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Club History


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 four other coaches, David Pedro, Brian Ward and Dominic Lodge and Amanda Hipshon. 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, and are currently, 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 retired having worked at Leeds City College as a chemistry teacher and A level program manager. He is chairman of Alwoodley Chess Club and has been involved in junior chess for 20 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 is a level 2 netball coach. He is also a qualified chess arbiter and junior secretary of Yorkshire Chess Association.


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 History Teacher in Harrogate and is head of his department, and a coach at Leeds Junior Chess Club. He is former Essex Junior Chess player, and currently plays for Alwoodley Chess Club.

Amanda Hipshon

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 for Yorkshire Water.

Dominic Lodge divides his time between teaching chess and music, for Chess in Schools and Communities and Music Lab respectively. He plays for Alwoodley Chess Club.

Brian Ward

Brian is a member of Alwoodley Chess Club and is a certified Chess In Schools Coach.


Meeting Times


The club will meet Sundays in two sessions: 5-6.30 pm for newer players and 6.30-8pm for more advanced players. We  also run a session on Wednesday 5-6.15 for newer players.

Current membership

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.

The current annual membership fee is £100.

Former Players

We have had some high profile junior members in the last 17 years.

Harry Li: Harry represented England in the World Youth Championships in South Africa.

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.

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