superb day for Coventry Chess Academy members! Some fantastic news came from down south where Rhea Pal was playing in the Wellington U10s. This was a strong tournament and Rhea had to play against opponents who were not just older but often out-graded her. Undeterred, Rhea scored 3/6 which included a tremendous win against a 61 ECF-graded opponent, her best win to date. Congratulations Rhea, what a fantastic result!

Closer to home, Rhea’s big brother and fellow CCA superstar, Rohan, was doing battle for the U18 Warwickshire Team playing in the Four Counties tournament in Kenilworth. The U11s, U11 girls and U9s teams were also in action, all under the watchful eye of CCA Director Paul Lam who was wearing his Warwickshire Junior Chess Squad Head Coach hat for the day. Numerous CCA members were selected to play, making up over half of the entire squad.

The U9s were split into Warwickshire Red and Warwickshire Yellow and they finished second and third respectively. There were some notable individual results. Billy Fellowes scored 2.5/3 on top board for Warwickshire Red and held fellow England star, the older and higher-graded Jan Murawski of Oxfordshire to a draw with Black in round 2, showing incredible determination to fight back from a losing position and outplay Jan in the endgame to earn half a point. On board 6 in the same team, Vassily Sagyaman won every single game to be crowned Warwickshire Red’s joint ‘big hitter’ for the day. The Warwickshire Yellow’s high points included a crushing 7-1 win over Leicester and Arnav ‘A Force’ Agarwal’s brilliant win against the mighty eventual winners Oxfordshire, in which he outplayed a higher-graded opponent and finished with a flourish by sacrificing his queen to force mate!

The U11s section was a very evenly-matched one on paper and the Warwickshire team finished in third place with one win, one loss and one draw, AKA a perfectly balanced result! The highlight was definitely the 7-1 win over Northamptonshire in round 1 which featured a fine finish from Zain Amir, joint highest scorer in his team with 2.5/3. The U11 girls proved superstars as they won every single match to be crowned champions in their section! The standout performance in the team without a doubt came from soon-to-be England debutant Shriya Sastry who outclassed her opponents en route to a perfect 3/3 score!

The U18 team was one of the youngest Warwickshire has ever fielded in the competition with an average age of just twelve years. They started their campaign with a bang, beating Leicestershire 6.5-1.5 with Rohan expertly outplaying his opponent the White side of a Sicilian Sveshnikov, forcing through a thematic c5 pawn break to create a passed d-pawn which proved decisive. Jude Shearsby also impressed with a strategic pawn sacrifice, gaining great piece activity as a consequence which enabled him to create a mating net around the talented Samia Sheikh. A subpar team performance against Oxfordshire in the next round resulted in a drawn match and the pressure was on to win the final round in good style. This they managed, beating Leicestershire 5.5-2.5 with key wins coming from Daniel Chen and the peerless Elis Dicen, the team’s youngest member aged eight years. She was the team’s big hitter for the day, winning every single one of her games. As a result of the team’s margin of victory, they edged out Oxfordshire on points difference to be crowned champions!

Congratulations to all our members who competed today and to all the Warwickshire teams!



We’re delighted to report on more stunning success on the local chess front! The University of Warwick Rapidplay took place today, attracting a horde of strong and undergraded student entries. There was also a small but plucky group of juniors playing and some creditable results were achieved with 2/7 for Vassily Sagyaman in the Minor/U105 (beating two opponents who outgraded him by over 30 points), 2.5/7 for Margarita Sanchez and 3/7 for Silas Bowcott-Terry in the Major (U140) and 4/7 for Finlay Bowcott-Terry in the Open.

The star of the show was however once again the youngest entrant! It just had to be the amazing, inimitable Billy ‘The Kid’ Fellowes!🤠 We’re wondering whether the Coventry Chess Academy’s eight-year-old superstar now needs to go permanently by the sobriquet of ‘Kid Dynamite’💣🧨 as just one day after making local chess history he did it again! Having compiled some superb performances in Minor sections this season, including winning the HE Atkins Memorial in Leicester with a 100% score, Billy took a bold step up in class for this event by entering his first ever U140 ECF section.

The result was nothing short of sensational. Billy started the tournament by taking the scalp of none other than former CCA coach and recent university graduate Jaspar Goodall! Ouch😬, it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy! Two rounds later, he faced an even tougher assignment in the form of the top seed, 138 ECF-graded James Harrison, who boasts a standardplay grade of over 150 ECF. He bit the dust as well.👎 Billy then suffered his only loss of the tournament, to a German student who was the eventual section winner. He bounced back though in round 5, with the unfortunate victim being local veteran and Coventry Chess League president Mike Johnson.🧓 His seniority did not save him; Billy swatted him out of the way and signed off with another win and a draw to finish on 5/7, with a delighted CCA Director, Paul Lam, arriving in time to witness the moment. With all the dust settled, Billy stood in joint-third place, owner of the grading prize and a cool 153 ECF grading performance to boot. Simply astonishing!!😲😲😲 The University of Warwick is home to some of the brightest young minds in the country, but even they were shocked by the little dynamo in their midst, with the name of ‘Billy The Kid’ striking fear into every student’s mind by the tournament’s end.

Congratulations Billy, what a performance, we’re all so proud of you!👏👏👏




We’re delighted to report on another piece of local chess history made by the one-and-only Billy ‘The Kid’ Fellowes! England superstar Billy, who is shortly due to represent his country for the second time in the upcoming European Youth Rapidplay and Blitz Championship, became tonight the youngest person to ever play top board in division 1 of the Coventry Schools Chess League, making his debut for Warwick Senior School. And despite only just having turned eight years of age and started Junior School this year! Warwick School has a rich chess history, with former Chess A team top boards including the likes of FIDE Master Richard Weaving. However, to our knowledge even Richard did not achieve this distinction at such a young age!

The scene was set for a contrast of almost comical proportions! The rest of the Warwick team arrived at King Henry VIII School by mini-bus. Billy got a lift from his dad, avoiding unnecessary teenage banter. Billy’s opponent and teammates, including some sixth formers, towered over him. To the unwitting observer, it might have seemed like an extraordinary mismatch was about to transpire. They were right! It was all over in a mere two minutes. Billy ‘The Kid’ was transformed into ‘Kid Dynamite’ as he utterly vaporised his opponent who could only shake his head in disbelief, while Billy’s older Warwick teammates and their teacher could barely contain their glee. It was also a proud moment for CCA Asst. Director Andy Ward, Warwick Senior School chess coach, and CCA Director Paul Lam, who coaches at Warwick Junior School, albeit bittersweet for Andy being an Old Coventrian himself!

Well done Billy, you’re a superstar!



We are delighted to report on some absolutely fantastic news! Just a few days removed from the epic Coventry Chess Academy – Hallfield School chess match, we can officially announce than no fewer than FOUR participants in that event will be representing ENGLAND in the upcoming EUROPEAN YOUTH RAPID AND BLITZ CHESS CHAMPIONSHIP🏆 taking place in Tallinn, Estonia later this month and into December! Shriya Sastry, Billy Fellowes and Elis Dicen from the CCA have all received the call-up to play for their country. Kai Miller, who played for the Hallfield School team, is also among those who have been selected. Just brilliant! You can see the full England team on the English Chess Federation website at

Coventry Chess Academy Director Paul Lam said ‘This is fantastic news for all concerned! By coincidence, my first ever international was in Tallinn, Estonia, all the way back in 2001, of which I have fond memories. This achievement once again highlights the strength of junior chess in Warwickshire and the West Midlands which has come on leaps and bounds over the last six years. First and foremost though, it’s a tribute to the talent, hard work and dedication of all those who have been selected. You can all be very, very proud of yourselves!’

Congratulations to all our superstars, we’re so proud of you and can’t wait to see you in action for Team England!



We’re delighted to report on more fantastic performances this weekend! Warwickshire Select’s 4NCL (Four Nations Chess League) Division 4 South campaign kicked off in Maidenhead and it was a great to see a large number of juniors seated alongside their senior team-mates, including Manvith Sandhu, Jude Shearsby, Rohan Pal, Daniel Chen and Silas Bowcott-Terry. It proved to be a tough weekend with some very strong adult opponents rated up to 2000 FIDE and over, but there were still some fine performances. Manvith finished on 1.5/2 for the weekend and Daniel achieved a creditable draw against higher graded WCM Shayanna Sivarajasingam.

Back in Coventry, a very special event was taking place, namely the second Coventry Chess Academy-Hallfield School Chess Match. The CCA and Hallfield School have contributed the bulk of the award-winning Warwickshire junior chess squad over the last several years and this annual event is an appropriate celebration of the ties which exist between us. CCA Director Paul Lam was at the helm of the home team, with FIDE Master Nick Thomas leading the Hallfield side. Last year, the CCA won the match by the narrowest margin of a single point, with the outcome in doubt right up till the final game! Once again this year, there was barely anything to separate the teams on paper, promising a competitive and evenly-matched affair, and so it proved! Round 1 was drawn 4.5-4.5 and some fantastic chess was produced on both sides. The CCA highlights were Ezekiel Ho’s superbly played win against Elizabeth Webster on board 8 in which he shunned the lure of material to produce a lovely checkmate instead and a fine, controlled win for Billy Fellowes on board 2 in which he expertly using the positional plus of the semi-open c-file to produce a thematic queenside breakthrough.

Round 2 brought more fireworks. It started well for the CCA with quick wins for Rhea Pal and Billy, sandwiched with an early draw between Gregory Kornilovich and Rishab Murthy. However, Hallfield fought back to take the lead. Kai Miller’s opening trickiness caught out Aarav Agarwal. Aarav’s little brother Arnav was doing well against Aaron Suthi, winning a pawn with a nice discovered check combination, but then learned how knights defending each can get in each other’s way which enabled Aaron to turn tables. Elizabeth gained revenge on Ezekiel and Anay Agrawal won against Sai Prajan Venkatesh. The CCA’s prospects of holding onto the ‘Thomas Trophy’ appeared grim. Hope came through Shriya Sastry’s win on board 4 against Rithvik Muthuvelu. It now all came down to the top board clash between Elis Dicen and Zain Amir. Elis’ kingside attack proved irresistible and overcame a valiant Zain, with a crushing knight sacrifice proving the coup de grace. It meant that round 2 was also draw 4.5-4.5, for a perfectly balanced final result of 9-9!

Excited chatter between the two teams raised the prospect of a blitz tie-break between team managers Paul and Nick! However, the cooler adult heads prevailed as the decision was taken for the two teams to share the trophy; a fitting conclusion to a hard-fought, competitive and exciting match and a hugely enjoyable day! Well done to everyone from both teams and special thanks to Nick, official photographer Dennis Dicen, Coach Roy Watson and all parents for their support. Bring on next year’s match!



It was great to see everyone again at a fun-filled and very well-attended first session back after half-term yesterday, with neither heavy rain nor the Rugby World Cup Final deterring members! Pawn structure, development, responding to threats, and chess notation were all on the menu for the different groups and they went down a treat, with some great answers and contributions across the board. Challenge matches were keenly-contested and an impressive silence score of 9.96/10 was achieved, along with some notable results. CCA superstar Rohan Pal squared off with CCA Director Paul Lam who was unable to break his prodigious opponent’s resistance in an opposite-coloured bishops ending and forced to concede a well-earned draw.

In other news, plenty of familiar faces were in tournament action this weekend. Vassily Sagyaman achieved another fantastic result, this time in the Northampton Junior Congress. He scored 5/6, emerging as champion on tie-break. Well done Vassily!

Slightly closer to home, the inaugural First Weekend Birmingham tournament was taking place, a product of the efforts and hard work of Ravi Sandhu, with Paul one of the keen spectators dropping in. In the U1600/U120 section, Margarita Sanchez recovered from a slow start to finish on 3/5 which included taking the scalp of the top seed. The same scored was achieved in the U1900/U160 section by Elis Dicen who also defeated the tournament joint-winner. The U2200 section attracted the most entrants and there were some fabulous individual results. Finlay Bowcott-Terry finished in joint-second place with 3.5/5, half a point behind the tournament leaders. The trio of Manvith Sandhu, Daniel Chen and Jude Shearsby all scored a very creditable 2.5/5. Notable results included Manvith drawing with Finlay in round 1 and Jude holding a 194 ECF-graded and 2031 FIDE-rated opponent to a draw and defeating a 173 ECF-graded opponent in the final round.

Congratulations to everyone on yet more fantastic performances and thanks to Ravi for bringing a great new FIDE-rated tournament to the West Midlands. Here’s to future editions!




Don’t forget that the Coventry Chess Academy resumes sessions THIS SATURDAY 2ND NOVEMBER! We’re very excited to be back following the half-term break and looking forward to seeing everyone again!

We’re pleased to report on more good results for our members. Last night, round 1 of the KO Cup of the Leamington & District Chess League took place. Injecting the U120 competition with youthful vigour were our very own Billy ‘The Kid’ Fellowes (just turned eight years of age) and Coach Roy ‘The Boy’ Watson (age irrelevant), both of whom drew their games, a particularly creditable result for Billy against an adult opponent who outgraded him by over 20 points. Clubmate Jude ‘The Juggernaut’ Shearsby was delighted to be making his debut in the Open KO Cup and he recovered from being in trouble early on to win his game. Well done guys!

In other news, we are delighted to report on another good result from Vassily Sagyaman AKA ‘The CCA Torre’. Vassily competed in a very strong 52nd Berkshire Junior Rapidplay Championship which featured the likes of superstars Soham Kumar and Ayush Dewangan who Vassily played in round 2. This was one of only two losses experienced by Vassily as he finished on 4/6, meaning that he has now qualified for the London Junior Chess Championships U10 Minor in two separate events. Congratulations Vassily on a fine performance!




We’re delighted to report on more fantastic results as a super Saturday was followed by a stunning Sunday! The Birmingham Rapidplay was taking place close to home and CCA Director Paul Lam turned up in time to witness some gripping final round action!

The Open Section was a very strong one featuring International Master Alan Merry (ECF 229) who was joint-winner with 5.5/7. Scoring a fine 4/7 in the same section and winning the grading prize was fourteen-year-old Finlay Bowcott-Terry and scoring 2.5/7 in the same section was nine-year-old Jude Shearsby. This event was a big step up for Jude, but he acquitted himself extremely well, scoring great draws against Jonathan Bourne (ECF 193) and Emil Angelov (FIDE 2208). In a very strong and competitive Major Section, there were creditable performances from Manvith Sandhu (3/7), Rohan Pal (3/7) and Daniel Chen (3.5/7) and fine results in the Intermediate Section for Margarita Sanchez (3.5/7) and Silas Bowcott-Terry (4/7), particularly considering they were outgraded in nearly every single game. The Minor Section attracted the largest turnout and proved extremely hard-fought with some nerve-wracking battles. Vassily Sagyaman scored 2/7 having faced higher-graded opponents in nearly every round and came very close to winning his final round game with only some hasty decisions costing him in a favourable position. There were creditable scores too for Olivia Chen (3/7), Felix Kuang (3.5/7) and Tom Junde He (4/7). Billy ‘The Kid’ Fellowes made an uncharacteristically slow start, losing his first two games, but demonstrated what champions are made of as he roared back into contention, winning all his remaining games including a final round nail-biter to finish on a fantastic 5/7. The CCA big hitter for the tournament was Zain ‘The Brain’ Amir. Zain turned eleven years old today and had extra reason to celebrate as he was just brilliant, finishing the tournament unbeaten with four wins and three draws for a final score of 5.5/7 and joint-second place. Happy Birthday Zain and massive congratulations!

Meanwhile, the second day of the English Girls Chess Championship was taking place in Blenheim Palace. In a very strong U11s section, Shriya Sastry produced a fine performance, finishing on 4/6. In outright first place and adding to her English U9 Girls title from yesterday was the extraordinary Elis Dicen. She did it again with another perfect 6/6 performance which included defeating the event’s top seed. There was further joy to come though as big sister Imogen won rounds 3 and 4 of the main Championship before drawing the final round to finish in outright first place with 4.5/5 to be crowned English Girls Chess Champion 2019. It means that the CCA’s very own Polgar Sisters scored a mind-boggling 16.5/17 between them in two days against some of the best girl chess players in the country. Absolutely amazing! Congratulations girls, we’re so proud of you!



It’s been a glorious day for Coventry Chess Academy members in action over the chessboard today! Zain Amir, Billy Fellowes and Ethan Vas were all selected to play for the Warwickshire U100 team facing Leicestershire at home in the historic settings of Charlecote village. All made a great impression in their debut for the county’s senior side, facing battle-hardened adult opponents at a standardplay time limit. Zain battled hard on board 2, but lost after a very good game indeed. There was a draw for Ethan on board 9 and a win for Billy, the team’s youngest member, on board 4, who comfortably dispatched his genial opponent in relatively short order. Great stuff guys!

Meanwhile, in South Birmingham, the Warwickshire Open team were taking on Worcestershire. Featuring in the team together for the first and certainly not last time were good friends Manvith Sandhu and Jude Shearsby. Manvith drew his game, while Jude won against another familiar face and friend in Silas Bowcott-Terry, contributing to a Warwickshire victory. Brilliantly done boys!

Further south in Oxfordshire, four of our girl superstars were playing in a very special event, the inaugural English Girls’ Chess Championship! In the U9s, good friends Diah Patel and Rhea Pal demonstrated what fantastic progress they are making by scoring 2.5 and 3 points respectively; excellent scores considering the strength of the tournament. The winner of the same section was the one-and-only Elis Dicen who justified her top seed billing with a flawless 6/6. Elis therefore adds the English U9 Girls title to the four British titles which she already owns!

Heading the Championship section is Elis’ big sister, Imogen, who also finishes day 1 with 100%. In round 1, she produced a strategic master class, elegantly outplaying her opponent with the White pieces in a manner which would have made Capablanca proud. In round 2 she demonstrated her tactical flair with the Black pieces, producing a stunning blow on move 31! Can you find Imogen’s lovely continuation below?

Congratulations girls, simply terrific!



Just a gentle reminder that the Coventry Chess Academy is on BREAK for the next two weekends due to half-term. We will resume sessions on SATURDAY 2ND NOVEMBER. There will of course still be plenty of chess taking place between now and then and we look forward to reporting on our members’ endeavours!

Wishing you all a great half-term and we look forward to seeing you when we resume sessions next month!



Following on from a sparkling Saturday for the Coventry Chess Academy and its members, one was moved to ponder whether it could get any better for them this weekend? Well it did and then some!

Our very own Polgar sisters, Imogen and Elis Dicen👭, were once again in action for the Warwickshire Bears🐻 in day 2 of the first ever Women’s 4NCL Weekend in Kenilworth. In round 3 they faced another pair of older and higher-graded sisters, Woman Candidate Masters Shayanna (ECF 168) and Venetia Sivarajasingam (ECF 165). The ‘Dynamic Dicens’ proved a match for them though as two hard-fought draws were achieved, a fantastic result in particular for Elis in light of the grade disparity in her matchup. In the final round, Elis had another long tough game, this time losing but still demonstrating her trademark determination and resourcefulness. Imogen secured a comfortable win and the final outcome was that Warwickshire Bears finished in THIRD place🥉, beating Manchester on tie-break. Wow, a fantastic achievement!

Meanwhile, something special was taking place in the Wild Wild West, AKA Leicester. The HE Atkins Memorial Atkins Rapidplay was on and featuring in the U115 ECF section, was none other than the fastest gun in the West, Billy ‘The Kid’ Fellowes🤠, still in year 3 at school and recently turned eight years of age! It turns out that Billy’s very creditable performance yesterday in the Warwick Junior Open was just a warm-up for the main event. He took the field in Leicester by storm as he racked up win after win en route to becoming the youngest CCA member in history to WIN an ADULT CHESS TOURNAMENT🥇 with a PERFECT 6/6 and a scary 152 ECF grading performance! Just incredible!! As legendary CCA coach Roy Watson likes to say, ‘it’s the glory which counts’, but a delighted Billy also cashed in a cool £100 for his first place finish!💰 Skills literally do pay the Bills in this case!😎

Congratulations to Imogen, Elis and Billy, we’re so proud of you all!



It’s been an action-packed day for Coventry Chess Academy members! In the morning we had a very enjoyable last session before half-term. Captures, discovered checks, danger lines and focal points were all on the agenda and all groups performed extremely well. There was a warm welcome for a special visitor, former multiple Warwickshire Junior Chess Champ Mark Lam! He partnered Jude Shearsby in an epic exchange chess match against CCA Director Paul Lam and Billy Fellowes which saw the latter pair emerge triumphant after many twists and turns.

Next stop was the Warwick Junior Open, which included a large number of super-enthusiastic CCA members who had also attended the morning session but clearly hadn’t satisfied their chess appetite! The results were just brilliant as numerous medals were won in all categories, with a delighted Paul presenting the prizes. In the U11 D group, there were bronze medals for Diah Patel and Adit Nahar and silver medals for Robbie Gillespie, Rayyan Khan and Rhea Pal. Rayyan led the section right till the final round and Rhea also achieved the distinction of being the highest-placed girl in the section. In the U11 C group, there were bronze medals for Gregory Kornilovich, Amraya Johal and Ezekiel Ho. There was also a bronze medal for Aarav Agarwal in the U11 B group, with one of his only two losses coming to runaway tournament winner Shriya Sastry on a superb 5/5. The U11 A group was an extremely tough one, featuring no fewer than five England national team members. Billy, the youngest player in the section, took home a bronze medal and Zain Amir secured a silver medal for outright third place. The winner was our very own Rohan Pal who, despite an 11+ induced break from competitive chess, demonstrated why form is temporary and class is permanent! He faced all the other top seeds, including talented England teammates Ethan Gardiner and Ruben Evans, en route to a perfect 5/5 performance and a memorable return to the board!

The U18 B group proved an evenly-matched and competitive section. By the time the dust had settled, there were bronze medals for Ethan Vas and Keatan Patel and silver medals for Margarita Sanchez and Rugved Shedbalkar. The winner, again with a perfect 5/5, was the one-and-only Henry Wood! This is an outstanding achievement, particularly as Henry started the tournament as only the eighth seed based on ECF grade! Finally, as if there hadn’t been enough 100% scores for the day, Finlay Bowcott-Terry absolutely monstered the U18 A group, justifying his top seed billing by comfortably winning all five of his games.

Just 15 minutes away, two CCA superstars were doing battle in a very special event indeed. The inaugural Women’s 4NCL (Four Nations Chess League) kicked off in Kenilworth, featuring some of the best female players in the country. This included the super sister act of Imogen and Elis Dicen who proudly represented the Warwickshire Bears team along with Shriya Pillay and a legend of Coventry chess on top board, Woman FIDE Master Ann-Marie James! The close proximity to Warwick allowed Paul to do a good impression of a human yo-yo and catch some gripping chess action. Elis drew with good friend and fellow girl star Thisumi Jayawarna in round 1 and lost in round 2 but only after an epic game which lasted several hours and 109 moves! Imogen won both her games which included an excellent victory over older and higher-graded England star Anita Somton.

Well done to everyone for their performances today, we’re so proud of you all! Best of luck to Imogen, Elis and the Warwickshire Bears for tomorrow’s rounds, you can do it girls!



We’re delighted to report on another very successful weekend for the Coventry Chess Academy’s tournament warriors! Billy ‘The Kid’ Fellowes was in action in an London Junior Chess Championship (LJCC) U10s qualifier, facing older and higher-graded opponents. Billy of course is the current LJCC U8 Chess Champion, having risen to national prominence by topping a star-studded field in a sensational performance last year. Billy was playing in the higher age group mainly for experience, but he went one step further and finished in second-place, thus qualifying for the Major section of the LJCC U10s! Wow! Well done Billy on another brilliant result!

In other news, a good-sized CCA contingent descended upon Basingstoke for the first weekend of the J4NCL, the children’s wing of the British National Chess League. In fact, they comprised almost the entire squad! With CCA Director and Warwickshire Junior Squad Head Coach Paul Lam on wedding duty on Saturday, first-rate cover was provided on day 1 by the one-and-only FIDE Master Nick Thomas. The B team finished day 1 in division 2 with a very creditable two draws and one loss, facing opponents who out-graded them heavily on average. The A team stood near the top of the leaderboard in division 1 with two wins and one draw, with Finlay Bowcott-Terry standing out for the completeness and maturity of his play. Seven-year-old Bears debutant Arnav ‘A Force’ Agarwal was the youngest squad member, but scored a memorable win in an epic game lasting nearly several hours, winning the title of ‘Bears Hero of the Day’.

Paul joined the squad today, inheriting a group of players full of energy and motivation in spite of the long first day. The B team scored their first win of the weekend, defeating Barnet Knights 1 courtesy of convincing wins for Margarita Sanchez and Keatan Patel and a good draw for Zain Amir against a higher-graded opponent. The A team went down 1-3 to pre-event favourites, the Five Young Oysters, although there was an excellent draw for Jude Shearsby against Robert Akeya-Price (ECF 175). Finlay pressed hard against former Terafinal winner Christopher Tombolis, declining numerous draw offers in search of victory, before the point was finally split.

The final round saw the B team draw against Barnet Knights 2, with Margarita winning again and Aarav ‘A Force’ Agarwal, older brother of Arnav and fellow J4NCL debutant, taking Paul’s pre-match guidance to heart. He deservedly emerged victorious after nearly several hours having used his time very wisely indeed! The A team comfortably defeated Chess In Schools 1 by the score of 3-1, with top two boards Finlay and Jude claiming the wins, the latter crushingly after a major error by his opponent in the opening. It meant that Jude finished the weekend with an impressive 4.5/5 and the title of ‘Bears Big Hitter’. Moreover, the result ensured outright second place for the team and a share of the silverware at the prize-giving! Woohoo!

A big well done to all our members who competed this weekend!



Readers of CHESS, the UK’s most popular chess magazine, may have spotted some familiar names and faces in this month’s edition! Coventry Chess Academy Director Paul Lam and our very own superstar Olivia Chen both feature in an article by Ben Graff who is quickly making a name for himself as a writer and author in the chess world. The article entitled ‘It Starts with Hello’ (page 32) explores the power of chess to bring people together beyond the competitive arena and the ways in which it can be used as a positive force in local communities. You can check out an excerpt below!




Just a gentle reminder that the Coventry Chess Academy is ON BREAK this Saturday coming 5th October. We will resume sessions the week after, Saturday 12th October, and look forward to seeing everyone there!

We’re pleased to report on some fine performances at the NYCA (National Youth Chess Association) Championship event held locally in Kenilworth on Sunday. The Warwickshire U18s, featuring Finlay Bowcott-Terry and William Morris but missing some key players, had a tough time of it against some very strong opponents, but the Warwickshire U14s excelled, finishing joint-first! Margarita Sanchez and Keatan Patel scored 3/3, with 2.5/3 for Vincent Xia and Ethan Vas. Eshan Suthi, Silas Bowcott-Terry, Daniel Chen and Manvith Sandhu also made important contributions to the team. Great stuff, well done everyone!

In other news, not one but two CCA prefects were in action last night for the same club! David Phillips took to board 2 for Kenilworth in division 1 of the Leamington & District Chess League, winning his game in a 4-0 hammering of Shirley and Wythall. In division 4, there was a symbolic passing of the torch as William Morris took top board for Kenilworth ahead of inimitable CCA coach Roy Watson in a proud moment for both. It was a bittersweet occasion for Roy, losing his top dog spot and also his individual game, but he could still go home a happy man after William won on top board, saving the match for the team. Well done guys!



It was another fantastic Coventry Chess session today! Escaping from check, the Destructive Danish and endgame mating technique were all on the menu. A new record was set on the bishop and knight mate challenge, with Jude Shearsby completing it in a mere 10 seconds. For good measure, he then had to do the challenge blindfold which he successfully accomplished! Challenge matches were held and last week’s silence score was matched. The most notable result was achieved by Aarav ‘A-force’ Agarwal who downed Coach Roy Watson after a tactical oversight from the latter which doomed his female monarch. CCA Director Paul Lam was in clock simul mode and found himself in trouble early on against Jude and tactics whizz Tom Junde He, before the positions stabilised. The blindfold was going better, but time intervened to bring the session to an end and a well-earned split point for Dhruv Dabas, Andrew Chen and Sid Sailesh.

It was also a very special occasion for a member who has been coming along since he was only five years old. The one-and-only Billy ‘The Kid’ Fellowes celebrated his eighth birthday in the best way possible, surrounded by all his friends at his favourite place, and kindly brought in some sweet goodies which were enjoyed by all. Happy Birthday Billy, we hope your day is amazing as you are!

In other fantastic news, the Coventry Chess Academy is delighted to have won a British Chess Educational Trust award! This award is administered with funds provided by the generosity of the legendary, multi-talented Sir George Thomas (,_7th_Baronet). Alex Holowczak who submitted the nomination accepted by the BCET Trustees said:

‘The award is richly deserved as the Coventry Chess Academy has helped not only with junior chess in the Coventry area, but the Warwickshire county teams too with which I am involved. In fact, it has helped to turn Warwickshire from a county that was doing relatively little for junior chess four years ago and had very few junior players actively involved in tournament chess, into a county that is now helping to compete for national titles. Individuals at the Academy have subsequently gone on to represent England in various competitions around the world, and even become British Champions in their age group.

This prize is a credit to Paul Lam and his colleagues Andy Ward, Roy Watson and other volunteers at the Coventry Chess Academy for their hard work over a number of years.’

‘This was a wonderful surprise for our club!’ said Paul. ‘I would like to extend my appreciation to Alex Holowczak for his very thoughtful and kind nomination. Alex has made a tremendous contribution to chess locally and nationally as an organiser and arbiter. Warwickshire junior chess has benefited directly from his tireless efforts and is greatly indebted to him and figures like FIDE Master Nick Thomas who helped lay foundations for the junior chess resurgence which our region is experiencing. The Coventry Chess Academy is proud to be part of this and I look forward to it continuing for many years to come. We are fortunate to have the backing of a small but loyal team whose commitment to our club and members is beyond reproach. The final word should go however to our amazing members: the people who make the Coventry Chess Academy what it is and achieve incredible things over the chessboard on a weekly basis. You make us so proud and this award belongs to all of you.’




We’re delighted to report on some excellent news for a Coventry Chess Academy member! Fast-improving Vassily Sagyaman competed in the first event of the North London Schools Grand Prix. He faced higher graded and older opponents in every round, but still scored 4/6, winning a gold medal and qualifying for the U10 Minor section of the prestigious London Junior Chess Championship (LJCC).

Congratulations Vassily on a fantastic performance! Bring on the LJCC!




It’s been a great weekend at the Delancey UK Schools Chess Challenge Terafinal for Coventry Chess Academy members! No fewer than eight were in action in the grand final of the world’s biggest chess tournament, with CCA Director Paul Lam also in tow. The standard in each section was scarily high with all the top England juniors out in force, but some notable performances were nevertheless produced by our members. In the U8s, Billy Fellowes scored 5.5/10 in his first ever Terafinal with the highlight being his round 2 upset win against clubmate Elis Dicen. Incredibly, Billy is still technically an U7 so will be eligible for the U8s again next year. Elis rebounded in fine fashion, showing a tonne of grit and determination, to finish on an excellent 7/10 and winning the best girl prize. In the U10s, Jude Shearsby played some fine chess to finish on a fantastic 7.5/10 and would almost certainly have made the KO stages if it weren’t for an unfortunate reversal in round 2 in a winning but tricky endgame. In the U14s, Imogen Dicen finished on a very creditable 5/10 against some very tough opponents, drawing with Jacob Yoon in round 1 and scoring notable wins against Shahjahon Saidmuradov and Toby Kan.

Well done to each and every one of our members who competed this weekend! Just to qualify for this stage – roughly the top 0.5% of over 40,000 entrants – is a phenomenal achievement. You can be very proud of yourselves, we know we are!



An interesting feat has been achieved by a Coventry Chess Academy member! Midlands chess player and former English Chess Federation official Alan Ruffle recently authored a book titled ‘The Chess Scene’. Featuring in one of the chapters – in fact heading the chapter – is none other than our very own Manvith Sandhu and his win against the author when he was only nine years old! Check it out below. Fast-forward two years and Mr Ruffle’s suspicions have proven prophetic! We suspect it won’t be the last time we see one of Manvith’s games appearing in print!



The local chess league season has kicked off and already Coventry Chess Academy members have enjoyed success! In the Birmingham & District Chess League, Manvith Sandhu was in action for Halesowen, facing an experienced ECF 155-graded opponent. Manvith outplayed his opponent with the Black pieces in the opening, won material after a tactical oversight from White and later converted the endgame comfortably for a good win for him and his team.

25 miles down the M42, Manvith’s good friend and clubmate Jude Shearsby was playing in the Kenilworth division 1 derby in the Leamington & District Chess League. His first game in the top flight this season was against a very tough opponent in the 171 ECF-graded Mike Donnelly, an International Master of correspondence chess and former 200 ECF+ player who is well-known in local chess circles for his highly informative website providing a wealth of chess resources ( Jude more than held his own in a complex struggle, and an impressed Mike was compelled to offer a draw in the endgame when he could not find any way to make progress.

Well done guys on two fine results and a great start to the season!



It was fantastic to see everyone today at a very well-attended and enjoyable FIRST Coventry Chess Academy session of 2019-2020! A very warm welcome to all our new members who joined us, we hope you enjoyed the experience and look forward to seeing you at future sessions! CCA Director Paul Lam reported on the successes of members over the summer and there was a huge round of applause👏👏👏 from everyone present. Teaching started and it was like a heartbeat hadn’t been missed. Group D got to grips with some tricky captures with Anuj Chitre among the star performers, spotting first what looked like a plausible capture and then superbly demonstrated the flaw in it to an impressed Asst. CCA Director Andy Ward. Groups C and B enjoyed ‘Roy on the rampage’ as the CCA’s favourite great-grandfather went through his crushing🔨 round 4 victory from the U1750 section at this year’s British Chess Championship in Torquay. The top groups explored the theme of ‘python chess’🐍 with Paul and there were some fabulous contributions from Billy Fellowes who quickly identified key pawn breaks in the test position, and other great suggestions from Aarav Agarwal, Ethan Vas, Olivia Chen and Henry Wood. Challenge matches were conducted in a great spirit and impressive silence score🤫 of 9.92/10 was achieved. Onto ‘fun time’ it was and the room was filled with chatter and laughter as members enjoyed their favourite variants again. Paul made the dubious decision to play a clock and blindfold simultaneous🙃 and paid the price as he ended up getting flagged by a delighted Oscar Sturc!

In other news, the UK Open Blitz qualifiers took place today. The CCA has its fair share of speedsters and a good number of them competed in the Birmingham qualifier. The event was an extremely strong one which featured the likes of Delancey UK Schools Chess Challenge Director and WFM Sarah Longson, WGM and newly-crowned English Women’s Chess Champion Katarzyna Toma and top seed IM Ameet Ghasi who has been a special guest at the CCA in the past. Ameet was unstoppable and romped to victory with a perfect 15/15!

It was a tough ask for the CCA members who were heavily outgraded on average, but they still produced some sparkling performances! There was a phenomenal result for eight-year-old Tom Junde He. He was one of the youngest and least experienced participants in the event but still scored 6/15 for a 1496 FIDE rating performance, beating some much older and higher-graded players in the process. Manvith Sandhu, fresh from representing England in the FIDE World Cadet Chess Championship in China, had to contend with a much faster time limit than he has been used to of late, but still scored 7/15 and gained 31 rating points. Finishing on the same number of points was good friend Silas Bowcott-Terry who performed far above his rating, holding Tom Brown (ECF 174 rapid) to a draw and defeating much older and higher-graded England junior Samia Sheikh and 1738-rated James Lee.

The story of the day was the sensational performance of Jude Shearsby, still aged nine. Jude went into full-blown Juggernaut mode and set the tournament alight🔥🔥🔥 with a series of massive upset victories. His victims included the likes of former Warwickshire Open Team captain Simon Smith, Birmingham League division 1 stalwart Phil Bull, England U13 superstar Edison Xu and Poland’s Wojcech Czaja (1931 FIDE). As round 14 started, Jude was sitting on board 9, on the same number of points as FM Harry Grieve and half a point ahead of Sarah Longson.😲 Just incredible! His final round came against a very familiar face and fellow England superstar – the one-and-only Finlay Bowcott-Terry. In a tremendous battle, Jude pushed Finlay to the brink, achieving a winning position, only for victory to fall out of his grasp and the older, higher-graded player eventually triumphing. It meant that Finlay finished on 9/15 and Jude on 8/15, both superb scores!

There was also consolation for Jude as he was the highest-placed player in his rating category, bagging a neat £50 prize. And in other news, he and clubmate Billy Fellowes have achieved the distinction of featuring in the local paper twice in the space of just two weeks! The Kenilworth Weekly has run a piece on the outstanding success achieved by both on behalf of Team England in recent international tournaments. Check it out below!

Well done to everyone for their performances and we look forward to seeing everyone at the next session for more chess and fun!



Delighted to report on a great event for two very popular Coventry Chess Academy personalities! The Leamington & District Chess League Jamboree took place tonight and once again proved a very popular warm-up event for the upcoming season. Teams of two entered from clubs spanning the League, with no pair allowed to exceed a combined ECF grade of 280. Representing Kenilworth Chess Club were our very own Jude ‘The Juggernaut’ Shearsby and Roy ‘The most energetic great-grandfather on the planet’ Watson! It proved to be an extremely enjoyable event with both achieving good results. Such is the progress which Jude has made that Roy found himself the lower-graded half of the pair, but still finished on a creditable 2.5/6 in his individual games and was unfortunate not to score more as he was winning his final round but lost on time. Jude scored a fantastic 4.5/6 and was a joint-winner of his section, including a win against the very talented and strong Ben Larkin and only losing to League Chairman and CCA coach/parent Ben Graff. Well done guys, what a fun evening!



We hope you’ve all had a great summer and are getting back into gear for the start of the new school term! Don’t forget that the Coventry Chess Academy resumes sessions THIS SATURDAY 7TH SEPTEMBER! We are VERY EXCITED to be back! Plenty of chess has taken place over summer, but there has also been time to rest, reflect and plan ahead for the coming academic year. With more exciting developments in the pipeline, hopefully 2019-2020 will prove to be the best year yet for our club and members!

In other news, we are delighted to report on more tournament success for our members. The Delancey UK Schools’ Chess Challenge Southern Challengers took place at the weekend, representing the last chance to qualify for the prestigious Terafinal. While the majority of members who qualified for the Challengers opted to play in the Northern event, two intrepid members made the trip down south at the weekend to play in its Southern sister event in Harrow, the double A-force of Aarnav and Aarav Agarwal. They finished on a very respectable 3/6 and 3.5/6 respectively in two super strong U8 fields.

Further up north, Vassily Sagyaman and Jude Shearsby, aged eight and nine years respectively, were doing battle in the Darnall and Handsworth Rapidplay in Sheffield. As usual, the opposition was overwhelming comprised of higher-graded adults. A special mention for Vassily’s dad, Francis, who was making a rare playing appearance and scored 2.5/6 in a strong Open section. Vassily played in the Minor (U110 ECF) section and, despite being heavily outgraded in many rounds, finished on a very creditable 2/6. Jude competed in the Major (U170 ECF) section and started like a train with an unbeaten 3/4. Although he fell short in the final two rounds, he still finished on a fine 3/6 and a 154 ECF grading performance against some strong opponents.

Well done to everyone on yet more great results and we look forward to seeing you all on Saturday when we resume sessions!




After eleven gruelling days in China, the FIDE World Cadet Chess Championship 2019 campaign of Team England and our one-and-only Manvith Sandhu has come to an end. It has been an extremely tough schedule with many long, hard games, but Manvith has acquitted himself excellently on his second appearance on behalf of his country and his first time travelling so far abroad to play chess at the international level. It was a whole new experience and no doubt a hugely beneficial one in terms of learning and development. Manvith’s final score was a very creditable 5.5/11 and, like his clubmate Billy Fellowes in Belarus, he was the HIGHEST-SCORING representative of Team England in the whole event!🥇

Many congratulations Manvith, you can hold your head up high after a great effort and a fine performance. We’re so proud of you!👏👏👏



Delighted to report on great news from round 8 of the World Cadet Chess Championship in Weifang, China, where Manvith Sandhu has been flying the flag for Team England! Today, Manvith faced a very strong and experienced opponent, the 1907 FIDE-rated Nejc Herega of Slovenia. Undaunted, Manvith strategically outplayed his opponent from the opening, establishing a very pleasant bind on the position. The opponent opted for a pawn break in an attempt to free his position, but it was tactically flawed and Manvith brought down the hammer🔨, wrapping up victory in only 26 moves to move past the 50% mark in the tournament. Just brilliant! His reward will be a clash against a 2028 FIDE-rated Candidate Master tomorrow. Congratulations Manvith on a terrific result and wishing you all the best for tomorrow, you can do it! 🙌




We’re delighted to report on more Coventry Chess Academy tournament success! The Northumbria International Congress took place from 23-27 August in Newcastle with a very strong Master’s section, headed by 2618-rated top seed Grandmaster Alexander Donchenko and numerous other titled players. Also making up the numbers in the Masters was CCA Director Paul Lam, playing in his first chess tournament in two years. He was the definition of ‘Mr Average’ as he performed almost exactly to his rating and finished in the exact position that his pre-tournament seeding would have predicted with a final score of 4/9. Former CCA coach Liam Dobson (now known as Dr Dobson!) celebrated the end of his PhD with a fine 5/9 in the Major (U1825 FIDE/U150 ECF) section. Pride of place however went to twelve-year-old Daniel Chen in the Challengers (U2050 FIDE/U180 ECF) section. Our Daniel was on terrific form as he scored 4.5/9 against some very strong opponents for a 162 ECF grading performance and will gain a massive 138 FIDE rating points. Wow! Well done Daniel, great stuff!

In other news, Manvith Sandhu currently stands on 2.5/6 in the World Cadet Chess Championships in China, having already faced some incredibly tough opponents for an U12 section, like his last opponent, 2033 FIDE-rated American Luke Ye. Today was a day off for the competitors, so Manvith and the rest of Team England have had a nice relaxing day full of leisure. It’s straight back into tough games tomorrow though with a seven round showdown against yet another player for the host nation. Wishing you the best Manvith, you’re doing yourself, club and country proud!



Those of you who read the Kenilworth Weekly might have seen some familiar faces appear between its pages this week! Our very own Jude Shearsby, Billy Fellowes, David Phillips, Coaches Roy Watson and Ben Graff, and Coventry Chess Academy Director Paul Lam all got a mention in a news piece focussing on the success of Kenilworth Chess Club members at the recent British Chess Championships, along with local chess legend Mark Page who has been a great supporter of the CCA. You can check it out below!

In other news, Manvith Sandhu continues to do club and country proud in the 2019 FIDE World Cadet Championship in Weifang, China. After losing his second round game, he showed how champions respond by bouncing back with a good win against a Latvian in round 3. Tomorrow, he takes on a very strong and well-known opponent, rising star Zhang Di of China. It should be a cracking contest! Well done Manvith and wishing you all the best for tomorrow’s round, you can do it! 🙌




We’re delighted to report on a winning start for Manvith Sandhu who is flying the flag for England in the FIDE World Cadet Chess Championship in Weifang, China! In round 1 of the U12s, he faced a local player, Wang Jiangbo. The Chinese chess explosion of the last two decades has seen the host nation rise to the status of bona fide chess superpower and it is not unusual to encounter unrated Chinese players who are in fact playing at a very high level⚠️. In fact, they have caused a number of upsets on paper already in the first round. Any fears of a potential banana skin in round 1 were not however realised in Manvith’s case as he comfortably outplayed his opponent with the Black pieces.😎 His reward will be a tougher assignment against a 1961 FIDE-rated American in round 2. Well done Manvith for a great start and wishing you the best for tomorrow’s round, you can do it! 🙌



We are delighted to report on more excellent results for Coventry Chess Academy members in tournament action over the weekend! There was a fine result for Jude Shearsby in his first tournament back following on from his heroics for England in Slovkia. Jude scored 2.5/5 in the Major section of the Manchester Summer Chess Congress facing higher-graded opponents in all rounds and was unlucky not to score even more points as he played some high-quality chess and was dominating many of his opponents. Not too far away in Oldham, the Northern Challengers of the Delancey UK Schools Chess Challenge was taking place. A large number of CCA members were competing by virtue of excellent results in the Gigafinal, aiming to take advantage of the final opportunity to qualify for the prestigious Terafinal. All CCA members competing did themselves proud and scored good points meaning that as a club we comfortably finished on a plus score for the event. In particular, Margarita Sanchez was the highest-placed girl in the U12 section and Manvith Sandhu the joint-highest-placed boy in the same section and also the joint section winner with an unbeaten 5/6. It means that both qualify for the Terafinal next month! Congratulations to both and to all members who competed at the weekend!

This is however only the prelude for Manvith to a very special occasion. Starting from tomorrow, Manvith becomes our THIRD England international of August as he travels to Weifang, China to fly the flag for his country in the FIDE World Cadet Championship! You can check out the England team for the event on the English Juniors website at Manvith will play in a ferociously strong U12 section boasting a 2311 FIDE-rated top seed😲 and no fewer than 17 players rated 2000+. We have full confidence however in Manvith, who is one of our club’s superstars and has risen swiftly through the ranks in the last few years to emerge as one of the best chess players his age in England.

Manvith, aged eleven, only completed primary school this year, but already has cut his teeth in Open sections, taking down 180+ ECF-graded opponents and facing his first titled opponents over-the-board this year, memorably squaring off with former Bobby Fischer conqueror, IM James Sherwin at the British Chess Championships earlier this month. Manvith has been one of the stars of the Hallfield School chess team, one of the best in the country, under the tutelage and mentorship of the one-and-only FIDE Master Nick Thomas. He is a two-time Terafinalist, twice a runner-up in the British Junior Chess Championship and a multiple Warwickshire Junior Chess Champion among many other achievements. He recently made his England debut, representing his country in the 2019 Glorney Cup🏆 in Ireland and will be looking to continue his excellent recent form in China.

Wishing you all the best for China, Manvith! We know you’re going to give it your best shot and do everyone proud. We’ll be cheering you on the whole way!🙌🙌🙌



The 2019 FIDE World Cadets Rapid & Blitz Chess Championship🌍has concluded in Minsk, Belarus, and what an event it has been for our new and latest international chess star Billy ‘The Kid’ Fellowes! Having performed brilliantly in yesterday’s rapidplay, he was massively excited for the Blitz today, a time limit which he simply loves. Blitz is great fun for all chess-playing kids (and even adults!) and the environment was bound to be more relaxed than yesterday’s rapidplay. However, this did not prevent Billy from producing the goods again!

As was the case yesterday, the field was terrifyingly strong for an U8 section, with the number 1 seed in the Blitz boasting a FIDE rating of 1825 (equivalent to an ECF grade of 153). Billy again faced a murderer’s row of strong and experienced juniors, mainly hailing from the chess heartlands of Eastern Europe. He finished on a fantastic 5.5/9 to finish 31st of 142 competitors. Moreover, Billy was the HIGHEST-PLACED representative of Team England as well as boasting the BEST RATING PERFORMANCE of any English player in the section. WOW!! Just brilliant!

Congratulations Billy on a simply magnificent performance, many miles away from home. If the international chess community didn’t know about you before, they sure do now and you’ve made nothing but a positive impression (except if you’re poor old team Russia who faced decimation at the hands of ‘The Kid’🤠 or the guy at the hotel who was desperate to use the computer but couldn’t interrupt a practice session😂). You’ve acquitted yourself amazingly at your first international chess event and we know you’ve loved your time there. Take a bow Billy, you’ve done yourself, club and country proud. 👏👏👏




It’s been an absolutely BRILLIANT two days in Belarus for Billy Fellowes! The Coventry Chess Academy’s little superstar, flying the flag for England, stood on 2.5/4 in the U8 section of the World Cadets Rapid Chess Championship after day 1 and day 2 brought five more rounds and the promise of more tough opponents. Billy however rose to the occasion in style. After drawing with the 1357-rated Maksim Volgin in round 5, ‘The Kid’🤠 went on an absolute tear🔥, beating strong FIDE-rated Russian opponents in rounds 6, 7 and 8, setting up a final round clash with yet another Russian, this time rated 1401. The blushes of the Eastern European nation and bona-fide chess giant were finally spared, as their man emerged victorious, but only after another great effort from Billy who, as always, gave it absolutely everything.

It means that Billy finished the 2019 World Cadets Rapid Chess Championship🌍 with a splendid 6/9. His final ranking was an outstanding 19 of 150 players from across the globe, the HIGHEST-PLACED ENGLAND PLAYER in the standings. Considering that his compatriots and fellow England superstars Patrick Damodaran and Kameron Grose were also competing, this is an amazing achievement! Billy did not even have an international rating entering this tournament, but his FIDE rating performance for was a phenomenal 1484.😲 We have another international superstar⭐️ on our hands, what a player!

Belarus hasn’t seen the last of Billy though. Tomorrow, the Blitz Championship starts and anyone who knows Billy well know that he absolutely LOVES blitz. Minsk will have one super-excited seven-year-old on its hands tonight! Wishing you all the best for tomorrow Billy and enjoy the occasion, we know you’re going to have so much fun! We’re so proud of you and what you have achieved. 👏🙌



Delighted to report on a brilliant first day in Belarus for Billy ‘The Kid’ Fellowes🤠 where he is flying the flag for England in the World Cadets Rapid & Blitz Chess Championship! In round 1 he faced the number 5 seed, a 1414-rated Russian. Billy was outplaying his opponent before dropping material, but went on to win on time! In round 2, it was an all-English clash with one of the best U9s in the country, the talented Kameron Grose. The younger player emerged victorious and Billy was now on 2/2. A draw followed against a strong Latvian opponent, leading to a round 4 clash with none other than the 1696-rated top seed from Ukraine! The stronger opponent eventually prevailed, but not after a great effort from Billy. It means that Billy currently stands on 2.5/4 after day 1, having faced highly-seeded FIDE-rated opponents in every single round. WOW, just WOW! Our little star has also had the opportunity to savour the sights of Minks and is having a great time, finding opportunities to practice and have some fun as well as the photos indicate!😂 Well done Billy, and wishing you the best of luck for rounds 5-9 tomorrow! You’re doing brilliantly and we’re so proud of you! 🙌🙌🙌



Did you manage to solve yesterday’s brainteaser? The answer is 19.Bg4! and, if the rook moves to b8 and a8, 20.Nxb7 wins material. Unfortunately for Roy’s opponent he chose an even worse response in 19…Rc7?? and after 20.Na4 found himself facing the loss of his queen. Ouch!

We are delighted to announce that the 3rd FIDE World Cadets & Blitz Chess Championship kicks off tomorrow in Minsk, Belarus, marking the international debut of our very own Billy ‘The Kid’ Fellowes!🤠 Billy will proudly fly the flag for England, becoming the second Coventry Chess Academy member to report for international duty this month, following on from Jude Shearsby’s recent heroics in Slovakia.

Billy, aged seven years, has been a CCA member since he was only five years old, and has risen to become one of the best chess players his age in the country, winning the London Junior Chess Championship last year against the best U8s in the country despite playing an age group above. More recently he qualified for his first UK Schools Chess Challenge Terafinal, winning his Gigafinal with a perfect 6/6, and scored 4/6 in his first British Chess Championships where once again he played an age group above.

As a pupil at Warwick Prep School, Billy has benefited from the sessions run by the best in the business – FIDE Master Nick Thomas. Billy is also a member of the excellent Kenilworth Chess Club where he regularly plays and beats adult opponents and was one of their team’s highest-scoring members in the Leamington & District Chess League last season. You can read more about Billy’s chess achievements and his upcoming trip to Belarus at the Warwick Prep School website at

As Billy’s sobriquet would indicate, he’s a real sharpshooter and no-one is safe against him! Check out the below position taken from a blitz game which Billy played against the CCA Director when he was only six years old. Can you find Billy’s eye-catching continuation😲 for White which nearly made Paul fall off his chair?

Wishing you all the best for Belarus, Billy! Enjoy what should be an amazing experience and we’ll be cheering you on every move of the way! 🙌🙌🙌



Amidst a treasure trove of brilliant performances from Coventry Chess Academy members at the 2019 British Chess Championships, there were some jewels to be found among our coaches as well! The standout performance from the older generation came from Roy Watson who rolled back the years to score 4/5 for second place in the U120 section of the Championship. He faced even tougher opponents in the FIDE-rated U1750 section and in round 4 faced a talented and higher-graded junior. On this occasion however, experienced trumped youth as ‘The Baddest Great-grandpa on the Planet’ outplayed his opponent positionally and then delivered a killer blow in the position below. Can you find Roy’s winning continuation for White which forces the win of material?

On the chess tournament front, we’re pleased to report on more fine showings from our members! The deadly duo of Manvith Sandhu and Daniel Chen, England team-mates in the recent Glorney Cup, were in action in the Open section of the Midlands Chess Championship at the weekend, which also served as a qualifier for the British Chess Championship Main Event next year. The section included two International Masters and one FIDE Master and for players aged eleven and twelve years respectively to be competing at this level is very impressive. Both of our guys showed why they belonged by scoring 2/5 each despite being outgraded in every game. Highlights included Daniel downing Midlands chess stalwart Dave Gostelow and Manvith outplaying former Warwickshire County Captain Simon Smith then ruthlessly finishing him in the endgame. Well done to both!




After nine epic, exhausting days in Slovakia, the European Youth Chess Championship campaign of our Team England star, Jude Shearsby, has come to an end. Once again, Jude was out-rated, this time against an opponent from Finland. Although the higher-rated payer prevailed on this occasion, it has been a magnificent showing in this tournament for Jude. He finished on a plus score of 5/9, facing higher-rated opponents in eight of the nine rounds and playing an age group above in the U10s (Jude is technically an U9!). Jude has gained a tonne of FIDE rating points from the event, but also more invaluable experience on the international stage against the best that Europe has to offer. Some brilliant chess has been played, but his sheer effort, fighting spirit and determination have also been on full display. Moreover, he has had a great time on and off the chessboard and friends from across the globe🌍 have been made; a nice reminder of how chess can bring people together.

Well done Jude, we’re so, so proud of you and what you have achieved! You’ve done yourself, club and country proud. Take a bow Jude, a hero’s homecoming awaits! 👏👏👏



How did you get on with yesterday’s brainteaser? David’s neat solution is 27…Nd3! as after 28.Bxf6 Black does not recapture the bishop but plays the neat intermezzo 28…Qb6! and White is forced to part with his queen to stave off mate. Nicely done!

Today’s puzzle comes from our very own Team England member, Jude Shearsby, who is currently battling on behalf of his country in the European Youth Chess Championships in Bratislava, Slovakia against the best chess players his age and a year older in Europe. In the below position from Jude’s sixth round game, his Polish opponent has just erred with 24…Bf3? As might be expected, Jude already knew what was coming up! Can you find his winning continuation for White?

Today saw the penultimate round of the European Youth Chess Championships take place and, for the seventh straight round, Jude faced a higher-rated opponent, Georgia’s Luka Kiladze (1766 FIDE). Of course, many of these participants, being juniors, are even stronger than their actual rating! It was another tough battle, lasting nearly 4 hours, with chances for both sides right up till the end. It is normal for tiredness to set in at this late stage of such a gruelling and intense tournament, but Jude’s heart is clearly still beating with all the force in the world as he achieved a very creditable draw against his strong opponent. Well done Jude, another great result which takes you to 5/8, and a guaranteed plus score for the tournament! Just one more to go now, wishing you all the best for the final round tomorrow! We’ll be cheering you on loudly as always, you can do it Jude!🙌🙌🙌 #ComeOnJude #TheresOnlyOneJudeShearsby #Superstar



We’re pleased to bring you another brainteaser courtesy of one of the Coventry Chess Academy’s superstars at the 2019 British Chess Championships in Torquay, David ‘The Comeback Kid’ Phillips. In the final round of the U16s Championship, he faced the undefeated tournament leader. Needing to win at all costs, David produced a positional masterclass crowned with a fine finish. Can you find his decisive continuation in the below position? Black to play.

Today, more good news came through from the European Youth Chess Championships in Slovakia for Jude Shearsby and Team England! Jude was paired with a strong Danish opponent, the sixth straight round in which he has been outrated. It was another difficult and complicated struggle, but Jude again showed admirable sang-froid in a position which would have made strong men feel weak, turning the tables on his opponent and agreeing a draw in a position in which he held all the trumps but one which was still extremely hairy. It means that Jude now stands on 4.5/7, surpassing his score for England last year in the same event, but with two rounds to go! Well done Jude, what you have already achieved is incredible and anything beyond this point is a bonus. We’ll be cheering you on through the final rounds, you can do it! 🙌



Did you manage to solve yesterday’s brainteasers? We hereby provide you with the solutions! In position 1, CCA Asst. Director Andy Ward found the fine queen sacrifice 30…Qh1+!! After 31.Kxh1 Nxf2+ Black won back the queen plus two pawns as the b2-pawn will also fall. In position 2, Imogen Dicen played the superb 16.b5!! cxb5 17.Nxb5! These consecutive pawn and knight sacrifices rip open the Black king’s position, leaving him at the mercy of White’s minor pieces. After 17…axb5 18.Rxb5+ Kc8 19.Qa6+ Kd7 20.Rd5+ Black was forced to jettison his queen.

We’re delighted to report on more fantastic news from the European Youth Chess Championships in Slovakia! Once again, Jude Shearsby has done himself and Team England proud with another terrific result! In round 6 today, he faced a Polish opponent, the fifth straight game in which he has been out-rated by over 200 points. Jude stood much better in the opening after an excellent, enterprising pawn sacrifice, but the tables turned after some inaccuracies and good play from his very strong opponent. Undaunted and showing his trademark determination, Jude found some brilliant tactical resources and fought his way back into the game. After a major error from his opponent, he pounced with a crisp combination, forcing the win of material and with it the game. Another fantastic display from Jude and a great result which takes him to 4/6! Well done Jude, you’re just awesome! Wishing you all the best for tomorrow’s round, you can do it!




Spectators at the 2019 British Chess Championships🇬🇧♟ in Torquay were treated to some sublime displays of chess over the course of ten days. The Coventry Chess Academy’s contingent of members and coaches contributed their fair share! We give you two brainteasers for today. The first is Black to play and comes from CCA Asst. Director Andy ‘Fire on’ Ward’s fourth round win in the Major Open. The second is White to play and comes from ‘Incredible’ Imogen Dicen’s fifth round win in the U14 Championship. Can you find their superb winning continuations?

In other news, we are delighted to report on the endeavours of Jude ‘The Juggernaut’ Shearsby who is flying the flag for England in the European Youth Chess Championships in Slovakia! Jude had a tough round 4 game yesterday, experiencing his first loss of the tournament against a very strong Serbian opponent. He faced an even higher-rated opponent today from Turkey and also had the Black pieces for the second game in a row. It looked grim early on after a tactical error left Jude in major trouble. Team-mates and coaches alike could easily have written the game off at this stage, but Jude had other ideas. Showing unbelievable fighting spirit and determination, he played simply BRILLIANTLY thereafter, fought back and managed to save the draw against his very strong opponent who played very well himself. Jude moves on to 3/5 in the U10s; lest we forget, he’s technically an U9! What a fighter, what a player!

Well done Jude, we’re so proud of you, you’re an absolute star!⭐️ Keep it up, you’re doing amazingly!



The 2019 British Chess Championships🇬🇧 in Torquay have come to an end. Congratulations to Grandmaster Mickey Adams who became British Champion for the seventh time (and presented a number of our members with their prizes!) and to International Master Jovanka Houska who became a nine-time British Women’s Champion. The full list of prize-winners is now up at and the Coventry Chess Academy took away an impressive haul, with the names of David Phillips, Daniel Chen, Manvith Sandhu, Jude Shearsby and Elis Dicen all appearing on the aforementioned Championship webpage, plus mentions for Coaches Roy Watson and Ben Graff. Congratulations once again to all of them along with each and every CCA member who competed over the last week and did themselves and our club proud.

In other news, Jude Shearsby took to the board today for round 3 of the European Youth Chess Championships. Some reports of the event are already coming through on the ECF Juniors website at Having won his first two rounds, Jude was up against a very strong Russian opponent. Despite being the underdog on paper, Jude manhandled his opponent in the opening and had him in major trouble throughout the game. Although his opponent managed to escape with a draw, once again Jude did Team England🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 proud, demonstrating why he belongs at this level and that even the strongest players in the field aren’t safe when they face him. Well done Jude and good luck for tomorrow’s round, we’ll be cheering you on every move of the way!




It’s been a memorable day for the Coventry Chess Academy’s intrepid members on the final day of the junior sections of the British Chess Championships! David ‘The Comeback Kid’ Phillips was quite simply brilliant in the final round of the U16s. Facing the undefeated tournament leader as Black, he played with power and precision to win and finish joint-second with 5/7. Imogen Dicen drew her final game of the U14s in what has been a tough tournament for her but one which has still featured some superb individual results and been a very useful learning experience moving forward. In the U12s, Manvith Sandhu produced yet another sparkling performance, capitalising on loose play from his opponent in the opening to win material and then calculating his way through the subsequent complications created by his opponent to effortlessly emerge on top, finishing on 5.5/7 for joint-second and cementing his standing as one of the best players of his age in the country. Once the U12s finished, Manvith’s treat was a fun afternoon playing in the rapidplay with his many friends. He took the scalps of a number of higher-graded opponents and had the pleasure of sharing the chessboard in round 4 with legendary American International James Sherwin who once beat the great former world chess champion Bobby Fischer (! The veteran was able to survive a sacrificial attack and prevail, but what an experience nevertheless for Manvith! (Post-note edit – Manvith scored 5/9 and won a rating prize! Well done Manvith!)

Olivia Chen gave her England national team opponent a fright in a tactical slugfest and while she couldn’t quite pull it off she still finishes on a creditable 3/7 in the U10s. Unfortunately, Rohan Pal found himself paired with Elis Dicen in an all-CCA final round clash. That they found themselves facing each other on the high boards in the final round is however testament to how well both have played in this tournament. It was a tremendous clash which showcased the very best of both players. Rohan won two pawns in the opening and was winning, but Elis never gave up, creating problem after problem for Rohan to solve. Rohan played very well to parry all of these, but a sacrifice in the spirit of Tal from Elis proved to be the game changer, provoking a decisive error from Rohan and leading to checkmate for Elis. It meant that Rohan finished on a fine 4/7 and Elis on 5/7. Not only did she finish in joint-third overall, she was the best girl in the section and was consequently crowned BRITISH U10 GIRLS CHAMPION, adding to her U9s title from last weekend. It means that Elis is now a FOUR-TIME British Chess Champion at the age of only eight years!😲 Well done Elis, simply amazing!! 👏👏👏

The icing on the cake was provided by Jude Shearsby despite being 1000 miles away. Having won his first round game for England in the European Youth Chess Championships in Slovakia, he found himself playing White against a much higher-rated Hungarian opponent in the second round. To Jude’s delight, he found himself playing on one of the live boards, meaning his friends and supporters back home could follow his progress. He was quite simply BRILLIANT, clinically outpointing his opponent and forcing his resignation with the Black king in the middle of the board facing checkmate, provoking cheers from an on-looking CCA Director and coaches. Check it out for yourself at Jude is now on a perfect 2/2 and will no doubt face another very strong opponent tomorrow. Well done Jude and good luck for tomorrow’s round, we know you can do it!

Congratulations to all of our members for their performances not just today but over the past week. It’s been a truly memorable time in Torquay with plenty of fun in the sun, basking on the beach, fantastic food, day trips, some amazing times with friends and family, and some simply sublime chess! We’re so, so proud of you all. Time to celebrate! 🍾



The Coventry Chess Academy’s British Championship contingent enjoyed a stunning day 8 in Torquay. Coach Ben Graff finished his campaign with 1.5/2 and was undefeated for the duration of both tournament sections which he played in. CCA Asst. Director Andy Ward won another fine attacking game to move to 4.5/7 in the Major Open. The star man among the coaches was however once again Roy Watson! On a run of 4 successive wins, he managed to produce a performance of such pristine perfection in today’s morning round of the U120 section that it surpassed even the ‘Watson Immortal’ of yesterday afternoon. Not a single error was committed, though that might have had more to do with the fact that his would-be opponent did not turn up and was defaulted! One can only surmise that he saw the pairings last night and was paralysed by fear at the prospect of facing a rampaging Roy! The consequence was that our man finished on an excellent 4/5 for joint-second and a handy share of the prize fund. Anyone who knows Roy well will of course know that it’s the GLORY which counts as opposed to the money! The great man’s fame has reached such proportions in Torquay that they even constructed a statue of him in recognition of his achievement. Check the photo out below if you don’t believe it!

As excellent as Roy’s performance was, even he had to bow down in awe at the sheer brilliance on display from the CCA’s members today. Daniel Chen completed his Championship with two comfortable draws against higher-graded adult opponents and might even have scored more as he enjoyed a favourable position in the afternoon game. Rohan Pal produced a great performance against fellow England player Mickey Maurus in the U10s. He countered Mickey’s optimistic flank attack with a thematic central pawn break, took control of the position and finished with a flourish! See if you can find his winning finish below, Black to play. There were also wins for Olivia Chen and Elis Dicen in the same section, the latter producing a miraculous comeback. In the U12s, Manvith Sandhu recovered from missing an opportunity in the opening and played a magnificent game for its remainder, finding some brilliant, profound strategic moves. David Phillips drew in the U16s to move to 4/6 and will face the tournament leader in the final round. Tomorrow will be the last day in action for all our members and we’re sure you’ll join us in wishing each and every one of them the very best of luck. Guys and girls, it’s been a magnificent tournament for you all, let’s do our best to finish on a high note!

To top off a great day, more fantastic news reached us from Slovakia where Jude Shearsby is flying the flag for England🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 in the European Youth Chess Championships. We are delighted to report that Jude won his first round game against his Greek opponent and will face a strong opponent from Hungary in round 2 tomorrow. It should be a terrific encounter! Well done Jude and good luck for tomorrow, you can do it!



We’ve enjoyed glorious sunshine☀️ all day in Torquay at the British Chess Championships and it rubbed off on Roy! Once again he won both his games, making it four on the trot for ‘The Baddest Great-grandpa on the Planet’, including an absolute demolition job in round 4 of the U1750 section which will be making its way to a CCA demo-board at some point. His good friend and fellow CCA sage, Bernard ‘The Artist’ Charnley, also had a fine day, spectacularly defeating a 2167 FIDE-rated opponent in the over 65s section.

Our members once again did themselves and us proud with their performances. Imogen Dicen bounced back from a tough two days with 1.5/2. Little sister Elis drew against two higher-graded and older England national team members, the talented Max Pert and Luca Buanne, in the U10 and U1750 sections. Olivia Chen won a piece early in the U10s and converted nicely, showing her understanding of simplification and managing to find some clever prophylactic moves in the process. Big brother Daniel enjoyed two good draws against higher-graded adult opponents in the U1900 and U2050 sections. Manvith Sandhu played a fine game against the 170 ECF-graded Aarnavh Trivedi in the U12s, holding the draw comfortably and standing much better at one point. Well done everyone, you’re all doing brilliantly! Keep it going, the finish line is within sight!

In other news, our very own Jude Shearsby has arrived safely in Slovakia for the European Schools Chess Championships where he will be representing TEAM ENGLAND🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 for the second time! Jude will playing an age group up in the U10s against the very best players in the world🌎 for this age category. The field boasts a top seed of 2236 FIDE (well over 200 ECF!😲), terrifying testament to the calibre of the tournament. Jude however has enjoyed a simply brilliant season in which he has gone from strength to strength and we have no doubt that he’s going to do himself and his country proud once again. Good luck Jude, we’re so proud of you! Enjoy what should be an amazing experience; we’ll be cheering you on every step of the way!



Sunny weather returned to the British Chess Championships today along with the playing form of the Coventry Chess Academy’s inimitable coach Roy Watson! He managed to win both of his games and finally got over his junior hump, managing his first win in Torquay against a member of the younger generation. There was also an excellent result for coach Bernard Charnley in the Senior Championships; managing to extract blood from a stone by winning what should have been a dead drawn opposite-coloured bishops ending. Coach Ben Graff finished on 1.5/2 for the day and is still unbeaten so far in Torquay.

There were some more sparkling results for members. Daniel Chen lost a pawn early on but enterprisingly engineered a crushing kingside attack for victory against a 154 ECF-graded opponent in the U1900 section. Can you find his game-changing continuation for Black in the position below? Elis Dicen also defeated a higher-rated opponent in the U1750 section, having earlier given the U10s top seed, the very talented Denis Dupuis, a good run for his money. In the same section, Rohan Pal moved to 3/4 with a very maturely-played win, winning one pawn, then another and then returning the pawns to transition into a trivially-won ending. Manvith Sandhu won his second game on the trot and also stands well-placed on 3/4 in the U12s. Olivia Chen bounced back well from a tough morning loss with a good win in the U100 section in the afternoon while David Phillips took down a 179 ECF-graded opponent in the U16s and now stands on 3/4 with the field still wide open.

Wishing everyone the best for the next round which will be a key one, you can all do it!




Today we had our first spot of rain since arriving in Torquay for the British Chess Championships and it reflected a miserable day for the Coventry Chess Academy’s coaches with two notable exceptions. Ben Graff achieved a won position after only six moves in the U1900 section while CCA Asst. Director Andy ‘Fire On’ Ward is now on 3/4 in the Major Open, winning a fine game featuring a lovely queen sacrifice to win back material with interest.

As might be expected, the CCA’s members put their elders to shame with some fine results. Daniel Chen showed how true champions respond by putting a tough day 4 behind him and playing some excellent chess to score 1.5/2. David Phillips also rebounded from yesterday’s reversal to win his third round game in the U16s. Manvith Sandhu won convincingly in the U12s while Rohan Pal drew with fellow England player Sanjit Kumar in the U10s, taking both to an unbeaten 2/3 in their respective sections. Recently-crowned British U9 Girls Champion Elis Dicen faced her male counterpart Theo Khoury in the U10s. The result was an eminently fair draw setting up a top board clash for her tomorrow. Elis also comfortably won her afternoon game in the U1750 section to cap a fine day 5 for her. It was a tougher day for big sister Imogen and Olivia Chen, but both have tremendous fighting spirit and no doubt they’ll bounce back.

Well done to everyone, you’re doing yourselves and our club proud! Here’s to a big day 6 tomorrow!



It’s been an action-packed day for the Coventry Chess Academy’s British Championship contingent! The coaches had a decent day with 1.5/2 for Josh, Andy and, in a very welcome arrival, Ben Graff. Bernard however lost to a strong opponent in round 1 of the Senior (Over 65 years) Championship. Roy scored another impressive attacking win as Black in the U120 morning section, but came unstuck against a talented ten-year-old in the U1750 section, making it 4.5/5 against adult opponents and 0/2 against junior opponents so far for the CCA’s favourite great-grandfather.

Onto the CCA members and there were more fantastic results achieved! Elis won her round 2 game in the U10s with a crushing rook sacrifice. She found her higher-graded adult opponent in the U1750 afternoon tournament a tougher nut to crack, but a great experience nevertheless. Rohan started well against fellow England player and the talented son of one of British chess’ biggest names, Max Pert, but ended up drifting and was staring defeat in the face. Rohan’s resourcefulness came to the fore though and when Max erred he pounced upon the sole saving resource in the position to hold the draw. Olivia suffered a surprise loss in the U10s, but recovered well in her afternoon game in the U100. She faced a higher-graded adult opponent aged 90 years old for what must be one of the biggest age gaps in a chess game ever, 82 to be precise!!! Both players had chances for a win before the game reached an ending in which Olivia’s knowledge of the opposition proved more than up to scratch for the purposes of holding the draw. Manvith enjoyed a good opening in the U12s but wasn’t quite able to find the best plan and settled for a solid draw. There have been a large number of upsets already in his section and the field remains wide open. David faced the top seed in the U16s, but lost a pawn early due to an uncharacteristic mistake and went down to defeat. Imogen had a good draw against WCM Anum Sheikh in the U14s, a game in which she was strategically worse and then the exchange down, but showed her battling qualities once again to hold the draw. She enjoyed a much more comfortable draw in the afternoon against 186 ECF-graded Chirag Guha to complete a fine day’s work for her.

Well done to everyone, wishing you all the best for tomorrow’s rounds!



The Coventry Chess Academy’s British Championship Odyssey continued with a very successful day 3! Coach Roy Watson won with another crushing attack as White in round 4 and drew his final round game to finish on a creditable 3.5/5 in the Yates tournament. Coach Josh Pink drew his round 2 game in the Major Open as did CCA Asst. Director Andy Ward in the same section. Veteran CCA coach Bernard ‘The Artist’ Charnley has made a welcome arrival in Torquay and established himself as neighbour to Paul and Roy for the tournament’s duration!

Onto the people who matter the most, the Coventry Chess Academy’s marvellous members! Once again, they were outstanding. Daniel Chen drew both his games against higher-graded adult opponents to finish on an unbeaten 3/5 in the Soanes tournament. Rohan Pal and Elis Dicen both won their first round games in the U10s section and Manvith Sandhu kicked off his U12s campaign with a draw. Comeback kid David Phillips steamrollered his first round opponent and will face a much tougher game tomorrow against the top seed in the U16s.

The CCA’s youngest participants were in action in the U8s Championship, held as a one-day event. Amraya Johal scored 2/6, Vassily Sagyaman 3/6 and Billy Fellowes 4/6. These were fantastic results for all three who were playing in their first ever British Chess Championship. Billy’s result was particularly outstanding as he had to play three of the tournament’s strongest players; giving a great account of himself with a brand of high-quality chess that put most of the adults in the U120 section to shame (Roy will testify that this is no exaggeration!). Amazingly, Billy is technically an U7 and will still be eligible for the U8s next year. A terrifying thought for would-be opponents!

The outstanding result of the day was achieved by ‘Incredible’ Imogen Dicen. She faced an exceptionally strong opponent in round 1 of the U14s, the mighty Jacob Yoon, graded 190 ECF, who is good enough to be simultaneously playing in the British Chess Championship Main Event in which he drew with International Master Malcolm Pein in round 1. Imogen wound up giving Jacob perhaps more trouble than Malcolm! Imogen was in some trouble out of the opening as her king ended up stranded in the centre and prospects of survival appeared grim. Jacob however failed to capitalise on his advantage and Imogen produced a superb fight-back, at one point having a very difficult-to-find winning combination available.A draw was eventually agreed in an endgame in which she enjoyed very much the better of proceedings despite being a pawn down due to the far superior activity of her king and rook. A tremendous performance from Imogen who showcased her trademark fighting spirit and determination!

Well done to everyone for their performances! Let’s keep it up!



‘Sensational’, ‘Spectacular’, ‘Magnificent’: Just some of the words we’ve spotted walking along the seafront in Torquay which perfectly sum up the performances of Coventry Chess Academy members today! In addition to the chess, we’ve enjoyed walking along the pier, hitting the beach and having lots of fun with friends and family!

Onto the chess and coach Roy Watson rebounded from yesterday’s dodgy start with two comfortable wins. In round 2 he faced a Mr Holliday, who is probably not having a very good one after being brutally put to the sword by Roy ‘The Resurgent’. However, en route to victory in that game, Roy overlooked an immediately crushing combination that little Olivia Chen was able to spot! Can you find the winning move for White? Coach Josh Pink drew with 204 ECF-graded Matthew Payne in the first round of the Major Open and deserved to win having been a clean pawn up.

In the Soanes tournament, Daniel Chen achieved two good draws against higher-graded adult opponents in which he had his moments. In the U11s, Rohan Pal finished on a fine 4/6, with his only losses having come to fellow England national team members in very long, tight, competitive games which could easily have gone his way. In the U9s, Vassily Sagyaman finished on a very creditable 2/6 in his first ever British Chess Championship in which he was playing an age group up. Shriya Sastry and Olivia Chen both had good tournaments and finished on a fantastic 3/6. Jude Shearsby had a great tournament, scoring 5/6 for joint-second and only losing to friend and clubmate Elis in round 4. Elis finished on 4.5/6 from a very tough draw, making her the joint-top scoring girl and was crowned BRITISH U9 GIRLS CHAMPION. Woohoo! At only eight years of age, she becomes a three-time British Chess Champion, a phenomenal achievement! To make the occasion even more special, both received their prizes from the reigning British Champion and a legend of UK chess, Grandmaster Mickey Adams.

Congratulations to each and every member who competed today. We’re so proud of you all! There’s still over a week of chess to go and we look forward to reporting on more good news soon!



It was a successful first day for the Coventry Chess Academy’s tournament warriors at the British Chess Championships in Torquay! Rohan Pal won his first two games in the U11s before facing fellow chess superstar Shlok Verma in round 3. Shlok emerged victorious, but was given plenty of problems by Rohan who played very well deep into the game and even stood better in the endgame at one point. In the U9s, Vassily Sagyaman and Olivia Chen have got off the mark and both stand on 1/3, having faced some very strong opponents. There are no weak links in a tournament of this calibre and a large number of the top seeds have already been upset. In round 3, Shriya Sastry, who is very new to our club but has already made a big impression, beat 10th seed Johan Mathew despite being seeded 42nd, a great result for her! Shriya’s only loss so far came in round 1 to our very own Jude Shearsby. Jude sits atop the tournament with a perfect 3/3 along with his good friend and clubmate Elis Dicen. Unfortunately, computerised pairings can be unforgiving and today the CCA’s deadly duo will have to face each other on top board. We wish them BOTH the very best of luck! The last CCA member standing was Daniel Chen who is currently playing in the Soanes tournament (equivalent to a Major section), fresh off his 3/5 score for England in the Glorney Cup. He faced a higher-graded and vastly experienced adult opponent in Stephen Williams and was struggling for most of the game, at one point being in a completely lost position. Daniel never gave up though and fought on through the difficulties. Eventually, inaccuracies from Stephen let him back into the game and Daniel completed the turnaround in emphatic fashion through the power of his passed queenside pawns, forcing the win of material and his opponent’s resignation just before 11pm, much to the delight of a tired, but very proud on-looking CCA Director! Daniel wasn’t quite the last man standing in the tournament hall at that point though. CCA coach Roy Watson’s game was still ongoing against a talented junior in the Yates tournament (equivalent to a Minor section). Roy stood better and then dead equal in the endgame before a major error led him to lose the opposition in a king and pawn ending and with it the game. Oops… Bad luck Roy, you’ll bounce back today!

Well done to all our members for their performances on day 1, what a start in Torquay! Wishing you all the very best for today’s round and the rest of the tournament!



Hot off the chess press, we’re delighted to officially announce our first TWO-TIME England🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 selectees! Next month, good friends Jude Shearsby and Manvith Sandhu will once again don the colours of team England abroad. Jude will be playing for England in the European Youth Chess Championship in Bratislava, Slovakia ( Later in the month, Manvith will represent his country in the World Cadets Championship in Weifang, China ( Just brilliant! Jude previously represented England in Riga, Latvia last year, the first CCA member to achieve this distinction, while Manvith recently made his England debut in the Glorney Cup in Ireland

August was already looking like a hotbed of chess activity, with the British Chess Championships still ongoing then and the CCA’s seven-year-old superstar Billy Fellowes making his international debut in Belarus. With Jude and Manvith joining him on overseas duty, the temperature has been ratcheted right up!🔥🔥🔥 The boys have enjoyed a breakout 2019 with some truly outstanding achievements registered on a frighteningly frequently basis. We’ve no doubt that they’ll do England proud once again.

There will be more for us to report on closer to the dates of these exciting events. No doubt the prospect of these will serve as fuel for Jude and Manvith as they battle in out over the board along with many other members in the British Chess Championships starting today. Hearty congratulations boys and wishing the best of luck, we’re so proud of you both!




The 2019 British Chess Championships kick off later today in Torquay! This is without a doubt one of the biggest and most important events on the UK chess calendar and we can’t wait! A large contingent of Coventry Chess Academy members, the biggest to date, will shortly converge on the popular seaside destination. They will be joined by CCA Director Paul Lam, who played in the Major Open and U14 Championship at the same venue all the way back in 2002. Asst. Director Andy Ward, Coaches Roy Watson, Bernard Charnley, Ben Graff and Josh Pink, and many more of our friends and supporters will all be there too playing in various Championship sections. You can check out the Championships website at 

We’re greatly looking forward to updating you on the progress of our superstars as they do battle over the board against the best players their age in the country. Last year was an outstanding year for our members; one which saw Rohan Pal crowned British U9 Chess Champion and Elis Dicen become a double British Girls Chess Champion in the U9s and U8s. We’re sure you’ll join us in wishing them and the many other members competing this year the very best of luck! We look forward to a week and a half of fun in the sun, chess success and more memorable moments to take away with us. Guys and girls, let’s do this! 😎☀️♟#CCAARMY



We’re delighted to report on Glorney Cup🏆 glory for our international chess superstars and Team England!🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 The tournament finished today and there were some splendid results. In the Stokes section of the tournament, Daniel Chen scored 3/5 on board 4 and Manvith Sandhu scored 2.5/5 on board 2, helping England to finish second, just behind the Dutch. In the Robinson section of the tournament, Finlay Bowcott-Terry finished on a perfect 5/5 on board 4, helping England to achieve first place in the rankings, ahead of France, Netherlands, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Wow! Just brilliant!

Congratulations to all three and to Team England! We’re so proud and pleased for you all!



The new ECF grades are now out! You can check out your grade online at There has been fantastic progress overall made by Coventry Chess Academy members! A large number have gained their first ever grade and many others have seen their grade increase, in many cases substantially. An impressive EIGHT CCA members are ranked in the TOP TEN boys or girls for their age in ENGLAND, with more being ranked in the top 20. Just fantastic! Well done to everyone!

In other news, it’s going well for Team England in the Glorney Cup in Ireland! There have been two draws for Manvith Sandhu and two wins apiece for Finlay Bowcott-Terry and Daniel Chen, with England leading the rankings currently. Good luck for the remaining rounds guys, keep it up! 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿



The Coventry Chess Academy may be on break now, but plenty of our members will be in tournament action over the summer holidays! We’re delighted to report on a fine showing for Jude Shearsby at the 22nd 4NCL Congress. After attending yesterday’s CCA Sixth Anniversary Celebrations and collecting his very well-deserved Player of the Year trophy, it was right back across the country for Jude to continue his tournament endeavours. It was a gruelling weekend, but he finished on 2.5/5 with a 154 ECF grading performance and a superb, clinical finish in his final round game. Well done Jude! Can you find his precise path to victory from the position below? White to play.

In other news, the terrific trio of Finlay Bowcott-Terry, Daniel Chen and Manvith Sandhu have touched down in Ireland for the start of the Glorney Cup 🏆 in which they will proudly fly the flag for England. Good luck boys and to team England! We’re cheering you on every move of the way! 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿




On #InternationalChessDay the sun was shining quite literally on the Coventry Chess Academy as we celebrated exactly SIX years to the day that we were founded with a good old-fashioned chess party! 🎂🎈🥤🏆🍕As expected, it was a very well-attended, fun-filled and enjoyable occasion, with 35 members and numerous coaches and parents joining in the celebrations. There was plenty of food and drink on offer and the Cajun chicken wraps went down a treat, as did the chocolate brownies kindly brought in by Billy Fellowes! Paul’s puzzle and the humorous chess quiz proved very popular and there were numerous submissions in the hope of winning one of the prizes on offer.

We were joined by a very special guest in the form of Coventry chess legend Li Wu who had flown in all the way from the Isle of Man for the occasion! Li is the strongest player (current FIDE rating 2332) produced by our city in recent years. He hit the chess headlines when, at the age of 10 he played against 12 fellow members of Nuneaton Chess Club in a simultaneous. He only lost one game and won all the rest. His outstanding performances in national competitions led him to be selected to play for England in the 2001 World Youth Chess Championships in which he led the competition until he was narrowly edged by a certain Sergey Karjakin! Li went on to represent England with distinction in numerous international competitions as a junior, with a highlight being the 2005 World Junior Championships in Belfort, France in which he scored 7.5/10. He was only 13 when he competed in the British Chess Championship main event, one of the youngest ever. Li reached FIDE Master-standard before he had even left school, but only played rarely after beginning a Maths degree at the University of Cambridge. He made a triumphant comeback last year in the London Chess Classic where, despite not having played tournament chess in years, he crushed Grandmaster Keith Arkell in only 24 moves.

Also in attendance was FIDE Master Nick Thomas, who of course has been a long-time friend and supporter of the CCA. Nick ran the Warwickshire Junior Chess Squad ‘dream team’ which were national county champions in the early 2000s and featured the likes of Li and CCA Director Paul Lam. He joined Li in delivering a tandem chess simultaneous in which they played against all members present. The strength of the two masters ultimately told on the majority of boards, but all members delivered a terrific effort and Li and Nick did not have everything go their way. There were well-earned draws for David Phillips, Billy, Jude Shearsby, Elis Dicen, Zain Amir, Ethan Vas and Keatan Patel and wins for Vassily Sagyaman and Imogen Dicen, with the latter hugely impressing Li and Nick with the quality of her play.

The winner of the chess quiz was Sahith Nallemeni who scored an impressive 11/13, correctly identifying that the ‘Joker’s Gambit’ is not really a thing and that Roy does not in fact own a dog called ‘Chess’ or a cat called ‘Checkmate’! Zain was the winner of Paul’s Puzzle, a tricky mate in two puzzle featuring a queen sacrifice.

The Best Newcomer award went to Olivia Chen in her absence, while Billy won the Most Improved Player Award and Henry Wood the Conduct Award. The joint-winners of the Services Award were Sahith and Siddharth Nallemeni and the winner of the Player of the Year Award for a second time was Jude. Jude has had an outstanding year, representing England in Latvia, becoming the CCA’s first ever Terafinal winner and London Junior Chess Champion, becoming the Midlands U12 Junior Chess Champion despite technically being an U9 and winning the English Youth Grand Prix for his age group, among many other superb achievements.

It’s been a simply amazing year for the CCA and its members, the best yet! Our first England selectees, our first British Junior Chess Champions, our first London Junior Chess Champions, Junior Chess Championships, a record number selected for the Warwickshire junior and senior chess teams, a record number winning prizes at junior and adult chess tournaments, a record number of Megafinalists, Gigafinalists and Terafinalists combined. Just records broken everywhere in sight! Huge thanks to all our friends, supporters, coaches, parents, Cheylesmore Community Centre and, above all, our amazing members without whom none of this would be possible. All of you continue to make fantastic progress with your chess and be outstanding ambassadors for our club. The name ‘Coventry Chess Academy’ is known across the country and whenever people speak of our club it’s always in glowing terms, whether it’s the quality of chess played by our members or the superb manner in which they conduct themselves. Well done everyone, we’re so proud of you. Have a great summer and may 2019/2020 prove to be the best year yet for us!



It’s the one which all members have been waiting for! This SATURDAY 20TH JULY the Coventry Chess Academy celebrates its sixth birthday and the final session of 2018/2019 with a good old fashioned CHESS PARTY! 🎂 Yes, on 20th July, exactly SIX years will have passed since the day that we first opened our doors.😲 Where did all that time go? It’s been another amazing year for our club and members, the best yet, and we have so much to celebrate! 🎈 Featuring plenty of food and drink 🍕🥤, fun activities, puzzles, a prize-giving, special mystery guests and, of course, lots of chess! You can’t miss it! We look forward to seeing as many members as possible at what should be a fun-filled and hugely enjoyable occasion! 😃 #ThereAintNoPartyLikeAChessClubParty




Delighted to report on more fantastic news from day 2 of the UK Schools Chess Challenge Northern Gigafinal! Rhea Pal, younger sister of Coventry Chess Academy superstar Rohan, has been making fantastic progress with her chess and is turning into a super player in her own right. She was playing in her first ever Gigafinal today as an U7 in a mixed U7/U8 section. Rhea was very unlucky to be given an extremely tough draw in which she played U8s in four of the six rounds, including the top seed Thisumi Jayawarna. Nevertheless, Rhea rose to the occasion and scored an excellent 3/6 which including two wins against graded opponents, despite being ungraded herself. Well done Rhea!

Playing in the same section was Olivia Chen (U8) who recovered from a round 2 setback in fine style. She won all her remaining games to finish on a fabulous 5/6, finish in joint-first place and qualify for the TERAFINAL, our fifth Terafinalist so far this year! Brilliant stuff! Big brother Daniel finished on 4/6 in the U12s and qualified for the Challengers, a fine result too. Well done to both!

Daniel of course was recently announced as part of the England team going to Ireland for the Glorney Cup later this month along with Manvith Sandhu and Finlay Bowcott-Terry. You can now check out a team profile on the English Chess Federation website featuring all three at




It was great to be back for another great Coventry Chess Academy session today! There was a hero’s welcome back and a big round of applause for all our Midlands Gigafinalists and England selectees, as well as a warm welcome back for a very popular member, the one-and-only Siddharth Nallemeni! Siddharth has been working admirably hard in preparation for important exams, but has been itching to get back to the CCA, where older brother and fellow CCA legend, Sahith, is also a keen member. It’s brilliant to have you back, Siddharth, we missed you lots and we just know your hard work is going to be rewarded!

In light of how well everyone performed on the ‘Checkmate Challenge’ last time round, we stepped up the difficulty level today, but some fantastic worksheets were still produced, with Siddharth and Rhea Pal impressing. There was a treat for the top groups as Manvith ‘Money’ Sandhu demonstrated one of his terrific wins from the recent ECF Schools Final along with CCA Director Paul Lam, leaving the audience impressed and educated in equal measure. Some great contributions were produced during the demonstration by Billy Fellowes, Zain Amir and Oscar Szturc among others.

Challenge matches were held in an excellent spirit and an impressive ‘Silence Score’ of 9.92/10 was achieved. Manvith gave a good account of himself against Paul. While the Director triumphed in the rapidplay and blitz games, he was very lucky to achieve a draw against Manvith in a thrilling bullet slugfest. In the below position, Paul, playing White, couldn’t resist sacrificing his queen with 17.dxc6 Rxd2 18.Re8+ Bf8 19.cxb7 Qb6 but then blundered with 20.b8-Q?? Can you see why White should lose after this seemingly natural move?

It caps another good week for Manvith on the chess front. Earlier in the week at school, he was announced as the winner of the inaugural ‘Hallfield School Chess Player of the Year’ award and was delighted to receive a splendid board trophy from his school coach and great friend of the CCA, FIDE Master Nick Thomas. Manvith leaves Hallfield School this year having led the chess team with distinction, and this honour is richly-deserved. Well done Manvith!

In other news, the Northern Gigafinal kicked off today in Manchester and we already have some excellent news for the double A Force of Aarav and Arnav Agarwal! In the U7 Boys section, Arnav scored a fantastic 4/6, thus qualifying for the Challengers. Big brother Aarav scored a brilliant 5/6 in the U8 Boys section for joint-second, with his only loss coming to section winner, the very strong Aayush Dewangan. He also qualifies for the Challengers next month. Brilliant stuff boys, we’re so proud of you! Wishing all of our members in action tomorrow the very best of luck!



We’re delighted to report on a new string of international selections! Later this month, the talented trio of Finlay Bowcott-Terry, Daniel Chen and Manvith Sandhu will all be heading off to Dublin, Ireland to represent ENGLAND in the prestigious GLORNEY CUP!🏆 The Glorney Cup has been running since 1949 and many future Grandmasters and chess stars have played in the event throughout its long and varied history. CCA Director Paul Lam himself represented England twice in the event, in 2003 and 2005 respectively. For a real blast from the past, check out page 7 for the 2005 report at

Solihull-based Daniel, formerly of Leicestershire, has previously cut his teeth playing for England in the 2018 European Schools Chess Championship. Meanwhile, Finlay and Manvith both play for the excellent Halesowen Chess Club in Birmingham. Additionally, Manvith attends Hallfield School, one of the best chess-playing schools in the country, under the leadership and tutelage of the very best in the business: Paul’s former chess coach, FIDE Master Nick Thomas. All three work extremely hard on their game and have ranked among the very best chess players their age in the country for some time now. This selection is just the latest in a glittering list of chess achievements.

Congratulations boys, we wish you the very best for the event and look forward to following your progress!



It’s been another MARVELLOUS day for the Coventry Chess Academy’s stars at the Delancey UK Schools Chess Challenge Midlands Gigafinal! Today it was the turn of older members and all our girls and they didn’t disappoint! In the U15-18s section, super prefect and a bona fide CCA legend, William Morris, was playing in his umpteenth Gigafinal. He scored a creditable 3/6 in a very tough section which boasted not one but two FIDE Masters. Finlay Bowcott-Terry finished on 3.5/6 in the U14 section and was unfortunate not to score more, as his insatiable winning spirit moved him to decline a draw offer in pursuit of victory in the final round. In the U12 section, Henry Wood lost his first two games, but finished like a train! He won every single one of his remaining games, including against an opponent graded 40 ECF points higher to finish on 4/6 and qualify for the Challengers! Well done Henry!

In the U11 Boys A group, Keatan Patel and Silas Bowcott-Terry both finished on a fine 4/6 to qualify for the Challengers. The same feat was achieved by Vincent Xia and Ethan Vas in U11 Boys B, a great showing for both. Manvith Sandhu finished second with 5/6 in the same section and was desperately close to winning outright, not losing a single game and showing some tremendous determination and fighting spirit. Including the games he played for school in the EPSCA and ECF finals, he scored 15/18 in a chess-filled week; a phenomenal performance! He of course qualifies for the Challengers and will be looking to gain a deserved Terafinal place from this.

Moving onto the girls, there was an excellent performance from Margarita Sanchez in the U11 Girls, finishing on 4.5/6 and qualifying for the Challengers. There were some outstanding performances in the U7 Girls from Diah Patel and Julia Kozhan. Diah scored a splendid 3/6 in her first Gigafinal, amazing herself and a very proud mum! Julia Kozhan was spirited and switched on, and was rewarded with a super score of 4/6, qualifying for the Challengers! The final word of the day goes to the one-and-only Elis Dicen. Elis completely swept the board (forgive the pun!) as she scored a perfect 6/6 to become a two-time Terafinalist like her good friend Jude Shearsby had the previous day, much to the delight of CCA Director Paul Lam who himself pulled off the trick back in 2001 and 2002 respectively. Well done Elis, what a superstar!

That wraps up an epic, exhausting, but thoroughly rewarding weekend for the CCA’s staff, parents and members! With qualification for the Terafinal being much stricter this year (now requiring you to finish in FIRST place), it was inevitable that we wouldn’t quite be able to match last year’s numbers, but the performance as a whole was no doubt stronger than last year. No CCA member finished on less than 2.5/6 over the weekend and considering that this stage represents roughly the top 10% of junior chess players in the country, this was a phenomenal achievement for our stars. Moreover, a number of our members who couldn’t join their friends today will be competing in the Northern Gigafinal next weekend and many more will also be competing in the Challengers in August which also offers an additional opportunity to qualify for the Terafinal, joining our fantastic four of Imogen, Jude, Billy and Elis. For now, let us celebrate a hugely successful weekend for our club and offer huge congratulations to each and every member who played this weekend. ‘Proud’ doesn’t do justice to how we feel!




It’s been a simply memorable day for Coventry Chess Academy members! We start off with a juicy appetiser from Friday. Once again, a large number of CCA members were in action for Hallfield School, this time in the ECF National Schools Team Tournament. There were fine results for Ethan Vas (3/5), Rohan Pal (3/5) and Zain Amir (4/5), but once again Manvith ‘Money’ Sandhu was the star performer. He scored a tremendous 4.5/5 against some very strong opponents, and had far the better of the only game he drew against the 160 ECF-graded Ethan Chung. Simply Manvithicent!

The main course arrived today with the start of the long-awaited Delancey UK Schools Chess Challenge Midlands Gigafinal! CCA Director Paul Lam and Asst. Director Andy Ward were both privileged to be in attendance helping to run the event. All the primary school boys were in action and they did not disappoint. In U10 Group A, Zain Amir was superb. He finished on 4.5/6, qualifying for the Challengers event and was even a bit unfortunate as he was winning against both highly-graded Jack Esiri and England national team member Kyal Shah in his sole loss and draw of the tournament. In U10 Group B, Felix Kuang finished on a very creditable 3/6 and Rohan Pal qualified for the Challengers with 4/6 as did Kanav Monga on 4.5/6.

In U9 Group B, the pre-tournament favourite and last year’s Terafinal winner for his age group, Jude Shearsby, suffered an unexpected reversal in round 3. With prospects of retaining his title looking grim, Jude went into fight-back mode. He won all his remaining games to finish on 5/6 and win the title again on tie-break, becoming a two-time Terafinalist. A fantastic achievement!

In U8 Group A, the ever-ebullient Gregory Kornilovich finished on a very pleasing 3/6 in his first ever Gigafinal. Fellow Gigafinal debutant Vassily Sagyaman finished on 4/6 and qualified for the Challengers! A fantastic result for Vassily, who was a little disappointed not to win his final round game in which was at point winning against a very strong opponent. Vassily, you’ve got nothing to be ashamed of, you did so well at your first Gigafinal! In U8 Group B, yet another Gigafinal debutant, Andrew Chen, demonstrated what a good player he has become by scoring 3/6. Well done Andrew, we told you already had your cake, you just needed to add some icing to it and that’s exactly what you did in the final round!

In the U7s, yet another Gigafinal debutant Benjy Rendall finished on 2.5/6. This is a tremendous achievement for Benjy who is very new to chess and one of the youngest CCA members participating in the tournament. You’ve come so far in a short time, Benjy, it only gets better from here! Two more first-time Gigafinalists, Adit Nahar and Sai Prajan Venkatesh, have already made great strides with his chess in the last year and it showed as both guys scored a 3/6 performance. Just ahead of them on 3.5/6 was Ezekiel Ho who finished the tournament on the heights of board 4. A great result for Ezekiel who has worked incredibly hard in training and shown terrific enthusiasm and commitment. The final word goes to the irreplaceable, irrepressible Billy ‘The Kid’ Fellowes. Billy, riding a wave of success on the back of yesterday’s stunning news of his impending international trip to Belarus, demonstrated just why he had qualified for such a prestigious honour. A super-focussed Billy was on top form and blitzed the rest of the field, scoring a perfect 6/6 to win the U7 Gigafinal and qualify for his first ever Terafinal, making a big impression on no less a person than UKSCC Director Sarah Longson herself!

Congratulations to our Terafinalists, Jude and Billy, Challengers and to each and every member who competed today. You did yourselves and our club credit and can be very proud of yourselves, we sure are! Can’t wait to see our older members and girls in action tomorrow, wishing them all the very best! Bring it on!




Hot off the chess press, we have some more brilliant news! The Coventry Chess Academy’s superstars have been lighting up the international chess scene of late.🔥🔥🔥 Last year Jude Shearsby became the first CCA member to be selected for his country, representing England with distinction in the European Youth Chess Championships in Latvia, while earlier this year Rohan Pal proudly made his England debut in the World Schools Chess Championships in Turkey. In August, Billy ‘The Kid’ Fellowes AKA ‘The Snitterfield Sharpshooter’, aged just seven years old, will become the third and youngest CCA member to step into the international arena as he travels to far-off Belarus 🇧🇾 for the WORLD CADETS RAPID AND BLITZ CHESS CHAMPIONSHIP to fly the flag for England! 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 You can read the full story at the following link: 

Billy, who has been coming to the CCA since he was only five years old, has grown into a club fixture and very popular member, while simultaneously rising through the ranks to become one of the very best chess players his age in the country. He is one of the stars of the Warwickshire Junior Chess Squad and the current London Junior Chess Champion and Northern Junior Chess Champion for his age group among other feats. He finished joint-third in his first ever adult chess tournament and holds the distinction of being the youngest person to play in the Leamington & District Chess League, in which he scored 3/4 for Kenilworth Chess Club this season against experienced adult opponents.

Congratulations Billy on a quite simply tremendous achievement! You’re a superstar and we’re so proud of you!




Delighted to report on more fantastic success for our members in tournament action! A large number took part in the EPSCA National Primary School Championship Finals which were held on Monday to Tuesday, representing the outstanding Hallfield School under the leadership of CCA legend FIDE Master Nick Thomas. The U9s finished fifth overall in a very strong field, with Rithvik Muthuvelu and Aaron Suthi doing the team proud, scoring 3/7 and 4/7 respectively. The U11s team comprised Manvith Sandhu, Rohan Pal, Kanav Monga, Zain Amir, Ethan Vas and Eshaan Pasha. They finished fourth overall in an extremely tough field. The star performer was Manvith who was simply outstanding on top board! He scored 5.5/7, with only a single loss against superstar CM Shreyas Royal, while enjoying a crushing win with the Black pieces over the very talented Luca Buanne and a lovely finish against Roshan Gurjar on the final day.

In other excellent news, the final results for the English Youth Chess Grand Prix are now out online at and they are spectacular! We have not just one, but TWO English Youth Champions in ‘Incredible’ Imogen Dicen (U14 girls) and Jude ‘The Juggernaut’ Shearsby (U9s). Just amazing! Huge congratulations to Imogen and Jude who, in addition to being extremely talented, are two of the most determined and hard-working individuals you could imagine.

Moreover, there were other outstanding results for our stars in the Grand Prix final rankings. For example, Billy Fellowes was fourth in the U8s, Manvith fourth in the U12s, Finlay Bowcott-Terry third in the U14s, Elis Dicen third in the U9 girls and Rohan second in the U10s. Well done to them all as well; all have helped to put our region firmly on the chess map through these excellent results.

Congratulations everyone! As a club, we couldn’t be prouder, you’re all amazing!




Good news comes in twos apparently! Hot off the chess press, we are delighted to report on a terrific triumph for our very own ‘Incredible’ Imogen Dicen! An unfortunate clash meant that Imogen had to abandon plans to defend her Midlands Ultima title next weekend and take to the capital this weekend to play in the London Gigafinal in a very strong U14 section. Battling it away from home, Imogen was quite simply outstanding! She finished on 4/6, finishing the tournament playing on top board, winning the Ultima title for best girl and once again qualifies for the Terafinal, becoming our FIRST TERAFINALIST OF 2019! Her best win came in round 4 when she defeated a 156 ECF-graded opponent in a mere 22 moves. Congratulations Imogen, we’re so proud of you!




Delighted to report on more success for Coventry Chess Academy members in tournament action close to home! A large number entered the Solihull Junior Open, the final leg of the 2018-2019 Warwickshire Junior Chess Grand Prix, with CCA Director Paul Lam and Asst. Director Andy Ward also in attendance. Once more there was plenty to celebrate!

In the U11 Group D, Sai Prajan Venkatesh, Vassily Sagyaman and Pavi Bhavanandan all won bronze medals; a wonderful moment for Pavi who medalled for the first time in a tournament! In the U11 Group C, Arnav Agarwal was taking a step up in class but made a statement as he finished on an outstanding 4/5, sharing first place with Rugved Shedbalkar who was playing in his first tournament but has already made a big impression since joining the CCA and is showing great promise.

In the U11 Group B, there were bronze medals for Olivia Chen and Rithvik Muthuvelu and in U11 Group A the same feat was achieved by Margarita Sanchez and Silas Bowcott-Terry. It was a very strong section with no fewer than three England national team members competing. One notable result in the section was Ethan Vas’ emphatic upset win in round 1 over the much higher-graded and experienced England international Zoha Ashraf. The outright winner of the section was the one-and-only Rohan Pal. He got the better of England teammate Kenneth Hobson in a time scramble in round 4 and drew his final round game against another England teammate Daniel Shek to finish on an unbeaten 4.5/5; a fantastic performance by Rohan!

There was only one CCA member competing in U18 Group B, Henry Wood, but he once again showed what a handy player he is by winning a bronze medal and drawing against the top seed. In U18 Group A, Finlay Bowcott-Terry was in a class of his own and lived up to his top seed billing by winning with a perfect 5/5. In between rounds, he even found the time for an entertaining blitz match against the CCA Director. The result was a finely balanced 3-3 draw!

A huge well done to all our members who competed today! It was a long, tiring and tough day at times, but more great experience for all concerned. Onwards and upwards!



It was another very well-attended and enjoyable session at the CCA, with blistering heat not being sufficient to deter enthusiastic members! Highlights included Vassily Sagyaman smashing the Checkmate Challenge with 100%, a masterclass on the demo-board on dealing with a speculative attack and the return of our Pacific Star, Eden Oshri! Eden, who is visiting from New Zealand, was delighted to see all his friends and the CCA coaches again as we all were too! He kindly brought in some lovely Kiwi treats to share with everyone and managed to take down CCA Director Paul Lam in handicap blitz thanks to some deft clock skills!

In other news, we are pleased to report on another fantastic milestone for Jude Shearsby! The Coventry Chess Academy’s irrepressible nine-year-old superstar entered the Open section for the first time at the CCF FIDE Rapidplay which featured the likes of FIDE Master (and former UK Schools Chess Challenge winner) Harry Grieve and at least four other former British Chess Championship Main Event competitors/qualifiers. As is almost always the case in these events, Jude was the youngest competitor by some distance and was heavily outgraded in every single game, but once again surpassed expectations by scoring an impressive 3.5/7 against some very tough opponents. Well done Jude, another great experience and performance!



Delighted to report on more tournament success for the Coventry Chess Academy’s deadly duo of Manvith ‘Money’ Sandhu and Jude ‘The Juggernaut’ Shearsby! After the success of his first appearance in an Open section at Newmarket recently, Manvith again entered the top section at the North Wales Congress, playing alongside the likes of Grandmaster Nigel Davies. Manvith once again produced a fine performance to finish on 2/5 (a point behind GM Davies), including a great win against a 173 ECF-graded opponent and gained a healthy chunk of FIDE rating points. A little further south, his good friend Jude was in action in the Major section at Bristol. Jude, who achieved an outstanding result in the Major at Hampstead last week, repeated the trick! He finished on 3.5/5 for joint-second, a 169 ECF grading performance and the Junior/Grading prize. Simply marvellous! Moreover, the conduct and quality of play from both guys left both onlookers and opponents deeply impressed, with some very kind words of praise offered.

Well done guys, terrific stuff, we’re so proud of you!




Pleased to report on more excellent news for the Coventry Chess Academy’s Jude Shearsby! Jude played in the Major (U1900 FIDE/160 ECF) section at Hampstead this weekend. Despite playing opponents who outgraded him in all bar one round, he produced a fine performance to score an unbeaten 4/5 and finish in joint-second (having led the tournament at one point) with a 159 ECF and 1830 FIDE rating performance, gaining a handy share of the prize money in the process. Nicely done! Well done Jude on a fantastic result!



Delighted to report on an amazing chess experience for two familiar faces! CCA parent and coach, Ben Graff, took time out of a very busy schedule to play in a simultaneous against Grandmaster, current English number 2 and all-time-British-chess-great, Matthew Sadler, and Women’s International Master, Natasha Regan. How strong was the simultaneous? One of the participants was IM-elect, the very talented James Jackson! Ben has previously defeated the likes of International Master Tania Sachdev in this kind of event (a game which featured on the Chessbase website!), but did not have his best showing against his formidable opponents. However, hours after Ben had gone home, one participant was still going strong, none other than our very own Jude Shearsby! His game went on till 11:15pm and although the deadly duo of Matthew and Natasha prevailed, they were left thoroughly impressed by Jude’s play. Jude also made a big impression in Matthew and Natasha’s fascinating lecture on their new book on AlphaZero’s chess strategies, as he identified the correct move in one of the positions posed to the audience! Just fantastic! Well done Jude!



Delighted to report on amazing news for CCA members representing Hallfield School in the EPSCA (English Primary School Chess Association) semi-finals at Pontins in ‘Sunny Prestatyn’, as famously coined by Coventrian poet Philip Larkin. A total of five Hallfield teams competed, led by FIDE Master and great friend of the CCA, the redoubtable Nick Thomas.

The results were, in a word, OUTSTANDING, as Hallfield demonstrated why they are quite simply one of the best chess-playing schools in the country, if not THE best. Hallfield’s U11 A team came first with outstanding performances from our fantastic four of Manvith Sandhu (6/6), Rohan Pal (5.5/6), Zain Amir (6/6) and Ethan Vas (4.5/6) playing on the top boards. The U9 A team came second, with Rithvik Muthuvelu scoring 2.5/6 against some very tough opponents on top board and Aaron Suthi scoring a fine 4.5/6 on third board. A special mention for Aaron’s big brother, Eshan, formerly a Hallfield pupil, who was a great manager and role model for the younger team members! The U11 and U9 B teams also finished fourth and sixth respectively, much to Nick’s delight. Our youngest member competing, Rhea Pal, is following in big brother Rohan’s footsteps and was greatly excited to be making her first appearance at Pontins. She showed what tremendous progress she is making by scoring a fantastic 4.5/6.

Congratulations to all the hardworking players and their inspirational coach on yet more amazing achievements, we’re so proud of you all!



Hot off the chess press, we’re delighted to report on excellent news for our very own Jude Shearsby in the popular Golders Green Rapidplay earlier today! Jude was the second-from-bottom seed and, having just turned nine years old, also the youngest competitor in a strong Major (U170 ECF) section, but made a mockery of the pre-tournament odds with a superb performance, scoring 3.5/6 for a 160 ECF grading performance – including beating and drawing with the second and top seeds – and also over 400 points above his current FIDE rating. Wow! Well done Jude, brilliant stuff!



Half-term was still in full swing as the weekend started, but it didn’t prevent another great turnout at the Coventry Chess Academy! The groups feasted on thematic checkmates, simplification and careful calculation. The irrepressible trio of Arnav Agarwal, Oscar Sturc and Sahith Nallemeni were in creative mood and were even inspired to create their own simplification puzzle! CCA superstar Rohan Pal took on Director Paul Lam in a 15+10 game and gave a great account of himself in a complex Sicilian Defence, playing more than one move which made the Director pause for thought.

In other news, we are delighted to report on more success for our Pacific Star, Eden Oshri! Eden recently played in the Auckland Chess Power tournament which featured many of the most talented NZ juniors in his age category, including some rated well above 1000 FIDE. Eden scored a fantastic 4.5/6, taking first place and was delighted to receive a handsome trophy named for the late NZ chess legend, IM Ortvin Sarapu. Well done Eden who will have some exciting news to report in due course…watch this space!

Meanwhile on home shores, there were two fine performances from members in action at the EACU Congress in Newmarket. Manvith ‘Money’ Sandhu, aged eleven years, made his first ever appearance in an Open section which featured the likes of Grandmaster Keith Arkell. He scored a win against a 181 ECF-graded/1945 FIDE-rated opponent en route to a score of 2/5, a very creditable result considering the strength of the opposition. One of the highlights was getting to face his first ever FIDE Master in a competitive game, the formidable Martin Walker. The stronger player prevailed on this occasion, but what a great experience for Manvith! In the U170 section, his good friend Jude ‘The Juggernaut’ Shearsby, recently-turned nine years old, scored 2.5/5 which included an impressive win against a 155 ECF-graded opponent in the final round. A great result for Jude who also continues to go from strength to strength. Well done guys, keep it up!





Just a gentle reminder that the Coventry Chess Academy is still on this Saturday despite half-term! We hope you’re all enjoying a nice, relaxing break and look forward to seeing you on Saturday if you can make it. If the week is moving along slowly for you, we hope that #WisecrackWednesday helps to speed it up!

In our last post, we included a puzzle which the amazing Billy ‘The Kid’ Fellowes, aged seven years, solved remarkably quickly, needing just a single-word-clue to see the winning idea in seconds(!!). That word was ‘deflection/diversion’. It wasn’t enough however to help some strong players who were all stumped! The winning continuation is 1.Qh7+ Ke6 2.f5+ Kd5 3.Qg8+!! Qxg8 4.Kd3! and mate with c4 on the next move is unstoppable.

On the 6th May, we posted a photo of two enigmatic chess superstars together, inviting you to guess who they were. A few people worked out at least one of them, but no-one identified both of them correctly! The answer is that they were none other than Grandmaster Hou Yifan, four-time Women’s World Chess Champion, and our very own Elis Dicen, double British Girl’s Chess Champion!

In other news, another of our members has been unexpectedly spotted in public! William Morris has been an outstanding member, prefect and past winner of the award for services to the CCA and continues to make a fantastic contribution to our club. Fame clearly travels fast in our city, to the extent that Will’s name now features prominently in a bustling Coventry city centre! Check it out if you don’t believe it!

On a related note, plans for the golden statue of Coach Roy Watson are currently on hold while planning permission is sought from the city council, but we hope that the bronze prototype of the great man in his prime will be enough to whet your appetite for the time being!




Half-term may have started, but it didn’t hold back another very well-attended and fun-filled Coventry Chess Academy session yesterday. Our Megafinalists received a hero’s welcome back and a warm round of applause from all present!

Members were treated to a replay of the titanic recent clash between CCA coaches Roy ‘The Boy’ Watson and Bernard ‘The Artist’ Charnley, with a special appearance from a very sporting Artist to present his side of the story, and gained fascinating insight into the psychology of blunders. Meanwhile, Groups C and D responded brilliantly to today’s theme of the weak back rank, with Philip Charlton, Vassily Sagyaman, Stephanie Melkonyan and Andrew Chen among those impressing CCA Director Paul Lam with their contributions.

As an extra treat, Bernard brought with him a fiendishly tricky puzzle which had left the likes of honorary Grandmaster and multiple British Chess Champion, Jonathan Penrose, stumped. Not Billy ‘The Kid’ Fellowes though! A single one-word clue was all that the CCA’s seven-year-old superstar needed to see the solution in seconds, leaving Bernard gobsmacked. The Director was then brave (or foolish) enough to take on Billy and good friend Jude in time handicap ‘double trouble’. He eventually prevailed against a valiant Billy, but not before having to sweat. Jude was still holding his own in a rook ending by the time the session ended, and an honourable draw was hastily agreed.

We leave you with Bernard’s brainteaser. Can you, like Billy, find the solution? White to play and win.





It has been a simply memorable day for Coventry Chess Academy members! Our very own Rohan Pal, who recently produced a superb performance in the Major section of the Golders Green Rapidplay, repeated the trick in the Crewe Rapidplay! He finished with 4/7 and a 150 ECF grading performance, drawing with and defeating some very tough opponents. Well done Rohan!

Closer to home, many of Rohan’s friends and clubmates were in action in the Warwickshire Megafinal of the Delancy U Schools’ Chess Challenge! This event is one of the biggest on the local junior chess circuit and had been eagerly awaited by all our members who had played so well to qualify for it. In attendance were CCA Director Paul Lam, Asst. Director Andy Ward and Coach Roy Watson who were all helping to run the tournament and offer members guidance and encouragement, as well as unsung CCA hero FIDE Master Nick Thomas.

The results were, in a word, OUTSTANDING!! In the U7s, Benjy Rendall scored 3.5/6! Benjy is very new to chess and joined our club just six months ago but has demonstrated superb commitment, bags of enthusiasm and tremendous improvement, resulting in qualification for his first ever Gigafinal. The same fabulous feat was achieved by Adit Nahar, also playing in his first chess tournament beyond the CCA’s doors. Sai Prajan Venkatesh and Ezekiel Ho showed that their high-placing in our qualifier was no fluke as both scored an excellent 4/6 to qualify for the Gigafinal. The last word goes to Arnav ‘A Force’ Agarwal. He shared first place with prodigious Amitesh Purushothoman on 5.5/6 and gaining the title of Supremo!

In the U8s there was joy for Andrew Chen who qualified for his first Gigafinal with 3.5/6. On 4/6 was Vassily Mikhail Sagyaman, who narrowly missed out at Worcestershire last weekend, but bounced back like a true champion to make it through to the next stage of the competition! Sharing 4.5/6 were the irrepressible Gregory Kornilovich and Aarav ‘A Force’ Agarwal who both performed brilliantly, with Aarav being very unlucky to miss out on the title of Supremo. His only loss came to clubmate Elis Dicen, who scored an imperious 6/6 to be crowned Suprema! Wow!

In the U9s, there was a very creditable performance from Isaac Pratt in his first Megafinal, scoring 3/6. Top of the group was our very own Jude Shearsby. Jude lived up to his ‘juggernaut’ moniker by taking down the section with another perfect 6/6 score! Just awesome!

In the U10s, Felix Kuang once again made the Gigafinal with a fine 4/6, with one of his only losses coming to schoolfriend, the very talented Kanav Monga who won with yet another perfect 6/6 score!

In the U11s, good friends Keatan Patel and Vincent Xia had a mid-rounds setback, but responded admirably under pressure. With both needing to win their final round games to qualify for the Gigafinal, they pulled off the feat; fantastic determination and resilience from both guys! Ziyuan Yi is a relatively newcomer to the club, but has already made a big impression in a short space of time. He also managed to score 3.5/6 and deservedly qualify for the Gigafinal. Silas Bowcott-Terry made it through too on an excellent 4.5/6 and so did Margarita Sanchez who was second with 5/6 and was crowned Suprema! An outstanding performance from Margarita! Her only loss was to clubmate and overall section winner, Manvith Sandhu who stood atop with 5.5/6, a very deserving Supremo again!

In the U12 section, we just had one entrant, but he sure made it count! Henry Wood went into the final round needing a draw to qualify. Well, he didn’t…he went one better and won his game to finish on 4/6 and qualify for his first Gigafinal! Well done Henry!

In the U13-14s, Sahith Nallemeni narrowly missed qualification for the Gigafinal, but scored a very creditable 3/6 in a section featuring the likes of our very own Imogen Dicen, Suprema with 4/6, and Finlay Bowcott-Terry, Supremo with another perfect 6/6!

The last word goes to William Morris, the CCA’s oldest entrant who has been a loyal member since he was still in primary school and now a greatly-valued prefect and a superb example to our younger members. Under the watchful eyes of CCA Director Paul Lam, who was running his section, Will scored 3.5/6 to qualify for the Gigafinal for what must be the fourth time (even we’ve lost count!).

So, to date we now have 36, yes THIRTY SIX, GIGAFINALISTS! A new CCA record and we couldn’t be prouder of all of our members who competed today. This was the first tournament beyond the CCA’s doors for many of them and they acquitted themselves outstandingly, shining in both their play and conduct. Well done everyone, bring on the Gigafinal in July!!




Some fantastic news for Manvith Sandhu who has been announced as the winner of the 2019 W. Ritson-Morry Trophy, named for the late Midlands chess legend. Manvith joins the likes of clubmate Finlay Bowcott-Terry on the trophy which is awarded every year to a junior in the Birmingham & District Chess League (BDCL) on account of outstanding achievements in chess!

Manvith has performed brilliantly for Halesowen in the BDCL this season and is the current Warwickshire Chess Champion for his age, top board for the Warwickshire EPSCA squad and a regular in the county’s junior and senior 4NCL teams. He finished second in last year’s British U11 Chess Championship, was a UK Schools Chess Challenge Terafinalist and was recently selected for the EPSCA England U11 squad, among other accolades. Congratulations to Manvith, a very worthy winner!



It’s been a glorious day for Coventry Chess Academy members in action today! The Warwickshire Megafinal is still a week away, but a number of members have already competed in other regional Megafinals and gained the title of Supremo (top boy) and Suprema (top girl)!

Today saw a number of members compete in the Worcestershire Megafinal. The results were quite simply OUTSTANDING! In the U12-13 section, Eshan Suthi was the U12 scored an excellent 4.5/6, which included defeating the top seed who was a year older. Ethan Vas was outstanding in the U11 section, only losing one game to talented England player Tashika Arora, and was crowned Supremo with the same score. Zain Amir was a man on fire in the U10 section as he won with a perfect 6/6! A terrific result for Zain who has made impressive progress over the last year and continues to grow as a player. The U9 section outright winner and Supremo was Rithvik Muthuvelu with a superb 5/6; the only game he lost was to clubmate Aaron Suthi who scored 4/6 and also qualifies for the Gigafinal. The last word went to our youngest competitors in the competition, Billy Fellowes and Julia Kozhan who were playing in the U7 section. Julia was the top-placed girl with 3/6, becoming a Suprema for the first time, a fantastic achievement. Billy ‘The Kid’ blew away the competition and was crowned a two-time Supremo with a perfect 6/6!

A wonderful day in Worcestershire was then complemented quite appropriately with delight in Derbyshire for two more of our members! Olivia Chen was crowned U8 Suprema with a splendid 5/6 despite having to play a number of children up to two age categories higher! Big brother Daniel also played in a combined age section and also delivered a terrific performance. His only loss came to the 178 ECF-graded number 1 seed, Armaan Gogia. Furthermore he scored a terrific win against 168 ECF-graded England player Anita Somton, finishing on 5/6 and taking the title of Supremo. Wow!

Congratulations to all our Supremos, Supremas, Gigafinal qualifiers and each and every member who played today, we’re so proud of you all! Bring on the Warwickshire Megafinal next weekend!




Delighted to report on a fantastic performance by Rohan Pal in the U170 section of the Golders Green Rapidplay! It was a most enjoyable day out for Rohan who found himself playing as the bottom seed in this extremely strong ECF-graded and FIDE-rated section. However, not for the first time, he made a mockery of the rating disparity with a tremendous performance. His final score was 3.5/6, with only a single defeat, two wins and three draws and a grading performance of 166 ECF. In addition, he performed nearly 400 points above his FIDE rating. Congratulations Rohan!

It was another extremely enjoyable and well-attended Coventry Chess Academy session today! The groups got to grips with the jobs of the chess pieces, a mixed bag of tactics and Coach Josh Pink’s eccentric but creative take on the fianchettoed knight. Many of our members will be in tournament action this weekend and the challenge matches provided excellent preparation with plenty of hard-fought and competitive games which involved high quality chess, impressive time management and exemplary conduct; a new all-time high Silence Score of 9.89/10 was achieved! Roy received a hero’s welcome after his recent tournament triumph, but not all coaches were quite so fortunate. Steve Turvey was taken down by young Oscar Szturc who sacrificed his queen to deliver a variation of Legall’s Mate!

There was also reason to celebrate for another one of our members; the one-and-only Jude Shearsby celebrated his ninth birthday among all his CCA friends and kindly brought in some lovely goodies for the occasion which were enjoyed by all. Jude, who has been coming to the CCA since he was only five years old, has been an outstanding ambassador for our club at all events he has competed in; playing for England in the European Youth Championship and winning the London Junior Championship last year, winning the Midlands Championship this year and making his Warwickshire Senior 4NCL debut just last weekend among many others. Happy Birthday Jude and thank you for all you’ve done for the club, we hope you have an amazing day!!





Hot off the chess press, we’re delighted to bring you stunning news of a triumph for our very own Roy ‘The Boy’ Watson in the Coventry Summer Cup! Roy, AKA ‘The World’s Most Energetic Great-Grandfather’, had a tough start to 2019, capped by a blunderful Warwickshire Chess Championship in which he inexplicably declined to capture his opponent’s rook and blundered his queen instead! However, he has since stormed back, taking to the board for last night’s final round on a run of just a single defeat in 12 games! Would it be a case of unlucky number 13? Roy’s opponent turned out to be none other than his good friend, fellow senior citizen and CCA coach, Bernard ‘The Artist’ Charnley! With Roy being graded 114 ECF and Bernard 159, the Artist was a decided favourite heading into this clash of CCA legends with over a century of chess experience between the two of them.

Bernard is known for his attacking prowess – witness his crushing victory against a 215 ECF-graded University of Warwick student some years ago – which moved the CCA Director to remark that he must have eaten raw meat for breakfast that day (Disclaimer for members: This may not actually help your chess!). On this occasion however, the hunter became the hunted as Roy upset the odds to win the battle of the veterans, finishing joint-second with an unbeaten 4.5/6 ahead of numerous higher-graded competitors, and giving us a game that will no doubt appear on the CCA demonstration board in due course! This is an outstanding result for Roy who deals with all adversity in good humour and has worked extremely hard during lessons and study over the last few months. Roy is a hugely popular figure at the CCA and no doubt his success will provide inspiration to our members, showing that age really is just a number, no matter at what end of the scale.

Congratulations Roy, we’re all proud of you!




Our superstars were once again in action today for the Warwickshire Select senior teams in the final round of the 2018/2019 4NCL season and they didn’t disappoint! ‘Incredible’ Imogen Dicen, Manvith ‘Money’ Sandhu and Jude ‘The Juggernaut’ Shearsby, aged 14, 11 and 8 years respectively, all took to the board to do battle once again against vastly more experienced and higher-graded adult opponents. Once again, they proved more than up to the task as all three scored very creditable draws. The matches are still ongoing, but at the time of writing, the Warwickshire 2nd team are all level with Watford while the Warwickshire 1st team are winning 3-1 against Guildford 3, with the 1st team’s safety in division 2 already having been secured.

Congratulations to our terrific trio and all Coventry Chess Academy members who have proudly represented the Warwickshire senior sides this season in the 4NCL and achieved such excellent results for players so young, making a valuable contribution to the squad. The foundation for the future of local chess has been built and it is looking very bright indeed!




Delighted to report on some superb results from the 4NCL today! The Warwickshire junior triumvirate of Manvith Sandhu, Jude Shearsby and Kanav Monga were all in action again. Jude wasn’t quite able to repeat the heroics of yesterday against a very strong foe, although there were creditable draws for Manvith and Kanav against higher-graded opponents.

Switch to division 2 where their friend and teammate Imogen Dicen was playing for the Warwickshire Select 1st team against Grantham Sharks 2. Imogen faced the 2114 FIDE-rated and 189 ECF-graded Liam Varnam who has been graded over 200 in the past and played in the British Championship Main Event. Our very own ‘Incredible’ Imogen however made a mockery of the rating disparity as she never fell in any serious trouble during the game and held the draw; a fantastic result for her! Thanks to Imogen’s heroics, the match was drawn 4-4 and it guarantees that Warwickshire Select 1 will still be playing division 2 chess next season. Hurrah!!

In other tremendous news, we are delighted to announce that we have our first UK Schools Chess Challenge Megafinal Supremos (top boy) and Supremas (top girl)! Diah Patel is very new to chess, but showed what good progress she is making by being crowned Suprema at the Gloucestershire Megafinal, her first chess tournament, despite having to play against older (U8) children in all six rounds despite being technically an U7; a great result. Then today, fantastic news came through from Cheshire, where recent England debutant, Rohan Pal, made a triumphant homecoming by winning the area’s Megafinal with a tremendous 5.5/6, including a draw against fellow England national team member, Ethan Gardiner, in the final round, gaining the U10 Supremo title. The icing on the cake came with a triumph for little sister Rhea in the U7s! She played in a mixed section, facing 5 boys out of the 6 rounds, but showed what girl power counts for by finishing on a superb 4/6 and being crowned the U7 Suprema! Wow!

Congratulations to all our guys and girls for their performances today, we’re so proud of you all!





Great to see everyone today at another very well-attended and enjoyable Coventry Chess Academy session! A very warm welcome to all our new members who joined today, it was great to meet you all and we look forward to seeing you at future sessions! Groups A PLUS and A enjoyed unravelling the mystery of Kh1 while Group B were treated to the latest instalment in the Roy Watson Roadshow – a highly instructive win for the CCA’s favourite great grandfather in a recent league match.Meanwhile, groups C and D got to grips with different types of pawn weaknesses with some impressive contributions from newcomer Ziyuan. Training games were once more conducting in an outstanding spirit. The mythical 10/10 silence score remains an unfulfilled dream, but a more than respectable 9.85/10 was achieved! Some high quality play was on show, with some notable results; eight-year-old Jude Shearsby achieved a creditable draw against none other than the Director himself!

Just being present was testament to Jude’s enthusiasm and commitment to the club, as he in fact had an important match later that day; taking to the board to make his debut for the Warwickshire Select Senior 2nd Team in the 4NCL, the British National Chess League. The result was a win against a much older and higher-graded opponent (142 ECF), a super result for Jude. Also finishing in the win column, playing for the Warwickshire Select Senior 1st Team, was another one of our superstars, Manvith Sandhu. Manvith faced a 183 ECF-graded opponent with the Black pieces, but, undeterred, took his man down in 31 moves for his best win to date. Wow!!

Well done guys, we’re so proud of you! Keep it up for Team Warwickshire!




Delighted to report on another fantastic result for a Coventry Chess Academy member! Manvith Sandhu played in the English Primary Schools Chess Association (EPSCA) U11 trials this weekend in Liverpool. The standard of the competition was very high as evidenced by the inclusion of entrants such as the talented James Merriman (ECF 164). Manvith played superbly to draw with James in their individual encounter and finish with an unbeaten 4.5/6. As a result, Manvith was selected for the EPSCA ENGLAND SQUAD! This is a tremendous achievement and Manvith is already looking forward to his first overseas trip with the squad! Congratulations Manvith, we’re so proud of you!



It was great to see everyone today at our first session back after Easter! A very warm welcome to all our new members, we hope you enjoyed the experience and look forward to seeing you at future sessions! Group D were super switched-on as they did a terrific job of identifying danger signs. Group C also impressed with their attitude and ability to pick up new mating techniques, while the other groups learned why simple-looking positions might have more to them than meets the eye, greatly impressing the CCA Director himself by identifying all the key position features between them, with Keatan Patel finding the correct continuation and delivering a cogent justification.

It was a busy day as well for a number of our members playing for Warwickshire in the English Primary Schools Chess Association (EPSCA) final in Nottingham. Jude Shearsby, Elis Dicen, Billy Fellowes, Rithvik Muthuvelu, Aaron Suthi, Aarav Agarwal and Arnav Agarwal were among those in action for the county. Jude led by example on top board, scoring a perfect 3/3, and the team as a whole were fantastic as they finished fourth overall; a great result considering the strength of the opposition which included all of the leading U9 county teams.

Well done to all and to team Warwickshire!



After nine gruelling days, the World Schools Chess Championshipcampaign of Rohan Pal and Team England🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 came to an end today. Rohan finished on a creditable 3.5 points on his international debut. Just to be competing in this calibre of event at 9 years of age, playing an age category up, is a fantastic achievement. There are no easy games at this level and so it proved for the England team as a whole. It’s been a long, tough tournament (with some individual games lasting for up to 5 hours!), but one which has seen some fantastic play, great wins and a tonne of valuable experience and lessons which will surely be a springboard for future progress. Well done Rohan, we’re all proud of you! 👏



We hope you’ve all had a great Easter and are now getting back into school mode! Don’t forget that the Coventry Chess Academy RESUMES SESSIONS this Saturday coming 27th April. We are really looking forward to being back and seeing everyone again! This term promises to be a very exciting one for our club and members with so many big events coming up.

In other news we are delighted to report on Rohan Pal’s latest endeavours as he flies the flag for Team England in the World Schools Chess Championship in Turkey. After losing his round 5 game, he showed what champions are made of by bouncing back in round 6 to beat the U11 representative of rising chess powerhouse India. Well done Rohan and good luck for tomorrow’s round, we’re all cheering you on!




The bishop and knight mate is a difficult mating combination. How difficult? Grandmaster Sergei Movsesian of Armenia had a peak FIDE rating of 2751 and was once ranked number 10 in the world. With a current FIDE rating of 2637 he remains a very strong grandmaster. Just two days ago, he found himself with bishop and knight against Indian super GM Vidit, but failed to demonstrate impeccable technique and ended up drawing the game by the 50 move rule.

CCA Director Paul Lam is a big advocate of teaching this highly instructive mating combination and at our club we love to practice it and test ourselves against the clock! Enter our very own Manvith Sandhu, who was in action in a very strong U2050 section at Stevenage the weekend just gone. In his round 4 game, Manvith faced a 165 ECF-graded opponent and found himself holding bishop and knight versus bare king with Black as below. He demonstrated very efficient mating technique as it took him only 24 moves to finish the game from this position! Well done Manvith!




Delighted to report on the progress of Rohan Pal in his endeavours for Team England at the World Schools Chess Championship in Turkey! After being very unfortunate to lose against his strong Kazakh opponent yesterday – a marathon 4.5 hour game in which he was winning and had outplayed his opponent – he bounced back in fine style today to win his first game in England colours, playing Black against a Moldovan opponent, the son of notable grandmaster Viktor Bologan who was once one of the world’s best chess players. Fantastic stuff!! Well done Rohan and keep it up, we’re rooting for you all the way!




Delighted to report on some excellent results for Coventry Chess Academy members in the Midlands Junior Chess Championships! This prestigious tournament took place over the last three days in Leicester and featured a very strong field. CCA Director Paul Lam and Coach Roy Watson were present midway during the tournament as keen observers, providing analysis and coaching in between rounds.

It was the first time using standardplay time limits for some of our members, aged as young as five years old, but they rose to the occasion and gave an excellent account of themselves, with many long, hard-fought games. Paul and Roy were hugely impressed by the attitude and insight of members during analysis and when people weren’t having fun in the sun in between rounds, there were plenty of enjoyable discussions over topics ranging from equity in chess to ‘why knights before bishops?’, prophylaxis and a tricky combination that stumped a GM!

In the U9 section, the double A-force of Aarav and Arnav Agarwal finished on 2/6 while Billy Fellowes scored 3/6, all very creditable scores in their first multi-day standardplay tournament. The star scorer was Elis Dicen who finished on a perfect 6/6 to be crowned Midlands U9 Chess Champion. Wow!! The combined U11s, U14s and U18s section was headed by the very talented Kishan Modi, graded 192 ECF who won the tournament with 6/6 but faced some tough tests including in round 4 against our very own Manvith Sandhu who gave a great effort against his monstrously strong opponent. Manvith finished on 3/6 as did Margarita Sanchez who showed great determination and character to finish strong, winning both of her games today. Just ahead on a fine 3.5/6 was Imogen Dicen and finishing on a superb, unbeaten 4/6 in joint-second place was none other than Jude Shearsby! Jude played some excellent chess and deserved to finish on an even higher score as he very much had the better of some drawn games facing older and higher-graded opponents. At the age of only eight years, he becomes Midlands U11 Chess Champion, a fantastic achievement!

In other news, Rohan Pal found himself facing a Russian opponent in the first round of the World School Chess Championships in Turkey. Given Russia’s reputation as a chess powerhouse, this was always going to be a tricky assignment, but Rohan emerged with a draw for Team England, making a fine start to his international chess career! Well done Rohan and good luck for the next round!

Congratulations to everyone for their performances today, we’re so proud of you all!



Those of you who read the Solihull Observer might have recently spotted our very own chess superstar, Rohan Pal, hitting the newspaper headlines on account of his tremendous achievement of being selected to play for ENGLAND in the World School Chess Championship ( We’re delighted to say that the time has arrived! Rohan makes his England debut TODAY as the tournament kicks off in Antalya, Turkey.

As one would expect of an international tournament of this calibre, the standard of competition will be very high – featuring some of the best young chess players from across the globe – but we have full confidence in Rohan who has worked so hard in preparation and is incredibly excited and motivated for this momentous occasion. We are looking forward to following Rohan’s progress and are sure that you will join us in wishing him the very best as he proudly takes to the chessboard to represent his country for the first time.

Good luck Rohan, you can do it! We’ll be there with you every move of the way!




We are delighted to report on some superb results for a number of our members in the IAPS (Independent Association of Prep Schools) Chess Championships! Many of them were in action representing Hallfield School, whose chess club has developed under the expert tutelage of a Coventry Chess Academy legend, FIDE Master Nick Thomas, into one of the best nationally. The squad proved as much as they took FIRST place in both the U11 and U13 categories, despite facing some very tough competition which included numerous England national team members!

There were some outstanding individual performances. In a very strong Championship section, Manvith Sandhu, Rohan Pal and Kanav Monga all scored a brilliant 5.5/7, with Manvith picking up the best game prize awarded personally by International Master Andrew Martin. The fast-improving Zain Amir showed what a fine player he has become by finishing just behind with a fantastic 5/7. The Hallfield ‘big hitter’ and player of the tournament was Aaron Suthi who took equal first place in the U9 non-championship event on day 1 and then equal first place in the A section on day 2, for a magnificent total of 8/9! Wow! Across the board, the standard of play was extremely high and everyone was a credit to the team.

Congratulations to players, team and coach on a fantastic job!



We are delighted to officially announce some absolutely fantastic news for one of our members! In a week from now, our very own Rohan Pal will be sitting down at a chessboard in Antalya, Turkey to play for ENGLAND in the 2019 WORLD SCHOOL CHESS CHAMPIONSHIPS! He adds his name to the history books as the second Coventry Chess Academy member to achieve the distinction of being selected to play for his country. You can now find Rohan listed alongside his teammates for the event on the England Juniors website at

Rohan, aged nine years, is the reigning British U9 Chess Champion, a UK Schools Chess Challenge Terafinalist and one of the stars of the Warwickshire Junior County Chess Squad. He has produced phenomenal performances in junior and adult tournaments alike, with highlights including scoring 7/10 at the Sants Open in Barcelona and recently finishing outright second in the Major Section of the Warwickshire Chess Congress. His ECF and FIDE rating place him among the very best players in his national age group.

CCA Director Paul Lam, a former England international himself, said ‘Rohan is one of our shining stars. His chess progress in the time that I have known him has been absolutely phenomenal. The consistency and completeness of his play is a joy to watch. His maturity is remarkable for a child of nine years and his conduct sets a fine example to others his age. As well as being very talented, his enthusiasm, determination and work ethic are second to none. He richly deserves this opportunity and I know that all these qualities will be on display when he fulfils one of his dreams to play chess for England.’

We look forward to keeping you updated on Rohan’s progress and are sure that you’ll be joining us in cheering him every step of the way! Huge congratulations Rohan, we’re so proud of you!!




Our very own Billy ‘The Kid’ Fellowes made history earlier this season by becoming the youngest ever person to play a match in the Leamington & District Chess League (LDCL), shortly after celebrating his seventh birthday. Well, he can now add the title of ‘youngest person to score 3/4 in the LDCL’ to that! Our little star scored a crushing victory last night for a fantastic 75% score against experienced adult club players this season, exactly the same percentage incidentally as his proud teammate, the one and only Coach Roy ‘The Most Energetic Great Grandfather in History’ Watson!

Roy recently won an extremely instructive game in the League which will surely find its way onto the CCA demo board in due course. However, en route to victory, he and his opponent, also an experienced adult club player, overlooked a resource which eagle-eyed Billy spotted in about two seconds!

Black continued with …Rc8 in the below position, but he had a much better move available! Can you find it?




Delighted to report on more success for Coventry Chess Academy members in tournament action this weekend! Manvith Sandhu, Rohan Pal and Jude Shearsby were all in action at the popular St Albans Chess Congress. Once again, our terrific trio, with a combined age of just 28 years, did us proud! Jude and Rohan played in a very strong U161 section and scored a very creditable 2/5 and 2.5/5 respectively, playing well above their respective grades. Manvith played in the U181 section and, despite being the bottom seed, finished on an unbeaten 3/5, holding the 180 ECF-graded top seed to a draw and winning the ‘near miss’ prize. Closer to home in neighbouring Northamptonshire, there were also fine performances from Finlay Bowcott-Terry and Elis Dicen who finished joint-third and joint-second respectively within their age sections at a strong National England Junior Squad Championships.

Well done to everyone on more fantastic performances!




The Delancey UK Schools Chess Challenge (UKSCC) got off to a fabulous start at the Coventry Chess Academy today! Every year, dozens of our members join tens of thousands of schoolchildren across the UK in taking part in what is the world’s biggest chess tournament, and every year it just gets better and better for them! Last year over THIRTY CCA members reached the Gigafinal, the penultimate stage which is roughly the top 5% of all entrants, NINE made it all the way to theTerafinal which is roughly the top 0.5%, and Jude Shearsby became our first ever TERAFINAL WINNER; truly outstanding achievements!

This year, we held our UKSCC Club Qualifier as a one-day ECF graded event for the first time. It was the first ever chess tournament for many of our members and they all acquitted themselves superbly, contributed to the tournament running extremely smoothly under the auspices of CCA Director Paul Lam and International Arbiter Alex Holowczak. It proved to be a most enjoyable day for all, with some superb chess played and some outstanding results.

We said farewell to Nahum and Joel Bradford who made their last appearance before moving to Scotland. Both finished on a high by qualifying for their first ever Megafinal. Thank you Nahum and Joel for your outstanding contributions to the CCA, we wish you all the best with your future chess endeavours!

Seven-year-old Sai Prajan Venkatesh was playing in his first ever chess tournament, but finished on a magnificent 4.5/6. The same score was achieved by Billy Fellowes, also aged seven, who finished the tournament playing on top board, was a hair’s breadth from winning outright, and demonstrated real maturity of play alongside his trademark tactical brilliance. Eight-year-old Olivia Chen was the top-placed girl, also on 4.5/6 and was unlucky not to be rewarded for some excellent play with an even higher score. Outright second went to Ethan Vas on 5/6, courtesy of brilliant, consistent chess throughout. The outright winner was Vincent Xia on a splendid 5.5/6. Vincent had to navigate some difficult moments against his much younger but inspired clubmate Billy in a thrilling final game to emerge victorious and a very deserving winner of the 2019 CCA UKSCC Qualifier!

Big thanks to all the parents for their support, Alex Holowczak and the sterling tournament team consisting of coaches Roy Watson, Drago Zarev, Steve Turvey and James Grute, and CCA prefects William Morris and Iga Jasinska for helping to make it such a successful event. Congratulations to each and every member who took part today, we’re so proud of you all! Bring on the Megafinal next month!



A gentle reminder that the Coventry Chess Academy is now on BREAK for Easter. We are scheduled to resume sessions on Saturday 27th April. Many of our members will still be in tournament action over the break and we can’t wait to bring you exciting updates and to report on their endeavours. Wishing you all a great Easter and we look forward to seeing you when sessions resume at the end of the month!



Delighted to report on some fantastic performances from Coventry Chess Academy members in the Birmingham Rapidplay today! This popular tournament which is open to both adults and juniors attracts many of our members every year. They always give a fantastic account of themselves and today proved no exception.

In the Open section, Finlay Bowcott-Terry finished on a very creditable 3.5/7 which included a draw against 206-ECF graded Halesowen clubmate Stewart Fishburne. He finished on the same number of points as names such as Stewart, multiple Warwickshire Chess Champion Don Mason and FIDE Master Jonah Willow.

In the Major section, Manvith Sandhu and Jude Shearsby finished on 2.5/7 and Daniel Chen finished on 3/7; all creditable scores considering the strength of their opponents and that all three were by far the youngest participants, aged eleven, eight and twelve years respectively. Manvith took down the amiable Phil Bull for the third time this season, while Jude and Daniel both scalped 162-graded Leamington League veteran Andy Price. One of the highlights for Jude was facing none other than Finlay and Silas’ dad, Dustin (who himself finished on 5/7 in joint second place!) in round 1. The CCA big hitter in the section was Imogen Dicen who scored a fantastic 4/7, defeating some strong opponents on the way.

In the Intermediate section, Silas Bowcott-Terry acquitted himself admirably by finishing on 3/7, facing higher-graded opponents in every round. Eight-year-old Elis Dicen finished on an excellent 3.5/7, inflicting a rare loss on fellow Warwickshire junior, the much higher-graded and older Chinmay Monga.

The Minor section attracted the largest number of entries from members. Henry Wood was playing in his first adult chess tournament and was one of the lowest graded entries, but still scored a creditable 2.5/7 and defeated the highly experienced captain of Crewe Chess Club. Eight-year-old Olivia Chen was outgraded in almost every round but still scored a super 3/7. School friends and clubmates Zain Amir and Ethan Vas were in fine form following an excellent ESPCA on Saturday and both scored 4/7.

The final word of the day goes to the youngest entrant in the entire tournament, aged only seven years old, the amazing, irrepressible Billy ‘The Kid’ Fellowes. Billy has taken down a number of adult players in standardplay league matches this season, but this was his first ever adult chess tournament. By the final round’s end, a swathe of grown men with multi-decade chess experience had bitten the dust and Billy had finished on a quite magnificent 5/7 to finish joint-third in the Minor section and the honour of being the CCA’s big hitter of the day. WOW! What a player, what a star!

Congratulations to all our members who competed today, we’re so proud of you all!




Delighted to report on excellent news from the EPSCA (English Primary Schools Chess Association) U11 finals! Manvith Sandhu, Rohan Pal, Jude Shearsby, Kanav Monga, Elis Dicen, Silas Bowcott-Terry, Sarthak Sanyal, Vincent Xia, Zain Amir, Billy Fellowes, Ethan Vas, Margarita Sanchez, Felix Kuang and Aaron Suthi comprised the majority of the Warwickshire U11 squad and were joined by CCA Director Paul Lam who acted as squad coach.

The standard of the competition was very high, as evidenced by the presence of superstar CM Shreyas Royal on top board for Kent and numerous other England internationals. All our members did us proud as they contributed to Warwickshire finishing joint-fourth out of sixteen counties and narrowly missing out on the prize list, with only Oxfordshire, Richmond and the mighty Kent finishing ahead. Nevertheless, this was a terrific result for Warwickshire who finished tenth in the same competition two years ago and sixth last year. In particular, Margarita, Ethan and top board Manvith all excelled by scoring 100%, while Sarthak and Jude were also on fine form with 2.5/3 each.

Congratulations to everyone who played today on a great team effort!




Delighted to report on more success over the board for our members! On Friday, Manvith Sandhu, Rohan Pal, Kanav Monga, Zain Amir and Ethan Vas all played for Hallfield School in the King Edward’s School (KES) Birmingham Blitz under the leadership of FIDE Master Nick Thomas. Despite being a primary school team whose secondary school opponents literally towered over them, the team clinched the top U14 spot and second in the U18s overall, narrowly missing out on defeating the hosts themselves in the final round.

In other news, Elis Dicen and Margarita Sanchez were in action for the Warwickshire girls chess team yesterday in the U11 English Primary Schools Chess Association (EPSCA) Girls Final. It was a tough event for the county overall, but our deadly duo did us proud as they finished on 2/3 and 2.5/3 on boards 1 and 2 respectively!

Finally, in more brilliant news, our terrific trio of Manvith ‘Money’ Sandhu (aged 11), Rohan ‘The Man’ Pal (aged 9) and Jude ‘The Juggernaut’ Shearsby (aged 8) were all in action in a strong Major section of the Nottingham Chess Congress this weekend. There were 53 entries, including 8 players graded 160 ECF or higher, so the standard was very high. A daunting prospect for such young competitors it would seem, but far from it! The multi-talented Manvith finished on a very creditable 2/5, having to contend with a martial arts assessment the same weekend. Jude, the youngest player in the section, finished on an excellent 2.5/5, and Rohan scored a brilliant 3/5, winning the grading prize. Wow! A slew of battle-hardened 150 and 160+ adult players fell victim to or had to concede draws to our stars, leaving opponents and onlookers alike stunned by play that was quite simply of exceptional quality for their age.

Congratulations to everyone, we’re so proud of you all!



Another marvellous milestone was passed by a Coventry Chess Academy member this weekend! The only-and-only Manvith Sandhu made his debut for the Warwickshire Select 1st team playing in division 2 of the 4NCL, the British National Chess League. With Manvith still being in year 6 at primary school, this made him the youngest person to ever do so in Warwickshire Select history. It was a proud moment for Manvith as he took to the board on the same team as his mentor, school coach and CCA legend, FIDE Master Nick Thomas who was making a rare playing appearance! On this occasion, the time away from the board proved too much for Nick to overcome, but he could still finish the match a proud man due to the exploits of Manvith. After a close loss against a 172 ECF-graded opponent on Saturday in which he was a whisker away from a draw, Manvith found himself facing an even stronger opponent in the form of the 181 ECF-graded Nadia Jaufarally. Undaunted, Manvith pulled off the upset, defeating Nadia and helping to secure victory for Warwickshire Select! Wow! Congratulations Manvith on a famous victory!



Delighted to report on more fantastic performances from Coventry Chess Academy members playing in the EPSCA U9 Northern Zonal for Warwickshire! Jude Shearsby, Elis Dicen, Rithvik Muthuvelu, Aarav Agarwal and Arnav Agarwal were all selected to play and did club and county proud. Between them, they scored 12.5/15, with 100% scores for Jude (board 1), Elis (board 2) and Arnav. The team was considerably under-strength, but the heroics of our fantastic five and the rest of the team ensured that Warwickshire finished top ahead of Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Cheshire & North Wales, Oldham, Manchester, Wirral, Lancashire, Tameside and Merseyside. Wow! Well done everyone, we’re so proud of you all!




Delighted to report on more success for our very own Manvith ‘Money’ Sandhu! The day after taking outright first place in Group A of the Warwick Junior Open, Manvith played in a Chess 960 tournament held at Solihull School. Chess 960, also known as Fischer Random, was advocated by legendary former world chess champion, Bobby Fischer, and involves randomising the positions of the pieces on the home ranks. Opening theory goes out of the window and pure skill and ingenuity take over! In a highly-impressive performance, Manvith finished on 3.5/5 for joint-third, ahead of entrants graded as high as 199 ECF, taking down a handy £87.50 prize, and all despite never having played Chess 960 before. Wow! Congratulations Manvith!




Delighted to report on more success for Coventry Chess Academy members! A large number of them were in action in the Warwick Junior Open, an under 11s tournament with 4 graded sections for players of all abilities.

Group D saw a very large number of entries, including a number of CCA members who were playing in their first ever chess tournament beyond our doors. Rhea Pal, the sister of CCA superstar Rohan, scored a very creditable 2.5/5 for a bronze medal as did Gregory Kornilovich and Julia Kozhan. Andrew Chen also won a bronze with 3/5 in his first ever tournament; an outstanding achievement. In outright third place was Isaac Pratt, also making his tournament debut. Isaac scored a superb 3.5/5 for a silver medal. The CCA big hitter in Group D was Arnav Agarwal who won a silver medal with a brilliant 4/5 and led the section right up till the final round.

Group C was the smallest section with only 16 entrants, but the sole CCA member Sam Edge did us proud, scoring 3/5 and winning a bronze medal. There were two excellent performances in Group B from Rithvik Muthuvelu and Olivia Chen who both won silver medals with 4/5, finishing in joint second place. Aarav Agarwal produced yet another creditable performance with 2.5/5 to win bronze in the same section.

Group A was a very strong section, but CCA members continued to shine with bronze medals for Margarita Sanchez, Ethan Vas, Silas Bowcott-Terry and Rohan Pal. Elis Dicen and Kanav Monga won silver medals with 3.5/5 and Manvith Sandhu won gold with 4.5/5 which saw him finish as the outright winner, having defeated the 141 ECF-graded top seed in the fourth round. Well done Manvith!

Congratulations to all of our members who competed today, we’re so proud of you all!



It’s been a fantastic final weekend of the J4NCL, the children’s wing of the British national chess league, for Coventry Chess Academy members! An impressive 18 of them comprised the vast majority of the five-team strong Warwickshire Bears squad. They were joined once again by CCA Director Paul Lam, the Bears squad coach.

An action-packed day 1 set the tone for the weekend. Some outstanding individual and team results were achieved. Jude Shearsby had the better of most of his game against the much older 159 ECF-graded England Junior Squad member, Devan Patel, achieving a deserved draw. William Morris took the scalp of fellow Junior Squad member and British girls’ champion, Polina Shchepinova. Olivia Chen marked her J4NCL debut with victory against a higher-graded opponent and older brother Daniel won a fine game the White side of a Closed Sicilian in the A team’s 4-0 whitewash of Manchester. Rounds 2 and 3 were challenging for the Bears’ division 2 teams, although there was a fine draw for Keatan Patel against a much higher-graded opponent and Ethan Vas got off the mark with a good win. There was more success in division 1 though, with Kanav Monga finishing off his opponent with a classic Greek Gift sacrifice and Manvith Sandhu also scoring his first win of the event.

Day 2 brought more success for the teams. There was a commanding round 4 win for Margarita Sanchez and a good comeback victory in the same round for the squad’s youngest member, Billy Fellowes. Astrid Gibara joined the squad and scored a perfect 2/2. Eshan Suthi caused a surprise by beating the very talented England national team member Max Bird. Rohan Pal was imperious as he dismantled a normally tough opponent with ease, crushing him with a kingside attack that echoed his recent superb performance at the Warwickshire Congress. Finlay Bowcott-Terry demolished the event’s 186 ECF-graded top seed with ease. The Dicen sisters, Imogen and Elis, had a tough day 1, but showed their character by bouncing back in style on day 2, both scoring 100% and contributing to the B team’s crushing 4-0 victory over the unfortunate Manchester side.

Once the smoke had cleared, the A team had scored 8 points in division 1, exactly the same as friendly rivals the amusingly-named ‘Five Young Oysters’. However, the A team’s total game points surpassed the Oysters, securing the division 1 title for the Bears! Just AWESOME! A special mention for the A team’s oldest member and board 1, Finlay, who led by example by scoring an unbeaten 4/5 and proved extremely helpful to the squad’s younger members during the enthusiastically-attended analysis sessions led by Paul. Team morale was high throughout the event and there were plenty of laughs and light-hearted moments along the way.

Congratulations to all of our members who were once more outstanding ambassadors for club and county on and off the chessboard!



Delighted to report on more stunning results for Coventry Chess Academy members! Up in Liverpool, the Double A-Force of Arnav and Aarav Agarwal took on the best that the North had to offer in the U8s section of the Northern Junior Chess Championship! Both scored 3.5/5, finishing in joint-second and taking away more trophies to the Midlands! Moreover, our terrific two had more great fun and were simply superb ambassadors for our club! Well done guys, marvellous stuff!

Day 3 of the Warwickshire Congress being held in Coventry saw more fireworks from members participating! A special mention for Olivia Chen who was the youngest and lowest-graded CCA member playing in the U110 (Minor) section, but finished on 2.5/5! A tremendous result for Olivia who can be very proud of her performance and showed what a fast-improving player she is!

The CCA ‘big hitter’ for the weekend was the one-and-only Rohan Pal. This was the first playing experience for Rohan, who is still in year 5 at primary school, in a Major section of a chess congress and he did so in a somewhat jetlagged state having returned from holiday on the day that the tournament started! Undeterred, he got off to a fantastic start in the first 3 rounds and in round 4 today he faced the 162 ECF-graded Patrick Reid of Rugby Chess Club, who regularly turns out for their side in the top divisions of the Leamington and Coventry Chess Leagues. In a turnaround for the books, Rohan utterly outplayed Patrick to register an emphatic win in one of the best games played by a CCA member that you are likely to see! His final score was an unbeaten 4/5 for outright second place, a 166 ECF grading performance and a huge chunk of FIDE rating points also gained. WOW! What a star!

Congratulations to every single member who competed this weekend, we’re so proud of you all!



It’s been a fantastic day for Coventry Chess Academy members in tournament action! Numerous members are playing in the Warwickshire Congress being held in our home city this weekend. CCA Director Paul Lam has been a very interested spectator, while Coach Roy Watson has chanced his arm in the U140 (Intermediate) section and saw the first two rounds get away from him due to missed tactical opportunities, but rebounded with a win in the third round. Can you find the clever trick for Roy in the position below from his first round game? Black to play and win!

Our members have all given a great account of themselves and there have already been some notable results and superb demonstrations of skill and determination over the chessboard. Rohan Pal currently stands on an excellent unbeaten 2.5/3 in the FIDE-rated U1975 (Major) section and Manvith Sandhu stands on an unbeaten 2/3 in the same section, producing a brilliant, controlled display to win his third round game. There was a standout result in round 2 as Jude Shearsby overcame a big grading deficit to win his game against club and good friend Imogen Dicen. There was an amazing result for Olivia Chen in the same round playing in the U110 (Minor) section. Having only turned eight years old a few months ago, Olivia is one of the youngest CCA entrants, but showed poise beyond her age in scoring her best standardplay win to date against a 102 ECF-graded adult opponent. Fantastic stuff! Wishing all of our guys and girls the very best of luck for tomorrow!

Meanwhile up north in Liverpool, good friends Arnav Agarwal and Billy Fellowes were flying the CCA flag in the Northern Junior Chess Championships! Arnav finished on 2/5 and Billy scored 5/5 to win outright and gain the title of Northern Junior Chess Champion in addition to his London Junior Chess Champion title! Wow! Moreover both of them had a really fun time, as we’re sure you can tell! Well done guys, terrific stuff once again!



Hot off the chess press, news of a fantastic result for one of our members! The amazing Billy Fellowes, who only celebrated his seventh birthday a few months ago, recently became the youngest player to ever win a league game in the history of the Leamington & District Chess League. Tonight he became the youngest player in the League’s history to win TWO games in a season! He faced the 108 ECF-graded Barry Knee of Shirley, a mere 65 years older(!!). Despite getting into trouble against his vastly more experienced opponent, Billy never gave up and demonstrated brilliant resourcefulness to create chances before spotting a peach of an opportunity that the unfortunate Mr Knee completely overlooked. A few accurate moves later, and Billy had achieved a most picturesque discovered checkmate delivered by a pawn and another famous victory! Well done Billy, what a little fighter, what a star!




It’s been a simply tremendous day for Coventry Chess Academy members! The final session before the half-term break was a very well-attended and enjoyable affair. Congratulations to Frank Lin who won the best game prize from last week’s Group D recorded games, a very worthy winner out of an excellent group. We had a special guest in attendance: a legend of Coventry chess, Mark Page, the 4NCL Warwickshire Select captain. Groups A PLUS and A were treated to Mark’s recent masterclass on home soil against Grandmaster Hebden in which he outplayed and demolished his esteemed opponent. Mark is an ‘Old Wheatleyan’ and was delighted to see a current Bablake pupil and CCA member, Keatan Patel, provide some superb and incisive responses to questions asked during the demonstration. Can you find Mark’s move which sealed the GM’s fate at the bottom?

In the West of England, a ginger bear was on the rampage! It turned out to be none other than CCA Assistant Director, Andy Ward, playing in the Open Section of the Bristol Congress! Unfortunately for his 171-graded opponent in round 1, Andy turned out to be less the avuncular Paddington version and more the man-eating Kodiak variety. He reduced his foe to dust in a mere 21 moves.

More locally, a number of CCA members were in action in the University of Warwick Rapidplay and there were some fine showings! Finlay Bowcott-Terry finished on 4.5/7 in the Open section, only losing to the 219 ECF-graded tournament winner and holding a 201-graded opponent to a very creditable draw in the final round; a superb performance from him. A remarkable performance was also produced by his clubmate Manvith Sandhu, the youngest competitor in the section. Manvith, who is still in primary school, finished with 4/7 and a 170 ECF grading performance. He defeated opponents graded 162, 164, 151 and 159, all battle-hardened veterans of top flight local league chess. Wow! A tremendous showing!

Congratulations to all our members (and coach) for their performances today, we’re so proud of you all!




Hot off the chess press, we are delighted to report on SPECTACULAR results for CCA members representing Warwickshire in the Midlands Junior Chess Team Championships today in Nottingham! The ‘Bears’ were somewhat under-strength due to tournament clashes, but nevertheless won every section: U9s, U11s and U11 girls!! Warwickshire literally swept the board! Manvith Sandhu, Jude Shearsby, Elis Dicen, Zain Amir, Billy Fellowes, Keatan Patel, Ethan Vas, Felix Kuang, Margarita Sanchez, Rithvik Muthuvelu, Aaron Suthi and Aarav Agarwal were simply outstanding for the county. Across 36 games, the CCA contingent only dropped 4.5 points. Just brilliant!

Other positive news emerged from the 4NCL, the British national chess league, on Saturday. Finlay Bowcott-Terry was in action and found himself facing Warwickshire stalwart, Ed Goodwin, who scraped by our very own Jude Shearsby recently in a local league game. The veteran had no such luck today, as Finlay hit back for the CCA with a good win. Rohan Pal was also in action and had to face an even stronger opponent in the 180 ECF-graded(!) Peter Tart. Rohan delivered a simply phenomenal effort; the stronger player prevailed, but only after 4 hard-fought hours. A fantastic experience for Rohan who acquitted himself very well on his 4NCL debut, another milestone for him. 

On Sunday, Manvith, fresh off his 100% score in the Midlands Junior Team Championship, joined his friends Imogen Dicen and Rohan in the Warwickshire Select 2nd team, the first time ever that juniors/CCA members have comprised 50% of the team. Imogen had to face a higher-graded and far more experienced opponent and although she wasn’t able to overcome him on this occasion, it was still a great experience for her playing as high as board 4. Manvith scored a good draw on board 5 against a higher-graded opponent in which he had the better of proceedings for most of the game. Rohan playing on board 6 was in trouble at one point, but retained his composure, fought back and managed to also hold his higher-graded opponent to a draw. Finlay drew to finish on 1.5/2 for the weekend and little brother Silas provided the fireworks with a good win, ensuring that the CCA contingent finished on 50% for the day.

Congratulations to all our members who did themselves proud once again!




If one spectacular result in local league chess wasn’t enough, we nearly had another this week! Jude Shearsby, at just 8 years of age, became by far the youngest ever person to make his debut for Kenilworth Chess Club A team. He faced a stalwart of Warwickshire Chess, the 157 ECF-graded Ed Goodwin. Jude proceeded to give Ed hell for over 40 moves, more than holding his own, having the advantage at one point, and showing great courage to decline a draw offer from his vastly more experienced and higher-graded opponent in pursuit of a victory for the team. Although he fell short in the endgame, it was an outstanding showing from Jude who once again demonstrated qualities beyond his years. Well done Jude on a fantastic effort!

Delighted to report on a fabulous individual result for a CCA member! Finlay Bowcott-Terry, his brother Silas and Manvith Sandhu have all been active members for the excellent Halesowen Chess Club which plays in the Birmingham & District Chess League. The fast-rising Finlay is already a fully-fledged member of the A team playing in division 1 of the League and last night it was Manvith’s turn to join him in a match against South Birmingham A team. With five games concluded, the match score stood at 2.5-2.5, including draws for Finlay and dad Dustin. The last man standing was Manvith. He had to face the very experienced and strong David Dunn (graded 171 ECF). It would be a formidable proposition for most 11 year olds, but not our Manvith! Showcasing qualities beyond his years, he overcame horrendous time trouble (at one point falling under 20 seconds on his clock) to heroically hold the draw, saving the match for Halesowen in a grandstand finish. Even the South Birmingham players had to applaud along with Manvith’s delighted teammates!

Congratulations Manvith, what a fantastic effort and result!



Delighted to report on more overseas chess success for the Coventry Chess Academy’s ‘Pacific Star’, Eden Oshri! Eden recently took part in the U1200 section of the Auckland Chess Club (ACC) Junior Chess Series. This was Eden’s first time competing in this calibre of tournament, but any apprehension he might have had beforehand was quickly dispelled once he sat down to play. Eden stormed to first place with a perfect 6/6, also winning the handsome sum of NZ$60. Congratulations Eden on a superb achievement!




Delighted to report on more excellent news for Coventry Chess Academy members! Our terrific trio of Manvith Sandhu, Rohan Pal and Jude Shearsby are all currently NUMBER 1 in the English Youth Chess Grand Prix standings for their respective age groups.…/english-youth-grand-pri…/… This is a superb reflection on the three, all of whom are outstanding ambassadors for our club!

In other news, readers of the Coventry Observer might have spotted within its pages rising CCA superstar, our very own Billy Fellowes! You can check the story out online at…/young-chess-champion-bil…/… No doubt the first of many press appearances to come from Billy!

It also turned out to be an excellent weekend for Coventry Chess Academy members in tournament action! In the local Kenilworth Junior Open, there was an excellent CCA turnout and all members competing performed very well indeed. In the U18 A section, Finlay Bowcott-Terry won with a perfect 5/5, while younger brother Silas came outright second in the U11 A section with 4/5. Olivia Chen came joint-third in the U11 B section and Arnav Agarwal showed what a fast-improving player he is by coming joint-third in the U11 D section with 4/5. A special mention for Gregory Kornilovich, the youngest CCA member competing, who scored a fine 3/5 and won a bronze medal in the same section. Amazingly, Gregory was born in the same year that the CCA was founded and is new to tournament chess!

Down south in Yateley Manor, CCA members were also in action in the elite-level South of England Junior Chess Championships. Each section, from U7 to U15 was laden with talent but our members acquitted themselves very well indeed. Imogen finished on a fine 3/5 and was the only person to beat the tournament winner in the U15 section. In a massively strong U11 section, Manvith Sandhu and Kanav Monga also finished on 3/5 while Jude Shearsby and Rohan Pal both finished on 4/5 for joint-third; really good showings from all. Elis Dicen scored 4.5/6 for joint-third in the U9 section for another excellent result and Billy Fellowes was outright second in the U7 section with an outstanding 5/6, only losing to the number 1 in his age group (who he recently drew with at the London Junior Chess Championships).

Congratulations to all our members who competed this weekend and once again excelled, we’re proud of you all!



Hot off the chess press, the ECF grades for January 2019 are now out! There has been SPECTACULAR improvement for CCA members across the board and we are delighted for all our members! You can check out your new grade online at


In total, we have:

-THREE girls ranked in the top 10 nationally for their age.

-THREE boys ranked in the top 10 nationally for their age.

-NINE members ranked in the top 20 nationally for their age/gender

Well done everyone, we’re so proud of you all!




It was a rollercoaster weekend 2 of the Junior 4NCL, the children’s wing of the British national chess league, for Coventry Chess Academy members! An impressive 19 of them made up the majority of the Warwickshire Bears squad consisting of 5 teams, all managed and coached by CCA Director Paul Lam. Round 1 was a tough one as it seemed that many of the Bears were still charging up; in division 2 we only managed one draw out of 4 matches. Elis Dicen however won comfortably, while Joel Bradford proved a last minute hero. A withdrawal due to illness resulted in a call-up at a mere 1 hour 30 minutes notice! Joel battled hard but went down to his vastly more experienced opponent. There was however an excellent comeback win for Joel’s older brother and fellow J4NCL debutant, Nahum. In division 1, the A team brought some cheer with a great 3-1 win against a Sleepless Knights team which heavily out-rated them on average, with Manvith Sandhu producing a brilliant, mature display to outplay and break down his strong opponent. Big wins were also enjoyed by Imogen Dicen and Rohan Pal.

Round 2 proved much better for our division 2 teams with 2 draws and 2 wins. J4NCL debutant Keatan Patel dropped a piece early, but fought back with a vicious attack to rout Oxfordshire wonderkid Jan Murawski. His good friend Vincent Xia joined the team and also claimed a good win, as did Zain Amir after narrowly missing out on victory in the first round. The A team drew, with Finlay Bowcott-Terry proving the sole winner.

Round 3 brought more success for the Bears in division 2 with 3 wins from 4. Elis gained revenge against the talented Kavin Thooran who had previously beaten her at the Midlands Junior Chess Championships, ruthlessly exploiting her material advantage after a blunder from Kavin in the opening. Margarita Sanchez, Silas Bowcott-Terry and Sarthak Sanyal also claimed good first wins. The A team suffered their first reversal, a narrow 1.5-2.5 to the amusingly named ‘5 Young Oysters’, but still made it through to the Championship Pool. The highlight of the match was Finlay’s brilliant sacrificial win the White side of a Ruy Lopez against England Junior Squad member Devan Patel.

In round 4, Astrid Gibara was warmly welcomed to the team and played well to gain a clear advantage out of the opening, before errors cost her in the middlegame. Kanav Monga also joined the team and crushed his Barnet Knights opponent in brutal fashion by catching the White king in the centre and forcing huge and decisive material gains. Eshan Suthi played perhaps the best chess of anyone in the round; expertly exploiting a weak e5-pawn before catching the enemy king in a thematic mating net. The A team got back to winning ways in the first Championship pool game by defeating Welsh Dragons Red. Jude Shearsby recovered from a difficult opening with a sacrificial attack that bamboozled his higher-graded opponent and ended up mating him.

In round 5, William Morris, the oldest member of his team, set a fine example with a convincing win on top board, leading the B team to 4th place out of 23 teams; the highest placed Warwickshire team in division 2. Nahum finished with 3/5 for the weekend with another good win and Eshan won again for 4/5; an excellent weekend for him! Ethan Vas triumphed in less than 20 moves while J4NCL debutant, Billy Fellowes, the youngest member in the entire squad, scored a great win with the Black pieces, demonstrating great maturity and composure. The A team match went right down to the wire against Cheddleton. Finlay suffered his first reversal of the tournament, but this was counter-balanced with a draw for Manvith and a tour-de-force from Rohan who demonstrated poise, technique and determination to turn an endgame edge into a seemingly effortless victory. The outcome would be decided by the last game of the weekend to finish. Imogen played fantastically and was winning her game, but the pressure was huge and an oversight allowed her opponent to infiltrate the back rank with his queen and scrape a draw. The team consequently finished in third place and on the prize-list; a great achievement with three of the team still being in primary school.

Congratulations to all of our members who played this weekend and did Warwickshire and the CCA proud!



Very pleased to report on the chess endeavours of one of our overseas members! After last year’s Gigafinal, we were sad to say goodbye to Eden Oshri as he and his family moved to New Zealand. We are however delighted that Eden has been able to keep up his passion for chess since making the 10,000+ mile trip to the Pacific region! With Skype lessons from CCA Director Paul Lam, regular participation in tournaments and membership of both Chess Power (a NZ-wide organization that organizes regular chess tournaments for children) and the Auckland Chess Club (ACC), Eden’s chess has gone from strength to strength!

In NZ, junior tournaments are for all children under age of 20 years, rather than division into age groups as is common i the UK. There are usually medals for ‘best U10, U12 etc’ based on tournament results but since there is no distinction between age groups, Eden has often had to play opponents who are much older and graded much higher, which is tough but a great experience for him. Lately Eden has been challenging himself to play against much stronger opponents, and started playing standardplay tournament games. Twice he received the ‘best under-10’ medal, and in his chess group he gained the best result in the end of the year exam. Wow! Just fantastic!

Well done Eden! We’re so proud of what you are achieving in NZ in CCA colours!



It was fantastic to see everyone again at the first Coventry Chess Academy session of 2019! With 40 members in attendance, it was an incredibly busy but hugely enjoyable session which saw some super worksheets produced, lots of great contributions during demo-board analysis and plenty of high quality chess being played during challenge matches despite the long Christmas break. A very warm welcome to all our new members who joined us, we hope you enjoyed the experience and look forward to seeing you at future sessions!

A number of members did battle in the Leicester Junior Congress at the weekend and achieved some fine results. In the Minor section, Arnav Agarwal scored a very creditable 3/6. Arnav’s big brother, Aarav, scored 2/6 in a strong Major section, Margarita Sanchez scored 3.5/6 and Zain Amir scored 5/6 for joint-second place, winning a gold medal and ending the day as the CCA’s ‘big hitter’. Congratulations to everyone!

Meanwhile, all the way down in Bedford on Saturday there were not one but two CCA members playing for Warwickshire Select 2 against Shropshire 2 in the 4NCL, the full adult version of the British national chess league. Kanav Monga made his Warwickshire Select senior team debut on board 6 and went down to a 1900+ rated opponent, but no doubt found it a great learning experience. Sitting next to him on board 5 was Manvith Sandhu. Opposite him sat the experienced figure of Phil Bull, graded 167 ECF. In a turnaround for the books, Manvith played brilliantly and spectacularly upset Phil for his best win to date, ensuring that Warwickshire Select 2 won by the narrowest margin of 3.5-2.5. WOW! Just amazing! Phil’s sporting comments after the game: ‘You played more like an 180’

On Sunday, Manvith was very unfortunate not to repeat Saturday’s heroics as he played another fine game and was winning, but ended up falling short in the endgame. Kanav chalked up his first win in Warwickshire Select 2 colours, defeating Leamington League stalwart Steve Rumsby. Playing two divisions up, CCA superstar David Phillips scored a fine win for Warwickshire Select 1, not long-removed from drawing a local league game against his own Warwickshire Select team captain, the formidable Mark Page, concluding a very successful weekend for the CCA tournament warriors.



A friendly reminder that the Coventry Chess Academy resumes sessions THIS SATURDAY 12TH JANUARY. We are VERY excited to be back! With lots of exciting activities, events and other developments coming up, we can’t wait to see what 2019 holds for our club and members. Looking forward to seeing everyone again on Saturday!




Delighted to report on a great start to 2019 for Coventry Chess Academy members! Manvith Sandhu, Rohan Pal, Kanav Monga and Jude Shearsby all attended the latest ECF Academy training weekend. Gaining a place in the ECF Academy is a fine achievement in its own right and many of England’s other leading junior players were also in attendance. All the boys had an excellent weekend and thoroughly enjoyed the coaching on offer from some of England’s leading chess masters. The Blitz tournament held on Saturday evening proved extremely popular and, with a 2000 FIDE/179 ECF graded top seed and scores of other top-ranking English juniors, it was a talent-laden field. The CCA contingent scored very well as Kanav finished on 3/7 while Jude and Manvith both finished 4/7, defeating some notable opponents in the process. The CCA’s ‘big hitter’ was Rohan who finished on an excellent 5/7 for joint-fourth place, the youngest player in the whole event to score 5 or more points.

Great stuff, congratulations to all our members!




A very Happy Belated New Year 🎉🎆🥂 to all from the Coventry Chess Academy! We wave goodbye to a 2️⃣0️⃣1️⃣8️⃣ which brought us so many highlights, including:

-RECORD numbers selected to play for the Warwickshire Junior Chess Squad, the Warwickshire Senior Chess Squad, in the J4NCL and 4NCL
-YOUNGEST winner in Leamington & District Chess League history
-THIRTY ONE UK Schools Chess Challenge Gigafinalists
-NINE UK Schools Chess Challenge Terafinalists
-SIX winners of the Warwickshire Junior Chess Grand Prix
-FIVE members ranked in the top 10 players in England for their age
-FOUR Warwickshire Junior Chess Champions
-TWO Midlands Junior Chess Champions
-FIRST TWO competitors in the English Women’s Chess Championship
-FIRST TWO London Junior Chess Champions
-FIRST TWO British Junior Chess Champions
-FIRST UK Schools Chess Challenge Terafinal Winner
-FIRST member representing the England National Team

As you can see, it was a truly memorable year for our club and amazing members! Let us hope 2️⃣0️⃣1️⃣9️⃣ proves to be just as good! Wishing you all the best and here’s to a prosperous New Year on and off the chessboard!




Delighted to round off a fabulous 2018 for the Coventry Chess Academy with news of yet MORE amazing performances from our members! Following on from Jude Shearsby’s triumph in the U10 section of the London Junior Chess Championship and other splendid performances in the same tournament earlier this month, 28-30 December saw the U12 and U8 Championships take place at the same venue, the University of Westminister.

Zain Amir competed in the U12 Minor and scored a very creditable 4.5/9. More great experience for Zain to follow on from his very successful LJCC debut in the U10 Minor earlier this month. Kanav Monga, technically an U10, competed in the U12 Major and scored 4.5/9 which included two superb wins against much higher-graded opponents. Rohan Pal finished on 5/9, a very good result considering that he also entered as an U10 and had to play some very tough opponents indeed. The CCA’s ‘big hitter’ in the section was Manvith Sandhu who scored a fantastic 6/9 including fine draws against much higher-graded England team members and the top seed, the 166 ECF-graded James Merriman who pulled out all the stops in the final round but couldn’t break Manvith’s resistance. To add icing to the cake, Manvith was also the joint-first U11 player within the section. Brilliant stuff!

In the U8 section there was another fine performance from a CCA member as Olivia Chen scored an excellent 4.5/7. Well done Olivia, who has not been a member for long, but is already well and truly part of the CCA family, there are surely more great results to come!

The final word of the day goes to Billy Fellowes, the CCA’s youngest competitor in the LJCC this year. Billy was playing in the U8 section despite technically being an U7 and it promised to be great experience for him before playing as a full U8 next year. What transpired was nothing short of remarkable! The very BEST U8 players in the country were in action, including little superstars like Patrick Damodaran and Soham Kumar, both incredible talents in their own right. In seven rounds Billy was matched as tough as it gets. He faced the number 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 12 and 15 seeds (!). In what will go down as one of the greatest performances in CCA history (no hyperbole!), Billy scored an undefeated 6.5/7, taking outright first place (and picking up the U7 championship trophy as well for good measure)! JUST AMAZING!! 😮 Billy officially joins his good friend Jude as the second London Junior Chess Champion in CCA history! CONGRATULATIONS Billy, what a star! ⭐️

Well done to each and every member who competed over three gruelling days and gave it everything. We’re so proud of you all!



We are delighted to report on the overseas chess endeavours of one of the Coventry Chess Academy’s brightest young stars! Manvith Sandhu who is currently holidaying in India has become a local media sensation on account of his chess achievements in the UK. Manvith was invited to take part in a ‘Giraffe Chess’ tournament. This is a special form of chess invented in Proddatur, the home city of Manvith’s dad Ravi. In Giraffe Chess, both sides additionally have 2 giraffes (moving like elongated knights), stalemate is a win, ‘crowning’ is a win (if king reaches the opponent’s giraffe squares even if it’s in check) and every 50 moves a piece should be captured.

Despite having only 5 days to learn Giraffe Chess and adjust to its rules, Manvith took to the board with aplomb and was crowned the first International Giraffe Chess Championship winner! You can watch an interview with him on the following link where he talks about his achievement. Just fantastic! Congratulations Manvith, we’re so proud of you!




Another piece of chess history was made last night by a Coventry Chess Academy member! Our very own little superstar, Billy ‘The Kid’ Fellowes, recently made his Leamington & District Chess League debut having only just turned seven years old, almost certainly the youngest player in the League’s history to do so. Last night, he was in action again playing alongside none other than CCA legend Coach Roy Watson. Unfortunately, Roy was having an uncharacteristic off-night and went down to defeat. It was left to Billy to save the match for his team. In a superb display, Billy completely mastered, outplayed and defeated his adult opponent! Not only did he ensure that the team got a vital draw, he set a record for the youngest person to ever win an LDCL game. Just amazing, well done Billy!
It’s been a simply INCREDIBLE weekend for Coventry Chess Academy members! The eyes of the chess world were fixed on London, with a series of important tournaments taking place, including the London Chess Classic, arguably the UK’s premier chess event. David Phillips scored a creditable 2.5/5 in a strong U2050 section while Silas Bowcott-Terry scored a fine 3/5 in the U1600 section. Silas’ dad, Dustin, finished on the same score in the U1825 section but ended up being upstagedby older son Finlay! Finlay scored a perfect 5/5 to win the U1825 section outright! Brilliant stuff!

Elsewhere in the capital, one of the UK’s most prestigious junior tournaments was taking place. The London Junior Chess Championships has been running since 1924 and every year we get to watch the cream of the UK junior chess crop in action in a gruelling 7 round standardplay event. Among the interested attendees was CCA Director Paul Lam who came down to support the CCA members participating. Zain Amir scored 5/7 in the U10 Minor Section, an excellent result, particularly considering that this was Zain’s first time at the LJCC. The Major Section was a very strong event with 121 participants, all of whom had qualified, including some of the most talented U10 chess players in the country. Kanav Monga finished on a fantastic 5/7 and was unbeaten during the tournament, which included fighting draws with two England national team members. Rohan Pal finished on a brilliant 5.5/7 in the same section for joint second place, demonstrated his trademark fighting spirit and clinical, mature play. The final CCA member playing in the section was Jude Shearsby who started the tournament as the 23rd seed. After six rounds, Jude stood on 5.5/6 as did his good friend and fellow England team member, the very talented Denis Dupuis. Inevitably, they met in the final round. After a hard-fought game which went on for over 2 hours and right down to the wire, the result was a draw, with Jude edging the tie-break to be crowned the U10 London Junior Chess Champion, the first ever from the CCA! Simultaneously, Jude won the U9 trophy and a handsome winner’s cheque. The organisers commented that it marked the first time in recent memory that an 8 year old had won the U10 section! An AMAZING achievement!

Congratulations to all of our members who competed this weekend! What a group of stars! We’re so proud of you all!



Readers of ‘CHESS’ might have seen a familiar name within the pages of the most recent edition! Our very own Jude Shearsby, still only eight years old, made his second appearance within the well-regarded monthly and the UK’s most popular chess magazine! His achievement in winning the recent UK Schools Chess Challenge Terafinal for his age group featured, along with a sample from one of his games. Amazing stuff, well done Jude! No doubt there will be many more to come!

Delighted to share some wonderful news of a fantastic experience for a Coventry Chess Academy member! Elis Dicen attended a London Chess Classic masterclass with training offered by some of the UK’s top grandmasters. Elis was in a group run by GM Peter Wells and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Additionally, some of the biggest names in chess were in attendance due to the LCC Pro Business Cup, which included GM Fabiano Caruana, fresh off his tight World Championship match with Magnus Carlsen, and the legendary former World Chess Champion, Garry Kasparov! A simply amazing and very well-deserved experience, congratulations Elis!