London League 3: DHSS v Hammersmith – 21.11.17
Welcome to the latest adventures of the Starship Hammer 1 and its one season mission to explore strange new and old chess clubs, and boldly go to Division Two of the London League.
Captain Clueless Log – Star Date 21/11/2017 – Hammer 1’s crew have beamed down to a strange, but in some ways familiar, planet called DHSS. The environment was most welcoming but also slightly hostile.
The Hammer Landing Party consisted of, in board order:
Zeus, Wily, Loco, Sydney, Brexit, Spock, Pandit, Dead-Eye, Sauvignon and The Suit. The party was led by the non-playing captain, Clueless.
This is how the night unfolded, but not necessarily in chronological order.
Zeus playing black on board 1, was out-graded by 20 points plus, and facing a c3 Sicilian. Following his own advice, he played an early d5 and fianchettoed his black-square bishop. A great struggle unfolded with white’s 2 vs 1 queen-side majority probably going to decide matters, however Zeus won the exchange with a smart combination but unfortunately this released the white a-pawn to march up the board.
Backed by two white bishops this proved the decisive moment of the game. There was a drawing sequence but it required a computer-like move walking the black king into check.
Although Zeus is a god, he is not a computer!! Hammer landing party down 0-1.
On board 2 Wily was in sparkling form, with his usual e4, d3 and c4 setup, and g and h-pawns racing up the board. Having achieved a passed pawn positioned on h6, which resulted in black devoting serious resources to prevent it marching onwards, he then switched his attention to the black king castled on the queen-side.
He won a piece and then two pieces and pawn for a rook with a lovely combination. He then chased the black king up the board and weaved a special mating net. This was chess played all over the board and Wily brought Hammer level. 1-1
On board three Loco, playing black, faced a Giuoco Piano setup and instead of going Bc5 on move three, went Be7. A long, dour struggle then played out with Loco holding a very large time advantage. His opponent seemed concerned with seeing or neutralising minor threats whilst eating up his clock. My feeling is that he was mostly seeing Scotch Mist as Jim was never in trouble and comfortably secured the draw. 1-5-1.5
On board 4 Sydney got a walkover as his opponent did not show. His reward – the misfortune to play a handful of blitz games with Clueless to while away the time. Hammer now 2.5-1.5 ahead.
On board 5 Brexit reflected political reality. He played accurately and well at first, gradually moving towards equality and then he took a stab at Utopia. Unfortunately, his opponent had played him like a “Michel Barnier” and delivered him a hefty bill for his optimistic play.
Brexit tried negotiating but the ending was sudden and the promised land never arrived. Brexit will regroup and in the spirit of David Davis he will be out for the next round and he will win through. He is done with Junckering!!
Hammer pegged back to 2.5 all.
Board six saw Spock, armed with the white pieces, take on a Sicilian defence. He consumed a lot of time but pursued his attack logically as outlined in the Star Fleet Chess Manual. In the end a draw was agreed. Pavel is a great team player with a quirky sense of humour. He always sticks around to see the outcome of games and provided the comedy moment of the evening when he looked at me and gave me the Vulcan “live long and prosper” sign with a straight face. Just brilliant. Tense at 3-3.
Board seven next was in the safe and capable hands of Pandit. He was in the best of form playing the black side of a Sicilian defence. Playing accurately and simply, he emerged into an endgame two pawns up. His opponent tried a couple of tricks but Pandit negotiated all before him and emerged a deserved winner. Hammer back ahead 4-3.
On board nine Dead-Eye had a beautiful inverted V-shaped, spearhead pawn formation wedged into the black position. He then transferred attention to the black king. With an open f-file he had a way in. Alas his opponent played a knight-sac on d4 and if Dead-Eye had recaptured he would have lost a rook as well.
There is an old Irish proverb that goes “it is better to be a coward than a dead-man all your life” – Paul wisely adopted this advice and accepted the pawn loss. However, his opponent had consumed too much time on the clock and did not make move 30 at the time-control. Dead-Eye had made it 5-3.
Board nine saw the welcome season debut of Sauvignon. Playing black he achieved equality and then secured a positional edge with white severely hampered by an inferior pawn structure and an e-pawn still rooted to its original starting square. Sauvignon moved over to the attack. However, Dave Gilbert, the DHSS captain, is a tricky opponent and does not roll over easily. He found some accurate moves and secured a draw. Hammer past the winning post at 5.5-3.5, and match point secured.
Finally on board 10, we saw The Suit wearing the Hammer mantle. By his own admission The Suit has not been in the best of form this season. Indeed, the first half of this game reflected that lack of confidence and accuracy in his play.
However, once his chance came he seized it with a beautiful combination and play reminiscent of his form last season. I hope this is the turning point for him and he gets the results his talent deserves.
So, Starship Hammer 1 triumphed 6.5-3.5. Yes, there were squeaky bum moments but the force is strong in Hammer 1 and we won through. The current table makes pleasant reading:
Three games in and Hammer are a contender – go Hammer!
Captain Clueless log – mission accomplished, roll-on 2018. Clueless over & out.
London League 5: Pimlico v Hammersmith – 23.11.17
Captains report to follow, however we are pleased to report that the Hammersmith team secured a 2-2 draw!
London League 6: Morley College v Hammersmith – 24.11.17
Board 1 saw S.Shaw take on Hammer’s Robin Lee. Robin had an excellent win with the white pieces, trapping a bishop which in the end proved enough. 1-0
On board 2 John Ryan faced a solid, central attack by his opponent, which proved too much to hold on. 1-1
On 3, Hammer’s Nick Rutherford succumbed to a tactical struggle, eventually losing on time. 1-2
Last up on 4, stalwart Dan Rugman with the black pieces played a c5 response to his opponents opening e4. After Nf3 d6, d4 cxd4, Nxd4 Nf6, Nc3 a6, B4?! – never seen that before! Dan played a good game but fell into a mating net.
Final score – a 3-1 defeat for the L6 Hedger team.
RapidPlay – Final Reminder for Round II
We’re one week from the end of November and eight of the twelve games have been played. Surprises so far include wins for Adam, Chris and Paul against John, Pouya and Shiraz respectively.
On top board Bajrush narrowly escaped with the full point after Dave lost a completely winning position with very little time left (game below).
Please be sure to get the final four results in before the end of the month, along with any requests for half-point byes in December – we appreciate it can be a busy month.