Hammersmith vs Fulham Juniors

Following a highly successful thriller of a match last season (it ended a 6-6 draw – details here), we again face the mighty Fulham Juniors in a one-off match next week at the Brunswick Club – Tuesday 15th November.

There are no grading restrictions, so if you are keen to play please contact John White to confirm your space in the lineup. It proved extremely popular last season so please get in touch if you don’t want to miss out.

The Brunswick Club is up on Haldane Road, SW6 7EU – a short walk from Fulham Broadway tube.

And looking further ahead… our Club Night on Monday 21st November features ECF-trainer (and 198-rated player) Tony Niccoli for a special evening of coaching.

Tony has generously volunteered to analyse and run-through some games, so if you have a particularly interesting encounter you’d like him to have a look at & share with the Club, please get in touch. Would love to see as many of you there as possible – promises to be very good.

London League Round-Up

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.

Golden Lane goes wild for the Hammersmith crew

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

Thames Valley – a Halloween Nightmare?

31.10.16 – Thames Valley League: Hammersmith v Surbiton A

On a calm Halloween evening the Hammer TV team took on the might of Surbiton A – one of the powerhouses of Division One.

On paper Hammer were out-graded by average of 13 points per board! A tough ask on the spookiest night of the year.

The portents were not good when our captain Bajrush had to make a late withdrawal. However, the ever- reliable Brian Dodgeon stepped up to the mark.

This meant your correspondent stepped into the captain’s shoes and considering my record in LL 3 this season – this was not a good omen.

First up it was great to welcome Tony Niccoli to the fight. Making his debut for Hammer in league chess on board one. His first game was probably the most complex of the night.

Tony had Rook, Bishop and Pawn for his queen plus all the pressure. However, fine manoeuvring by his opponent broke the bind and the loss became inevitable. Tony fully embraced the fighting spirit of Hammer Chess and hopefully will be rewarded next time.

On second board Carsten in his calm and logical style got a rook for pawn and minor piece. Then demonstrating excellent technique, he converted his advantage. The beer in the Albion later on was very sweet. A really excellent win and the win of the night for Hammer

On boards three, four and six – the Hammer trio of Paul, Sheikh and Safi faced opponents who out-graded them by an average of 21 points. This was a tall order and the three loses did not tell the full story and our boys went down fighting – Sheikh was so close to equalising particularly.

On board eight Brian Dodgeon duly secured an advantage from the opening but could not convert. The draw was the only non-decisive match of the night. Great performance by Brian – after having to step in so late.

Board seven saw Adam play an amazing game in which he initially walked the tightrope in the early stages before gradually assuming a space and activity advantage. The victory was duly secured and another excellent win for Hammer.

Finally, to board five and your correspondents game. This was me playing the black side of a Benoni. The game was adjourned at move 37 with the sealed move played by myself. I have a bishop for three pawns and a space advantage. The computer is working full time to hopefully convert this into a win. Will keep you informed……

So was it a Halloween nightmare for Hammer ?

In my opinion – definitely not. It demonstrates clearly to me that Hammer belong in the top division and we can compete at this level.

Bring on Surbiton B next week !!!!

Result: Hammersmith 2.5 – 4.5 Surbiton A