North v South

The Southern Counties Chess Union (SCCU – catchy!) celebrates 125 years of existence this year. It was the first of what was to become five regional chess unions in England, which later gave birth to today’s English Chess Federation.

To mark the historic milestone they’re hosting a huge chess shindig up at Swiss Cottage next month.

It’s going to involve upwards of 400 players taking part in a massive North v South game – a nod to the distribution of the historic counties of England around the river Thames. You can read more about the fascinating history here, but the essentials you need to know are as follows:

  • When: Saturday 16th September, from 1pm
  • Where: The Hall School, Swiss Cottage, NW3 4NU
  • What: All moves over 125 minutes, across as many boards as possible
  • ECF rated? – YES!

Hammersmith members have already started registering their interest – all you need do is choose a side, and drop an email to the relevant team captain. Rivalry aside, it’s rare to see so many competitive games in a single place – should be a belter!

Rumour has it the nearby Swiss Cottage Tavern will be rather busy afterwards too… Good luck!

Stop Press! Graded Rapid-play Tourney!!

Brace yourselves for a frantic evening of chess! This coming Monday 14th August we’ll be hosting a pre-season Graded Rapid-play night.

Following hot on the heels of last season’s hugely successful Rapid-play evening, this is another opportunity for everyone in the club to obtain a quick-play grade.

Details as follows:

  • Where: The Albion pub (upstairs function room)
  • When: Monday 14th, two games starting at 7.45, and 8.45 – one as White, and one as Black, against an opponent of similar ability
  • Time Control: 30 mins per person, no increment

Anybody who is ECF registered for the 17/18 season is eligible to play, we’ll just need to know your ECF number – this includes any non-members who want to come along.

And, in a sneak preview of our plans for next season – we’re finessing details for our season-long Club Rapid-play tournament. We’ll be offering graded Rapid-play games on a monthly basis for anyone who wants to enter… watch this space!

Down & Out in Kensington!

01.08.2017 – Yes, the Hammer posse took to the mean streets of Kensington to bring chess to the good citizens of the Royal Borough.

The vehicle to deliver our brilliant game was a pub crawl. Not a curious choice considering the partiality of many Hammerites to the odd tipple!

The idea, originally, was to play a 10-minute blitz tourney playing two rounds in each pub – a noble idea. The pubs in question, and the order in which we would proceed were the Elephant and Castle, The Goat, The Builders Arms and the Devonshire Arms. However, I have to report a deviation from the plan when the posse missed out on the Builder’s Arms, choosing The Greyhound instead.

Unfortunately, due to various factors the concept was quickly abandoned and the job of casual chess accompanied by lots of beer, took over. Coupled with a somewhat leisurely approach to time-keeping, the evening proved a more social than competitive event.

Plus, the natural camaraderie aspect and good conversation added to the evening. In other words, the usual rubbish that chess players usually engage in!

So, this report has little to do with chess, but more to do with the quality of beer consumed.

As you know, I have a penchant for bestowing nicknames on the participants of any Hammer event, and there will be no exception here. The Magnificent Seven were:

  • Carsten – The Great Dane (in honour of Bent Larsen and his latest ECF grading)
  • Adam – Pickle
  • Matteo – The Suit
  • Jay – Jaz Z (obviously!!)
  • Dipender – Mr Dipenderble (Dr D for short!)
  • Ken – Kool
  • Me – Clueless

Plus a late night interloper, Jeremy aka “Brexit” – I must point out that did not turn us into the Hateful Eight!! My first and only Quentin Tarantino reference of this report!

We also picked up a friend of Dr D, and a couple of members of the public who were duly dispatched by the veterans in summarily manner.

I think the Great Dane was troubled, in chess terms, only by The Suit and maybe Jay Z.

Kool, Pickle and Dr D had a solid evening of beer consumption and a mixed evening at the board.

As for Clueless, he successfully pickled Pickle but crashed and burned against the Great D. Finally, he had a 50/50 result with Jay Z where the chess played was of the most dubious nature. I think beer at this stage was definitely affecting his play – and definitely not for the better. At the end, he won his first game against Brexit, and then lost the next three.

To be honest the night took on something of a posh version of Ulysses by James Joyce as, like the great literary work, we progressed regally from pub to pub. Indeed, we looked like a CAMRA investigation team rather than a highly-regarded and prestigious West London chess club!

The winner of the evening overall was the social craic, with the beer a close second and in a distant last place the quality of the chess.

In terms of competition I can only report the result of the best pub.

The winner was clear-cut – The Devonshire Arms. In the words of the Great Dane, they have “Summer Lightning” – enough said.

In clear second place, the Elephant & Castle (not the South London version), followed by The Greyhound and finally, The Goat.

It was an odyssey of an evening and maybe wisdom/nirvana in the form of The Devonshire Arms was found in the end.

So, a great night and thanks to the Magnificent Seven plus One – totally worthwhile.

Normal chess life resumes at The Albion on Monday, with the next of our Training & Theory evenings – see you there!