El Chessico Book II – The Fall of Troy

A Modern Reversal of Fortune (with Apologies to Battersea)

Like all good ripping yarns there is a huge amount of author’s license in this sorry, but heroic, tale.

The tale began when the warlike kingdom of Batter, lead by their Great King Aldo Menelaus and arch-conspirator General Leon Agamemnon, challenged the peaceful but drunken kingdom of Hammer to a fight-to-the-death chess match over thirty boards.

The Batter intention was to seize back the legendary El Chessico trophy that had been won by Hammer in a previous skirmish. Batter contended it had been stolen and craved it greatly. They were seduced by its power and beauty.

Legend has it that it could launch a thousand chess openings and this knowledge was prized beyond all by Aldo Menelaus. This battle would be about dominion, power, the 64 squares and bragging rights in the South and West of Londonium.

The march to war was littered with social media banter, critical negotiations and final agreement – sounds a bit like Brexit?? – and resulted in the agreed showdown at the home of Batter on the sixth day of the eleventh month in the year of Our Lord 2018.

The scene was set; the die was cast, and both tribes arrived to face their doom.

Batter called on its mightiest warriors Achilles, Partroclus and Diomedes.

Whilst King Priam Clueless of Hammer relied on the stalwarts of Hector, Paris and Aeneas.

The lineup looked a lot like this:

The magnitude of the task facing the Hammer team was huge – enemy territory and two defaults before a pawn was moved in anger. With both Alex and Ken not able to make it at the last minute – a tough mission just got even tougher.

To quote some classic football parlance, it was a match of three halves – yes please, get your head around that.

For simplicity sake, we will take the three halves as boards 1-10, 11-20 and 21-30. I guess three mini-matches within one big match.

The tale of the top ten boards:

There were some great games here.

Ryszard, aka Paris, downed his opponent with a tour de force utilizing the bishop pair to arrow in on the white king and down his formidable opponent. He literally targeted his opponent’s Achilles heel and the game is very instructive and well worth study.

Board 2 saw Thomas push hard with the initiative but with not enough of an edge to convert into a well-deserved victory. Hostilities were brought to an end by a mutually agreed draw.

The next two boards saw Hammer heroes Paul and Pavel fall after full-bloodied encounters and Hammer were now, on paper at least, three points down.

Fortunately, Jeremy played an amazing game and in noble Hector-style, deflected his opponent’s Queen and rook to the wrong side and part of the board. His pieces then swooped in on the denuded Black King and he triumphed and put a great point on the board. Hopefully, we will be able to publish the game at a later date.

Sitting beside Nadhmi while he plays chess is just a pleasure – he combines a deadly combination of perfect innocence with dead-eye accuracy. He tactically outplayed his opponent, winning a piece, and then converted his advantage smoothly. Hammer now just trailing by one point.

King Clueless and Brian agreed draws after bitter tussles and the scoreboard gap stayed frozen.

However, along came Adam and Charlie. The former, displaying all the calm of Trojan hero Aeneas, employed his favourite London System and won a piece with a deadly pin and then was error-free in his win.

Charlie decided to be liberal with his pawns and thus created multiple threats for his opponent. There may have been a defence, but time played its part and Charlie coolly walked away with another Hammer win. The Hammer crew had nosed in front overall by a point but had won this mini-match 6.5-3.5.

Boards 11-20 were even more bitterly contested.

The first two boards saw contrasting fortunes for the Hammers. Simon’s game was the first finish – he won at a canter. Whilst David had one of those nights where you defend tenaciously, win a pawn and move onto the offense. He was winning and had everything covered. Alas, one mis-move allowing a bishop pin lost his extra pawn and the game soon dissipated down to a draw. This was definitely a tragic near-miss of a win.

The next two boards saw Dipender fighting tenaciously but ultimately fruitlessly whilst Alex had sadly defaulted. Hammer on paper were still a point ahead but things were getting tight.

The next two boards (15 and 16) saw Ben, despite arriving late, do his stuff and win fairly quickly, whilst Robin took on General Leon and went down in flames. Just a point separating the teams overall – it was developing into a Virgil epic.

The next four boards saw four Hammers, Dipli and Kostis (the relatively new newbies) and Liam and Jakub (definite newbies) take on their opponents. The tale of the tape shows that Jakub won his individual battle, whilst Liam and Kostis drew – Dipli sadly lost. She is such a good player, I know she will back stronger.

Although we had lost this mini-match, Hammer were still two points ahead.

It would all come down to the battle in mini-match three – the fate of El Chessico was in the hands of the fighting Hammer Trojans.

Our seasoned campaigners, Nick and Nadim, had a draw and a win apiece – Hammer nudging closer – and Dave making his debut in the Hammer colours despite being materially ahead, fell into a Stalemate scenario.

A final push was needed and this is where Hammer played its reverse Trojan horse manoeuvre and the talents of Abakar, the Auchi twins, Connall and AndySpideyRoutledge were unleashed. The famous shock-troops of Troy.

A tour de force from the Taymour and Laith saw their junior opponents totally overawed, with both achieving dominance in rapid victories. The other three Hammers held their nerve: five games and five wins was the result – the city was saved – and made the second Hammer default meaningless.

Hammer had triumphed 18-11.

Scenes

El Chessico was safe and bragging rights are definitely still residing north of the river.

It was a great, great evening and with trophy in hand another Hammer triumph was noted when Dave won the raffle prize for a WCC ticket. Basically, Hammer were like Hermes – fleet of foot, and gracious in victory.

Absolute… scenes

I must thank Aldo, Leon and their captain Gregg for staging the event and wish them and all the Battersea family the best for this season.

Roll on the next encounter – the noisy neighbours may have been silenced for the moment, but believe me – they will be more ferocious and desperate next time.

King Priam Clueless signing off and paying homage to the Hammer heroes.

London Division 2: Hammer v Hackney

07.11.18 – London League Division 2: Hammersmith v Hackney

Our second match of the season, versus Hackney 2 last Wednesday evening at the Citadines, ended in a convincing 7-3 victory. However, as is often the case, the win was not quite as comfortable as the final scoreline suggest.

On paper, a comfortable grading advantage of between fifteen and twenty-five points on most boards suggested a comfortable evening, and initially it all went to plan.

Carsten played a solid draw as black on top board, while Nadhmi (board 10) battled very hard and was unlucky not to break down his solid opponent.

Three wins in quick succession for myself (board 8), Sylvain (6) and Bajrush (3) put us in the driving seat. Impressively, Sylvain had arrived back from Paris just an hour before play began, and won neatly and without fuss. Bajrush played a smooth positional game against a tricky opponent.

Paul K (9) went down, but Marios (7) soon notched up the point to take us to 5 points. But then it got a little sticky!

Chris (5) was a piece up early on, but his opponent played resourcefully to conjure up some initiative, and playing to win, as sometimes happens, Chris’s King got caught in the crossfire. 5-3 and worse looked set to follow as Paul McK (4), having played a fine attack against the French Defence, went astray in time pressure. Meanwhile Thomas (2) was playing a fine game but the position remained complex as the time ticket away.

But there was no need for the captain to get nervous. Paul regained his composure, regrouped his remaining pieces into the attack and snap mated his opponent after a blunder. A rather poetical, even somewhat mythical, scoreline: as any old soccer ball fan will tell you, the greatest match every played also finished (Real) 7 – (Eintracht) 3!

So, two solid wins, sitting second in the table, and a really good spirit in the team. The captain is happy. Next up before Christmas is a tough away fixture at Imperial College.

I hope to persuade Bajrush and Marios to annotate their games. In the meantime, I offer you my own speculative hack. A scrappy game but tolerably entertaining if you like the 19th Century style.

I sensed that 10. Bxf7+ was an unnecessary punt (10. Qe1 is a crystal clear advantage) but had quickly assessed the critical piece sac 12…h6! 13. Nce4!? hxg5 14. Nxg5 Kd7! 15. Rxf4 as winning for white. But if you look a little further it’s clear that 15…Rxh2+! 16. Kxh2 Bd6 17. g3 Bxf4 18. Be6+ Kc6 19. Bxf4 Nbd5 is better for black. But in practice you have to do a fairly tricky calculation to get there!

Ater 12…e3?! 13. Rxf4 Qxf4 14. Be3 as played, black can equalise with the cold blooded 14…Bxg5! 15. Bxg5+ Kxf7. The greedy 14…Qf5 just loses. 16. Qg3+ is simpler than my 16.Qd2?!, but there are a zillion ways to win for white, including the line I chose. Long live the spirit of De La Bourdonnais, Morphy and Tchigorin!

And… The World Championship

In case you haven’t heard… the Chess World Championship match is taking place in London at the moment (check out Chess & Bridge Shop if you’re looking for somewhere to watch it in central London!)

Our good friend the Ginger GM (aka GM Simon Williams), is doing a frankly superb analysis of each game on his YouTube channel. It is well worth a watch – the GM-on-GM insight is something to behold and savour!

Link here and video below – enjoy!!!

The World Chess Championship

Carlsen vs Caruana: 9th-29th November 2018

Can’t get a ticket, or visiting central London? Why not watch the LIVE online coverage for FREE with other chess fans and enthusiasts at Chess & Bridge shop! Yes, our website sponsors will be showing the official LIVE stream throughout the event at their central London store on Baker Street.

They’ll have some chairs in front of their large in-store TV screen, plus outdoor FREE to use chess sets if the world championship action gets too much. And of course, thousands of books and chess products to browse in-store.

Come watch, browse, chat, grab refreshments from any nearby establishments (there are lots!), and share your thoughts on the excitement of the match with like-minded people.

And remember, all Hammersmith Chess Club members are entitled to a 10% discount on all products with the code: HAMMERCHESS10 – works online too!

For more information and schedules see:
https://worldchess.com

Tickets to the actual venue can be purchased via Ticketmaster:
https://www.ticketmaster.co.uk/World-Chess-Championships-tickets/artist/5274704

LIVE online access can be purchased with 25% discount using code: CBBKST from:
https://worldchess.com/paygate

El Chessico – Pt. II – Tuesday 6th November

Roll up, Roll up! The big day is almost upon us…

Forget about Christmas – El Chessico pt. II is the only thing people are talking about this month, and it all kicks off tomorrow evening.

Three years of rivalry, grudges, scores-to-be-settled, oh and some friendship in there too – we’re putting it all on the line tomorrow night across 30+ boards against those noisy neighbours in saaaarf London, Battersea Chess Club.

Full details below – please get in touch if you have any last minute queries. And we have a tentative board order too (subject to change!). It’s going to be EPIC:

  • Tuesday 6th November, 7.15pm sharp start
  • Battersea Labour Club, 81-83 Falcon Road, SW11 2PF
  • Clapham Junction is the nearest station
  • Time Control: 70 minutes, +10 second increment
  • All games rated
  • There is a huge trophy to be won!

Tentative Board Order:

And There’s More!

Battersea will also be hosting a special Blitz tournament, inspired by the WCC match in conjunction with Chessable, on Tuesday 20th November.

There will be cash prizes, and more than a couple of Hammers have already thrown their hats into the ring.

If you’re keen to take part, please get in touch with Battersea’s Aldo, who is helping organise: aldocamilleri@aol.com

October Updates from the Hammer-House!

As our first full month of the 2018-19 season draws to a close, we’ve re-capped all our October results and activities for you to review.

It’s been an amazing start so far ,with 8 Wins, 1 Draw, and 3 Losses, plus our Hammer Derby in London Division 4. Enjoy!

Match Results
We also:
29.10.18 – Middlesex Division 3: Hammersmith vs. West London

Hammersmith won the toss and were White on Odds. The results fell as follows:

  1. Nadhmi Auchi 0-1 Colum Jezierski
  2. John White 0-1 Raghu Kamath
  3. Brian Dodgeon 0-1 Russell Campbell
  4. Simon Harding 0.5-0.5 James Pooler
  5. Aditya Patel 1-0 Stuart Winter
  6. Dipender Gill 1-0 Sam Brown
  7. Hammersmith Default win
  8. Hammersmith Default win

Nadhmi played a tough game on board 1 against a much more experienced player. Although this game was lost, it was definitely a useful learning experience for the rising star.

John also played a much higher rated player on board 2, and misplaced his knight in the middle game to block an escape square for his bishop. This left him a piece down, and although the fight went to the end, John eventually couldn’t hold on.

Brian’s opponent played slightly inaccurately in the Caro-Kann opening, which gave Brian enough confidence to try an enterprising knight sacrifice on move 15 for two pawns to give exciting attacking chances.

But although his opponent was never able to castle, he found a very accurate method of neutralising the threats and stabilising the centre, so Brian was heading for a late middle-game with just two pawns for the knight. In trying to find more ways to attack, he overlooked a trick involving a rook sacrifice for a pawn that would have led to a knight fork on king and queen. Brian avoided the trap, but the extra pawn he won meant it was a losing ending. Game is presented below:

Simon played out a gruelling draw after searching hard for a win. Aditya played an exciting game and came out a few pawns ahead in the middle to comfortably convert to a win in the endgame.

Dipender completely stuffed up the opening, but managed to just about hang in there to steal the victory in a fortuitous endgame:

So Hammersmith managed to sneak ahead, by some luck!! A 4.5-3.5 win!

Next game is 14th November – recruitment email to follow in the next few days.

Dipender.

Back With a Bang in London Division 2!

24.10.18 – London Division 2: Hammersmith vs. East Ham

Hammersmith’s keenly anticipated London League Division 2 odyssey got off to an encouraging start with a comfortable 7.5-2.5 win over East Ham. Every member of the team looked focused and played with great determination to squeeze the maximum from every move. In the end our greater strength in depth prevailed.

I was delighted to have Alexander and Nadhmi debuting on the lower boards. Both played excellent games and looked like seasoned veterans. The future of the club is in good hands with young guys like this coming through.

Carsten has kindly provided some excellent notes to his fine win on top board, which is well worth serious study – see below.

Thomas and Bajrush seemed to win very comfortably on 2 and 3. Paul rose from his sickbed to force his opponent to defend doggedly for the three hours to secure a draw on board 4.

Unfortunately a last minute emergency at work meant Chris had to pull out, but Neil sportingly stepped in on board 5, 40 mins down on the clock and out graded by some 80 points, he put up a tremendous battle and just missed a deserved draw at the end.

Marios, on 6, played a King’s Indian Defence with panache, his king side attack breaking through neatly. I played an enjoyable hack on 7, though Stockfish was quick to point out various improvements for both players.

Paul K faced a particularly solid opponent on board 8, finally wending his way through a tricky endgame to secure a draw.

On 9, Alexander played a very well controlled, positionally strong game to down his experienced opponent. On 10, Nadhmi did likewise to secure a well earned draw with a higher rated opponent.

It will be a long hard season ahead, no doubt with many ups and downs, but if the team battles like this all season, hopefully we won’t be too far away in the battle for the coveted promotion spots to Division 1.

Jim.

Carsten Pedersen vs. Peter Jaszkiewsky

“The setup with h3 & Be3 is recommended by John Shaw in his recent 1. e4 repertoire book, and I’d resolved that if I got the chance I’d play it with white, as I’m likely to sooner or later get it with black!

However, when we actually got there I realised I couldn’t remember anything about it! Shows recommendation is based on playing 14. Re1 but instead we followed the old mainline for a few moves until blacks 16…h6? (Berg* continues: 16….Bh5 17. Nf3, Bxf3 =, on Paul K’s preferred 14… Rae8 (“the old move”) he suggests 15. a3 with a small white advantage).

Black’s h6 is a serious positional mistake, with e6 covered the Knights job on g5 is done and it needs to be redirected to e5 anyway, so spending a tempo on chasing it there does not make sense, especially as it also seriously weakens the b1-h7 diagonal. Essentially the rest of the game centres around white trying to exploit this, assisted by black misplacing his pieces in a failed attempt to put pressure on f4 & g3 with Nh5 and Qh4.

29. Qxg7 was played with the flag hanging only because I’d seen 30. Bh4, when I expected 30… Qxh4 31. Rxd7+!, Kxd7 32. Qxf7+, Qe7, when I assumed there would be something. While my opponent was thinking I noticed 33. Ba2 and white picks up a second pawn. After Ke8 – which I had not considered at all – I had to make sure I’d not messed up. Stockfish points out the incredible 31. Qh8+ Rf8 32. fxe6 Rxh8 33. exd7# which I was nowhere near seeing.

Fortunately what I played is more than good enough, the point is that black can’t take on f5 after the Queenswap (exf5, gxf5 Nxf5, Rxd7 Kxd7, Bxf5+ is deadly and taking with the bishop just loses a piece after Rxf7), in the finish he’d obviously overlooked Be1 but there was no defence anyway.”

*Emmanuel Berg, in vol.3 of his quality chess series on the French.

A Hat-trick of Wins

October has been a rip-roaring start to the Season at Hammersmith. We follow with a bunch of write-ups, reporting some fantastic results for the club – read on!

24.10.18 – London Division 5: Lewisham v Hammersmith

Despite being out graded on 3 of the 4 boards, Hammer managed a brilliant 2.5-1.5 win:

Dipender was the first to finish, and his win is shown for you below – pretty comprehensive in the end:

Yazhou dropped a couple of pawns in his game, which proved decisive in the endgame, where he succumbed to a defeat.

Dipli played very well to win a piece in the middle-game, putting Hammer 2-1 up by the 30 move time control.

Brian was last to finish – he gives us his commentary and game below:

“By move 28 I’d arrived at an ending of 2 bishops & 6 pawns for my opponent, vs 2 bishops and 4 pawns for me. Getting a centralised King and swapping off one pair of bishops, I managed to win a pawn back and carefully exchange enough pawns to finish with bishop & 2 pawns vs. bishop and one pawn, which was eventually enough to get a draw and give us the win by the odd half-point. A bit of revenge for the recent Div 4 match v Lewisham, where they turned up with 6 of their 8 players graded above 150!”

Thames Valley Update

There’s a very good atmosphere in the Thames Valley Camp at the moment, with Hammer riding high on 3 wins from 3 as we compete in the top tier of the league setup.

Our three games to date have gone as follows:

  1. Hammersmith vs. Ealing Juniors: 5-3 WIN
  2. Wimbledon B vs. Hammersmith: 2.5-4.5 WIN
  3. Richmond & Twickenham vs. Hammersmith: 2.5-5.5 WIN

Those last two away results are particularly pleasing – especially the result at Richmond, against a side that out graded us, and included Carsten managing a draw against IM Gavin Wall – brilliant result.

Hammer’s strength across the board order is really paying dividends across all the leagues this season. Match cards and League Table presented below:

And the League Table makes for good reading. Early days, but looks like it might be a straight two-way shootout between the mighty Hammer, and Wimbledon’s A-team:

And don’t forget…

Tonight sees our Middlesex 3 side take on the mighty West London, for bragging rights down this end of the Piccadilly Line!

And we’ll shortly be reporting on our first result of the season in the lofty heights of London Division 2! Stay tuned…

 

British Bangla RapidPlay & Other Updates

The Annual British Bangla Chess Association FIDE Rapidplay is coming up  – and as always there are some serious cash prizes up for grabs, with a side dish of Biryani!

It’s been a great tournament the last few years, and the BBCA are terrific hosts & very welcoming – and terrific competitors too, as we know from our Summer League matchups!

Full details below, but the key thing to note is the £1,360 prize fund, which includes 3x grading prizes for the best performers at the lower levels – great idea!

  • When: Sunday 11th November 2018, 11am kickoff, 7pm prize-giving
  • Where: London Enterprise Academy, Commercial Road, E1 1RD
  • Entry: £25 entry (ECF bronze members will need to pay an additional £7.50)
  • What: Six round, Swiss pairings, 15 mins +5 sec increment
  • Contact: britishbanglachess@gmail.com

Further information is available on the BBCA website, along with entry forms and a current list of players:

www.britishbanglachess.com

Other News & Reminders…

Diversity Officer – if you’re  interested in talking to us about this new position on our Committee, please get in touch. We’ll be locking this down on 26th October.

Safeguarding – we are now a fully-fledged child-friendly club, having signed up to the ECF’s Safeguarding Policy and with the appointment of a Child Protection Officer – full details here – we encourage all members to familiarise themselves with the ECF’s policy

El Chessico – we’re at 30+ boards already, and are still looking for signups for this huge event on Tuesday November 6th, at Battersea Chess Club. Please contact John if you’d like to play: john.white49@ntlworld.com

Club Internal RapidPlay – if you haven’t done so already, please get in touch with your opponent and get your First Round match arranged! All results need to be reported back to the Tournament controllers by Friday 16th November. The clock is ticking!!

Tomorrow night sees us making our London Division 2 debut against the mighty East Ham! It’s been a wild ride for our top London team this last few years, with two rapid promotions. We’re now dining in the elite section of the London Club setup! Big JimLocoStevenson captains the side… wish them luck!

And finally… The Hammer Christmas Party will soon be upon us! The date is set for Thursday 6th December, and we have a spot reserved for us at Wahaca restaurant on Charlotte Street. It’s already proving popular, so don’t delay and get in touch with John to confirm your place: john.white49@ntlworld.com. Remember – partners, parents, friends and anyone else is welcome, the more the merrier… we just need to confirm numbers.

Rock the Citadines

10.10.18 – London Division 4: Hammersmith 2 v Lewisham

Hammersmith Deux’s second match in London Division 4 pitched us against Lewisham, an opportunity to try and score a repeat of our most impressive performance from last season as we took down the big dogs from Sarf-East London.

Once again, they wheeled out their big hitters and it’s to our credit that we find ourselves TIED at 3.5-3.5, with Bens match adjourned for another night. When you consider we were outgraded on every board, it’s impressive that we’re still in the mix and could get something from the match yet. Full match card below:

A really tough match. I have to admit being a little surprised by the strength of their team, not least by how far down the board-order they were able to keep churning out 150+ players! I fancy they’ll be in the mix at the top of the table at the end of the season.

Full credit to our 1-2-3 of Paul, Sheikh and Nadhmi who secured solid draws against their higher-graded opponents. Particularly well done to Paul who kept things together following some general silliness that crept over from another match entirely!

John managed to hold his nerve, seemingly coping with The Clash occurring in his peripheral vision, and ran out the clear winner following a blunder at a crucial moment. The match was technically adjourned but the resignation came shortly before they were forced to reconvene.

It was difficult to keep track of some of the games, but I’ve tracked down a couple of PGNs to keep you entertained.

Brian succumbed to a powerful Queen-side pawn push following an early 2.f4 in the Sicilian. Nastly little attack, and The Hat looked doomed when the Rooks paired up on the 7th:

Adam continues his strong start to the season with a great win, making light of the 15-point grading gap. Some analysis/notes included here from the man himself: