Saturday 26th – Sambrook’s! & Much more

El Chess Up in a Brewery – it’s on! This Saturday 26th, Hammersmith will be taking on local upstarts Battersea, in a Rapidplay tournament at the home of Wandle, Sambrook’s Brewery!

Starting at 1pm sharp, and running all afternoon (until roughly 5pm), we’ll be in the taproom at their Brewery on Yelverton Road, SW11 3QG – nearest station, Clapham Junction!

It will be 15 minutes per game, with 3 sec increments, with some handicaps for extreme grading differentials.

It’s going to be a fun day, and we hope to see you all there – the venue is superb and the beer outstanding, and well-priced!

  • What? Rapidplay tourney, 15 min + 3
  • When? Saturday 26th Jan, 1-5pm
  • Where? Sambrook’s Brewery, Yelverton Road, SW11 3QG
  • How much? FREE!
The Hammersmith Rapid League 2019 – Round I

After the success of last year’s event, the second season of the Hammersmith Rapid League got underway last Monday. Six teams, five nights of chess, four boards, three senior chess teams, two junior chess teams, and one footy stats team… sums up the 2019 incarnation nicely!

This is the league where you play two games of rapid chess against the same opponent each night – one as black and one as white. All the games are rated and count towards an ECF rapid grade.

What more could any chess player want??

This year’s lineup was as follows:

  • The fearsome Tony’s Tigers
  • The awesome Tony’s Lions
  • The dreaded Hackney Posse
  • The Crazy Gang of Football Radar
  • The ferocious Battersea Crew
  • And the Mighty Hammer

To the matches – the first round saw some really close matches with an internecine battle as the Tigers took on the Lions, Football Radar taking on Battersea, and Hackney squaring up to the Hammers.

Tigers vs. Lions

This was a seriously competitive match with a real heavyweight clash on top board, and the other three all closely contested. All the games went to the bitter end with no quarter given.

The Lions shaded it in Round One, with wins for Connall and Xu. Taymour struck back for the Tigers and the top board was drawn.

At the halfway stage the Lions had sneaked ahead, 2.5-1.5.

The Tigers had been wounded but were not down – the come back was possible. Plus we all know there is nothing more frightening than a wounded Tiger.

The second round saw the Tigers go to work and with three wins and a draw they swept to a well-deserved victory. Both these teams will be serious contenders for the title.

Final Score: Tigers 5 – 3 Lions

Battersea vs. Football Radar

This saw the clash of the newboys. Football Radar, and our beloved Frenemies Battersea.

Things did not go well for the Footy boys in the first round and they succumbed to a narrow but decisive 3.5-4.5 defeat. This match really could have gone either way and Battersea can consider themselves very unlucky.

Great performances from both Alistair of the Radar and Darius of Battersea, who both went 2-0. The game that attracted my attention was the second game between Alistair and James that had a very nice tactical sequence. It is one that will hopefully feature in a later posting.

Final Score: Battersea 3.5 – 4.5 Football Radar

Hammersmith vs. Hackney

Following the trend set by the other two matches, the Hammer boys were leading 2.5-1.5 at the halfway point. It could have been a half-point more but for a tactic missed by Wyatt. That game was the longest of the first round and could have gone either way. In the end, stoic defence from Wyatt secured the half-point.

However, the Hackney boys were not down, and definitely not out. They rallied superbly in the second round of games with three wins on the top three boards. Dipli bravely held the line on board 4 against Hackney captain, and great bloke, Bryan, but alas could not prevent Hammer going down 3-1.

A tough loss for Kostis to take, especially in his captain’s debut, but he can feel proud of his team.

Congratulations to captain Bryan and the Hackney team – they really fought back well. The sportsmanship in this contest was totally indicative of the whole evening, and all teams and players must be applauded for that.

Final Score: Hammersmith 3.5 – 4.5 Hackney

So after Round I the cross table looks like this:

And the normal table looks like this:

Roll on Round II – we look forward to seeing all the teams back on the 29th of January!

10.01.19 – Middlesex Div 3: Harrow 2 v Hammersmith

With Adam away gracing Europe’s ski slopes, it was left to your author, Dave, to captain the Hammer side in Middlesex Division 3, as we took on Harrow 2. Fortunately we ran out 4.5-3.5 winners which meant I could welcome Adam back with some good news!

Full score-card as follows:

In the end, a very satisfying victory against a side almost matching us grade-for-grade as we moved down the board order. Even more so when you consider that we started the match 1-0 down due to a default. Very well done one & all… !

I’m able to present two games for your enjoyment here, both of which ended up as full points for the good guys.

Brian secured the victory with some aggressive play as White in a Sicilian Najdorf, creating complications which ultimately led to a tactical mistake from his opponent. Some fine play, particularly when trying to make up some time on the clock.

Your temporary captain for the evening took home the point after playing out a slightly unusual encounter. Playing as Black, I felt I was slightly on the back-foot for the first 14-15 moves before my opponent exchanged several pieces. Each exchange seemed to favour me, and before I knew it, I had some fairly well-placed pieces, with the threat of mate or serious material advantage. Resignation soon followed.

Keep your eyes peeled for upcoming games, when normal service resumes under Adam’s stewardship.

Dave.

And Finally…

The lovely folk who sponsor us, Chess & Bridge, are happy to offer any Hammer Members a FREE 3 month subscription to Chess magazine!

To claim this offer, simply drop them an email info@chess.co.uk or call them (020 7486 7015), and provide your name, address, telephone and email – of course, mention Hammersmith Chess Club!

Offer is valid until the end of Jan, and it is well worth signing up – a great magazine, and 3 free issues is a great offer!

Hammer Goes Global!

A couple of recent match reports follow, but first up some exciting news from chess-site.com:

Hammer Joins the Global Elite of Chess Clubs

In a sign of our increasing reach, and a digital ‘pat on the back’ for our ongoing efforts to improve the club, I’m pleased to report that Hammersmith has been added to the illustrious list of “The Best Chess Clubs” on one of the top chess resource websites in the world, chess-site.com

Taking our place alongside 11 other top performing clubs world wide, it’s a huge honour to be mentioned in the same breath as the likes of the world-famous St. Louis Chess Club, and the Bangkok Chess Club. [dis-honourable mention to our frenemies at Battersea!]

As fellow lovers of the game, John Jackson, the CEO of Chess-Site, and his team, have written up a wonderful and generous profile of Hammersmith, as part of their mission to produce a definitive one-stop resource for the game.

Their website contains a ton of useful information for chess-lovers, and is a terrific resource for anyone with an interest in the game. Well worth a read and a share, and we thank John for taking the time to profile us. Long may the association continue!

10.01.19 – London League Division 2: Metropolitan v Hammersmith

Happy new year to all my Hammer colleagues and comrades. We began the first of six matches in January/February with a visit to one of our main rivals for promotion. The anticipated difficulty of accessing their base somewhere in the depths of Middle Earth did not prove to be quite as baffling as anticipated, the match however was a sterner test of our resolve.

My apologies for being blunt, but an issue has been growing over our opening four matches which I cannot avoid mentioning.

How seriously does Hammersmith, both as a club and we as individuals, really care about having a team in London League D1?

Of course, I fully understand that we all have very busy schedules, of which chess can only be a small part. Also, as a relative newbie, perhaps it is not for me to say. But still, with our resources, while promotion to D1 should be very do-able, the reality is a little different. As it stands, our promotion chances appear rather slim.

For whatever reasons, a sizeable minority of nominated players are unable to play regularly. A very unhelpful state of affairs. This is then compounded by the restriction on bringing in players from second and third teams, since this would quickly bar them from those teams. Worse still, our fixture list is so congested that asking people to play at short notice is rarely successful.

One thing I would ask for is for people to at least reply promptly (or indeed at all) to say whether they can play. A “no” is much preferable to no response. 

Okay, with that little moan over with, on to the match. I will say that everyone gave the proverbial “110%” effort befitting a Hammerite. Particular thanks to those stepping in at short notice.

The match went very much to expected grading results. Although Thomas lost a complex struggle on top board, Carsten, Tony, Bajrush and Sylvain powered to convincing wins on boards 2-5. Bajrush continued his imperious form with a fourth straight win in his inimitable style. Hopefully he will be annotating his game for us shortly. We were also assisted a little by Met’s late substitution on board 2.

Alas, the engine room stalled a little on boards 6-8. Tomasso going down, while myself and Paul laboured in vain.

The last two games to finish, both ferociously fought, saw Charlie and Wyatt finally forced to tilt their kings in defeat. Nonetheless, great fighting chess by both against much higher graded opponents.

So the match ended 5-5, which can be interpreted in either glass half full or glass half empty mode as you prefer. We play five more matches before the end of February – Hammers, over to you!

Jim.

London League Blitz/Rapidplay – the people have spoken!

From social media this week, the London Chess League (@ll_chess) were spotted canvassing opinions for a new, London-wide Rapid or Blitz league using a Twitter poll.

The results were more resounding than the Prime Minister’s recent defeat – with a whopping 97% of respondents in favour of the launch of a London-wide Rapid or Blitz (or both!) league.

Food for thought indeed… we’d be keen to hear the views of Hammerites!

A Bumper Week

It’s only the 12th of January, but already we have loads of things to update you all on – read on for a taste of what’s coming up, featuring foreign travel, breweries, more competitions, and a couple of GM’s paying us a visit in the next few months…

Poland trip

In case it’s escaped your notice this last week, the Annual Hammer trip abroad has been confirmed – we’re off to Breslau, Poland!

The trip takes place on the weekend of 7-9th June, and it’s going to be a brilliant experience. Breslau is a stunning medieval city, steeped in European history. Direct flights are available at reasonable cost from Standsted and Luton airpots, and there are already 10 Hammers booked to travel. What more could you ask for?

If you’re keen to join the intrepid party, please take the following steps:

  • Email John to confirm your attendance: john.white49@ntlworld.com
  • Book your flights (this part is your responsibility, however as there are only a couple of flight options, chances are you’ll be on the same plane as at least one other Hammer)
  • Join the Breslau WhatsApp group to sort accommodation – similar to previous trips, this will be a combination of Airbnb for those wishing to share or reduce costs, and hotels for the well heeled who prefer their own space! It’s entirely up to you.

Don’t delay – flights are still cheap, so get in there while you can!

Chess Up in a Brewery

Could this be a World’s First? A chess match in a brewery??

Yes, the mighty Hammer is taking on the slightly-less-mighty Battersea Chess Club over 14 boards in a local brewery – Sambrook’s!

A brilliant confluence of many enjoyable things, this is going to be a fantastic afternoon of entertainment.

The match takes place on Saturday 26th January, 1-5pm, and we are looking for players! If you’re keen to play, get in touch with John: john.white49@ntlworld.com

Places are going fast, so sign up soon if you want to be involved!!

Hammersmith & Celtic Tigers Raffle

A special raffle is taking place as we speak, to raise funds for Hammersmith and our sister club in the 4NCL, Celtic Tigers! Amongst the 50+ prizes on offer are:

  • Several training sessions with top players
  • Digital clocks
  • Championship chess sets
  • Ginger GM DVD’s
  • …and much more!

The odds of winning a prize are well over 50% , so you don’t even need to be that lucky to win something!!

Tickets are £10 a pop, or £15 for two, and the money is going to two great causes, supporting chess in the local area. If you want to nab a ticket, please contact fellow Hammer, Chris Skulte: chrisskulte@gmail.com

Good luck!!!

BBCA Rapidplay goes Monthly!

After the huge success of their annual big-money Rapdiplay tournament, our good friends in East London, the British Bangla Chess Association, have now launched a MONTHLY Rapidplay competition, and I’m pleased to report that the big money prizes are still there!!

Starting Sunday 27th January, and hosting up to 60 players per month, the competition will have Open (no limit) and Minor (Newcomers up to 80 ECF) sections, with prizes for 1st and 2nd places, plus several grading prizes – plenty of chance to win something!

Further details as follows:

  • Dates (all Sundays): January 27th, February 24th, March 31st, April 28th, May 26th, June 30th, July 28th, August 25th, September 29th, October 27th, November 24th, December 29th.
  • When: 4pm – 8pm
  • Where: The Hason Raja Centre, Spitalfields Housing Association, 117 Vallance Road,E1 5BW
  • Time Control: 15 minutes per player
  • Prizes: Open: 1st – £100, 2nd – £70; Minor: 1st – £30, 2nd – £20. Grading prizes: £25, for each of U180, U160, U140, U120, U100
  • Cost: £20 for ECF Silver or Gold, £27.50 for ECF Bronze or non-ECF, and £10 for all entries in the Minor section.
  • Contactbritishbanglachess@gmail.com
  • Entry forms are available herehttps://form.jotform.co/90074668579876

As usual, we expect this will be a brilliant competition, and the BBCA do a fantastic job in their local community – well worth your support!

And don’t forget – our last foray into this competition saw a couple of Hammers walk away with cash prizes:

Thames Valley Division 1 – Hammer Riding High!

Our Thames Valley team are continuing their unbeaten run in this season’s league. We ‘stole’ a victory from Ealing A on Monday night, who put out a very strong team.

With two games left, Ealing were edging it 3.5-2.5, with just Bajrush and Tony to finish. Thankfully, both Hammers brought home the bacon and we squeaked out a 4.5-3.5 win! Amazing result:

We now sit top of the table, and are the only unbeaten team in the league. After Surbiton’s 5.5-2.5 win at Wimbledon A, we also have a game in hand over our nearest rivals.

The purists amongst us will know that since TV records began in 1974, Hammersmith have never been Division 1 champions. Indeed, the last dozen years has seen honours rotated pretty evenly amongst Wimbledon, Ealing, Richmond and Surbiton.

Is this the season we buck the trend? Do we dare to dream??? Stay tuned…

An Evening with GM Matthieu Cornette – Monday 11th February

2016 French Champion, Celtic Tiger, and all-round top player, GM Matthieu Cornette will be gracing the Anvil on Monday 11th February form 7.30pm, for an evening of chess talk!

Matthieu will be providing a 2 hour talk and discussion, focused on club players in the range 100-150 ECF, so this will be of massive interest to many at Hammersmith.

The evening is free of charge, however we are limited to 48 people due to Health & Safety, so places will be limited. As ever, contact John to register your spot: john.white49@ntlworld.com

An Evening with GM Danny King – Monday 29th April

As if one GM isn’t enough, on 29th April we will be bringing you another evening of top-level chess instruction, humour, debate and anecdotes in the form of media-star GM Daniel King!

A GM since 1989, Daniel received huge plaudits for his coverage of the 1993 World Chess Championship on UK Channel 4, and has gone on to have a hugely successful career in chess broadcasting and media, with highlights including coverage of Kasparov v Deep Blue, work for the BBC, and even Cilla Black!

Daniel is a top level tutor and instructor, with a very successful YouTube channel, and remains a top British player. He’s also a native of West London! Couldn’t be better.

This will be a popular evening, so if you sign up as an ‘early bird’ before 10th April, it is only £7 per place, rising to £10 thereafter.

Tickets are exclusively for Hammer members up to March 31st, so don’t delay to secure your place amongst the lucky 48!

Contact John ASAP to book your spot: john.white49@ntlworld.com

And Finally…

Stay tuned in the next few days for write-ups on the first round of the Hammersmith League Rapidplay, and some of this week’s games!

The chess never stops at Hammer! #hammertime

 

Chess-Up in a Brewery!!

The Hammer vs Battersea Sambrook’s Club Challenge!
The world’s first “Chess-Up in a Brewery”!

There are three absolute truths in our corner of the chess world in early 2019:

  1. The Noisy Neighbours, Battersea, are still smarting from the El Chessico encounter two months ago, and are thirsting for revenge.
  2. The indisputable thirst that chess players have for the combination in liquid format of hops, barley, yeast and water.
  3. Hammer will never not be thirsty for a chess challenge.

A thirst that must – and will – be quenched. That is a lot of thirst. We have the answer.

Yes, the first “Chess-Up in a Brewery” challenge has been arranged, and you bet those Battersea Boyz want revenge!

The challenge will take place in the tap room of Sambrook’s brewery, over in Battersea (SW11 3QG), on Saturday the 26th January from 1-5pm. Check out their website:

www.sambrooksbrewery.co.uk

Due to space constraints, the match will be restricted to just 14 boards, and to ensure an even distribution of all playing strengths, the set-up will be as follows in terms of ECF ratings:

  • Boards 1&2 – ECF 200+
  • Boards 3&4 – ECF 180-200
  • Boards 5&6 – ECF 160-180
  • Boards 7&8 – ECF 140-160
  • Boards 9&10 – ECF 120-140
  • Boards 11&12 – ECF 100-120
  • Boards 13&14 – ECF below 100

So, we need 14 Hammers to step forward and volunteer for the challenge match! It will be strictly first come, first served, so get involved quickly if you want to play – it will be a brilliant event!

Please email john.white49@ntlworld.com ASAP to reserve your spot!

A match made in heaven!

Captain Clueless – also open to beer bribes to get on the team!

Hammer Goes East! Poland Beckons in 2019

Happy New Year to all Hammers! Chess is back for 2019, and there is plenty to get you in the mood! First up…

Hammer Goes East – Poland Beckons in 2019

Yes, with the Christmas and New Year festivities done & dusted, Hammer Chess Club members and minds – like a TUI Boxing Day advert – are switching to thoughts of destinations for a Summer holiday.

In the past two years Hammer have sampled the delights of the beautiful cities of Amsterdam and Cork in search of Summer chess satisfaction.

The 2019 destination will be Wroclaw, in Western Poland. Formerly known as Breslau, and situated on the River Oder, it is the fourth largest city in Poland.

Beautiful Wroclaw beckons this Summer!

It is one of the most stunning and beautiful European cities, and the trip will encompass chess, culture, new friendships, and the odd beer or two.

I must thank Artur and the Wroclaw Chess Club for agreeing to host us, and we will certainly reciprocate with a return visit (fingers crossed!) in 2020.

From a chess point of view, Wroclaw are a top chess club and this will be a brilliant chess weekend.

I must also thank Ryszard for introducing me to Artur, and must also emphasise the strong ties between Hammersmith and Poland. The Polish Cultural Association is based in the heart of Hammersmith and is a visible example of the friendship and historical ties between our countries.

The visit will take place from the 7th – 9th June. I have just booked my flights and am returning early Monday morning (10th June).

So, how do you book a place:

  1. Email Clueless at john.white49@ntlworld.com, stating that you wish to come!
  2. Next, book your flights – Ryanair and Wizz airlines both fly direct to Wroclaw.
  3. Contact Clueless if you would like to share accommodation – probably airbnb.

Please respond ASAP – the Hammers who have been involved in the last two trips had a brilliant time. This is going to be an amazing weekend!

More Chess Action in January

Plenty more is coming up this month too – The Hammersmith League kicks off again this coming Tuesday 8th, at Lytton Hall, with a second round of fixtures on Tuesday 29th. Captains have already begun arranging their teams – if you are yet to be contacted, please get in touch.

The Celtic Tigers have a match weekend coming up on the 12th and 13th – expect a report the following week once the dust has settled!

If you’ve not done so already, you may wish to purchase a ticket or two for the Raffle being organised to raise funds for Hammersmith and the Celtic Tigers. There are dozens of prizes to be won – including some really valuable training sessions with top players – and the odds are very favourable!

And last but not least, Hammersmith is fielding teams in a further 22 competitive games this month. In fact, there are only 3 weeknights where we’re not in action – amazing! Check out the Calendar for details.

The Hammer-Celtic Tigers Raffle

Amazing Prizes to be Won!

Yes, another first for Hammer members and a great way to help raise monies for the club, and our 4NCL affiliated sister club, the Celtic Tigers, and possibly bag yourself a top chess prize….  presenting, the Hammer & Celtic Tigers Raffle!

There are plenty of prizes available – a positive Potpourri of chess delights, including:

  • 2x 1 hour training sessions with Adam Taylor (200+ ECF)
  • 3x 2-volume signed books from GM Gawain Jones
  • 4x games analysed (from scoresheets) by WIM Sue Maroroa
  • Ginger GM – 51 (yes, fifty-one!!) DVD’s to be won
  • 2 hour training session from Hammer’s Carsten Pedersen (197 ECF)
  • 2 hour training session from ECF Coach and Hammer, Tony Niccoli (188 ECF)
  • DGT 2010 digital clock worth £60
  • Kasparov Championship chess set, worth £50
  • My System Book, worth £10
  • Magnetic Wallet Set, worth £5
  • Kasparov International Master chess set, worth £24
  • Multiple Books from the Hammer Library

Chris Skulte, the Celtic Tigers Captain and a true Hammer, has put some serious effort into this and we need your help!

With the raffle strictly limited to 150 tickets, there is well over a 50% chance of winning at least one prize! Hammer members have the exclusive rights to buy tickets until 25th January, after which the chance will be offered to the wider chess community.

The draw will take place once all tickets have been sold.

This is a unique chance to get a serious piece of chess training or equipment. But remember – you have to be in it to win it!!

Due to the limited number of tickets, they’ve been priced at £10 per ticket, or £15 for two.

If you’d like to take part, simply email Chrischrisskulte@gmail.com – or ping him on the Hammer Group WhatsApp with your requirements.

It couldn’t be easier – get buying, and good luck! They are selling fast!!

 

2018-19 Rapidplay: Round III

Festive greetings to you all! And thanks to everyone for getting your games played in time for Round II of the Rapidplay Competition.

Congratulations go to Andy on this occasion, who scored the only upset of the round!

With only four players left on 2/2, round three pits the leaders against each other. Four players are half a point behind on 1.5, and there are some juicy-looking pairings throughout the list:

The deadline for Round III is Monday 28th January. Please arrange your games ASAP and enter the details into the fixtures spreadsheet.

Good luck!

Adam & Dave.

A Hammer’s Tale at the London Chess Classic

Ryszard, aka “Breslau”, took part in the Weekend Open this year at Olympia. Here, in his own words, is the tale of his journey.

Spoiler alert – he got joint-first place and should have won – he deserved it!!

The first round was on Friday evening. I got to Olympia early straight after work and had a meal before the game. No beer – so already huge sacrifice. I was ready for the first game.

So, it starts with an 1800 chap. He played a Slav where I always exchange usually with great results because I do not know anything else. However, I decided to try something else this time. Not sure about 6.g3, already maybe not so good and just leading to a draw after Na6 7.Bg2 Nb4 8.O-O Nc2 and repeating moves. So, I realised I needed to go crazy. After move 11 he is already doing very well but makes bad decision 12…Bd6 – one of those naive move many players would play. 12…Be7 and maybe not even enough compensation for white. Life after Bd6 was beautiful for me!

Maciol, Ryszard (2121) – Cherupalli, Ramprasad (1846)
10th CSC London Chess Classic (Olympia), 14.12.2018

1-0.

Second round after magic eggs and bacon from host Cluelesss. This one I struggled the most with. I do not know how to play black – I played 1….e5 for the first time in a long game I can remember. 5…Nge7 is not so good setup. I was not expecting he plays e4 as it was not what he played in games available online.

But ok it is chess and you need to defend sometimes. Move 15.Nd4 ed4 16.Bf4 was more principled and I would really suffer without any counter-play. But even in the game it is bad. I believe his mistake was 22.Ne7 after which it should be a draw (I have not checked with computer so may be wrong). 22.Re5 Be5 23.Re5 and it is very tough for me – close to lost.

After this I slowly outplayed him as I ensured I kept more time on the clock and he still believed in the ghosts of the great position he had. This is following Socko’s chess advice that time is the most important factor.

Donati, Michele (1962) – Maciol, Ryszard (2121)
10th CSC London Chess Classic (Olympia), 15.12.2018

0-1

Saturday afternoon I got IM and board 1:

Move 12 was critical for both sides – Be7 just blunders a piece. Qe8 is only one move that allows a defensive but still solid position (the computer agrees). Qc8 has been played in the past but black is already under pressure – research showed black is lost in all but one game I found online.

This followed a game from Kramnik-Kasparov in their WCC match. That game was Bg5 not Qe2 on move 10 and the queen landed on b3 then Re1 with a quick sacrifice on e6 though not winning. However, Kasparov couldn’t hold the pressure in such position.

Maciol, Ryszard (2121) – Horton, Andrew P (2397)
10th CSC London Chess Classic (Olympia), 15.12.2018

1-0

And I am now sharing first place with 3 people.

To the Sunday games.

My morning game – started with another rubbish French but I finished checkmating my opponent 🙂 9…Qc2 is really dodgy, do not do it at home 😉 I need to work on openings one day…

Walker, Nicholas P (2135) – Maciol, Ryszard (2121)
10th CSC London Chess Classic (Olympia), 16.12.2018

0-1

And the last round was real fun – unfortunately I did not execute when I had the chance!

A lot of really great lines behind the scene! I should have gone for a quick 9.b4 after dodgy 7…Nc6 and 8…Na5. But the point is that I wanted a quiet game with a small edge as the draw gives shared first, just didn’t want unbalanced material and he thought for a couple of minutes and I didn’t. I kept time advantage for the whole game but the game was not quiet!! Computer thinks it is equal until 27…Bd7. 27…h4 is the move, recommend to study it for a while without computer which we both did during the game! Move earlier 26…b3 is what I was expecting with the forced draw, again far from obvious until you see a few moves further. Recommend to study for yourself!

Then it is winning in style for white after 27…Bd7?. I just blundered a piece in move 35 (Qb4 and Ne5 are just winning with Ne5 forcing checkmate or big losses).

I get a piece back next move and funny enough position is just equal. I offered a draw at the right moment as he needed to calculate huge amount of lines and accepted it with 1 minute vs 7 minutes on the clock.

Maciol, Ryszard (2121) – Kalavannan, Koby (2328)
10th CSC London Chess Classic (Olympia), 16.12.2018

Hope you enjoyed!!

Toasting a great result!

 

A Middlesex Mullering

Christmas Bust-Up at The Anvil – The Muswell Hill Gang ran out of the Wild West of London

The Muswell Hill gang mounted a daring raid on Mother Anvil last week, and were met with Fire and Hammer. Yes, the Middlesex Division 2 circus was back on the road last night with a round 3 clash between our clubs.

Hammer has started well in this Division and Captain Clueless wanted to notch up another good performance before the Christmas break.

Now I know this is the season of goodwill and peace on earth is what we all should be embracing, but when it comes to competitive chess, this is a step too far for Hammerites!

So, would it be “The Nightmare Before Christmas”, or a “Miracle on 34th Street” scenario??

The Hammer Heroes in Board order:

  • Marios aka “Zues
  • Chris aka “Sydney” or “Showbag”
  • Paul aka “Dead-Eye
  • Jeremy aka “Brexit
  • Sheikh aka “Pandit
  • Matteo aka “The Suit
  • Charlie aka “Sorted
  • Simon aka “Bond

Hammer got an early Christmas present when Muswell forfeited boards 7 and 8 mid-afternoon. Frustrating for Bond and Sorted, but the two of them still turned up to support the team. True Hammerites to the core!!

On Board One, Zeus was playing like a God should – he had snaffled the exchange and seemed to have everything under control. Unfortunately, his opponent was a Prometheus in sheep’s clothing and got some central passed pawns rolling. Zeus struggled to halt their relentless march but the pieces or fates were aligned against him and he had to resign.

Hammer pegged back to 2-1.

Board Two saw Showbag, not only in his Christmas jumper, but also in crisp form. Just a very well-played game by our man and here for your seasonal delight is the game:

 Chris had put Hammer 3-1 up.

Dead-Eye was the last to finish on board 3 and although a pawn down in an endgame, pressured his opponent on the clock. This was a fantastic demonstration of nous and chess experience in action. He literally willed the win and in the words of Picard – he made it so.

Watching Dead-Eye in action is fascinating – he summons amazing focus and willpower to every struggle. He is totally immersed in the moment and is the epitome of Hammer Chess.

Hammer cruising at 4-1.

Board 4 was Brexit territory. Our version – unlike real life – is in superb form this season. He is currently 3-0 in individual games so far – could he make it 4-0? The answer was an emphatic yes – he won at a romp – with a strategy of building pressure on the c and d files and winning material. He is definitely on the road to rediscovering his best form.

Hammer over the finish line 5-1: victory secure.

Pandit on Board 5 was involved in one of those games where he had an edge but deft liquidation by his opponent allowed him to secure a draw. Frustrating for our man, but he still kept the scoreboard ticking over. Hammer 5.5-1.5 ahead.

Finally to the Suit, who has a window to play a lot of chess. He is currently on garden leave and hence not subject to the demands of Italian banks or financial markets. He is able to enjoy his chess without serious distractions.

Basically, he massacred his opponent – he was a rook up early on and from there on in it was simply a matter of conversion. This he duly did and delivered another point to the Hammer side.

A decent win that gives this pleasant match card, and very satisfactory table:

Hammer currently at 83% and heading into Christmas in fine fettle.

There will be tougher challenges ahead, with Harrow, Albany and Hendon encounters in January, but captain Clueless is content and ready for the dietary and alcohol excesses of the Festive Season.

Part One of the Middlesex 2 Odyssey is done and dusted – roll on Part Two.

Hammer 2 Middlesex Division getting it done. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to one and all.

Captain Clueless.

The Action Keeps Coming

Hammer Major in London Division 5

Question: Are Hammer suffering from an Arsenal, Wenger-variation, December fall-off in form? It has been a tough month so far – particularly this last week. So, could the Major team reverse the trend?

A good result last week for the Hammer squad in Division 5, with a 2.5-1.5 win against a strong Hackney team. With a team scraped together in the last 24 hours, the Hammers rose to the occasion.

Nick playing on board 4 was out graded by 15 points but achieved equality comfortably and was never in trouble – hostilities were brought to an end fairly quickly. A point shared.

Javier, one of our newest members and making his debut in the London League, played a very controlled game demonstrating really good control in the middle-game. He forced his h-pawn through and snaffled his opponent’s bishop in exchange. He then found a really nice simplification sequence that left him a passed-pawn up, and certain victory. Unfortunately, his technique faltered and he allowed a stalemate. It was simply inexperience that robbed him of a deserved victory. He will get stronger, all the ingredients are there that will ensure he will be a great addition to to Hammer ranks. Both teams locked at one point a piece. 

Shiraz had a fascinating game where his central pawn majority was offset by a black queen-side majority. In a frantic closure of the game, both promoted a pawn with Shiraz getting the queen check in first but with only two minutes on the clock. His opponent, despite having 20-plus minutes on the clock, continued to move at lightning speed.

Shiraz held his nerve and then had to deal with an illegal move from his opponent!!

I have never seen what occurred before in a rated chess game, and it is testament to the part nerves play in chess. Shiraz checked the black king which was on b7, with his queen on d7. The Hackney player moved his c6 pawn backwards to c7 to block the check!!

Fortunately, I had finished my game and was able to intervene and resolve things – the clocks were stopped and Shiraz gained two minutes on the clock. However, Shiraz wisely took the draw in a position that could easily have gone wrong, especially with just four minutes on his clock. Teams tied at 1.5-1.5.

I had a game where I equalised very quickly then decided to probe – a bit of Speelman-think was behind my strategy – fortunately my opponent made an error with 24.Qc3 allowing me to win a piece with Bd4. Interestingly, this happened immediately altering making me a draw offer – I think he thought the position was a dead draw and switched off. A fortunate win, but I will take it. 

Here is the game:

This win takes us to joint second place with four games played. 

Captain Clueless (delighted to hand back the team to Rich).

Strikes and Gutters in London Division 4

Sometimes you eat the bear, and sometimes the bear eats you. Such was the case as we succumbed to a disappointing 3-5 defeat to Streatham in London Division 4. That’s a bummer, man.

A disappointing night all round, particularly as our opponents were forced to “mark it zero” on Board 8 before we rolled. But it just felt like it was going to be one of those nights. Chances came and went, with several matches slipping away due to individual blunders. Hard to take, but it’s all part of the game.

Pavel’s was perhaps the clearest example. Rampaging into a clearly winning position early on with Black, menacing through the Kingside defence and up two pawns, before leaving his Queen en prise. It happens, but it’s still a sickener.

Matteo and Simon’s matches played out in similar fashion. Bold attacks that promised much, but the defender found enough resources to survive and suddenly the attacks fizzled into positions where we were simply material down. I felt on another day we might have won both, but that’s just, well, ya know, like, my opinion, man.

Our final faller of the evening was Kostis, who miscalculated a minor piece exchange in the middle game, leaving him 3 points down and scrambling to remain in contention. He ploughed on valiantly, but it always looked an uphill struggle.

Adam once again proved to be “The Dude” though, claiming our solitary victory of the night with another fine win on Board 4. He’s throwing rocks this year. Check out his game here. It felt comfortable watching form afar…. but…

Brian and Sheikh notched up our final tallies with each scoring solid draws. In truth, they both probably had the edge throughout their encounters. Sheikh’s match was even throughout in terms of material, but it was the Hammer man who did all the pressing. A sound defensive display ensured the point was shared. Brian grabbed a pawn advantage with a thrusting attack and held it until the endgame. His opponent’s central two-pawn charge gave him plenty to think about as the clocks ticked down.

That’s it from my lot for 2018, but we’ve got a packed agenda in January so make sure you bounce back from all those mince pies refreshed and ready for action. Looking forward to it.

Dave.