Watford Chess Club’s Harshil Mehta has won the Hertfordshire Under-13 Championship, whilst Michael Lee finished joint-first in the West of England Under-8 competition.

Success for the duo means Watford members have now won seven titles at either county, regional or national level in the past 12 months.

Five wins from six was enough for Lee to triumph at the West of England Championship and according to club organiser Roger Lancaster, only first will suffice for ambitious members.

He said: “At the West of England Championships other juniors finished third in the Under-9 event and second in the Under-10 event but such is the level of expectations at the club these days, they were just disappointed not to win.”

The club offer twice-weekly coaching to youngsters, on Tuesday evenings at its headquarters in Rosslyn Road and separately at the Happy Hour public house in Eastbury Road.

“The Happy Hour started as an experiment 12 months ago,” explained Lancaster. “The pub makes no charge for use of its premises so the club is able to give free coaching and advice to children, whether or not they are club members, on Sunday evenings between six and eight.

“Once they start playing and get some coaching, youngsters can improve at a phenomenal rate – one of our champions started playing the game as recently as 12 months ago.”