Established by the Chess Trust in 2018, the Accelerator Programme (‘the Programme’) is a supported chess development programme available only to England’s top junior chess talents (under the age of 18 years) and is on a selection-only basis. The main Programme lasts for 12 months followed by a 6-month reduced support package. Students showing exceptional progress may be invited to continue the Programme for a longer duration.

Places on the Programme are strictly limited.

Content of the Programme

a) Regular contact with allocated mentor (plus additional support from wider team where required)

b) Establish personal development plan with the mentor
The mentor and student will work together to craft a development plan and framework by which to guide their ongoing work

c) Develop good working practices
The mentor is to instill in the student strong working practices that will benefit the student long term. All the above is of course to be tailored to the specific personality and tendencies of the student.

d) 2 x training camps at physical locations
Group sessions with support from elite international players

e) Support at selected international events (at the Programmer’s absolute discretion)
Assistance with preparation before and during

f) Recommended reading/viewing list
For example, recommended books, articles, videos etc for students, parents and coaches

Programme Mentors

GM John Emms
John is a highly experienced player, coach and author. His peak rating is 2586 and he tied for first place in the 1997 British Championship. He captained the English Olympiad team in 2002 and coached the Women’s team at the 2004 Olympiad. He won individual gold and team silver medals at the 2018 and 2019 World Senior Team Championships. He has been part of the ECF coaching team at many World and European Youth events. He has written over 20 highly-regarded books and is considered an authority on opening preparation.

IM Adam Hunt
Adam is a talented International Master and is a full-time chess coach at Woodbridge School, where he has worked for 15 years. He has acted as Head of Delegation for England junior teams at two World U16 Olympiads and as a coach at three World Youth events and a European Youth event. He is an accredited FIDE coach and a member of the ECF Academy coaching team. His playing career highlights include two Grandmaster norms and a peak rating of 2466. He is the author of Chess Strategy – Move by Move by Everyman Chess.

Current Programme Students

The age categories are all based on FIDE international event criteria

Harry Zheng – Under 11
Elis Dicen – Under 11
Shlok Verma – Under 12
Shreyas Royal – Under 12
Nishchal Thatte – Under 13
Jessica Mellor – Under 14
James Merriman – Under 14
Julia Volovich – Under 15
Nadia Jaufarally – Under 17

Selection Process

Selections are made by the Selection Committee who consider a variety of factors including –

  • Quality of games
  • Rating to age ratio
  • Trajectory of improvement
  • Attitude of the player to training and improvement

The current Selection Committee members are –

GM David Howell (England International); GM John Emms (Programme Mentor); GM Pete Wells (Founding Head Coach); IM Adam Hunt (Programme Mentor); IM Malcolm Pein (ECF International Director); WFM Sarah Longson (ECF Academy Programme Director); Alex Holowczak (EFC Junior Director)

The Programme will reach out to candidates where appropriate to sound out the family on the potential of joining and to request additional information such as access to games and current coaching / training arrangements.

Application Process

It isn’t necessary to apply to the Programme to be considered – however if you haven’t been contacted and think your child should be in consideration you can reach out to us using the application form below. However before applying please bear in mind the following guidelines – to be considered for selection a player will usually have to meet the following criteria –

1) Be ranked in the top 5 in the country in their respective age group / gender category (either ECF / FIDE rating)
2) Have demonstrable experience playing in national level competition – for example British Championships, UK Chess Challenge Terafinal, open events at congresses etc.
3) Have a body of classical (long play) games available for consideration and analysis by the Selection Committee
4) Be able to demonstrate a commitment to learning and improvement with a desire to become a ‘titled’ chess player

Application Form

Click this link –