On The Scoreboard… At Last!

17.11.16 – London League 3: Hammersmith v Mushrooms 2

Stop the press!! Hold the front page!! The internet may crash!!!!…. Hammer 1 finally got a half-point and are on their way in London 3!

For those of you who know their American Football, Hammer 1 were starting to look like the 2016 Cleveland Browns of the London League 3. Despite huge potential and tenacity we had nil points… just like the unfortunate Browns!

That all changed last night with a fighting draw against Mushrooms 2 at Golden Lane.

I have never been involved in a match that veered so violently as the results of the individual games came in. At one stage Hammer 1 were 4-1 up with 5 games to be decided. Within the blink of an eye we were trailing 4-5 and all attention switched to the last game.

Cometh the hour, cometh the man, and that man was Jeremy. A truly titanic struggle ended in…. more of that later!! Here’s the blow-by-blow account:

The Hammer 1 team deep in the action

Paul, Sheikh and Adam were the first to finish – all clocking up really impressive victories.

Paul’s victory – his first of the season – on the white side of a very complicated French Winawer, represented a welcome return to form of our player of the year last season. A really excellent win.

Sheikh’s win was equally welcomed. Playing black against the Closed Sicilian, Sheikh was under severe pressure and facing a pawn roll on his Kingside. With the added complication that his King was there and gradually having his protective pawn shield eroded. However, in a remarkable turnaround Sheikh triumphed. A definite example of the motto – it is never over ’till it is over!!!

Adam’s victory with white, utilising the London setup against the fianchetto version of the Dutch was very smooth. Indeed, over a pint later on in the pub Adam opined that this was his best victory since his entry into League chess. He has promised to annotate it for the website. A great performance.

The draws of the evening went to Bajrush and Orial.

Our wily silver fox of a Chairman, Bajrush was under pressure for much of the game but then assumed the initiative and was threatening a checkmate at the end. Unfortunately there was not enough material to prosecute the attach and the game ended honours even. Bajrush never gives up trying to win and he epitomises what the Hammer spirit is all about.

Orial will now be known within our club as the “Wizard of Dingle” thanks to his miraculous escape in this game! An exchange and pawn down, he threw caution to the wind and went on the attack, forcing his opponent to concede a draw. A brilliant rear-guard action.

And so to the fallen!

John Wooley had a very messy position and was under real pressure. He defended tenaciously but in the end the wall was breached and he resigned in a very difficult position.

Alex was the unluckiest loser – despite being substantial material up, he succumbed to a simple mate due to time pressure. A very tough loss and another example that chess can really hurt!

Matteo playing on board 8 suffered his first loss in League Chess against a very experienced opponent. He cam out of the opening with quite a constricted position while his opponent gradually built up the advantage. Matteo fought back, nearly achieving equality until, with his Queen offside  and under threat he had to surrender material. The end was long but never really in doubt. He will learn from this!

Your captain was doing well and then threw away the advantage with the move c4. Having missed a simple intermezzo earlier that would have provided a definite advantage, the loss was fully deserved. At this level of chess you have to take your chances.

So it all came down to the final game – could Jeremy get us to 5-5? Would he be the hero or the… zero…?

Attention turns to Jeremy’s game… could he save the result?? No pressure!!

A really complicated game ended up with Jeremy being a piece and two pawns down. However, under time pressure he was able to penetrate his opponents King position with his Queen and Rook. The two pieces were like the hammer and anvil, and a checkmate ensued. Rome was saved and Jeremy was roundly congratulated by his fellow team members.

Points on the board is the moral of the story. Hopefully Hammer 1 can now build on this and achieve our goal of staying in Division 3.

Keep the faith and go Hammer!

Result: Hammersmith 5 – 5 Mushrooms

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