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It was great to see everyone on Saturday at a very enjoyable first session back after half-term! A very warm welcome back to everyone and in particular to all our new members who joined today; we hope you enjoyed your time and look forward to seeing you at future sessions.

In other news, we are delighted to report on a stunning showing for Coventry Chess Academy members in the EPSCA (English Primary Schools Chess Association) Under 9 Interzonal! In an 11-strong team, no less than 8 came from the CCA. Jude Shearsby, Rohan Pal, Sarthak Sanyal, Arjun Vadgama, Elis Dicen, Zain Amir, Eden Oshri and Billy Fellowes were all selected for the Warwickshire county squad, with Rohan’s sister Ria also making a guest appearance. The results were outstanding. Across three rounds, our guys and girls only dropped a single point! Wow! A special mention to Eden and Billy (the youngest member of the squad at only six years of age) who were making their junior county debuts and justified their selection with 100% scores.

Well done everyone, we’re incredibly proud of you all! Bring on the EPSCA final later this year!





*IMPORTANT ALERT* – Unfortunately, due to current treacherous weather/road conditions and the weather alert extending to this weekend, the Coventry Chess Academy’s session this Saturday 3rd March is CANCELLED. We will resume sessions next SATURDAY 10TH MARCH. Please accept our sincere apologies for any inconvenience caused and thank you for your understanding. We look forward to seeing everyone next weekend. In the meantime, please take care and stay safe!

It was a good evening for the Coventry Chess Academy’s teams in the Coventry League last week. Unfortunately, the A team had to default their match due to lack of players, but the B team and C made amends with wins in their matches. In the B team there were excellent wins for CCA parent Georgeta Ercsei and CCA coach Steven Turvey, while crushing victories for Esti and Ioly Ercsei in the C team capped a triumphant return to the chessboard for the Ercsei ladies. Jude Shearsby sealed the deal with a maturely-played win on bottom board. Thank you and well done to everyone who played!

Prior to that, it was a great weekend for Coventry Chess Academy members at the MCCU Rapidplay and Blitz Chess Championship! The winner of the Open Rapidplay and Blitz was a good friend of the CCA, International Master Ameet Ghasi, who triumphed with an incredible 8.5/9 in both events. Margarita Sanchez had a tough time in the U1500 section, being out-rated in all her games, but did well to score 2 wins in the Blitz. Manvith Sandhu scored a very creditable 4/9 in the U1750 section, performing almost 200 Elo points above his rating. He had a brilliant Blitz tournament, finishing on 4.5/9, performing almost 350 Elo points above his rating and collecting the grading prize. There was a superb performance in the U1500 section from Arjun Vadgama, the youngest player in the whole event. He finished third with 5.5/9, also making the prize-list. Further down south, Jude Shearsby was in action in the West of England Junior Chess Championships. Although an U8 player, he played in the U9 section and scored a creditable 3/6, gaining useful standardplay experience in the process. Well done to all on their performances, great stuff!



The CCA is now on BREAK for half-term. We won’t be running sessions for the next two weekends and will resume on Saturday 3rd March. Plenty of chess involving our members will be taking place beyond our doors during this period and we look forward to reporting on their endeavours!

A large number of CCA members were in action last weekend in the Midlands Junior Team Chess Championships. Jude Shearsby, Arjun Vadgama, Zain Amir, Aaron Suthi, Manvith Sandhu, Eshan Suthi, Eshwar Kolli and Margarita Sanchez were all selected to play for Warwickshire and did county and club proud, contributing to silver medals for the U11s and U11s girls teams and gold for the U9s. Jude, Arjun, Zain, Eshan and Margarita all scored 100%, while Manvith scored 2.5/3 on top board for the U11s which included a win against a 151-rated opponent. 

Elsewhere that weekend, David Phillips won his game for Warwickshire Select in the 4NCL, the British National Chess League, finishing the weekend with 1/2. Finlay Bowcott-Terry, making his seasonal debut for the same squad, gave an excellent effort against a higher-graded and more experienced opponent, only going down in a rook ending after a tough struggle. Further down south, there was a tremendous effort from Rohan Pal in the Essex U18 FIDE-rated Open. He scored 2/5 with fine wins against the talented Pert siblings and gave the 161-rated top seed a real fright, only going down after a terrific fight in which he held the advantage at one point.

Coventry Chess Academy teams were once more in action in the Coventry Chess League on Tuesday night. An under-strength A team went down 1.5-2.5 to Kenilworth and the B team suffered a heavy 0-4 loss to a strong Coventry University that outgraded them by 37 points on average. The C team, with an average age of eight years, made amends however with a fine 3-1 win against Nuneaton D which included wins for Sarthak Sanyal and Jude Shearsby.

Well done to all our members for their performances! We hope you have a great half-term and look forward to seeing you all when we resume sessions next month!



It was an action-packed weekend for the Coventry Chess Academy’s weekend tournament warriors with some tremendous performances! In the Liverpool EPSCA rapidplay, Rohan Pal scored a fine 3/5, gaining a second England Junior Squad half-norm. Closer to home in Coventry, his good friend Manvith Sandhu was in action at the inaugural University of Warwick rapidplay. He scored a very creditable 4/7 in the U135 section and was also the highest-placed junior. Margarita Sanchez and Iga Jasinska were heavily outgraded in the same section, but gave a great effort against the odds, coming away with well-earned points and a useful learning experience. There was an outstanding performance by CCA star David Phillips in the Open section. He finished joint third with 4.5/7 ahead of some very strong players, ending his tournament with a final round draw against Iga’s stepdad, the redoubtable Ben Purton, who finished in joint third.

Margarita was in action again on Sunday in the Leicester Junior Chess Congress, finishing on a good 4/6 in the Major section as did fellow CCA member Sri Bhamidipati, a superb result for Sri considering his lack of tournament experience that included taking the scalp of an opponent who outgraded him twice over. The pair finished as the leading U11 girl and boy in the tournament. The winner of their section was the amazing Elis Dicen who, despite being an U7 player, took first with a fabulous 5/6. Elis’ sister Imogen was also in action in a strong Open Section and finished joint-second with 4.5/6, an excellent result as well. There was a magnificent showing from Billy Fellowes, the youngest of the CCA’s members playing in Leicester. Having only just turned six years of age and in his first ever tournament outside the CCA, he scored 4/6 in the Minor, finishing in joint third overall and the leading U7 competitor by some distance.

Also in action at the weekend were Jude Shearsby and CCA Coach Roy Watson, in a very strong and well-attended Kidlington Chess Congress. It proved a tough tournament, but still a very enjoyable weekend for both, with Roy very glad to be back at the chessboard in the UK after a stateside sojourn!

Well done to all our members who competed at the weekend, we’re proud of you all!



It was an action-packed weekend for Coventry Chess Academy members in the Junior 4NCL, the children’s wing of the British national chess league at the weekend! Finlay Bowcott-Terry, Silas Bowcott-Terry, William Morris, James Tipton, Eshan Suthi, Rohan Pal, Arjun Vadgama and Jude Shearsby were all selected for the Warwickshire Bears junior chess squad. They were joined by CCA Director Paul Lam who acted as squad manager and coach. There were hard-fought games, good wins, near-misses and tough losses, but team spirit and conduct remained consistent and superb throughout. The highlight came in division 2, where the Warwickshire Bears C team finished joint-third and only just missed out on silverware because of game points. There were some excellent individual performances, in particular James and Silas’ crushing victories over higher-graded opponents, including a member of the Welsh national team, in round 4. Well done to all our members for their selection and participation!

Only one CCA team was in action in the Coventry Chess League on Tuesday evening. The CCA A team were the recipient of a forfeit from University B while the CCA B team unfortunately had to forfeit themselves against University C. It was left to the C team to uphold the club’s honour and they did so with a 3-1 win against Coventry F that included snappy wins for Sarthak Sanyal and Vincent Xia against adult opponents.

In other news, the ECF January 2018 grades have been published! You can find out yours online at A huge number of CCA members saw their grades rise, dramatically in some cases, while many others gained their first grades. Congratulations to them all!



It was an eventful night in the Coventry Chess League for the Coventry Chess Academy’s teams on Tuesday! The C team scored a good 2-2 draw against Rugby C in a match which could have easily been a win for us. There were excellent wins for CCA coach ‘Big Dave’ Burnett (who filled in at one and a half hour’s notice!) and seven year CCA star Arjun Vadgama who, not for the first time this season, defeated a much higher-graded adult opponent. The B team lost narrowly 1.5-2.5 to Coventry C, although there were good draws for James Tipton and Jude Shearsby. The A team’s good run of form continued with a win against Nuneaton A, taking them to top of division 1 for the moment. David Phillips scored a fine draw on board 2 against the 179-rated former British Chess Championship competitor Maurice Staples in a struggle which could well have gone his way. CCA Director Paul Lam and Assistant Director Andy Ward also drew on boards 1 and 3 respectively, albeit in less exciting circumstances, while super sub Tom ‘Move Over’ Darling won on bottom board to seal the win for the team. Thank you and well done to everyone who played for us, yet more terrific performances from our members!




Pleased to report on the CCA’s endeavours in the first Coventry Chess League matches of 2018! All three teams were in action last night. The C team lost narrowly 1.5-2.5 to the University of Warwick D team, although there was an excellent win for Vincent Xia. The B team went down 0.5-3.5 to a very strong Nuneaton C team in a match that was far more competitive than the outcome suggests, with all four games being hard-fought affairs. There was a superb draw for James Tipton on top board against the much higher-graded Charles van der Westhuizen. The A team continued their good run in division 1 with a crushing 3.5-0.5 win against rock-bottom Coventry A. David Phillips scored a fine draw on board 2 against a higher-graded opponent, none other than venerable CCA life-coach Bernard Charnley! There were wins for CCA Director Paul Lam on board 1 and CCA coach Steve Turvey on board 4, while David’s dad, Alan, provided the fireworks on board 3 by smoking the normally solid Ed Goodwin in less than 15 moves. Thank you and well done to everyone who played tonight for our teams, some more fantastic performances from CCA members against vastly older and more experienced opponents!



Don’t forget that the Coventry Chess Academy resumes sessions this SATURDAY 13TH JANUARY!  We are very excited to be back and looking forward to seeing everyone again. We hope you’ve all had a great Christmas break and are geared up for the challenges that 2018 will bring. With lots of events already scheduled for January and the coming months, it promises to be a very exciting year for the CCA and its members!

In other news, CCA members were in action at a very well-attended Shropshire Chess Congress this weekend. CCA coach Roy Watson couldn’t resist the urge to put recently-acquired wisdom into practice and scored a very creditable 3/5 in the Intermediate Section. CCA star Manvith Sandhu took a step up by entering the same section and found the opposition to be a tough nut to crack, but still came away with a good win against a higher-graded opponent in round 4 and a useful learning experience. Rohan Pal entered the Minor section and scored an excellent 3/5, performing a massive 44 ECF points(!) above his current grade. Well done to all!



The Coventry Chess Academy is now on break, but there is still plenty of chess taking place this month beyond our doors involving our members! We recently received brilliant news from Suffolk where Rohan Pal, competed in a London Junior Chess Championships under 12 qualifier despite being only eight years old. He finished on 4/6 which included big wins against much higher graded opponents, former Terafinalist Rowan Kent and England Junior Squad member Daniel Shek, qualifying for the LJCC under 12 (Minor) Section. Wow!! Congratulations Rohan on an amazing performance!

It was a great weekend just gone for the intrepid CCA members who braved snowy weather to make the trip down to the capital for the London Chess Classic! It was an amazing experience for all our members who got to meet their chess heroes, including World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen, get photos taken with them and autographs signed, and also played some high quality chess themselves! Jude Shearsby and Arjun Vadgama both scored 2.5/6 in the U1600 rapidplay while David Phillips scored 3/6 in the U2050 rapidplay and 8/15 in the Super Blitz, all highly creditable results. The CCA big hitter for the weekend was Manvith Sandhu who scored a fine 4.5/6 in the U1600 rapidplay. Well done to all our guys!

In other news, the CCA is absolutely delighted that Coventry has been named UK City of Culture 2021! The CCA has backed the Coventry UK City of Culture bid 2021 from the start. We are immensely proud to be part of the rich cultural mosaic of Coventry and of our young people who are outstanding ambassadors for their city on and off the chessboard. Laura McMillan, manager of the Coventry City of Culture Trust, could not have put it better when she described the successful bid as ‘a win for Coventry, a win for young people and a win for diversity’, all of which define who we are. We look forward to seeing our city and its people reap the rewards of this deserved achievement! #ThisisCoventry#CityofCulture2021



It was a very well-attended and hugely enjoyable Coventry Chess Academy Christmas Chess Party today! With plenty of food and drink, brainteasers, a special appearance from Father Chessmas, prizes and of course lots of chess, it was a festive and fun-filled occasion for all present! Many congratulations to the winners of ‘Paul’s Puzzle’ and the Chess Openings Quiz and to the prize-winners of the Exchange Chess Tournament. It proved to be a keenly contested and competitive affair with outright first place going to team ‘Dude’ AKA David and Jude!

Thank you to all members, parents and coaches who attended and for your continuous support. It’s been a fantastic 2017 for the CCA with so many amazing highlights. Record number of UKSCC Gigafinalists and Terafinalists, the British Junior Chess Championships, winning every section of the Warwickshire Junior Chess Championships and taking on battle-hardened adult opponents in the Coventry Chess League, the list goes on! Members continue to go from strength to strength on and off the chessboard, grow in confidence and make friends, all while having great fun. Let’s hope that 2018 proves just as good! Wishing everyone a very Happy Christmas and New Year, we look forward to seeing you when we resume sessions on 13th January 2018!




Hohoho, it’s that time of year again! The Coventry Chess Academy is celebrating a fantastic 2017 with our annual CHRISTMAS CHESS PARTY this Saturday 2nd December, our final session of the year. Featuring lots of food and drink, brainteasers, fun activities, prizes and of course lots of chess alongside Christmas festivities! Expect an appearance from Father Chessmas himself! We look forward to seeing you there, it promises to be a lot of fun!




There were some very creditable performances by Coventry Chess Academy members in the KES under-18 invitational tournament in Birmingham on Saturday. Massively outgraded in almost every single game against older and more experienced opponents, our members Manvith Sandhu, Eshaan Suthi and Rohan Pal gave it a great effort. The highlight came when Eshaan scored the shock of the tournament with a win against the 143-graded Armaan Gogia in round 2, a tremendous result for him. Well done guys!

It was another excellent day for Coventry Chess Academy members at the Four Counties Invitational Tournament in Rugby on Sunday! David Phillips, Finlay Bowcott-Terry, Esti Ercsei, Ioly Ercsei, Margarita Sanchez, Manvith Sandhu, Eshwar Kolli, Eshan Suthi, Silas Bowcott-Terry, Sarthak Sanyal, Jude Shearsby, Arjun Vadgama and Rohan Pal were all selected to represent Warwickshire, making up nearly 50% of the squad! They were joined by CCA Director Paul Lam who acted as squad manager and coach. Our members contributed to a sterling set of results for the county, as Warwickshire won the under 18s, under 11s and under 9s sections, while coming second in the under 11 girls section. Simply tremendous! Finlay Bowcott-Terry was the star of the under 18s team with a perfect 3/3 including a lovely rook sacrifice in his final game to force mate. Margarita Sanchez was also on top form for the under 11 girls as she too scored 3/3. Perfect scores were also achieved by Jude Shearsby and Rohan Pal for the under 9s team. An outstanding effort by all, well done!



More excellent news for Coventry Chess Academy members, this time from the British Rapidplay Chess Championships where Finlay and Silas Bowcott-Terry were both in action. Finlay scored 4/10 in the Major section, a very creditable result in a tough field in which he rebounded superbly on the Sunday after a tough start on Saturday. Silas scored a super 6/10 in the Minor section, gaining half an England Junior Squad norm and a share of the grading prize in the process. Awesome stuff! Well done guys!

It was another eventful night in the Coventry Chess League for the Coventry Chess Academy’s teams on Tuesday evening! The C team went down 1-3 to Coventry E, although there were good draws for Manvith Sandhu and Jude Shearsby against higher-rated adult opponents. A notable surprise came on bottom board as the fast-improving Margarita Sanchez won against Arjun Vadgama. The B team also lost 1-3 with the consolation point provided by CCA coach Roy Watson in a welcome return to form. The story of the night came in the CCA A team match against University A, the strongest team in the League. Even with the welcome addition of CCA Director Paul Lam’s old coach, FM Nick Thomas, to the team, they were still outgraded heavily on average. In a result for the books, the CCA A team triumphed 2.5-1.5, with draws for Paul, Nick and David Phillips on boards 1-3 and a win for CCA Assistant Director Andy Ward on board 4! A memorable result for the CCA! Well done to everyone who played for us tonight, the last League matches of 2017. Looking forward to the second half of the season in 2018! It’s been quite a journey for the CCA teams so far!



There was an outstanding tournament performance on Saturday from a Coventry Chess Academy member! Rohan Pal made the trip all the way up to Ilkley, Yorkshire to compete in the Under 11 English Trials Qualifier at the British Rapidplay Chess Championships. Despite facing opponents who were all one to two years older and massively outgraded him in every single game, he scored 3/5 including a superb win against a 108-graded opponent and one of England’s leading juniors in his age group.

There then followed an incredible day for the CCA at the 2017 Warwickshire Junior Chess Championships! CCA members swept the boards, winning EVERY section of the tournament! In the under 8s, ‘Awesome’ Arjun Vadgama played superbly to finish joint-first and retain his title from last year, with Jude Shearsby finishing as a very deserving silver medallist in the same section. In the under 10s, first place was shared by the amazing Rohan, fresh off his Saturday triumph up north, and fellow CCA star Manvith Sandhu. In the under 12s, there was a big tie for first place, which included CCA members Eshwar Kolli and Eshaan Suthi, both of whom can proudly proclaim themselves county champions. In the under 14s, Ioly Ercsei also tied for first to be crowned Warwickshire Champion and in the joint under-16s/under-18s section Esti Ercsei successfully defended her title from last year, sharing first place with fellow CCA standout David Phillips. They get to share the same shield which CCA Director Paul Lam won all the way back in 2001. On top of this, many other members from the CCA also competed and did themselves proud, with numerous bronze and silver medals being won. A terrific performance from all our members! Well done to everyone, we’re so proud of you all!



It was a tough night for all the Coventry Chess Academy teams in the Coventry Chess League. The A team lost 1-3 to Kenilworth with just CCA Director Paul Lam and David Phillips drawing on boards 1 and 2. The B team lost narrowly 1.5-2.5 to Coventry University, though there was a good win for Ioly Ercsei against one of the CCA’s regular coaches, the much higher-rated Dragomir Zarev, on board 2. The C team lost 1-3 to a very strong Nuneaton D team who were able to field former England International Peter Gibbs on top board. The highlight came again on board 2 as Jude Shearsby produced another superb performance to crush the much higher-rated Oliver Cosham, a stalwart of Coventry and Warwickshire chess for half a century. Many thanks to all the team members who played and hopefully we can bounce back next week!



It was another busy and fun-filled Academy session on Saturday with new faces in attendance, some superb worksheets and more high quality training games! It was also a busy weekend for the CCA’s tournament warriors. On Saturday, David Phillips played his first game of the season in division 2 of the 4NCL, the British National Chess League, for Warwickshire Select. On this occasion, he found his 190-graded opponent too tough a nut to crack, but to even be selected to play at such a high level is a great honour and achievement. On the same day, Manvith Sandhu and Jude Shearsby both represented the Warwickshire U120 county side, having recently caused a sensation by winning their adult county chess debuts. There was a good win for Manvith while Jude went down only after a gruelling two and a half hours of play against a higher-rated and vastly more experienced opponent. The same weekend, their good friend Rohan Pal took to the board at a Play and Train event. He scored 2/3, helping his team to achieve first place. More great performances all-round from our members, well done everyone!



There were some good results for the Coventry Chess Academy in last night’s Coventry Chess League matches! The A team had a bit of a scare against a University of Warwick B team which was heavily-outgraded but put up a valiant fight. CCA Director Paul Lam secured the match with a win on top board, with all games on boards 2 to 4 being drawn. The B team drew 2-2 with the University’s C team that included a crushing win for Ioly Ercsei on bottom board. The C team produced a terrific performance to win their first match of the season 2.5-1.5 against Coventry F. The highlight came on top board as James Tipton outplayed and defeated the much higher rated Coventry veteran Dave Filer, a superb win for him. Many thanks and well done to everyone who played for our teams!

There was also a quite astounding result coming from Birmingham. On the same night that his CCA friends played in the Coventry Chess League, ten year old CCA star Manvith Sandhu was in action in the Birmingham Chess League for Halesowen. Playing an opponent graded 27 points higher, he won in a mere 11 moves, setting a club record! Wow!

In other news, don’t forget that the Warwickshire Junior Chess Championship is fast-approaching! It takes place in Kenilworth on Sunday 19th November. Full details and online entry available at



The Coventry Chess Academy resumes sessions this Saturday 11th November. We’re looking forward to seeing everyone there!

Although we were on break this weekend, it was still packed full of chess action! On Saturday, numerous members were selected to play for Warwickshire in an NYCA event. Finlay Bowcott-Terry, Esti Ercsei and Ioly Ercsei were selected for the U16 team while Eshwar Kolli, Silas Bowcott-Terry, Arjun Vadgama and Vincent Xia were selected for the U12 team. All made an important contribution to the team, with Eshwar being the star performer on 2.5/3.

From Friday to today, the 16th 4NCL congress took place in Coventry. CCA Director Paul Lam finished on a respectable 2.5/5 in a very strong Open section, although he rued wasting a much better position against number 2 seed IM James Adair in round 1 and a completely level position against GM Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant in round 4. The CCA’s young gun, David Phillips took the bold step of also entering the Open section, and although he found it tough against opponents who massively outgraded him in every game, he still managed to score two draws, including one against a 200 ECF-graded opponent! The highlight came when he was paired against GM Mark Hebden in round 2, the first time he had faced a grandmaster over the board in a tournament game, and acquitted himself extremely well in defeat. In the Minor section, CCA Coach Roy Watson scored 2.5/5, recovering well from a disastrous start. He was joined on the same score by young Manvith Sandhu, an excellent result for Manvith including a fine victory against a much higher-rated opponent with the Black pieces in round 4. Last but not least, Jude Shearsby, the youngest competitor in the whole tournament, scored 1.5 points, which does not reflect how well he played as he was completely winning in all bar one of his games. He finished on a high with a crushing attacking win against a higher-rated adult opponent in the final round.

Well done to all our members (and coaches!) who played in both events! Another enjoyable and eventful weekend for the CCA’s tournament warriors!




Just a reminder that there will be NO Coventry Chess Academy session taking place this Saturday 4th November. CCA Director Paul Lam will be taking to the board in the Open Section of the 16th 4NCL Congress, a qualifier for the prestigious British Knockout Championship. It takes place locally, at the Holiday Inn, Coventry. With nine GM and IM entries so far, it promises to be a very exciting event! A number of CCA coaches and members will also compete in the tournament. Let’s hope that playing on home turf gives us a boost! Spectators are welcome, so feel free to stop by to cheer us on! The same weekend, more CCA members will be in action locally, representing Warwickshire in a National Youth Chess Association event. The best of luck to all of them too!

There were some superb performances by CCA members in last night’s Coventry Chess League matches! The A team went down against Rugby A for their first loss of the season although there were draws for CCA Director Paul Lam and rising CCA star David Phillips. The B team gained revenge by beating Rugby B 3-1 that included excellent wins for Esti Ercsei, Ioly Ercsei and CCA coach Roy Watson, the latter two in crushing attacking fashion! The C team were unfortunate to only draw 2-2 against Nuneaton E as we were winning on all four boards at various points. Arjun Vadgama played like a veteran on board 4 against an opponent some sixty years older, outplaying his opponent, winning material and then demonstrating patience, composure and technique to convert his advantages into the full point. Facing a similar age deficit on board 3, Jude Shearsby produced a sparkling combination resulting in a finish for the ages! See if you can find his beautiful winning continuation which he had calculated a move before the given position! Who knew seven year olds were capable of such things!

Looking forward to seeing everyone when we resume sessions the following weekend, Saturday 11th November!



Another CCA milestone was passed on Saturday as our members Manvith ‘Money’ Sandhu, Jude ‘Cool Dude’ Shearsby and ‘Amazing’ Arjun Vadgama made their debuts for the Warwickshire U120 adult side in a county match against Derbyshire. With an average age of eight(!) years, the CCA’s terrific trio were utterly undaunted and all emerged as the earliest winners in the match, securing victory for Warwickshire. Quite simply fantastic!

On the same day, their friend and fellow CCA star, Rohan Pal, was in action at a London Junior Chess Championships qualifier. Despite being one of the youngest competitors in a very strong U10s field, he scored 4/6 including a big win against the 91-rated number 2 seed, qualifying for the LJCC (minor) tournament. A superb showing!

More CCA members were in action today, this time in the Oxford Girls Quadrangular! Esti Ercsei, Ioly Ercsei and Iga Jasinska were selected for the Warwickshire U18 team while Margarita Sanchez was selected for the U11 team. The competition was evenly matched on paper, though the Oxfordshire U18 team was notably strong. Iga, making her junior county chess debut, was her team’s joint-top scorer with a fine 2/3. Margarita had an excellent day as she won both of her games for the U11 team, helping Warwickshire to secure victory in the final standings.

Well done to all of our guys and girls, we’re so proud of you all!



It was another very well-attended and enjoyable Coventry Chess Academy session on Saturday despite the start of half-term! It was worksheets day and some superb work was produced. Group A PLUS absolutely ploughed their way through some difficult combinations which required calculation 6-7 moves ahead. The outstanding worksheet of the day came in Group C from Billy Fellows, our youngest member in attendance. He scored 9/9 and even managed to spot a tactical point that was initially lost upon his group’s coach, the venerable Roy Watson!
There were also some impressive performances in training games. David Phillips, gave CCA coach and Candidate Master, Peter Williams Jnr, a tough game before the stronger player asserted himself to secure a hard-fought win. Another CCA coach, Steve Turvey was not so fortunate. Despite a playing experience advantage of 25 years and a grading advantage of over 40 ECF points, he was outplayed and defeated by ten year old CCA star Manvith Sandhu who displayed impressive maturity and accuracy.
In other news, there was another excellent showing for seven year old CCA ace Jude Shearsby this weekend. A week after sensationally making the prize-list in the Birmingham Rapidplay ahead of numerous higher-graded adult players, he was back in action, this time in a standardplay tournament held in Witney. He scored 2.5/5 in the U120 section, which included two crushing wins against 100+ graded adult opponents. Well done Jude!


It was another eventful evening for the Coventry Chess Academy’s teams in the Coventry League last night. The A team scored a good win against Nuneaton A, taking them to the top of division 1 for the moment. For the second week in a row, the B team lost by the narrowest margin of 1.5-2.5, this time against Coventry C, although there was another excellent win for James Tipton who is quickly turning into the CCA points machine! The C team unfortunately suffered another heavy defeat, losing 0-4 to Rugby C, despite having a winning position at one point on board 4 and CCA ace Jude Shearsby coming within a whisker of a draw on board 2. Thanks to everyone who played this week, let’s hope that the A team can keep up their good form and that the B and C teams can bounce back next week!


It was a great day for Coventry Chess Academy members at the 23rd Birmingham Rapidplay on Sunday! CCA Director Paul Lam couldn’t resist the urge to make a rare tournament appearance in a strong Open Section and finished on a balanced 3.5/7. He was one of the many victims of a very deserving tournament winner in International Master Ameet Ghasi, a good friend of the CCA who our members may remember from two simultaneous displays he has given us in the past. Also finishing on 3.5/7 in the Intermediate Section was CCA coach Drago Zarev. In the Major Section, CCA dad and son Dustin and Finlay Bowcott-Terry both finished on a good 3.5/7, having to play each in the final round which resulted in a competitive draw! One of Finlay’s victims was none other than CCA parent Ben Graff, who recovered from a slow start to finish on 3/7. The Minor Section had the largest number of CCA members playing. Silas Bowcott-Terry scored 3.5/7 and Rohan Pal and Manvith Sandhu both scored 4/7; excellent scores considering that they all had to play opponents who were vastly older and often higher-graded. Last but not least, the CCA’s youngest member playing in the event, Jude Shearsby, scored an outstanding 5/7, finishing in joint-third place! At the age of only seven he became the youngest CCA player to ever finish on the prize-list in an adult chess tournament! Well done to him and all our members who played. Another successful weekend for the CCA’s tournament warriors!



It was a tough evening for the Coventry Chess Academy’s teams in the Coventry League last night! The A team drew 2-2 against Nuneaton B, with Academy Director Paul Lam delivering the team’s sole win on top board. There was an excellent draw for David Phillips on board 2 against the much higher-rated Warwickshire county chess veteran Tony Green. The B team lost narrowly 1.5-2.5 to Coventry D, the highlight for the team being Esti Ercsei’s crushing win against a higher-rated player on board 2. The new-look C team were unable to repeat last week’s heroics and went down heavily 0-4 to Warwick University E, but showed plenty of fighting spirit and enthusiasm. On top board, William Morris gave an excellent account of himself against CCA coach Jaspar Goodall, going down in the endgame after well over 2 hours of play. Bad luck guys, fingers crossed we can bounce back next week!



The Coventry Chess Academy had a great day at the Warwick Volunteering Fair on Friday! We met lots of awesome new people and many of them expressed an interest in what we do and working with us, signing up and taking away flyers. Many thanks to our friends and partners in Warwick Volunteers for organising a great event!

It was a great day too for Coventry Chess Academy members at the Coventry Junior Chess Open on Saturday! Well over a dozen were in action in age sections ranging from under 9 to under 18 at the event which was held at King Henry VIII School. CCA Director Paul Lam and Assistant Director Andy Ward (making a return to his old school) were delighted to be present in support. Our members rose to the occasion on home turf, many coming straight to the tournament from the CCA session held in the morning. This was the first chess tournament for some of our members and they performed really creditably; everyone scored plenty of points and many emerged as prize-winners! In the U9s, Jude Shearsby followed up on a fine Junior 4NCL debut last weekend by finishing outright second with an excellent 4.5/5. In the U18s, David Phillips won outright with a perfect 5/5, continuing his amazing unbeaten run in tournaments. Well done to them and all our members who competed, doing themselves and our club proud once again!



3rd October 2017 will go down as a famous night for the Coventry Chess Academy! We made our debut in the Coventry Chess League with three teams, one in each division. There were winning starts for the A and B teams against Coventry Chess Club A and Nuneaton Chess Club C respectively. The team heroes were our boards 4 in both matches, Mrs Ercsei and James Tipton, the latter triumphing at 10:30pm after an absolutely epic struggle. The most amazing team result though came in the C team’s (average age nine years, average ECF grade 44) match. Facing an incredibly strong University of Warwick D team (average age twenty one years, average ECF grade 117), the team achieved an amazing 2-2 draw which could have easily been a win for them as we were better or winning at various points on all four boards! Sarthak Sanyal and Iga Jasinska achieved fantastic draws against vastly higher-rated opponents. The highlight of the match came on board 2 as seven year old CCA star Arjun Vadgama overturned the odds to defeat none other than a very sporting CCA coach and former president of the University Chess Club, Hok Chiu. Well done to all our teams and everyone who played, what a start to our Coventry League season!!

CCA Match 1 Results



It was a great weekend for Coventry Chess Academy members at the Junior 4NCL, the children’s wing of the British national chess league, in Wokefield Park, Reading! Of 21 players who were selected to play for the Warwickshire Bears squad, 12 came from our club. CCA Director Paul Lam was also on hand as the Bears’ squad coach and was delighted with how the teams performed. In division 1, the U16s team came 2nd out of 20 teams. Board 2 Finlay Bowcott-Terry scored a fine 3/5 and Board 1 David Phillips continued his red-hot streak with an unbeaten 4/5. The B team finished 5th out of 23 teams in division 3. Willliam Morris (4/5), James Tipton (2.5/3), Rohan Pal (3.5/5) and Sarthak Sanyal (1.5/2) all scored heavily for the team. In the same division, the U10s team was comprised almost exclusively of CCA members. Manvith Sandhu (4/5), Silas Bowcott-Terry (2/5), Jude Shearsby (4/5) and Arjun Vadgama (2/5) proved a closely-knit unit and gave a great account of themselves against frequently older opponents. The girls team had a tougher time of it, but board 1 Esti Ercsei scored a creditable 3/5 and board 2 Ioly Ercsei followed up an outstanding performance at last week’s NYCA event with yet another one; she scored 4.5/5 to finish the weekend as the Bears’ Big Hitter. Congratulations to all our members for being selected to play and delivering some excellent performances!



There were some fantastic performances by Coventry Chess Academy members in two different competitions at the weekend! David Phillips, Esti Ercsei, Finlay Bowcott-Terry, Silas Bowcott-Terry, Ioly Ercsei, James Tipton and William Morris were all selected to represent Warwickshire U18s and U14s at the National Youth Chess Association Championships in Telford. All played brilliantly, racking up many points for the county side. The star performer was Ioly Ercsei who scored a perfect 3/3, while her sister Esti scored the biggest upset of the day, defeating a 167-rated opponent with the Black pieces in round 2. Marvellous stuff, congratulations to all the CCA’s guys and girls! On the other side of the country, seven year old CCA sensation Jude Shearsby was in action at the Witney Junior Major. Facing children up to twice his age, he finished joint third with 4/6, winning a medal for his efforts. Well done Jude on another superb result!



CCA star Manvith Sandhu, our club’s highest-scoring member at last week’s Leamington Rapidplay, has done it again! He produced an outstanding performance at the Horris Hill LJCC qualifier this weekend by scoring 5.5/6 against opponents who included some of the leading players in his national age group, finishing equal first and qualifying for the prestigious London Junior Chess Championships. The icing on the cake was receiving his prize from British chess superstar and Grandmaster Nick Pert. Congratulations Manvith on a fantastic result!




Delighted to report on a fantastic day for Coventry Chess Academy members at the Leamington Junior Open and Rapidplay! In the former, Eden Oshri and Margarita Sanchez scored 2.5/5 in the under 9 and under 11 age sections respectively, winning bronze medals. Super stuff!

David Phillips took the bold step of entering the Open Section. Despite being massively outgraded in every game, he finished with 3/6 and an amazing grading performance of 173. In the U170 section, Finlay Bowcott-Terry was also on form, defeating highly-respected Warwickshire county veteran Keith Ingram en route to a fine score of 4/6.

The U110 section was packed full of CCA members and they did amazingly well. Iga Jasinska scored 2/6 including an awesome win against an opponent graded nearly three times higher! Jude Shearsby finished on 2.5/6, the highlight being his crushing attacking victory against the higher-rated and vastly more experienced (by over half a century!) doyen of Solihull chess, John Green. Sarthak Sanyal was one of the stars of round 1 as he demonstrated exemplary technique with his rooks to dismantle his adult opponent en route to a score of 3/6. Finishing on the same score was fast-rising Rohan Pal, who defeated the 109-graded joint top seed in round 5. Just ahead of them was Silas Bowcott-Terry on an excellent 3.5/6, one of his only two losses coming against fellow CCA star Manvith Sandhu. Manvith achieved a superb 5/6, finishing the tournament in second place!

A special mention to CCA life-coach and legend, Bernard Charnley, who scored 4.5/6 in the U170 section. To complete a real success story for the CCA family, Iga’s proud stepdad Ben Purton also had an extra reason to be pleased. He decided to play himself and wound up winning the Open Section impressively with 5/6! Great stuff! Huge congratulations to all our guys and girls who played today, the 2017/2018 chess season couldn’t have got off to a better start!



It was a very enjoyable first Coventry Chess Academy session of 2017/2018 at the weekend! It was great to see everyone again and to extend a warm welcome to all our new members. In spite of the break, it seemed like hardly a heartbeat had been missed over the board. We mastered the bishop and knight mate, found solutions to some fiendishly difficult combinations and enjoyed some competitive and high-quality training games. CCA coaches Steve Turvey and Roy Watson were pushed hard by Vincent Xia and William Morris, while Arya Kale overcame a massive age and grade deficit to win with a lovely mating attack against Adam Trailor.

Don’t forget that it’s the Leamington Rapidplay and Junior Open this Sunday! Entry for the rapidplay is available via For members who are ungraded or below 50 ECF, the Junior Open which is being held at the same venue would be more appropriate. Information and online entry is available via

In other news, there was an outstanding result for one of the CCA’s coaches over the weekend. Louise Head, who balances her chess activities with studies at the University of Warwick, won the 2017 English Women’s Chess Championship with a perfect 5/5 score against some tough opposition and qualifies for a place in the England women’s team for the 2018 Women’s Olympiad. Congratulations Louise on an amazing performance!



Don’t forget that the Coventry Chess Academy resumes sessions on SATURDAY 2ND SEPTEMBER! Just one week to go! We’re very excited to be back and are looking forward to seeing everyone again! With lots of activities and events planned for the Autumn Term, it promises to be an exciting time for our club and its members.

In other news, another CCA figure has recently been put on the spot and subject to questioning! This time it is the Director himself, Paul Lam. He features on the University of Warwick’s Insite, talking about his role at the CCA, the achievements of its members, his hopes for the future and more. You can read the whole interview with Paul at…/uni_awards/winners2017/paullam




There was an amazing result for a CCA member at the weekend. Manvith Sandhu won the best junior award in the Worcester Closed Congress. He scored 2.5/5 which included a win against a 141-graded opponent and draws against opponents graded 161 and 160 respectively. A phenomenal performance considering the rating deficit and that Manvith was the youngest player in the whole tournament at nine years of age! Well done Manvith, we’re all proud of you!




It was an awesome weekend for the Coventry Chess Academy and its members at the UK Schools Chess Challenge Terafinal! As has become the norm at these tournaments, our members were in fine spirits and no doubt this contributed to the quality of chess we witnessed. In the Challengers section, Ioly Ercsei, Manvith Sandhu and Jude Shearsby each scored 3/6; a very impressive showing considering the strength of the field which constituted the top 0.5% of the original 50,000 entrants! Computerised pairings which are blind to club allegiance meant that Jude and Manvith were paired against each other in round 5! The outcome was, quite appropriately, a draw after a topsy-turvy struggle! Playing in the Terafinal itself, the final 47 contestants, was Estie Ercsei, the first CCA representative to make it this far since CCA Director Paul Lam all the way back in 2002. Facing higher-rated opponents in every round but the last, she performed outstandingly, scoring 2.5/6 and won the CCA game of the tournament in round 2; a tour de force which anyone would have been proud to play (available to view at Many congratulations to all our members who competed this weekend, once again you did us and yourselves proud! It’s been another great UKSCC for our club and members, here’s to next year’s edition!


It gives us great pleasure to report on the Coventry Chess Academy’s endeavours at the 2017 British Chess Championships held in Llandudno, Wales. It was a truly epic week for us all!

Academy Director Paul Lam scored 4.5/9 in the Main Event. His best performance was probably in round 1 against International Master Craig Hanley, a game in which he stood better and was even winning at various points before he committed errors under time pressure. Hanley went on to achieve a share of first place, losing his playoff to the eventual tournament winner, Grandmaster Gawain Jones. Talk about fine margins! Paul’s play ranged from precise, controlled efforts to emulating a Viking berserker over the chessboard, which gave the commentators a field day. The only thing that can be said with any certainty is that the brand of chess he displayed was not nearly as dubious as his fashion sense during the event! CCA coach Peter Batchelor played (and dressed) sensibly in comparison and was rewarded with a fine Championship score of 5.5/9. Some CCA parents were also in action in the various Championship side events. Dustin Bowcott scored 2.5/5 in the U160 graded section and Ben Purton made a successful raid on the Championships on the penultimate day, winning the Rapidplay event with an impressive 7.5/9. Congratulations to them all!

The real stars of the event were the CCA’s members playing in the junior sections of the Championships. An unprecedented nine members competed: Finlay and Silas Bowcott-Terry, Estie and Ioly Ercsei, David Phillips, Manvith Sandhu, Sarthak Sanyal, Arjun Vadgama and Jude Shearsby. All of them showcased skill, resilience, determination and effort throughout the event. Some were challenging for medal positions right up to the final rounds and, to my knowledge, more than one England junior squad norm was scored (bringing the recipient closer to selection for the national team). The chess on display was at times awe-inspiring. Highlights included Ioly’s round 5 masterclass, David taking a 171-rated opponent to school; Manvith defeating last year’s British Champion in his age group, Silas scoring 4/7 despite being seeded second from bottom in a field of 41 and Jude finishing the tournament playing on the heights of 2nd board. Simply brilliant. Moreover, alongside the serious stuff, everyone had a lot of fun and we will all be taking away some very fond memories of our time in Wales.

A big thank you and congratulations to all of our members who competed. You all helped to make it a memorable Championship and let’s hope that next year will be just as good!



The 2017 British Chess Championships kicked off today in Llandudno, Wales! In addition to the Main Event, there will be twenty separate sections including junior sections ranging from under 8 to under 16. Nine intrepid Coventry Chess Academy members are making the trip down to Wales to compete in the junior championships and will be joined by Academy Director Paul Lam who will play in the Main Event. You can follow their progress via the Championships website at Wishing all our members the very best of luck for the event, we can’t wait!



It was a great day for Coventry Chess Academy members at the Midland Counties Junior Chess Championships on Saturday! The mood was nice and relaxed in the CCA camp, but our members were all business at the board. Nine of them competed across six different age sections and between them scored a splendid total of 37.5 points from 45 games. Jude Shearsby (5/5 in the U8s), Finlay Bowcott-Terry (5/5 in the U12s) and Estie Ercsei (4.5/5 in the U16s) were all in top form and finished the day atop their sections as Midland Champions. Sarthak Sanyal (4/5 in the U8s), Silas Bowcott-Terry (4/5 in the U10s), Manvith Sandhu (4/5 in the U10s) and Ioly Ercsei (4/5 in the U12s) also performed excellently and won silver medals for their efforts. Well done to all our guys and girls, more great stuff!



It was an incredibly successful weekend for the Coventry Chess Academy and its members at the UK Schools Chess Challenge Northern Gigafinal, held over the weekend in Manchester. A record-breaking 15 CCA members qualified for the Gigafinal this year and were joined by CCA Director Paul Lam and CCA coach Roy Watson who were on hand to provide support and encouragement.

Day 1 saw our primary school qualifiers in action and the results were nothing short of stunning. An amazing seven of them scored 3.5/6 or more and finished on the prize-list. Special mention must be given to two outstanding results. Manvith Sandhu finished second in the under 9s section and qualified for the Terafinal Challengers; a tremendous performance. Manvith complements his talent by putting a great deal of effort into his chess and this result was richly deserved. In the under 7s section, Jude Shearsby finished joint first in a brilliant display. In a nailbiting play-off which could have gone either way, he was narrowly edged, but also goes through to the Terafinal Challengers. Considering that Jude made his chess tournament debut less than one year ago, this is an absolutely fabulous result, showing exactly why he was a deserving winner of the 2017 CCA Most Improved Player Award. To add icing on top of the cake, a little slice of CCA history was also made as Manvith and Jude became our first members ever to reach the Terafinal Challengers from day 1 of the Gigafinal.

It was going to be hard for our secondary school qualifiers on day 2 to match the exploits of the previous day, but little did we know that more magical moments awaited us. Every single one of our secondary school qualifiers scored at least 3.5/6 to finish on the prize list. This was fantastic in its own right, but there were two special individual performances in particular from the CCA’s very own Polgar sisters, Ioly and Estie Ercsei. Ioly battled like a lioness in the under 12s, demonstrating terrific motivation and will to win. Although she was edged in the final round, just missing out on top spot, her 4.5/6 performance was still good enough for second place and a richly deserved place in the Terafinal Challengers where she will join Manvith and Jude. Finally, another footnote in CCA history was written by Estie. Playing in a very strong U15 section, she had a whirlwind start, some tough rounds 4-5 and then showed great character to bounce back with a great final round win, finishing on 4/6 as the highest-placed girl in her national age group. She goes through to the Terafinal GRAND FINAL – the final 64 players of the original 50,000 entrants in the world’s largest chess tournament – the first CCA member ever to do so.

Well done to Estie, Ioly, Manvith and Jude and we cannot wait to see them in action at the Terafinal and Challengers taking place next month. Finally, massive congratulations to each and every member who competed this weekend. Every year, the standard of competition at this event gets better and better, and you continue to rise to the occasion, surpassing expectations each time. We are very, very proud of all of you and what you have achieved.



The Coventry Chess Academy’s Fourth Anniversary Celebrations take place this Saturday 8th July! Time really does fly, where did four years go?? We have so much to celebrate from another outstanding year for our club and its members. It will also be our final session of the 16/17 academic year and we plan to finish in style with a good old-fashioned chess party! Expect plenty of food and drink, fun games and puzzles, crazy variants, prizes and of course lots of chess! We look forward to seeing you there! #AintNoPartyLikeAChessClubParty




It’s been a busy past few weeks for the Coventry Chess Academy and its members! At the end of last month, yet another milestone was passed today by a CCA member. Warwickshire’s U100 county team was in the unenviable position of being a player short for an away match in Wycombe. Into the breach at the last minute stepped none other than our very own Jude Shearsby, fresh off his 6/6 triumph in the prior weekend’s Megafinal. Having just celebrated his 7th birthday, he became quite possibly the youngest ever person to play for an adult county chess team, certainly within Warwickshire circles. It also happened to be his standard-play debut. After an hour and a half of play, our little star secured victory in his game; a famous win for him and Warwickshire! Amazing! Congratulations Jude, we’re all proud of you!

We’ve recently been organising regular training games at sessions to help members prepare for upcoming tournaments and there has been some excellent chess on display in these. Unfortunately for our coaches, some of them have ended up on the receiving end of this! Three weeks ago, there were two notable results as William Morris and David Phillips scored upset wins against CCA coaches Steve Luland and Bernard Charnley respectively. This weekend, there was more woe in store for the coaches! Roy Watson was taken down by Estie Ercsei while Steve Turvey was dismantled by David. Adam Trailor looked like he might be able to gain a spot of redemption for the coaches against Ioly Ercsei, as he was a pawn up in a better position. She had however put up enough resistance to make him chew up minutes on the clock and he ended up losing on time! A comprehensive thrashing for the coaches! How long before they end up taking lessons from our members?

In other news, it was a fantastic day for the Coventry Chess Academy and its members at a very sunny Kenilworth Junior Open on Sunday! We had excellent representation at this tournament across under-11, 9 and 7 age categories and every member competing did themselves proud. In the top section, Manvith Sandhu won a silver medal with an excellent 4/5 and Jude Shearsby won a bronze medal with a fine 3/5 including a great win against a 115-rated opponent. In the under 9s section, Arya Thakur and Aubrey Song scored 3/5 and also won bronze medals. Well done to them all and every single member who competed, particularly those who were playing in their first ever chess tournament. No doubt it was a great learning experience that they will benefit from going forward.



It was a marvellous day for the Coventry Chess Academy at the Warwickshire Megafinal of the UK Schools Chess Challenge on the Sunday just gone! We had some fantastic representation at this event and by the end of the day no fewer than TWELVE members had qualified for the Gigafinal, the penultimate stage of the competition – a fantastic achievement! Across NINE age sections, we had FIVE Supremos (top boy) in Jude Shearsby (Under 7), Sarthak Sanyal (Under 8), Eshwar Kolli (Under 10), William Morris (under 13) and David Phillips (under 14) and TWO Supremas (top girl) in Yollie (under 12) and Estie Ercsei (under 15). Simply superb! Congratulations to all our Supremos, Supremas, Gigafinalists and every member who competed and gave their best effort. We’re proud of you all!


It was great to see everyone again at our first post-Easter session on Saturday and to award the UK Schools Chess Challenge group stage prizes! Don’t worry if you weren’t able to make it, your prize will be awarded at the next session you attend.

Having recently finished the Junior 4NCL season on a high, Academy members were in action again this Bank Holiday weekend, this time in the actual 4NCL! A milestone was passed in round 10 on Sunday as Academy members faced each other over the board in the 4NCL for the first time; Yollie Ercsei and David Phillips. Despite being the lower-graded player, Yollie gave a great account of herself and the game was extremely competitive until a decisive error allowed David to win material and with it the game. Estie Ercsei played in the same match but had the misfortune of facing an opponent rated nearly 1000(!) points higher.

The 11th and final round of the 4NCL took place yesterday. There was a solid win for Academy Director Paul Lam who was making only his second appearance of the season. The star of the day was however none other than our very own David Phillips! He faced the much higher-rated and hugely experienced Woman Grandmaster Jana Bellin and held the draw with the Black pieces, his first against a titled player in a competitive game. Congratulations to David and all our members who have played chess in the UK’s premier team chess event this season! No doubt they have benefited from the experience and will build upon it.



The Coventry Chess Academy resumes sessions this SATURDAY 29TH APRIL! We hope it’s been a good Easter break for all and we look forward to seeing everyone again. We’ll be handing out prizes to everyone who entered the UK Schools Chess Challenge group stage and with ‘Megafinal Month’ approaching there are exciting times ahead for us and our members.

Some fantastic news to report on from the English Primary Schools Chess Association under 9s final held in Nottingham on Saturday. The Warwickshire team finished 3rd, a tremendous result considering the strength of the opposition. In the county’s squad of thirteen players, five came from a single club; the Coventry Chess Academy! Many congratulations to our members Sarthak Sanyal (1/3), Vincent Xia (2/3), Jude Shearsby (an amazing 3/3!), Arjun Vadgama (2/3) and Arya Kale (2.5/3) who played superbly and did club and county proud!

There were more great performances from Coventry Chess Academy members over the weekend in the Junior 4NCL. Six were selected to play for the Warwickshire Bears and were joined by Academy Director Paul Lam who served as the Team Manager and Coach over the weekend. It was a rollercoaster weekend filled with everything from near-misses, time scrambles, opening bloopers, inspired sacrificial attacks and plenty of high quality chess. In division 2, the Bears team took joint third place and just missed the prize list due to points difference. In division 1, the two other Bears teams finished third and second, finishing on the prize list and missing first place by the narrowest of margins. Congratulations to all of them and to our members David Phillips (3.5/5), Estie Ercsei (2.5/5), Yollie Ercsei (2.5/5), William Morris (2.5/5), James Tipton (making his J4NCL debut with a fine 3/5) and Sai Nadella (3.5/5) who played and made a valuable contribution to these excellent results!

See you all on Saturday for our first session back after Easter!



Although the Coventry Chess Academy is currently on break for Easter, our members have been extremely active in tournament play this month and have produced some fantastic performances!

There was a great result for David Phillips in a very strong field at the National Junior Squad Championships in which he faced the best players in his national age group. He played aggressive, enterprising chess to finish on 3/5, with his only loss coming in the final round against the England number 1 in his age group who is rated 196 ECF. In doing so, he scored a Junior Squad norm, bringing him one step closer to England representation! Congratulations to David on a fantastic performance!

Coventry Chess Academy members also did our club proud at the Warwick Junior Open. We had some excellent representation at this under-11s tournament, spread across five sections. The highlights of the day were Sai Nadella and Sri Bhamidipati taking first place in their respective sections; superb performances from both. There was also an outstanding performance from Jude Shearsby who won a bronze medal in his section with 3/5, despite being outgraded against older and more experienced opponents in every single game. Well done to them and all our members who competed!

The Coventry Chess Academy was also in action at the National Club Championships. Although we didn’t return home with a glut of medals and trophies on this occasion, it was still a great learning experience for everyone and plenty of good chess and fighting spirit was on display. Thank you and well done to David Phillips, Estie and Yollie Ercsei, William Morris, James Tipton and Arjun Vadgama (possibly the youngest participant in the competition’s history at only 7 years of age), who all played for the team!



The Coventry Chess Academy is now on BREAK for Easter. We will resume sessions on SATURDAY 29TH APRIL. There will however still be lots of chess events taking place over the next month in which many of our members will be competing. We look forward to reporting on their endeavours in these!

To start off with, some fine results to report on for the Coventry Chess Academy at the Birmingham Rapidplay which took place on Sunday. Academy coach Louise Head scored 4/7 in a very strong Open section which also featured the likes of Grandmasters Mark Hebden and Keith Arkell. Rising Academy stars Sarthak Sanyal and Vincent Xia entered the Minor section for their first taste of tournament chess against adult competitors. Our terrific two, among the youngest participants at only eight years of age, gave a great effort. They both finished on a very respectable 3/7 that included wins against higher-rated and much older opposition. Well done to all!

Wishing everyone a good Easter and do keep your eyes peeled for updates on our members’ chess exploits over the next month!



There were excellent performances by Coventry Chess Academy members in the English Primary School Chess Association under 9 Championships held on 11th March. Vincent Xia and Arya Kale both scored a fine 2/3 and Jude Shearsby scored a fantastic 3/3. Their results contributed to Warwickshire placing top in their section and qualifying for the Championship final next month! On 18th March it was the turn of Warwickshire under 11s to take the spotlight in the same competition. Coventry Chess Academy members Eshwar Kolli (1/3 against some very tough opponents on the high boards), Sarthak Sanyal (3/3), Sai Nadella (3/3) and Leo Abraham (3/3) delivered superb performances on behalf of the county. Warwickshire narrowly finished second behind a strong Nottinghamshire side and qualified for the Final taking place in May. Well done guys on some great results for the county!

In other very positive news, the Coventry Chess Academy’s Assistant Director, Andy Ward, was recently announced as a very deserving award winner at the annual Warwick Volunteers Awards Ceremony which recognises the voluntary contributions made by University of Warwick students to local communities. Andy received his award from the University’s Vice-Chancellor and President, Stuart Croft, and Sue Bennett, Head of Warwick Careers and Skills, at the event which was attended by volunteers, beneficiaries, local government representatives and community organisations from across Coventry.

Academy Director Paul Lam paid tribute to the valuable role played by Andy and his fellow CCA volunteers: ‘The CCA enjoys a fantastic relationship with Warwick Volunteers. I never fail to be impressed by the enthusiasm, dedication and commitment to making a difference that our student volunteers from the University of Warwick demonstrate. They have been an essential part of the success enjoyed by the CCA and its members. Long may it continue!’

Congratulations to Andy and thank you to him and all our volunteer coaches for all that you do for us!




More fantastic performances from Coventry Chess Academy members recently! On Saturday 18th February, ‘Super Sarthak’ Sanyal and ‘Amazing Arjun’ Vadgama took first place in the under 8s and under 7s sections respectively of the Northamptonshire Junior County Chess Championships, bowling over the opposition with a 100% score!

Our terrific two were also in action the following day at the Birmingham Junior Chess Open. Sarthak took the brave step of competing in the FIDE-rated Master’s section, by far the youngest and lowest graded entrant. Despite this, he gave a superb account of himself, achieving advantageous positions against older and higher-rated opponents in several of the rounds and converting one into a deserved win, much to his delight. Arjun delivered a fine performance in the under 9s, finishing on 6.5/10, winning a medal for his efforts. Aubrey Song and Haresh Raguram (in only his second ever chess tournament!) both finished on the prize-list too with scores of 5.5/10. Jude Shearsby finished joint third with an excellent 7.5/10 and just ahead of him in second place was Vincent Xia with an impressive 8/10. In the under 11s, our star performer was Eswar Kolli. In a very competitive field, he finished third with 4.5/6. In the under-18s, William Morris was well below the maximum age limit for the section, but played mature, composed chess beyond his years to finish on 5/6 and joint first place. Wow! The FIDE-rated Master’s attracted some very strong entrants. In addition to Sarthak, David Phillips (3.5/6), Estie Ercsei (3/6) and Yollie Ercsei (2/6) competed and, as the scores show, performed very creditably. Yollie in particular faced a horribly tough draw in which she faced higher-rated opposition in every single round, but still scored two excellent wins which resulted in a rating performance 11 points higher than her current ECF rapid grade.

The Warwickshire Chess Championships took place over the weekend of 25th-26th February and three Academy members took the plunge for their first standardplay congress. David entered the Open section and scored 1.5/5 in a very tough field that included the likes of Grandmaster Mark Hebden. A baptism of fire in his first standardplay congress, but no doubt a valuable learning experience. In the Minor section, Yollie scored a good 2.5/5 and Estie scored an excellent 4/5, finishing in joint second place and on the prize list! Some fine chess was on display, notably in round 3 in which Estie used her new weapon – the Reti opening – to take apart her opponent in clinical fashion.

Well done to everyone for yet more great performances and being superb ambassadors for our club!



Lots going for the Coventry Chess Academy and its members at the moment! The first 2 rounds of the 2017 UK Schools Chess Challenge have already taken place, with some fine chess on display. Goliath usually gets the better of David over the chessboard and round 1 was no exception, but the top seeds had to dodge a few slingshots on the way. In the primary school section, 6 year old Jude, the youngest competitor, was paired with 11 year old Sai, the oldest, and battled him on even terms until a decisive error allowed the stronger player to breathe a sigh of relief.

There were also some fine performances from members beyond the Academy’s doors. The CCA girls trio of Estie, Yollie and Iga took part in the Birmingham ‘2020 chess’ qualifier, ably led by Iga’s dad Ben. Despite being heavily out-graded by opponents with an average grade of 140-150 ECF, the girls delivered a terrific effort and all scored points for the team. Estie was in particularly fine form and thoroughly outplayed a 145-rated player in the final round. The clock proved her only obstacle as her flag tragically fell in a completely winning position. Still, she and the team can be tremendously proud of their performances. Well done to all!

The new English Chess Federation grading list was recently published.  You can find out your new grade by going to the ECF grading list at and searching using your surname and the ‘find players’ function. The Coventry Chess Academy appears for the first time on the list as a club and you can find us by searching for ‘Coventry Chess’ using the ‘find clubs’ function. A couple of standouts: Yollie Ercsei is ranked as the 19th best under-12 girl in England for standardplay. Sarthak Sanyal is ranked as 13th best under-8 for rapidplay in England. Arjun Vadgama is ranked as the NUMBER 2(!) under-7 for rapidplay in England. The highest-rated CCA member is David Phillips whose first ever standardplay grade is an absurdly high 145. Overall, EVERY single CCA member with a current grade saw it increase, significantly in some cases. A large number of members have also gained their first grades. Simply fantastic, well done to everyone!

There was a great event for the Coventry Chess Academy at Coventry City Council’s ‘Try Something New’ Day at the weekend. Adults and children alike visited our stall and a number were even brave enough to challenge us to a few games! People who had never played chess before were able to learn the basics and those that did already know how to play picked up some useful tips for getting the better of friends and family the next time they play! Thank to Coventry Central Library for hosting us and to all visitors to our stall. We enjoyed meeting you and hope you enjoyed the experience!

In other news, the Coventry Chess Academy is sad to announce the retirement of a popular and inspirational coach, Bernard Charnley. Bernard has been a tremendous positive force at the Academy as a teacher, mentor and role model to us all. His knowledge and experience will be greatly missed as will his patient and steady approach. Thank you for everything, Bernard, and all the best for the future. #LEGEND



It’s been a busy start to 2017 for the Coventry Chess Academy and its members. The weekend just gone saw the season’s second instalment of the Junior 4NCL, the children’s wing of the British national chess league. Seven of our members were selected to represent the Warwickshire Bears, amounting to almost half the entire squad, and were joined by Academy Director Paul Lam who acted as squad manager. 2016 CCA Player of the Year, Arjun Vadgama, also made his J4NCL debut for the Leicester Reds and was one of the youngest players in the whole competition. Between them, all of our members made a valuable contribution to their teams by scoring numerous points. We had a bit of everything this weekend; close shaves, unlikely comebacks, missed chances and some excellent chess. Our big hitter was David Phillips who played superbly on boards 1 and 2 in the first division, finishing the weekend undefeated with 4/5. Congratulations to him and all of our other members who competed!

There have been some successful debuts for Coventry Chess Academy members in the Coventry Chess League this season. On Tuesday it was the turn of Estie and Yollie. Estie faced some adversity in the opening and battled hard but found her opponent to be a tough nut to crack. Yollie had established a commanding position when her opponent erred and she pounced, resulting in a crushing victory in less than 20 moves. Great stuff, well done girls!



Although the Coventry Chess Academy has been on break for Christmas, our members have stayed busy as 2016 draws to a close!

A great weekend was had at the London Chess Classic for a Coventry Chess Academy contingent of Director, coaches, members and parents who made the trip down to the capital for the UK’s premier chess event. A number played in the Super Rapidplay, a massive open event in which amateur players have the opportunity to take on some of the world’s leading Grandmasters. CCA coach Peter Batchelor finished on 7/10 after taking the scalp of GM Joe Gallagher in the final round. CCA Director Paul Lam was just behind on 6.5/10. Our intrepid members Yollie and Estie faced a daunting challenge against higher-rated opposition in almost every round, but still managed to score 3 and 3.5 points respectively, giving their stronger opponents a great run for their money, turning the tables on them in a couple of rounds and producing some excellent chess in individual games, as well as demonstrating determination and fighting spirit.

Everyone also got the chance to watch some chess superstars in action, as eight of the world’s top ten Grandmasters were playing in the Main Event, and meet them afterwards as they generously took the time out to speak with us, have photos taken and sign autographs. Leaving more than one of us feeling starstruck! A fantastic event and experience, one which we definitely hope to repeat next year!

This was followed by some excellent performances by Academy members in the prestigious London Junior Chess Championships, having already performed superbly in the qualifiers to get there. In the finals, Eshwar scored a fine 3/7 in the under 10s, producing a rating performance which doubled his current grade! Arjun scored 3.5/7 – a terrific result considering he was playing against children 1-2 years older in a very strong field – and defeated a number of graded opponents in the process. Well done to them!

Wishing everyone a very Happy New Year and we look forward to seeing you at our first session of 2017 on Saturday 7th January!



Many thanks to everyone who attended our fun-filled Christmas Chess Party on Saturday! With food, drink, decorations, music, brainteasers, ‘Father Chessmas’ making an appearance, and of course plenty of chess, there was something for everyone and a thoroughly enjoyable time was had by all. Well done to all the winners of ‘Paul’s Puzzle’, the Coaches Quiz and the Chess Openings Quiz. The mystery of whether Paul can speak Spanish and Japanese was cleared up, although no doubt members are still stumped by how the ‘Creepy Crawly’ can be a real chess opening! The Exchange Chess Tournament proved to be an extremely popular and was keenly contested right until the last round. The outright winners were Yollie and William, congratulations to them!

2016 has been a simply marvellous year for the Coventry Chess Academy and its members who continue to take massive strides forward on and off the chessboard. It’s not possible to do justice to so many outstanding achievements over the course of the year in a single post, but all of you truly are inspirational and we couldn’t be prouder. Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and we look forward to seeing you all in the New Year when we resume sessions on Saturday 7th January. Let’s hope that 2017 proves just as good!






Very excited for our Christmas Chess Party this Saturday 10th December! This will also be the final session of what has been a fantastic year for the Coventry Chess Academy and its members and we look forward to celebrating in style! Expect plenty of food and drink, crazy chess variants, brainteasers, an exchange chess tournament, lots of prizes, an appearance from ‘Father Chessmas’ and other Christmas festivities. We hope as many members as possible can join us for what should be a fun-filled and enjoyable event!




A brilliant day at the Warwickshire Junior Chess Championships for the Coventry Chess Academy on Sunday! We had a fantastic turnout of members for the tournament, held at Arden Academy, Solihull. In the battle for county honours, they performed superbly and came away with a glut of certificates, medals and trophies as the photos show! Sarthak Sanyal and Arjun Vadgama were crowned joint Warwickshire under-8 Champions as both finished on the top score of 5/6. Yollie Ercsei took the silver medal in the under-12s as did David Phillips in the under-14s, both also scoring 5/6. Another Warwickshire Champion was crowned in the under-16s, as Estie Ercsei won outright with 4.5/6 and took home exactly the same trophy which Academy Director Paul Lam won all the way back in 2001, much to his delight!

Congratulations to all our members who competed today, we are incredibly proud of each and every one of you!




On Wednesday 26th October, the Coventry Chess Academy played host to Grandmaster Anish Giri, one of the world’s best chess players and a global superstar of the game! Anish kindly delivered a simultaneous display for our members who put in a great effort against the 11th strongest player of all time. In particular, he was pushed hard all the way to the end by David who played superbly and was rewarded with a sporting draw! Massive thanks to the University of Warwick for providing a superb venue; to Optiver for kindly supporting the event and offering such lovely gifts; and to Anish Giri, a class act and a true gentlemen of the game. You made the day for our members! Well done to all our members who took part in the event; your conduct was impeccable, your play was great and your enthusiasm was clear for all to see. Anish, Dirk and Maria all thoroughly enjoyed the event and you helped make the day for them too. Truly a memorable occasion!




Delighted to report on more superb performances by Coventry Chess Academy members in events last weekend!

In the Coventry Junior Chess Open on Saturday, Sarthak Sanyal won the U8 boys event with a perfect 5/5, closely followed by Arjun Vadgama in second with an excellent 4/5. In the under 12 section, James Tipton claimed outright second place in a strong field with a fantastic 4/5. Numerous other members were also in action and distinguished themselves not just by posting highly respectable scores but by conducting themselves in terrific fashion. Tournament organisers were left thoroughly impressed, noting that Academy members displayed etiquette and chess skills well above their age.


The weekend also saw the Junior 4NCL, the children’s branch of the British National Chess League, take place. David Phillips, William Morris, Yollie and Estie Ercsei, Sai Nadella and Arya Kale were all invited to play for the Warwickshire Bears. Estie was the star of the Bears A team. She scored a fantastic 4.5/5 that included a fine mating attack in round 1 which was one of the games of the tournament. In the Bears B team, David assumed top board and scored 3.5/5 against some very tough opponents. Yollie’s fighting spirit was once again on display as she engaged in multiple battles that would have made strong men feel weak, recovering from a slow start to win all her games on the Sunday. Sai was our big hitter on Saturday with 3/3, performing Lazarus-like comebacks in two of his individual games. Will joined the team on the Sunday and contributed an important win in our crushing final round victory against Manchester. Arya was the team’s youngest and most inexperienced member, but fought hard throughout and his efforts were rewarded with a great final round win.


Well done to every single member who competed this weekend! Once again, you were outstanding ambassadors for our club on and off the board. You’ve done us and yourselves proud!



A friendly reminder that the Coventry Chess Academy will NOT be running a session this Saturday 1st October due to the Coventry Junior Chess Open and Junior 4NCL taking place that weekend. We will resume sessions on Saturday 8th October.

Wishing all our members taking part in the above events the very best of luck! We look forward to reporting on their exploits this weekend!



The Coventry Chess Academy resumes sessions this Saturday 10th September! We hope you’ve all had a relaxing and enjoyable summer holiday and are refreshed and ready for the new school year ahead. With lots of exciting announcements and developments due, we’re hoping that 16/17 will prove to be the best year yet for the Coventry Chess Academy and its members. Excited to be back and looking forward to seeing everyone on Saturday!



A delayed update due to the Director being on holiday and having limited internet access, but delighted to report on what was an incredible weekend from 20-21 August at the UK Schools Chess Challenge Terafinal Challengers for the Coventry Chess Academy’s star members William, Estie and Yollie! All three entered on the back of what was already a phenomenal achievement – reaching the final stage of the world’s largest chess tournament alongside the UK’s top junior chess players – but the best was yet to come.

An unusual football scoring system with 3 points for a win, 1 for a draw and 0 for a loss was in effect. In real points terms however, both William and Estie scored an excellent 3/6. Both demonstrated tremendous character to rebound from some tough early games and finish strong in the final rounds. The very best was left for round 6; highlights included William’s cool-as-ice defence followed by an unstoppable counter-attack against a sacrifice from his opponent and Estie trapping her opponent in a beautiful mating net. Yollie had a simply brilliant tournament. She held her own in some challenging games against highly-rated opposition, showing skill, heart and determination. With 3 wins, 2 draws and only a single loss, she scored a fantastic 4/6, winning the best girl’s prize in her section!

It’s been an incredible journey to make it all the way to this, the final stage of the competition, and to then produce these performances was quite simply the icing on top of the cake. One of the most enjoyable and memorable days you could imagine! Congratulations to our Terafinal Challengers, words can’t express how proud we are of you!




The Coventry Chess Academy has launched a Members’ Development Fundraising Campaign at…/coventry-chess-academy-member…. The aim is to raise funds to support our talented members to enter chess tournaments, training days, chess camps and other events that will aid their chess development. It is an unfortunate fact that the costs of entry, travel, accommodation and other necessities can pose a real barrier to members’ participation in events like these. We believe that no member should lose out on opportunities to develop their potential because of this. In just 3 days the campaign has reached £2055 or 146%! This is fantastic and we’d like to express huge thanks to everyone who has made a donation, shared our fundraising page and spread the message. The money raised so far will make a big difference for our members. Our work on their behalf isn’t over yet though as the fundraising campaign still has 33 days left! Please continue to help us build upon our success and raise as much as we can before the campaign closes on 15th September 2016 in order to make our members’ dreams reality.



Great to see everyone at a very fun final session of 15/16 on Saturday! The Coventry Chess Academy is now on BREAK for the rest of the summer holidays. Wishing you all an enjoyable and relaxing summer and we look forward to seeing you when we resume sessions on 10th September!



Absolutely delighted to report on the performance of Coventry Chess Academy members at the UK Schools Chess Challenge Gigafinal! It was a long, tiring but hugely enjoyable weekend. All of our Gigafinalists were outstanding in play and conduct. The level of skill, effort and fighting spirit on display was quite simply awe-inspiring. Special mention must go to Sarthak, Eshwar, Arjun and David who all scored 4/6 and qualified for the Plate Competition and Yollie and William who both scored 4.5/6 and qualified for the Challengers Tournament. Estie was the second placed girl in her section, only narrowly missing out on a Terafinal place. Incredibly, David, Yollie and William all ended up playing on the top board of their sections in the final round!

To even get to this, the penultimate stage of the competition, roughly the top 5% of all chess playing children nationwide, is a superb feat. To achieve results like this is simply phenomenal. CONGRATULATIONS to each and every one of our Gigafinalists!



Don’t forget that we’re now on break for the next fortnight! There will no sessions on 28th May and 4th June. Sessions will resume on 11th June. Wishing everyone a great half-term break and we look forward to seeing you all when we return!



Today, twenty one members of the Coventry Chess Academy took part in the Warwickshire Megafinal of the UK Schools Chess Challenge, the world’s largest chess tournament, battling against the leading junior players in the region. An incredible fourteen qualified for the Gigafinal (roughly the top 5% of children in their age group nationally), the penultimate stage of the competition. Five won their age groups outright, three of whom did so with 100% scores! Truly fantastic results! It was a long, hectic and tiring day for players and organisers alike, but hugely enjoyable and worth every ounce of effort on the part of everyone. HUGE congratulations to all of our qualifiers, prize-winners and Gigafinalists-to-be. We are proud of you all!




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