20.06.17 – Remember the date 20th June 2017. The first night of the inaugural season of the Summer League.
Six teams consisting of six players each gathered at the home of Battersea Chess Club to engage in mental combat.
To remind you, the six teams are: Battersea Amps, Battersea Volts, East London Knights, Streatwise, Totally Hammered and Just Hammered.
By luck, the first-round pairings threw up a couple of internecine clashes with the Amps taking on the Volts, Totally Hammered versus Just Hammered and the intriguing clash of the East London Knights and Streatwise.
There is nothing like internal Club clashes to stir the blood. The chance to claim bragging rights over your fellow club member is something that appeals to the sadistic streak present in all chess players!
The last match to be completed was the home clash between the Volts and the Amps. The high-octane Volts just edging the contest 3.5-2.5. It was such a close match which could have gone either way. It came down to the final match on Board One, when time pressure was a huge factor in the result. This was a classic game with just a pawn and Rook vs Rook left on the board. Huge credit goes to both players for the no holds barred nature of it. It was probably a theoretical draw but time pressure and sheer tenacity won the day.
The East London Knights aka “The British Bangla Chess Association” made their debut in League Chess in their match against Streatwise (Streatham & Brixton). The Streats were hurt by a default and this could have been two defaults but for Adam – of Hammer fame – stepping in as a most welcome mercenary to cover Board Four.
However, this did not distract the Knights and they duly triumphed 4-2 in a closely-contested match. A great start to their campaign. Tough on the Streats but they will be back!
To the “home” battle of the Hammered boys – would it be a Total triumph or would Just, just do enough?
Well the tale of the tape was a 3.5-2.5 win for the Just Hammered boys. In a thrilling contest that again came down to the last match.
The first match to finish was Robins. His opponent our in-form treasurer, Chris. A game in which the Queens came off early, with Chris blundering a piece in the bargain, and Robin smoothly converting. Advantage to the Just boys!
The lead did not last long with Bajrush outplaying Paul in a tactical sequence when a Rook on a1 got picked up free of charge. This left Paul in a hopeless position and so he did the honourable thing. Level-pegging!!
The third game saw “Brexit” Jeremy totally and deservedly thrash me. My worst game of the season by a long way, and my apologies to Jeremy for such a lamentable showing. Move on – Totally boys now holding the edge at 2-1.
The next game to finish saw the Prof (aka John R) make a bold sacrifice to gain a vicious attack on the citadel of the Wiz (Orial). Would it result in a breakthrough? Sadly, for John R, but happily for the Just lads, it did not crash through. The Wiz simply consolidated and calmly started improving his position and exerting his material advantage. The end was sudden with a lovely Knight fork one of the threats. The match was level.
The next game to finish was the Ken-Nick battle where a (charming) draw was agreed with Nick three pawns up. I think nerves played a huge part here and I think Ken would admit he really dodged a bullet. Still level 2.5-2.5.
So, like the Volts and the Amps, the result of the match came down to the last game between Pavel and Marios. In a fluctuating contest where Pavel hold the initiative for a very long time, Marios emerged triumphant in the endgame, where two passed-pawns on the 6th rank overhwhelmed Pavel’s Rook to Bishop advantage.
So, the Just Hammered boys sneaked it on the line. A match which reflected well on the fighting Hammer spirit and sets the tone nicely for the Summer League.
One of the innovations of the league is that you can play through all the games, as they are listed on the Summer League website. So if you want to see my abysmal performance or the sheer mastery of Bajrush, it is all there in Black and White. All the Hammer games are shown below.
A great first night, superbly orchestrated by Aldo, and my parting message to all is – Just get involved or you will be Hammered!!
Just Hammered vs Totally Hammered
Paul Kennelly 161 vs Barjush Kelmendi 183 0-1
*Marios Kouis vs Pavel Nefyodov 1-0
John White 150 vs Jeremy Hodgson 154 0-1
Orial O’Caithill 138 vs John Ryan 124 1-0
Robin Lee 118 vs Chris Moore 112 1-0
*Nick Rutherford vs Ken Kwabiah 1/2-1/2