The club was formed in 2005 by John Hipshon. Meeting at the Alcuin School on a Sunday evening the club attracted the top junior players from around West Yorkshire. Top coach Nick Nixon was enlisted to coach the best players. When the school closed in 2009 the club moved to its current location at the Alwoodley Community Centre. The Alwoodley Community Association welcomed the club and club members are now ACA junior members. The club have formed an alliance with Alwoodley Chess Club and run a joint adult and junior team in the Yorkshire League 3rd division.
The club is still run by John Hipshon with senior coach Nick Nixon. We are now have a third coach, David Pedro and also are training a fourth, Amanda Hipshon, who is an experienced young player. The club is completely full at the moment with a waiting list and has established a reputation as the premier junior club in the county. Members do well at local competitions right through to national level. The club has made a point of welcoming girls in particular as they are so often in a minority in the chess world. Some of the best female chess players in the county have been members of the club.
The club has policy of having coaches who are qualified teachers and/or highly experienced in junior chess coaching.
We believe we have the best coaching team in the county.
John Hipshon is a professional teacher, now semi retired having worked at Leeds City College as a chemistry teacher and A level program manager. He plays for Alwoodley Chess Club and has been involved in junior chess for 15 years. He is the former Head Teacher of the Alcuin School which had a fearsome chess reputation. John also runs the Yorkshire Junior Chess Association and coaches netball at Leeds Athletic Netball Club. He is also a qualified chess arbiter.
Nick Nixon is one of the most respected chess coaches in the country. Nick is a retired teacher and has coached the England Junior team as well as many highly successful individuals. In his day Nick was also a formidable player.
David Pedro is a qualified History teacher in his 2nd year at Leeds City Academy. He is a former Essex Junior Chess Player, and currently plays for Alwoodley Chess Club. David's past coaching experiences include teaching chess to children with Learning difficulties on Camp America.
A former English Girls' champion, Amanda is an experienced player and has passed her chess arbiter exams. Professionally she has a master's degree in Physical Geography and is working as a Data Analyst.
With the club under Covid restrictions we will be meeting in two sessions one week and then three sessions in the next week. This enables us to run 5 groups in the same bubbles. We hope to go back to two 1.5 hour sessions when restrictions are lifted.
Membership is not automatic. Players must know at least the basic moves. We look for interest and enthusiasm rather than outright talent and members are expected to attend a high percentage of sessions. We have a code of conduct which members, coaches and parents are expected to follow.
Please note - we take children who are over 7 years of age on 1st September - no exceptions.
We have had some high profile junior members in the last 15 years.
Harry Li: Harry recently represented England in the World Youth Championships in South Africa and is one of the top ranked juniors in the county.
James Bowler: James is a former twice British Junior Champion. He has also coached at the club on occasions. He has also represented his country.
Amanda Hipshon: Amanda is former English Girls' Champion and won multiple titles at county level. She is a qualified chess arbiter.
The club follows a Safeguarding Policy in line with the English Chess Federation. The policy can be viewed here.