We held our first training session of the year tonight – and it was a cracking evening to get us started for the year. Our Balkan wizard at the board – chairman Bajrush Kelmendi – led the session with aplomb, taking a good sized group through the following topics:
Basic endgame theory
King & pawn endings
Pawn on pawn formations
Rook and Bishop theory, including the tricky task of mating with a bishop pair
It didn’t end there – that was followed by a practical session on applying some of these themes in a couple of previous games of his.
Bajrush was aided by our League 4 Captain John White at the demo board. We also had the benefit of a large television & computer for running through the games.
There were plenty of questions and challenges from the crowd, and a couple of moments of levity, mostly involving missing pieces from the demo board which John had managed to squirrel away in his pockets! True magnetism.
It was a great session – hats off to Bajrush for arranging, and also to John for helping sort out on the night.
Further tips and tactics for endgames can be found here.
Looking forward to the next session – Monday 29th Feb, 7.30pm start. Save the date & do come along!!
We are today excited to announce some upcoming training sessions to be hosted at our club venue (directions here) in West London.
Two of the strongest players at our club, Bajrush Kelmendi and Carsten Pedersen, aided by our training group, will be providing a number of sessions over the next few months to help all players sharpen their tactics and improve their game. These sessions will be open to members and non-members alike (at no cost). Details as follows:
Monday 22nd Feb, from 7.30pm – a session focused on Endgames for beginner and intermediate levels. Though even the seasoned pro’s might learn a thing or two!
Monday 29th Feb, from 7.30pm – an open session for members to submit topics of their own suggestion. Please contact Bajrush with your ideas for topics and we will finalise details closer to the time.
Monday 14th March, from 7.30pm – a session jointly hosted by Carsten and Bajrush in which we will analyse three of the games from the Simultaneous against Chris Ward.
Later this Spring, Carsten will host a session on Pawn endings at the club. Details to be confirmed, but we’ll keep you posted!
As mentioned, we’d be pleased to welcome any non-members to the club for these sessions. If you think this may be of interest to you, please let us know your details below and we’ll be in touch:
I’ve only been playing competitive chess for a few years – one season for Denton whilst in Manchester before joining Hammersmith in early 2012. Back then I wasn’t thinking about captaining a team. I was happy to just turn up and play.
I remember having a conversation with my captain one day in the usual post-match post-mortem – I think he may have slipped to a disappointing draw. “Captaining a team takes 10 points off your grade” he chuckled to himself. How could that be? It didn’t seem that hard – you just send an e-mail a few days before the match asking who wants to play? Then you toss a coin as the match kicks-off to decide colours. Easy…
I’ve been a captain now for approaching two full-seasons so thought it might be interesting to double-back on that throwaway comment and see if it carries any weight.
I finished the 2014 season on a grade of 127, and at that time took on the mantle of captaining our team in London League Division 4. It’d be a challenge: our team was likely to be graded in the 140-80 range and yet we’d regularly come up against teams with a 120-130 on bottom-board; a 175 on Top Board wasn’t altogether surprising either. Still, it was about getting games and ensuring that we were able to follow-through on providing league chess for our newer members.
The season was a difficult one – even factoring-in the other matches outside the league, I ended the season on 34%. My Jan’15 grade was 117 and my final-year grade was 121 – a total of 6 points lost like-for-like. But fast-forward a few months and I was back up to 126. All things considered, I’m not sure there’s much in it. The more cynical amongst you may argue I didn’t have that many grading points to lose in the first place!
Still, I wouldn’t say captaining a side is without its challenges. Even in my short tenure, I’ve had to deal with:
Team-mates not turning up / travelling to the wrong venue / pulling out with an hour’s notice
Team-mates arguing with each other / other teams
Opposition captains complaining about one of my players
Multiple wrangles with the league over player eligibility
Disputes over time controls / weird once-in-a-lifetime rules
Once I’m in the midst of a match, I tend to knuckle down and concentrate on my game – I’m not sure it’s much of a burden. The biggest stress I have is wondering whether my 8 players are going to turn up! That broad smile you see at 6:59pm in Golden Lane, when the last player rolls through the door, that’s a real one!!
As the only victor in the recent Simultaneous against Chris Ward, Hammersmith’s Danish wizard Carsten Pedersen has generously provided us with his analysis of that game.
The insight is a real treat and makes for a fascinating read. As you might expect from two top players, some of the lines are tricky to follow, though Carsten has done really well in explaining the logic behind them. I’m pleased to say there is even the occasional (semi) blunder in there! A terrific read – hope you enjoy it.
Am delighted to report that members of Hammersmith Chess club took on the ex-British Champion Grandmaster Chris Ward in a simultaneous match over 15 boards last night – 2nd February 2016. The whole evening took three hours and was a brilliant display of competitive and fighting chess… well, maybe on four of the 15 boards!
The evening was great fun thanks to Chris who was very entertaining, very sporting and played some deadly chess.
Pride of place goes to Carsten Pedersen, our club’s strongest player who not only beat Chris, but did so after getting an inferior position in the opening – amazing performance!
Just behind him were the three stalwarts of the Club – Mike Mackenzie, our Club Secretary, Bajrush Kelmendi, our Chairman, and David Lambert, one of our team captains. Although they lost, they each played magnificently.
Indeed Mike had a potentially won game but possibly over-excitement and with Chris posing him problems at every move, he ended up losing despite being ahead on material for much of the game.
David played solidly all the way and only a clever tactic from Chris downed him in the endgame.
Bajrush had an incredibly complicated game with Chris that was decided late into the evening when again, the expertise of Chris saw him secure the win.
The rest of us were dispatched in regulation fashion. The reality is that a player of Chris’s ability sees so much more at the board than us club hackers. Take your correspondent – I was strategically lost after 7 moves – a hasty move saw to my downfall.
A great night that will be repeated in future, and once again Hammersmith Chess Club must thank Chris for making it happen.