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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!



No sooner had the dust settled in the aftermath of an epic Coventry Chess Academy Christmas Party that splendid news reached us of more super performances from CCA members! ‘King’ Kanav Monga, playing in a higher age group, scored 4/6 in the Twickenham U12 qualifier for the London Junior Chess Championship, thus qualifying for the LJCC Minor U12 Championship. Also playing an age group up was Billy ‘The Kid’ Fellowes, who was in action in the U8 qualifier. The field was very strong with numerous talented juniors from the London area competing, but it was the odd man out who shared honours for first place! Billy played brilliantly to finish on 5.5/6 and qualify with ease for the LJCC U8 final. Wow!

Congratulations guys, fantastic stuff!




The Coventry Chess Academy rounded off a fantastic year for our club and its members today with our annual Christmas Chess Party! As always, it was an extremely well-attended and hugely enjoyable event. The food went down a treat, with plaudits going to the roast potatoes and Mrs Pal’s delicious chess-themed cakes! Father Chessmas himself was in appearance and members keenly attempted the Opening Names Quiz (who knew that the Queen Pterodactyl was such a thing!) and Paul’s Puzzle, a mate in two with the pieces arranged in the shape of a reindeer (kudos to anyone who spotted this feature!).

The Exchange Tournament proved very popular and keenly-contested and taking first place was ‘Team Devils’ (David and Aarav), followed closely by ‘RE’ (Rohan and Ethan), while there was a tie for third between ‘The JT Squad’ (William and Jatinder), ‘The Hyper Hippopotamus’ (Elis and Olivia) and ‘The Broccoli Guys’ (Sahith and Sam). David also won the prize for solving Paul’s Puzzle, while Adith was the clear winning of the Opening Names Quiz.

A MASSIVE THANK YOU to all the coaches, parents, Cheylesmore Community Centre and, above all, our amazing members, for making 2018 yet another incredible year for our club! There have been so many highlights and wonderful achievements, far too many to mention in one post, and you, our club members, can all be very proud of yourselves. We know we are!

The CCA is now on break till Saturday 12th January 2019. Some intrepid members will be in tournament action over the Christmas period and we look forward to updating you on their progress. But for now, may we wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! See you in 2019!




Ho ho ho, it’s that time of year again! The Coventry Chess Academy’s Christmas Chess Party and final session of 2018 takes place this Saturday 8th December! With plenty of food, drink, fun activities, the return of ‘Father Chessmas’, a prize-giving and, of course, plenty of chess, it promises to be a fun-filled and enjoyable event to round off another fantastic year for our club and members! We can’t wait! 🎄🎅🎖🎁




It was yet another fantastic day for Coventry Chess Academy members in the Four Counties Junior Chess tournament! Twenty were selected to play for Warwickshire, making up over half of the junior county chess squad. They were joined by CCA Director Paul Lam, who was delighted to be in attendance as the squad coach.

The results were simply magnificent as Warwickshire took first place ahead of Oxfordshire, Leicestershire and Northamptonshire in EVERY single section; U18s, U11s, U11 girls and U9s! WOW! The U9s performance was particularly special as Warwickshire did not field its strongest possible team, instead fielding two teams of roughly equal strength to maximise participation. Team morale was high during the day, with plenty of laughter, fun moments and some excellent chess!

Congratulations to David Phillips, Finlay Bowcott-Terry, Imogen Dicen, William Morris, Elis Dicen, Margarita Sanchez, Manvith Sandhu, Rohan Pal, Kanav Monga, Silas Bowcott-Terry, Sarthak Sanyal, Ethan Vas, Zain Amir, Keatan Patel (making his county debut), Rithvik Muthuvelu, Arnav Agarwal (making his county debut), Jude Shearsby, Billy Fellowes, Aaron Suthi and Aarav Agarwal (making his county debut) who all performed fantastically and contributed numerous points to the county cause. Well done guys and girls, we’re so proud of you all!



It was quite simply a MARVELLOUS day for Coventry Chess Academy members at the Warwickshire Junior Chess Championships! Nearly 30 of them played in the tournament, one of the most prestigious in the Warwickshire Junior Chess Calendar. CCA Paul Lam, himself a six-time Warwickshire junior chess champion, was delighted to be in attendance to watch the games and offer support. All of our members gave a terrific account of themselves and by the end of the day we had numerous medallists and winners!

The U8s was won by Elis Dicen who scored an imperious 7/7. She was followed by Billy Fellowes who scored 6/7 winning gold, Aarav Agarwal on 5/7 winning silver, and Arnav Agarwal who scored 4/7 winning bronze. Ezekiel Ho, playing in his first ever chess tournament, scored a very creditable 3/7. The U10s was a very strong and competitive section and Paul was deeply impressed by some of the quality of play he witnessed. Jude Shearsby, technically an U9 player, valiantly battled through illness to win with 7/7. He was followed by Rohan Pal who hit gold with 6/7, while Kanav Monga and Aaron Suthi both scored 5/7 for silver. Rithvik Muthuvelu scored 4.5/7, while Zain Amir and Felix Kuang scored 4/7 each, all winning bronze medals. In the U12s, Manvith Sandhu won outright with 6/7 and was unbeaten for the tournament. Silas Bowcott Terry won silver with 5/7, while Ethan Vas, Keaten Patel and Henry Wood all scored 4/7 for bronze. Finlay Bowcott-Terry was the winner of the U14s with an unbeaten 6.5/7, while Imogen Dicen scored 5/7 for silver and Nahum Bradford scored 4/7 for bronze in his first ever chess tournament. All amazing achievements!

The icing on the cake was the awards for the Warwickshire Junior Chess Grand Prix for 2017/2018. All section winners bar one were CCA members. Rohan Pal, Elis Dicen, Margarita Sanchez and Imogen Dicen were all delighted to collect their shiny new trophies courtesy of the Warwickshire Chess Assocation.

HUGE congratulations to all of our members who played today! We’re so proud of you all!




It was another very enjoyable and well-attended session on Saturday at the Coventry Chess Academy! Groups A PLUS and A had some fiendishly difficult combinations to solve and Jude Shearsby was on fire, calculating a beautiful winning line involving a knight and queen sac which had some of the coaches stumped. Group D got to grips with board vision and impressive worksheets were produced by Benjy Rendall and Joel Bradford. Meanwhile, Groups B and C enjoyed an instructive example of how to punish poor opening play courtesy of a crushing win by none other than CCA coach extraordinaire, the one-and-only Roy Watson who celebrated his birthday on Saturday! True to form, when asked if he fancied taking a break, he insisted on being in attendance at the CCA and kindly brought some birthday goodies in which were enjoyed by all. Roy, AKA ‘The World’s Most Energetic Great Grandfather’ has been a hugely popular CCA coach ever since the Academy was founded and he shows no signs of slowing down. For members who were trying to guess Roy’s age (with answers ranging from 51 to 100!), the great man turned 66 years young on Saturday. Roy has provided us with countless memorable moments and Watsonian turns of phrase over the years, with hundreds of children benefiting from his guidance, kindness and inimitable sense of humour. Long may it continue. Happy Blunderless Birthday Roy and thank you for everything!

There were more splendid tournament results for CCA members at the weekend. Rohan Pal played in the U12 section of the Brainstorm Junior Rapidplay which is also a qualifier for the London Junior Chess Championships (LJCC). Despite technically being an U10 player in a strong field topped by a 139 ECF-graded top seed, Rohan showed his class by scoring 5/6; winning the section on tie-break and qualifying to play in the LJCC U12 Major finals. Olivia Chen, who has only recently joined us but has already made a fantastic impression on all, won the U8 section in the same tournament on tie-break with an excellent 5/6 and qualified for the LJCC U8 Major Championships! Then on Sunday, Zain Amir scored 4/6 at the Wellington College rapidplay, thus qualifying for the LJCC U10 Minor Championships. A great result for Zain who has come on leaps and bounds this year! Well done to all three!

CCA members were also in action in the 4NCL, the British national chess league, at the weekend. CCA superstar David Phillips played extremely well in division 2 the previous weekend, and on Saturday it was the turn of our younger members in division 4. Elis Dicen made her 4NCL debut playing alongside her good friend Jude, surely two of the youngest players to ever do so, at seven and eight years of age respectively. Both were in deep as they had to play against very strong 1900+ rated adult opposition. The older and stronger players eventually triumphed, but what a great experience for both! Jude in particular was very unfortunate, as he outplayed and was winning against his ECF 167-graded opponent. To do so at such a young age is phenomenal and no doubt he will be taking some big scalps before too long. Imogen Dicen and Manvith Sandhu also made their 4NCL debuts, finishing on fine scores of 1.5/2 and 1/2 respectively. Finlay Bowcott-Terry also finished on 1/2, while Silas Bowcott-Terry made his debut on Sunday. Although his 1700+ rated opponent eventually prevailed, once again it was excellent experience gained. Well done to everyone who played this weekend!




It was a great day for a Coventry Chess Academy member on Saturday! Manvith Sandhu played in the Maidenhead Qualifier for the prestigious London Junior Chess Championship (LJCC). He scored 4.5/6 in a strong U12 section with other notable names, finishing equal second. Due to progressive scores, he won the trophy for third place and qualified for the LJCC U12 major finals. Congratulations Manvith!

Remembrance Sunday 11th November turned out to be an historic day for local chess with the inaugural CCA – Hallfield School chess match featuring some of the country’s best young chess players! Between them, both sides have contributed nearly the entirety of the hugely-successful Warwickshire Junior Chess Squad in the last few years and many Hallfield School pupils are also CCA members.

Hallfield School Chess Coach FIDE Master Nick Thomas and CCA Director Paul Lam, leading the respective teams, were delighted to oversee the match which, with only ONE point separating the cumulative grades of each team, turned out to be an incredibly close and competitive affair. Considering that both teams were almost exclusively of primary school age, the standard of play was very good indeed! Round 1 went to Hallfield 7-3 and round 2 went to the CCA 8-2, with the match being decided by the final game; Imogen Dicen winning against Manvith in a terrific board one slugfest which went right down to the wire and in which both gave their all and emerged with huge credit. It meant that the CCA won the match by the narrow margin of 11-9 and get to keep the magnificent Thomas Trophy for a year; a tribute to Mr Thomas’ contribution to Warwickshire chess over four decades as a player and coach. There were some fantastic games and excellent individual performances, with Elis Dicen producing an assured, mature game against a valiant Zain Amir to win the best game prize.

A big thank you to all the parents for their support and to the members for playing and giving such a good account of themselves! It was a thoroughly enjoyable and friendly match played in a wonderful spirit and we can’t wait for the next one! Well done everyone!




Great to see everyone on Saturday at a very enjoyable and well-attended first Coventry Chess Academy session back after half-term! A very warm welcome to all of our new members, we hoped you enjoyed the experience and look forward to seeing you at future sessions!

It was another great day for CCA members beyond club doors on Saturday. Finlay Bowcott-Terry, Imogen Dicen, Elis Dicen, Rohan Pal, Silas Bowcott-Terry, Vincent Xia, Eshan Suthi and Margarita Sanchez were all in action for the Warwickshire U16 and U12 teams, with CCA Director Paul Lam joining the squad following the CCA’s morning session. Warwickshire were heavily under-strength against some very strong opposition teams, but team morale remained high and our guys and girls did themselves proud, with the U12s narrowly missing out on third place. Imogen was the Warwickshire U16 player of the tournament with a fine 2/3 and Margarita was the U12 player of the tournament with a perfect 3/3! A special mention for Elis who was drafted into the U18s despite being the youngest Warwickshire player at just seven years of age (!), scored 1/3 and gave 130+ and 140+ ECF graded opponents some very good games indeed.

There were more good tournament performances from CCA members that weekend. Manvith Sandhu and Kanav Monga were both in action in the 4NCL International Congress in the U1825 FIDE-rated section. There were creditable performances from both, finishing on 5/9 and 4.5/9, with Kanav performing some 200+ points above his rating. CCA Asst. Director Andy Ward also made a rare tournament appearance in a strong U2050 section and scored 4/9, gaining a couple of rating points in the process. Jude Shearsby was also in action in the Witney Chess Congress, scoring 2/5 in a strong U145 section despite being the lowest-graded player in the competition. A good learning experience for everyone, let’s keep it up and keep going from strength to strength!




We hope you’ve had/are having a great half-term! Don’t forget that the Coventry Chess Academy resumes sessions THIS SATURDAY 3RD NOVEMBER. We are very excited to be back and to see everyone again!

A Happy Halloween 🎃 to everyone for tonight as well, we hope you enjoy the festivities! Did you know that there is a crazy chess opening known as the Halloween Gambit? It goes 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Nxe5?!! Good fun in blitz, but definitely NOT an opening we’d recommend you play in the vital final round of a tournament!

The half-term chess activities continued at the weekend just gone with 2020 chess at the University of Birmingham on Saturday! The super sister duo of Esti and Ioly Ercsei and good friend Iga Jasinska formed a CCA team, with Director Paul Lam making a rare appearance on top board. Another CCA super sister duo, Imogen and Elis Dicen, were also in action in what turned out to be a very fun event. Every single CCA member contributed points to their team and even the Director showed glimpses of his old form by scoring 4/5, apart from laying an egg in round 4! 🐔🥚😳 It was quite a sight to see all-girl/junior teams holding their own against and getting the better of older and far more experienced male opponents, with thoughts being spared for a certain anonymous university team who found themselves scoring a total of 0/6 against the CCA contingent.

On Sunday, CCA girls were back in action! Imogen and Elis Dicen, Iga Jasinska and Margarita Sanchez were all in action representing Warwickshire in the Oxford Girls Quadrangular. The U11s were heavily outgraded and had a tough time, but Elis scored a very creditable 1.5/3 on top board against older and higher-graded opponents, including a fine comeback win against England player Yashasvini Sreeram. Iga scored an excellent 2.5/3 for the title-winning U18s team which included a marathon 70 move win in the final round, and her teammate Imogen scored a brilliant 3/3, including a fantastic win against another England player, 164-graded Elizaveta Sheremetyeva.

Over the same weekend, good friends Jude ‘The Juggernaut’ Shearsby and Manvith ‘Money’ Sandhu played for the Warwickshire U140 county team against Staffordshire, contributing to to a 9.5-6.5 victory for their side. Jude continued his superb run of form with a very comfortable win. Manvith bamboozled his opponent in the opening before matters took a tricky turn, but showed impressive maturity and composure to navigate his way through the complications and convert his material advantage clinically for a deserved victory.

Meanwhile, in the prestigious Isle of Man International 🇮🇲, Rohan Pal finished on a high with a fine win and a very creditable score of 3.5/7. A fantastic experience for Rohan who, at nine years of age, is already playing like a veteran; facing battle-hardened and frequently higher-rated adult opposition and doing himself proud over the course of long, tough games.

Congratulations to all our members! Really looking forward to seeing everyone this Saturday!





Yesterday was a memorable day for Rohan Pal at the Isle of Man Chess International! At nine years of age, Rohan is the youngest player in the tournament, but has been more than holding his own against some tough opponents. After a real battle against the number one seed in round 2, only losing after a great effort and 4 hours of play, in round 3 he faced the hugely-experienced three-time British Women’s Chess Champion and Woman Candidate Master Dinah Norman. The game ended in a draw, an excellent result for Rohan and his first (of many yet to come surely) against a titled player! To top it off, he was also delighted to meet and have his photo taken with visiting chess superstar Praggnanandhaa, who at thirteen years of age is the third-youngest grandmaster in history.

Well done Rohan and keep it up, we’re so proud of you!




A little piece of chess history was made on Monday night by a Coventry Chess Academy member! Rising sharpshooter Billy ‘The Kid’ Fellowes, who recently celebrated his seventh birthday, became the youngest player in recent memory to play a match in the Leamington & District Chess League and possibly in the history of the League! Billy gave a fantastic account of himself facing a much higher-graded adult opponent, even standing better out of the opening, before the stronger player’sexperience took over, though only after an hour and a half and 50 plus moves of play. Well done Billy, a phenomenal effort and a great experience!

In other news, Rohan Pal got off to a winning start in the Isle of Man International Chess Tournament! After taking down one of the locals in the first round, he played the tournament number 1 seed from Portugal yesterday and although he lost gave a great effort, going down only after 4 hours of play. Today he plays against high-experienced WCM and former British Women’s Chess Champion Dinah Norman. Well done Rohan and best of luck for today and for the rest of tournament, we’re rooting for you all the way!




It was a fantastic day for Coventry Chess Academy members playing at the 25th Birmingham Rapidplay yesterday! It was the first adult chess tournament for some of our members, but everyone acquitted themselves well and racked up many points on board facing older and more experienced opponents. In the special Invitational section, Finlay Bowcott-Terry and Imogen Dicen, both aged only thirteen, had the privilege of locking horns with the likes of IM Ameet Ghasi and GMs Mark Hebden, Keith Arkell and Matthew Turner. Ultimately, the strength of the masters told, but what an amazing experience for both! Finlay finished the tournament with a fine draw against WFM Louise Head while Imogen Dicen defeated strong fellow Warwickshire junior Devan Patel. The Minor section attracted the most CCA entries and there were some notable performances, with Silas Bowcott-Terry finishing on 5/7 for joint-fourth place. In the Intermediate section, good friends Jude Shearsby and Manvith Sandhu were on fire throughout, only suffering defeat at the hands of the eventual tournament winner, and met in the final round. Jude came out on top to finish on 5.5/7 for outright third and a place on the prize-list. A fantastic performance by Jude, who last year finished third in the Minor section aged seven, one of the youngest ever prize-winners at the Birmingham Rapidplay. Now he’s repeated the feat in the section above!

Massive congratulations to all our members who competed yesterday! The CCA tournament warriors continue to put on a show wherever they go!





It was great to see everyone over the weekend at a very enjoyable final session before half-term! A friendly reminder that the Coventry Chess Academy is on BREAK for the next two weeks. We will resume sessions on SATURDAY 3RD NOVEMBER! In between now and then, there will be plenty of tournament action involving members, so keep your eyes peeled for news on their endeavours! Wishing you all a great break and we look forward to seeing you when sessions resume next month!



It was a marvellous day for Coventry Chess Academy members at the Coventry Junior Open yesterday, the first Warwickshire Junior Chess Grand Prix event of the season! CCA Director Paul Lam and Coach Roy Watson were delighted to be able to join nineteen CCA members taking part in the tournament. Each and every one of them did brilliantly with numerous members scoring 2.5/5 or more and finishing on the prize list! In the U18s section, 13-year-old Finlay Bowcott-Terry scored a fine 4/5 to finish second, his only loss coming in a very competitive game against the 179-graded top seed Chirag Guha. It was a CCA clean sweep in all other actions! Imogen Dicen won the U14s, Rohan Pal the U11s, Elis Dicen the U9 girls and Billy Fellowes the U9 boys; all with perfect 5/5 scores! WOW!!

Today, Rohan followed up on his brilliant 100% performance by playing in a London Junior Chess Championship U12 qualifier today at Eton College, organised by Grandmaster Nick Pert. The standard was very high indeed, with England team members and a top seed graded 154 ECF participating. Despite technically being an U10 player, Rohan scored 4/6 and finished third with an ECF 136 grading performance, ahead of droves of higher-graded competitors. Well done Rohan, another great showing!

Huge congratulation to all of our members who played this weekend! We’re so proud of you all!




It has been a fantastic weekend for Coventry Chess Academy members playing in the Junior 4NCL, the children’s wing of the British national chess league! No fewer than fifteen were selected to play for the five Warwickshire Bears teams. CCA Director Paul Lam was also delighted to be in attendance as the Bears squad coach/manager along with team mascot Curly the Bear.

It started off with fireworks in round 1. Super sub Aaron Suthi, filling in at just twelve hours notice, was the first Warwickshire Bear to win, crowning an excellent queenside attack with mate on board. In the same match, his team-mate, Jude Shearsby, made light of a big grading deficit to take down a 150 ECF-graded opponent. Kanav Monga played very well against the talented and higher-graded James Lindquist and was unlucky to only draw his game.

More fine performances came in round 2. Vincent Xia scored a good draw against a 117-graded opponent and J4NCL debutants Zain Amir and Margarita Sanchez got off the mark with fine wins, as did their more experienced team-mate, Prasanna Sivakumar. The Jude Juggernaut continued with another good win and Elis Dicen also picked up her first win of the event as did Finlay Bowcott-Terry.

In round 3, the A team stamped their authority in division 1 with a commanding win against closest rivals ‘The Five Young Oysters’. CCA top dog David Phillips dropped a pawn early against England junior player Robert Akeya-Price, but came roaring back to outplay and crush his opponent. William Morris faced adversity too against a higher-graded opponent, but hung on in there and capitalised when his opponent erred in the endgame, taking a nice upset win. Silas Bowcott-Terry found himself in a tricky endgame where he was better, but couldn’t quite find the winning plan, but still gained a creditable draw.

In round 4, Jude won a very maturely-played game that included an imaginative pawn sacrifice and later sealed the deal with a vicious tactic that forced the win of material. Astrid Gibara joined the team and was very unfortunate to lose after having obtained a winning position, but falling victim to a desperate queenside attack. Eshan Suthi got off the mark with a convincing win and Kanav annihilated his opponent with a kingside attack on the White side of the London System featuring a Greek Gift sacrifice.

The best was saved for the fifth and final round. The B team drew their final round match but this proved enough for them to claim third place out of twenty three teams and find themselves on the prize-list! The A team only needed a draw to win division 1, but won overwhelmingly 3.5-0.5 against Manchester. Imogen Dicen finished with a spectacular sacrificial attack, giving up bishop and rook to achieve mate, and capping a very successful weekend which saw her score a perfect 5/5! It meant that the A team won every single match, facing some very tough opponents, and were crowned winners of division 1! Hurrah!!!

Congratulations to each and every one of our members for being selected to play this weekend, giving their best and achieving such fantastic results! Just brilliant!




It was another day of tournament action for Coventry Chess Academy members in the NYCA (National Youth Chess Association) Championships last weekend! Finlay Bowcott-Terry, Imogen Dicen, Manvith Sandhu, Silas Bowcott-Terry, Vincent Xia, Eshwar Kolli and Eshan Suthi were in action for the Warwickshire U14s side while David Phillips, William Morris and Elis Dicen (making a guest appearance) all played for the U18s side. The standard was extremely high with Sussex in particular fielding very strong teams, but everyone gave it their best shot and there were some fine individual results. David comfortably drew with 181 and 191-graded opponents on top board for the U18s and had winning chances in both. Elis, despite being a guest player and playing in the U18s at just seven years of age, scored a very creditable draw against a much older 125-graded opponent in the first round. Big sister Imogen scored a perfect 3 points including a wonderful instructive win in the final round in which she liquidated her d-pawn in thematic style to empower bishops on the a1-h8 and a2-g8 diagonals and her rook on the d-file. Finlay was within a whisker of a draw against Candidate Master Rajat Makkar, while little brother Silas scored a wonderful attacking win with his favoured Black Lion opening which his chess hero, GM Simon Williams, would have been proud of!

At the prize-giving, Imogen won the award for the best Warwickshire U14s player. The Warwickshire team finished in third place overall; a fine result considering the strength of the opposition. A big well done to all the CCA guys and girls who were selected to play today and did the county proud!

The same day, there was ANOTHER fantastic success for a Coventry Chess Academy member! Ethan Vas played today in the Northern Challengers of the UK Schools Chess Challenge in Liverpool. He performed brilliantly to score 4/5, including a super win over a 121-graded opponent, finishing joint-second overall and fifth place on tie-break, winning a medal for his efforts. Great stuff, well done Ethan!




It was a memorable day at the UK Schools Chess Challenge Terafinal for Coventry Chess Academy members today! Zain Amir, Rohan Pal, Margarita Sanchez, Sarthak Sanyal, Imogen Dicen and Finlay Bowcott-Terry were all making their first appearances at this stage of the competition. Elis Dicen, Jude Shearsby and Manvith Sandhu were also in action as two-time Terafinalists. CCA Director Paul Lam and Coach Steve Turvey were delighted to be in attendance to offer their support and encouragement along with the tireless and ever-present CCA parents in Peterborough. The standard of competition was extremely high with plenty of long, tough games against the best junior chess players in the country, but everyone tried their very best and there were some sparkling performances. Morale and team spirit was high and there was plenty of fun and laughs throughout the day! Elis, Rohan and Finlay all finished on a fine 4/6. The star performer of the day was Jude who won the U8 section and was crowned Terafinal CHAMPION, the first in CCA history! He was delighted to collect his trophy and considerable cheque from Grandmaster David Howell and UK Schools Chess Challenge Director Sarah Longson. Congratulation Jude, a fabulous moment and achievement!

A massive well done to every single member who competed today! Just to reach the Terafinal, roughly the top 0.5% of the biggest chess tournament in the world, is a phenomenal achievement. Finally a big well done to each and every member who has been part of the CCA’s UK Schools Chess Challenge adventure! From club qualifiers to Megafinal to Gigafinal to Terafinal, it’s been quite a journey! ALL of you are champions in our eyes. We’re so incredibly proud of each and every one of you!




Charity Fundraiser Alert! Coventry Chess Academy Director Paul Lam will be taking to the boxing ring AND the chessboard this month to raise funds in support of six-year-old Ben Crowther who is undergoing treatment after recently being diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare form of childhood cancer.

Ben’s older brothers James and Harry have been CCA members and Ben himself enjoys a game or two (older members and their parents might remember him playing with the chess pieces on the floor when he was just a baby back when the CCA started in 2013 😁). Their family have been fantastic supporters of our club and one can only imagine the tough times they’re going through, but the strength and positivity they’re showing is just awe-inspiring.

You can read the full story on the fundraising page and make a donation at

Any support you can offer will be greatly appreciated.Wishing you all the best, Ben and keep on smiling! #PassTheSmile 😊




It was great to see everyone again on Saturday at a very well-attended and hugely enjoyable first Coventry Chess Academy session of the school year! A warm CCA welcome back to current members and a very warm welcome to our many new members who joined us. We hope you enjoyed yourselves and we look forward to seeing you at future sessions! Despite the long summer break, hardly a heartbeat had been missed, with some fantastic worksheets produced during teaching and some excellent contributions from members during the demonstration of two instructive games by Andy and Paul. Conduct was simply superb during challenge matches and you could have heard a pin drop in the room during play. A big well done to our new members who had never played chess in tournament conditions before and adapted to this with no problems whatsoever! The final half an hour of fun-time was richly deserved, which saw new members get hooked on exchange chess and a number of coaches bite the dust in blitz against their much younger opponents! Well done everyone on contributing to such a fantastic first session back, which we are sure is just the first of many this year!

That day, there was  been a fine performance from the Coventry Chess Academy’s Rohan Pal in the UK Open Blitz Birmingham qualifier. Fresh off his stunning success in the Sants Open in Barcelona, Spain, where he scored 7/10 with individual games lasting as long as 4 hours, Rohan took to the board much closer to home and playing at a MUCH quicker time limit (3 minutes + 2 seconds increment). The field was incredibly strong, with the top seed being none other than Grandmaster David Howell who was the outright winner with 15/15. Rohan demonstrated that he can handle time-pressured situations as well as prolonged struggles by scoring a very creditable 5.5/15 facing players who outgraded him in almost every round. He played extremely well and in particular was unfortunate not to get the full point from winning positions against 174 and 180-graded opponents. One of the highlights was an excellent draw against the much higher-graded Ben Graff, CCA parent and coach, who makes his second appearance in a CCA update in a short space of time! Well done Rohan! Another great experience and event!

Yet another Coventry Chess Academy member was in action over the board on Sunday! Iga Jasinska travelled down to Harrow with her dad Ben Purton to play in the 1st Peter Poobalasingam Celebration Competition in memory of the late FIDE Master and very talented former England junior who sadly passed away recently. It was a fantastic event which attracted a large and very strong field including 15 titled players. Grandmasters David Howell and Stephen Gordon shared first place with 5.5/6 each. Ben scored a fine 4/6 which included a draw with Grandmaster Matthew Turner while Iga played very creditably against opponents who heavily outgraded her, finishing on 2/6. Well done to both on their performances!

As if one piece of good Coventry Chess Academy news isn’t enough, we have another! Six-year-old Billy Fellowes, the CCA’s youngest member to compete in this year’s UK Schools Chess Challenge, was on fire in the Southern Challengers in Guildford on Sunday! 🔥 It was a very tough field, but Billy rose to the occasion magnificently. He scored a fantastic 5/6 against some highly-graded and older opponents to finish in outright second place! Just brilliant! Well done Billy, you’re a star! 





Pleased to report on another terrific performance from a Coventry Chess Academy member! Our very own England debutant Jude Shearsby, fresh from his memorable trip to Latvia to play in the European Youth Chess Championships, took part in the Leamington & District Chess League Jamboree on Tuesday evening. Although he and his partner did not win as a pair, Jude finished as the overall individual winner (and certainly the youngest ever at eight years of age) with an unbeaten 5.5/6 which included taking the scalps of the Warwickshire county captain and 136 and 147-graded opponents, with only local veteran Mike Johnson escaping with a draw. A delighted Jude was pleased to have his photo taken with the League chairman, who happens to be none other than CCA parent and coach Ben Graff! Well done Jude!




An excellent English Women’s Chess Championship concluded today for the Coventry Chess Academy’s super sisters Imogen and Elis Dicen. In round 4, Imogen was in big trouble out of the opening against the higher-rated Agnieszka Sapkowska. However, she showed incredible resilience to hang on in there, equalise in the middlegame and finally convert the endgame into a win after a blunder by her opponent. In round 5 she faced another very strong opponent in Zhu Yaoyao and fell victim to an overwhelming kingside attack. Still, a fine performance overall from Imogen who finished on 2/5 and performed nearly 100 points above her FIDE rating. Little sister Elis, whose appearance in the ECF women’s chess press release has gone viral on social media, also finished on 2/5. In round 4, she faced the tournament’s oldest competitor, ECF Director Julie Denning. The more experienced and stronger player triumphed, although Elis was fighting all the way to the end. In round 5, she faced fellow junior Bryony Eccleston and scored a fine win, demonstrating good technique to convert her material advantage in the endgame, and therefore also finished on 2/5.

Congratulations to Imogen and Elis for their performances! There was plenty of excellent chess, maturity, fighting spirit and determination on display over the last three days. Moreover, it was a fantastic learning experience to play against the best women players in England and, at 13 and 7 years of age, the best is yet to come! Well done girls, we’re so proud of you!





It’s another chess-filled weekend on for Coventry Chess Academy members as we count down the days back to school! Kanav Monga played in the Darnall & Handsworth Congress U120 section and shook off the board-rust with a fine 3.5/6 in his first tournament back after the summer holidays, including an excellent final round win. Well done Kanav!

Closer to home, the CCA’s super sister duo of Imogen and Elis Dicen have been competing against some VERY STRONG opponents in the English Women’s Chess Championship. Imogen gave the very experienced 2000+ rated Woman International Master, Ingrid Lauterbach, a real scare in round 1; standing much better at one point before time trouble induced decisive errors. She bounced back with a win in round 2 and then faced England Junior player Elizaveta Sheremetyeva in round 3. Imogen once again played extremely well against her higher-graded opponent, standing equal throughout until an oversight cost her. Still, some big positives to be taken away for Imogen, having faced such strong opponents and given a great account of herself. Elis, aged seven, is the youngest competitor in the tournament, indeed in its short history! She had to face another experienced WIM, Natasha Regan, and although she was eventually mated after 52 moves, found it a great experience. She was doing well out of the opening in round 2 against Elizaveta, but lost a pawn and went down in the endgame although she was fighting all the way to the end. She bounced back in round 3 with a great win, impressing the watching ECF Directors and making it into their press release!

Well done girls and best of luck for tomorrow, you’re doing great!



After ten epic days, the 2018 European Youth Chess Championships in Riga, Latvia  have come to an end for Team England  and our very own chess star,  Jude Shearsby, who represented his country in the U8 section. Jude finished on 4/9 in his England debut and first ever international, an excellent result facing the best players his age in Europe, and was very unfortunate not to get the full point from a winning position against his strong and experienced Spanish opponent in the final round, a game which lasted over four hours(!). Almost every game has gone the full distance and been tough and competitive, but Jude’s fighting spirit and determination has shone through at all times. Some delightful chess has been played, with a picturesque mating finish in round 6 being one of the highlights! All in all, an amazing experience for Jude who will surely bring back many fond memories from his time in Latvia with Team England. MASSIVE congratulations Jude! We’re so proud of you! 

It’s been an absolutely MARVELLOUS day for the Coventry Chess Academy’s international chess stars! 👏

In the Sants Open in Barcelona, Spain, nine-year-old Rohan Pal produced one of the best performances by a CCA member that we are likely to ever see. After ten gruelling days of chess, he finished on 7/10, finishing joint fifth in a field of 148 players. He won a share of the prize money and also the best U10 prize. Having played against experienced FIDE-rated opponents in every single round, he has also emerged with an excellent FIDE rating performance of 1654! Almost every game was a long, tough affair, often lasting 3-4 hours, but Rohan demonstrated the staying power and determination to match his considerable skill and talent. Congratulations Rohan, what a performance!

In the European Youth Chess Championships in Riga, Latvia, Jude Shearsby, flying the flag for Team England, scored another excellent win today! It means that he has won two straight and has passed the 50% mark to stand on 3.5/6 in the U8 section. To be on this score at this stage of a competition of this calibre is just fantastic! Moreover, with three rounds to go in Riga, there is still plenty to play for. Well done Jude and keep it up, you can do it! We’re so proud of you and what you’re doing! 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 ♔





Delighted to provide updates on the progress of our international chess stars! Rohan Pal is on a tear at the Sants Open! He’s won three games on the trot and now stands on 5.5/8. Playing in your first international tournament overseas and facing vastly more experienced FIDE-rated adult opponents in almost every round would be daunting for any nine-year-old, but not our Rohan who has acquitted himself superbly!

In the European Youth Chess Championships, Jude Shearsby currently stands on a fine 2.5/5. Facing the very best players his age in Europe, every game has been a tough and competitive affair. Jude’s effort, tactical flair and fighting spirit have shone through and he was rewarded today with his second win in England colours. Keep it up Jude! You’re doing us and England proud!

What fantastic showings from both! Best of luck to our guys for the remaining rounds, you can do it!





Delighted to bring you some updates on our international chess stars! Rohan Pal currently stands on a fine 2.5/5 in the Sants Open at the tournament midway point, having faced experienced FIDE-rated opponents in every round, with some very long, tough games. A fantastic experience so far in his first international tournament with plenty of chess yet to come!

Jude Shearsby currently stands on 1/2 in the European Youth Chess Championships in Latvia. His first round game against a talented Greek opponent was the last to finish in his section and was extremely competitive, only going down in the endgame after having been equal for most of the game. He bounced back today in fine style against a Latvian opponent, proving that home advantage doesn’t count for as much in chess, and was delighted to score his first win wearing England colours! Hurrah!

Best of luck to both our guys for the rounds to come and to team England!





Something light-hearted to brighten up a dreary Monday! Coventry Chess Academy Director Paul Lam features on Grandmaster Jon Speelman’s latest ‘Agony’ column on with two of his games; one with a happy ending, the other emphatically not. Curious? Read on for the full story!
Following on from incredible success on the national stage at the recent British Chess Championships, Coventry Chess Academy members are making waves on the international stage! Rohan Pal is currently in action in the Sants Open in Spain and has made a brilliant 2/2 start. Well done Rohan and good luck for the rest of the tournament!

Today Jude Shearsby will travel to the other end of Europe to play for England in the European Youth Chess Championships in Latvia for the opportunity of a lifetime! His profile is now up on the English Chess Federation website, which you can view at…/european-youth-chess-cha…/ Jude is the first CCA member to gain the distinction of representing his country in an international competition, a truly fantastic achievement! The very best of luck Jude, we know you’ll do us and yourself proud!


Let’s cheer on our guys for the next two weeks as they fly the flag for the CCA! #Proud




Last weekend proved another successful one for Coventry Chess Academy members! Rohan Pal made the trip down south to play in the Hampstead Chess Congress and came back roaring from a slow start to score three wins on the trot, finishing on an excellent 3.5/5 and joint-second place in the U135 section. Closer to home, his friends Jude Shearsby and Manvith Sandhu played in the Midlands Chess Championship in Telford, with CCA Director Paul Lam a keen observer. Playing in the U130 section, Jude had an excellent win against a 118-graded opponent in a three-hour long game on Saturday, demonstrating his strategic skills alongside his trademark tactical flair. Sunday proved tougher, though the games were hard-fought with the last one going right down to the wire. Manvith competed in the U160/U1900 FIDE section and scored a fine 2.5/5 facing opponents who outgraded him in every round, performing a huge 300 points above his FIDE rating.

Well done to all our guys, great stuff!





Coventry Chess Academy Director Paul Lam and Coach Roy Watson have just returned from an amazing three days in Hull for the 2018 British Chess Championship where they were supporting CCA members playing in the tournament. Hopes were high, but even they couldn’t have predicted what wonders would occur!

Imogen and Elis Dicen, Manvith Sandhu, Jude Shearsby and Rohan Pal were all in action on day 1 and produced some quite incredible results! Imogen made a fine start to the Soanes tournament with 1.5/3 against higher FIDE-rated opponents in every round. There was a stunning result for Manvith in the U11s. He finished JOINT SECOND in a very strong field with a simply brilliant 5/6. His only loss came to eventual winner Yichen Han (ECF 193) and he defeated the 166 ECF-graded James Merriman in the final round, crowning his fine play with a superb sacrificial combination! Little Elis was a star in the U9s. Despite technically being an U7, she scored a brilliant 4/6 and was crowned the JOINT BRITISH U9 GIRLS CHAMPION! A phenomenal result for Elis who appears in the new ECF grading list as the NUMBER ONE player in the whole of England for her age, regardless of gender! In the same section, Jude scored a fantastic 4.5/6 and achieved an amazing draw against the 158 ECF-graded number 1 seed Louis Khoo-Thwe, with only time trouble robbing him of a deserved win. The last word goes to Rohan. He won the tournament outright with 5.5/6 and was crowned BRITISH U9 CHESS CHAMPION!! Wooow!

Day 2 was another brilliant one for our members! Imogen finished on a very creditable 2/5 in the Soanes tournament and performed nearly 200 points above her actual FIDE rating while David Phillips got off to a winning start in the British U16 Championships. In the British U8 Championships, Jude Shearsby played brilliantly, finishing the tournament playing on top board and scoring 4.5/6. Also performing fantastically and finishing on the same score was Elis Dicen. In doing so, she was crowned as winner of the British U8 Girls Championship, meaning that she has achieved the unprecedented feat of becoming a DOUBLE BRITISH CHAMPION in the space of two days. Scarily, she will still be eligible for the U8s next year!

It seemed like things could not get better or more memorable for CCA members, but that’s what happened today! In round 1 of the British U120 Chess Championship, our very own newly-crowned British U9 Champion, Rohan, found himself facing not a fellow junior but a higher-graded and vastly more experienced adult opponent. What followed was a chess clinic! Rohan produced quite simply one of the BEST games that a CCA member has ever played, outplaying his opponent in masterful style before crowning with a lovely finish, leaving onlookers stunned. Just brilliant!

In round 2 of the British U16 Championship, David faced Borna Derakhshani who is a FIDE Master with a mighty ECF grade of 232(!), a FIDE rating of 2315 and had come close to beating Grandmaster Danny Gormally the day before. Despite the massive grade disparity, David showed zero intimidation as he battled his opponent on even terms the whole way through, even getting the better of it at one stage, before achieving a very well-deserved draw. Wow! A quite simply brilliant display from David who will surely be nipping at the CCA Director’s heels before too long!

The best of luck to Rohan and David for the rest of the tournament and well done to them and all of our guys and girls! Once again you’ve marked out a chapter for yourselves in the annals of CCA history! You are all incredible and we couldn’t be prouder of you!






The Coventry Chess Academy is now on break for summer, but members are continuing to make a name for themselves in tournaments across the country! Jude Shearsby, Kanav Monga, Imogen Dicen and Manvith Sandhu were all in action in the U135 section of the 19th 4NCL Congress held in Telford at the weekend. Jude and Kanav, both aged eight, were the youngest competitors and had to face higher-graded adult opponents in every round. They both scored a very creditable 2/5 with highlights including Kanav taking down the 123-graded Nigel Morris and Jude’s crushing defeat of 114-graded John Harris. Imogen Dicen scored a fine 3/5, with her only loss coming to her in-form clubmate Manvith Sandhu. Manvith played superb, mature chess en route to a score of 3.5/5 and a share of the prize money! Great stuff! Well done to all our members who played this weekend!