09.05.17 – London League 3: Kings Head v Hammersmith
“Not with a Bang and not with a Whimper… but with a…”
Our last match of the season saw Hammer 1 take on Kings Head.
Although our objective of retaining Division 3 status had already been achieved, Hammer 1 were playing for pride! This game was a tough ask with Hammer 1 out graded on the top six boards by an average of 15 points per board.
Losses on the top four boards made saving the match a really hard task. All four Hammerites fought valiantly but it was just one of those nights at the office.
Bajrush, Paul, Jeremy and Marios scored 50% plus over the whole season – they have given all for the team.
The next three boards gave Hammer optimism as Sheikh, Matteo and I won. Sheikh and Matteo won brilliantly, and on the night. Both had very complicated games where they verged on the edge of disaster and held the line. They saw through all the pitfalls and emerged triumphant. Two really great wins.
My win was achieved after an adjournment, but playing the Black side of a Benoni I achieved an initiative from about move 20. Accurate play allowed me to convert. I have re-discovered my chess mojo in the final part of the season!
Josue and John Ryan achieved draws. My feeling is both of them had the initiative and maybe on another night would have won. A perfect example of some of the tough luck Hammer 1 has endured this season.
Robin had another encounter with a familiar face – Ian Adam – they have had many battles over the years. This time Caissa decided it was Ian’s turn to triumph and he duly did so. Robin was fairly sanguine about the result, but he has been a real support to me and the team at critical times during the season and I thank him.
I also feel it is appropriate that I announce our player of the season. It is….. A.N. OTHER!… you will all just have to wait and see at the AGM on 5th June.
On a final note, Hammer 1 will be back stronger, better and well-equipped to mount a promotional challenge in 2017-18. The dream of Division 2 chess is something Hammer 1 deserve and the learnings and experience gathered this season will help us achieve that goal. Roll on 2017-18.
Keep the faith, and go Hammer!!!
Result: Kings Head 6-4 Hammersmith
11.05.17 – London League 5: Pimlico v Hammersmith
We returned to Pimlico on time this time, and to an almost empty hall. Pimlico had no one available to play, so they defaulted on their 4th board – we started the evening 1 point up!
We even had the toss of the coin, which Pimlico proceeded to win. Nevertheless, we stuck in with Black pieces on boards 1 & 3, and White on board 2.
Board 3 was Kaan Corbaci in his second game of the season for our division 5 team. He played a Kings Indian defence to a Queen Pawn opening, and accounted well for himself, winning the exchange. At the endgame he had a Rook and a Bishop against 2 Bishops, and maybe one pawn down. A draw was agreed.
Board 1 saw veteran John White defending to a Kings Pawn opening with a Petroff Defence, which however an hour later saw many pieces swapped. John had reached an ending with only Queens left; however he was 2 pawns down. John, no pushover, had a very active Queen, which could check his opponent’s exposed King, so a draw was agreed.
Board 2 was David Lambert with the White pieces, opening with his Kings Pawn to an Open Sicilian. The middle game saw his opponent mounting a highly unusual battery of Rook, Queen and Rook on the semi-closed c-file; all aimed against the hapless c2 pawn (part of a fianchetto structure) defended by a Rook, Queen and King. Add a Black Knight into the picture and chaos soon ensued.
We saw the Knight fork of the Rooks on the first rank or the loss of a weak pawn. After White lost the exchange, Queens swapped, and further White pawns attacked, Black posted two Rooks onto the second rank. White’s only hope, a Bishop, was merely a spectator. The end was not long in coming and David capitulated against a very strong adversary.
A draw for the second time. Your Captain – and author – sat this one out, preferring Kaan to play.
Result: Pimlico 2-2 Hammersmith