Category Archives: Junior Club

Junior Club

On 19 April we reopen for the summer term 2024, and are open every Friday, from 19 April to 19 July, except 31 May, when we are closed for the Summer School “half term” Holiday.

Opening times.  The Juniors club meets on Friday evenings 5.00 till 6.45 p.m. in the lower playing room at 2 Cornwallis Terrace.

The juniors club only meets in school term-time,

Our club for Juniors is run by our members Mark Brougham and Keith Hossack. All young persons aged five to eighteen are very welcome, and parents who wish to accompany their children are very welcome too. The Juniors club is for all ability levels: we are happy to teach beginners the moves, and we welcome all who enjoy playing chess, whether for fun or more competitively. And Hastings and St Leonards Chess Club has plenty of expert members who will be happy to give tips to any budding chess prodigies!

For further details please contact Keith Hossack at

Our charges: first three sessions are a free sample, after that £2 visitor’s fee per attendance, or take out a junior membership for £10 to cover attendance for the whole year.

Hastings and St Leonards Chess Club has an approved and rigorous safeguarding policy. 



Intro: Medway 0 – 4 Hastings

Hastings juniors beat Kent Intro Cup defending champions 4-0 last weekend to move 2nd in the table and potentially 3 matches away from lifting the title themselves. This was Medway’s biggest defeat in three seasons and provided compensation for the newly formed junior squad who were on receiving end of the same scoreline last season. The juniors are playing in an adult league and this was their third 4-0 in a row sending shockwaves through the division. William Cobb on board 2 was first to finish after just 20 mins of a 3 hour match when his opponent blundered his queen having been under pressure positionally from the start. Alex Lebedev showed again his excellent endgame skills by having two passers that the enemy king could only stop one from queening forcing his opponent to resign. Cool as cucumber Christy Parry on board 4 served up a dish of revenge against the gentleman who beat him last year after not really being troubled during the game. Magnanimous in victory as they were gracious in defeat last year the juniors are a real credit to the chess club and town. The junior’s next match is at home to Maidstone on Sat 14th March.

MID Intro Cup Sat 15th Feb 2020

Board Home Medway 4 Hastings & St Leonards 5 Away
1 (W) 129D (129D)

Shevlane, Paul

0 – 1

Woodhams, Mason

132A (130A)
2 (B) 090B (88C)

Langford, David K

0 – 1

Cobb, William

084D (82D)
3 (W) 064D (60D)

Evans, Alan V

0 – 1

Lebedev, Alexander

045* (38D)
4 (B) 045* (23E)

Hanman, John

0 – 1

Parry, Christy

045* ()
Average 82 0 – 4 Average 77


Team Play Won Draw Lost For Against Points SP MP IM
Maidstone 10 4 4 0 0 13½ 8 0 0 0
Hastings & St Leonards 5 5 3 0 2 14 6 6 0 0 0
Maidstone 8 4 2 1 1 10 6 5 0 0 0
Snodland 3 4 2 0 2 8 8 4 0 0 0
Maidstone 9 5 2 0 3 7 13 4 0 0 0
Medway 4 3 1 0 2 2 0 0 0
Medway 3 5 0 1 4 4 16 1 0 0 0


Our junior squad picked up their first win on the road with triumphant 4-0 victory over Medway 3 this weekend. A quick victory by Chris Parry on board 4 set the scene for the juniors biggest ever victory. Chris nicely combined all his forces into an unstoppable overwhelming attack which his opponent couldn’t see a way to defend and resigned under the pressure 1-0. Next up was Alex Lebedev who saw his chance against a very weak King, applied the pressure, picked-up the opposition queen on route and finished the game off nicely 2-0. William Cobb on board 2 had the toughest game, but after going an exchange up early doors managed to grind out the win, and what a grind it was, a 7 pawn each blocked endgame with R+R+N vrs R+B+N. It wasn’t clear how Will would breakthrough and his opponent was applying the pressure advancing his pawns high up the board but find the breakthrough he did, queened a pawn and mated the King behind enemy lines 3-0. Last to finish was last-minute substitute Mason who outgraded his opponent 50 points, missed an easy tactic early on to win a rook (don’t tell the juniors!), and eventually scraped a win in a Rook & pawn endgame, 4-0. Our juniors were very magnanimous in victory and a real credit to the club.

MID Intro Cup Sat 25th Jan 2020

Board Home Medway 3 Hastings & St Leonards 5 Away
1 (W) 081F (81F)

Hickey, Paschal

0 – 1

Woodhams, Mason

132A (132A)
2 (B) 045 ()

New Player

0 – 1

Cobb, William

084D (84D)
3 (W) 045L (0)

Swiatkowski, Dominik

0 – 1

Lebedev, Alexander

045* (37E)
4 (B) 045L ()

Steadman, Ian

0 – 1

Parry, Christy

045* ()
Average 54 0 – 4 Average 77


Team Play Won Draw Lost For Against Points SP MP IM
Maidstone 10 4 4 0 0 13½ 8 0 0 0
Snodland 3 3 2 0 1 4 0 0 0
Maidstone 8 2 1 0 1 2 0 0 0
Medway 4 1 1 0 0 2 0 0 0
Hastings & St Leonards 5 3 1 0 2 6 6 2 0 0 0
Maidstone 9 3 1 0 2 4 8 2 0 0 0
Medway 3 4 0 0 4 2 14 0 0 0 0

Juniors re-enact Battle of Hastings

So children from the Hastings and St Leonards Junior Chess Club, this week re-enacted the Battle of Hastings to commemorate that fateful day for the last Saxon king.

Chess arrived in England with the Normans, so what better way to visualise the Battle with the greatest wargame ever made.

“Standing behind his shield wall, Harold stands atop Senlac Hill looking out over the amassed armies of the Norman invaders. Archers (bishops) stand ready on both sides to launch a barrage arrows at each other but can the shield wall stand firm and hold for reinforcements (which appear on the board on move 30).”

It’s black to move and conquer England, can you do it? or will history change and Harold reign supreme?

On the whole children preserved history with William victorious the odd one or two managing to upset the odds and keep England in Saxon hands, one even getting checkmate in two moves!

The strategies employed during the real battle were described to the children and some employed the same ideas by attacking the flanks others tried striking down the central pawn duo/quad both either way a lot of fun was had.

Did the real Duke of Normandy use chess to plan his battle strategy? One for historians we think.

Mason Woodhams
Junior Organiser & ECF Accredited chess coach


Junior Club and Intro Cup report 2018/19

This is the report for the junior club of Hastings & St Leonards Chess Club for 2018/19 and the Intro Cup in the Kent League as this was contested by our Junior squad.

What an amazing season for the Juniors, probably one of the best we’ve had in a long time. Numbers up, enjoyment up, quality up, and juniors now starting to be integrated into the main club.

Special thanks to Eve Grimsted whose late husband Michael a member of the Junior club himself many years ago, continues to donate to the club allowing us to subsidise fees and bring the enjoyment of chess to more children than we might otherwise been able to do.

Average attendance this season has been 16.2 per week with a high of 22 and a low of 12. Over 40 different children have come through the doors with age ranges from 5 to 13. We have the most improved boy in Sussex (Alex Lebedev) and the second most improved girl in Sussex (Alise Peterson), alongside the unconfirmed most improved Junior in England who went from zero grade to 95 and gaining his ECF Chess Maestro title in the process (Will Cobb). Many other juniors have also increased their grades or got grades for the first time. We have a number of boys and girls who have been called up to play for Sussex Juniors this season including, Chamithu W., Thamadi W., Edie Stacy, Alise Peterson, the latter three who all played in the U11 County finals helping Sussex to runners-up spot, an amazing achievement. Hastings made up the biggest contingent of any club in that team something we should be very proud of. Our girls done us proud. William Cobb was our unofficial Junior Champion this year winning the Delancy challenge, special mention to Thamadi W. who leading in the final round agreed a GM draw with Chamithu  forfeiting the title but allowing her brother to also qualify for the Sussex Mega Final, an amazing show of sportsmanship.

In October of 2018 and to celebrate Hastings day (the day chess was brought to England by the Normans) we played a chess variant to re-enact the Battle of Hastings on a chess board. The set up is as below. Surprisingly the massive shield wall of Harold was particular strong and held off the Norman knights a lot of the time changing the course of history.

New for this season was our participation in the Kent Chess League Intro Cup. At last year’s AGM no-one volunteered to be Intro Cup Captain so I took the opportunity to use that fact to create an all junior squad to compete. This was a big success. Giving juniors the chance to play tournament chess with classical time controls against adults dramatically improved their game. I don’t think any other club do this so this could be the start of something new (as always with Hastings being the pioneer in all things chess). Thanks go  to the Kent league clubs for accommodating our need to play weekend fixtures. Our Intro squad was:

  • William Cobb
  • Thamadi Wickramanayake
  • Chamithu Wickramanayake
  • Edie Stacy
  • Alise Peterson
  • Alex Lebedev
  • Christy Parry



Half way during the year we managed to purchase a cheap touch screen computer for juniors and the wider membership in general. A feature on has been particularly useful in training juniors was “Vision”, this is a rapidfire test to see how many squares on a board you can name in 30 secs. It’s fun and a great way of teaching algebraic notation. Some juniors even did this faster than adults at the club!

Very early in the season I taught them Legals mate but it wasn’t until much later in the season when Thamadi watched a video on this and employed it in one of her games, much to the annoyance of her opponent in the Kent League who had travelled all the way to us for an Intro match only to be beaten within three minutes. A brilliant game and one that will be remembered for a long time by all parties.

In our first away match of the season in the Intro Cup young William Cobb was up against one of Maidstone’s top juniors. In their first ever long play game our juniors were real credit to the club but it William that stood out playing a brilliancy towards the end of his game that neither I nor David Heath my counterpart expected, we both saw a simplification but William made use of his knights to secure an amazing mate.

Final Table 2018/19eam Play Won Draw Lost For Against Points SP MP IM


Team Play Won Draw Lost For Against Points SP MP IM
Maidstone 8 5 3 2 0 13 7 8 0 0 0
Medway 4 5 3 0 2 12½ 6 0 0 0
Maidstone 9 5 2 2 1 11½ 6 0 0 0
Hastings & St Leonards 6 5 2 1 2 10 10 5 0 0 0
Snodland 3 5 1 1 3 13½ 3 0 0 0
Medway 3 5 1 0 4 13½ 2 0 0 0

SP = Season Penalties, MP = Match Penalties, IM = Incomplete Matches


Great credit to our juniors who finished only a single point off of the playoffs in their first ever season.

As mentioned earlier we had over 40 different children come through our doors this season but we say goodbye to two of our top juniors Thamadi & Chamithu Wickramanayake who return to Sri Lanka. We wish them good luck with their chess and hope they grace Hastings again with their presence in the future. We’ll miss them terribly.

The majority of 2018/19 we ran two classes, one for experienced more serious player and a social/beginners class, both with lots of prizes, treats and competitions. However on occasion when either tutor is unavailable and running a combined class, it can be challenging, especially with such a mix of skills and ages.. We would welcome members who would like to volunteer from time to time, or to provide cover when a tutor is unavailable to come forward. You won’t have to commit to regular days just any occasional time you have free and would like to help us develop our juniors would be very much welcomed.

2019/2020 and beyond

This next season we will continue to develop and integrate our juniors with the main club. The main way we will do this is to introduce an Academy of Chess. This will be an additional teaching session scheduled for before the Friday night RapidPlay, so that juniors can then take part in the evening. It will be open by invitation only to child members of the club. A formal curriculum and training programme will be followed, with individual learning plans giving a more rigorous foundation of chess knowledge. We did have a few additional pre-match training days last season but because fixtures were constantly being rearranged we were unable to give the training we wanted.  There will be an additional cost in learning materials and tutor costs for the Academy which we are hoping to cover with grants.

Also this season we will continue the juniors participation in the Intro cup and enter them all in the Delancy Chess Challenge as usual.

Junior Club returns 11th September

Junior club will return on Wednesday 11th September 2019 6:00-7:00pm for fun, games and prizes. Doors open 5:45pm.

As with last season we will be fielding a team of juniors in the Kent Chess league for the upcoming 19/20 season, the boys and girls did so well last season finishing third in the division, it’s only right that we continue to encourage tournament chess for our brilliant junior squad.

New for the upcoming season will be the establishment of a Junior Academy. This will be a more rigorous and regular training programme that will replace our previous ad-hoc pre-match training days. The Academy will be by invitation only and restricted to juniors who are members of the main club.

It should be an exciting and fun year ahead and we look forwarding to seeing you all again after your summer hols.


Junior Club prizes

Just two sessions remain for the junior club this year and the two pyramid tournaments of regular chess and the variant, losers chess are coming to a very exciting conclusion. Top of the pyramids are Chamithu for regular chess and a six way tie for losers chess between; William, Alise, Edie, Ruslan, Alex & Alexandria.

Last session is 19th December and we return on 9th January

Top prize is below.

Losers Chess