With Hammersmith playing a second team in London 6 this year, it has been a busy week of chess.
Both of our League 6 teams were in action this week, along with the League 5 team, fielding 12 boards across the three games – thumbs up to the captains for organising. Write-ups below…
01.11.16 – London League 5: Hammersmith v West London, by skipper Robin Lee
In our second match we saw the debut of two players in this team in fine fettle, both getting cracking wins, although I was too preoccupied with my game to watch the excitement and fireworks.
On board 3, amidst a flurry of moves made in true blitz fashion, with groans and sparks flying, Chris Moore demolished his opponent.
In the case of board 4 it all seemed quiet on the Western front after an initial trade of some pieces and it appeared a draw was in the offing, with Andy defending a Smith-Morra played rather tentatively by White. After a weak 4th move from White, Andy strengthened his position slowly, getting a strafing set of bishops criss-crossing the board. White had seemingly two issues – an exposed Queen and the back rank undefended. The end was nigh, albeit with no apparent forced mate, although White resigned in the face of the inevitable.
On board 2 in my game I played an odd defence to White’s e4 and it became almost a CaroKann, with some Pirc overtones. Needless to say, I played very cautiously and got my knight posted to advantage on D4 binding White. His queenside development left something to be desired.
There was a lot of manoeuvring of minor pieces to and fro but slowly I built up a pawn break in the centre and then on the King, with a Queen and implied Knight going for a fishing pole mate after White had moved g3. The Queen lighted on h3 with glee. But I pressed on the attack making no sacrifices, moving Bishop and Knight to support the Queen with a powerful Rook entering on g7.
With more time, perhaps doubling Rook, I might have had a mating attack, but opted to trade pieces and I thought I was winning. Sadly he prevailed and after all the trades his Rook won an important pawn. His doubled pawns on the h-rank became an essential feature of the endgame and bound the Black King unfortunately, the end was predictably and inevitably lost . My opponent played the endgame with faultless technique.
On Board 1 Brian reached an endgame with just one Rook and pawns against ditto, but Black was 1 or 2 pawns ahead with a centre pawn mass.
Brian’s opening was the Max Lange attack that morphed into an Evans Gambit (his forte, I should add). The opening was played very sharply and suddenly Brian had Bishop and Queen bearing down on g8, and indeed I saw Bxd8 and I thought he had overwhelmingly won, because the black King and Rooks became vulnerable, but after some wriggling Black was able to castle long. After that the game was about strengthening weak pieces and getting pieces out.
Thanks all for playing, and congratulations on the result.
Result: Hammersmith 2 – 2 West London
01.11.16 – London League 6: Hammersmith HEDGER v Metropolitan, by skipper Mike Mackenzie
A disappointing night for the Hedger team. With a late withdrawal and default due to illness, the team were up against it to get a result here. With the addition of a couple more teams to L6 this season, it has become an ultra-competitive minor league with no quarter given. Defaults will prove costly as we saw this evening.
Sadly the Hammersmith team never really recovered from the inauspicious start, with both Mike and John losing their games – unusual for them both to face defeat on the same evening. The omens clearly against us on the night.
The only positive was Dan securing a comfortable win on board 4. Hopefully this leads to a run of good form!
Result: Metropolitan Gnomes 3 – 1 Hammersmith
02.11.16 – London League 6: Athenaeum v Hammersmith MB, by skipper Rich Wingfield
Last night saw the first win of the season for Hammersmith MB against a tough Athenaeum side on their turf. Always a pleasure to visit the club in the west end – your first move of the night is navigating the entrance doorway!
On board 1 Chris started his game 30 mins behind on clock after a mix up, playing a quick-play game – not ideal! A tense Kings Indian, by the 30 move mark Queens had been exchanged and he’d caught up on time(!). A complex middle game developed, with Chris forcing his opponents King into a very tight position and winning a bishop to take the game. Great performance.
An uncommon French for Rich playing Black, the Schlechter variation led to a cramped opening. After getting in the freeing e5 he was able to get a pin on Queen and rook, securing the win.
Andy on 3 had a rollercoaster of a game. Ahead in development playing the Scotch as White, he was a piece ahead and apparently cruising to victory after 20 moves, only to squander the advantage and end up a Rook down in the endgame. A tough result to take, but he’ll go again!
Matt played excellently in his first competitive game for the club. Black in a semi-Slav, he managed to get a pawn up in a Rook Knight end game, but his opponent created a dangerous passed pawn. Some tight play later down to Knight and pawn, the game settled a draw.
A great result for the team, and well done to Matt on his debut.
Result: Athenaeum 1 – 3 Hammersmith