The Hammersmith League Finale

The inaugural Hammersmith League came to a dramatic conclusion last Monday at the Anvil – with three teams in with a shout for the title.

In pole position the SW Juniors, followed closely by the Hammerheads and the Circus. Battersea were playing for pride and honour.

That doyen of football analysts, Alan Hansen in 1995, after watching a young Manchester United team crash in their opening game of the season opined, “You can’t win anything with kids”.

He was subsequently proved wrong by those same kids when they secured the Premier League title later that season. Not the first time a pundit had egg on their face. I must confess when looking at the teams this season in the Hammersmith League I thought the winner would come from Hammersmith or Battersea.

The SW Juniors would be gallant participants but older wise heads would rule the day.

Show you how much I know!!!

Before I get to the bones of the finale I must correct an error in the table of the last report. I got the points plus wrong, so here is how things actually stood before the last round:

The SW Juniors were flying high and “just” needed to win their last match to secure the first Hammersmith Rapid League Table.

The final pairings were as follows:

  • SW Juniors v Hammer Circus
  • Battersea v Hammerheads

To the second match first. Battersea have had a tough tournament and were in all reality only playing for pride. However, our noisy neighbours are not ones to go down without a fight, and in an excellent display inflicted a decisive defeat on the Hammerheads:

A great performance that took the Hammerheads out of the title race and restored a lot of pride to Battersea.

This meant the destination of the title was down to the SW Juniors match against the Hammer Circus.

I can report exclusively for the Hammer website that the Juniors stayed strong and are deserved first champions of the Hammersmith Rapid League. Many congratulations to them!

Clueless has joined Alan Hansen with egg on his face!!

The scoresheet reads as follows:

Only Adi for the Circus held the line and won his individual match.

The SW Junior heavyweights Alexander and Nadhmi were in dominating form and scored a clean sweep. Both Connal and Charlie delivered the extra points needed to secure the win and the title.

The SW Juniors are champions and it proves kids can win championships. Their coach Tony Niccoli deserves great credit for their result.

My only advice to my fellow Hammerites is watch out! These kids are good and they are coming.

The final table and standings are as follows:

On a final note I must pick out Alexander Jamieson as player of the tournament with an ultra-impressive 6/6, a definite start of the future.

Roll on next year and hopefully we can have even more teams competing!

John.

The Good Ship Hammer

16.05.18 – London League Div 4: FINAL MATCH v. Kings Head

We ended our season in London Division 4 last Wednesday with a solid 6-2 win against Kings Head. That safely rounds off our 2017/18 campaign with a solid 7.5/12 points, and with several matches still to play it looks good enough to secure us a 4th or 5th place finish.

Kings Head’s lily-livered crew came down with a bout of scurvy close to shore, and could only secure 6 players for the final match. 2-0 to the good for Hammer but frustrating as we had the strength in depth to go toe-to-toe across all 8 boards. Blair and your captain Dave the unfortunates to miss out.

Within 45 minutes we were 3-0 up as John quickly made short work of their Board 6, playing outside in the Citadines’ atrium. Fair play concentrating in those noisy conditions. John secured a bothersome pin against Knight and Queen, with his opponents Bishop – and best hope of defence – locked-out via his own pawn chain. A sharp attack followed which exposed the King and allowed a brutal checkmate. They shared a beer apiece as they deconstructed the match in their analysis.

Nadhmi also secured a great win, grinding down his opponent with an entirely different approach. A slow suffocation method that robbed key squares, and then push, push, push! It was great to watch (but no doubt horrible to be on the receiving end) and whilst material was relatively equal for much of the encounter there was only going to be one victor. 4-0

The other games were anything but plain sailing, however. Gokhan and Rich won matches they both could easily have lost. Gokhan lost his Queen, managing to nab a Rook and Bishop as some compensation but he was struggling…! Thankfully his opponent obliged and played a couple of passive moves that allowed a double-attack on Queen and King. That was that.

Meanwhile, Rich was a whole Knight down from around move 10, but continued to ask questions, which were duly answered! Perhaps an element of complacency crept in, as duly conceded by his magnanimous opponent in the pub afterwards.

The unlucky crewmembers made to walk the plan were Jeremy and Dan.

Jeremy wasn’t best pleased with his work, and conceded it was one of his weaker games of the season. One too many blunders against a prepared opponent was his undoing.

Dan got himself into what looked like a relatively even endgame position against his Italian counterpart, but failed to hang onto a crucial pawn which proved to be decisive. More radical forcing tactics were required which meant complications – never easy with an ailing clock.

And thus it finished 6-2.

Finally we rounded off our evening by sharing a couple of beers with the Kings Head crew in The Ship Tavern, just a few short minutes from the Citadines venue. Definitely recommended and I’ll be heading there again…! Great little boozer.

Full match-card below:

Hammersmith Dips its Toe Into the National League (of Karaoke)

A Guest Post, from Hammer’s Chris Skulte

Skulte, Carsten, Jim and new Hammer members Rauno and Ryszard currently play for the Celtic Tigers (Hammersmith’s sister club) in the national league (aka. 4NCL).

Celtic tigers needed one win from three remaining games for promotion into Division 1. They are also expanding to two teams next year, where a few extra Hammers are planning to join this elite competition.

What better way to prepare for a difficult chess weekend than a crazy Friday night of fun in true Hammer style!

Adam once again showed us why he is the King of Karaoke. Marios let his hair out rocking an anthem that would define the night ahead!

Inside the karaoke booth!

Hopping into our Hammerzine (see what I did there), WGM Klaudia Kulon shared some of her secret chess tips which got everyone excited!

Finishing the night in style with a 4-hour chess marathon at Skulte’s new house, everyone received official Tiger swag, ready for next season.

The after-party at chez Skulte

Great news is that the party worked! Tigers won their first round match (Round 9 of 11), along with some strong results for the other rounds, and ended up coming 2nd – meaning we are now promoted to Division 1, and will meet the GM & IM-filled teams next season when the real challenge begins!

You can follow the Tigers progress on Twitter: @CelticTigersCC

And if you’re keen to hear more or get involved with the team, you can contact Chris Skulte: chrisskulte@gmail.com

Midweek Roundup – London & Middlesex Leagues

Middlesex League – Final Game & Season Roundup!

The Middlesex League season has drawn to a close with the last match of the season for Hammer 2 in division three. We descended on Kings Head’s pub venue with the enviable mindset of knowing we were already promoted. It was a chance for some of Hammer’s newer recruits to stamp their mark on the league, and for the MVP contenders to rack up one last win.

On boards one and two, Simon and I were paired against two of Kings Head’s ruthless 170+ players. Neither of us played a fantastic game, and as one might expect, we found ourselves in difficulties early on. We both left castling a bit too late and paid the price, coming under deadly attacks culminating in resignation. 0-2

At the other end of the room, Jeremy and Wyatt sat down on boards seven and eight with a tiny grade advantage. What’s opponent played quickly, exchanging down to a pawn endgame that was very difficult to hold. Here Wyatt’s rigorous endgame training regime, courtesy of the John White Drinking Club, came into its own. He played very methodically, queening with one tempo remaining to stop his opponent doing the same.

Jeremy played a promising defence against the King’s Indian Attack, but ultimately failed to find a good plan. After losing two pawns rather cheaply it looked like it might not be his day, but luckily his opponent blundered a rook in a winning position to hand Jeremy victory. 2-2

Boards five and six were occupied by John Ryan and Dipender, both of whom have been integral to the team’s success this season. John’s endgame was incredibly sharp, with both players possessing plenty of heavy pieces and weak squares. Coupled with five minutes each on the clock, there was no way they could calculate all the variations. John mustered up a brave attack on the enemy king, but couldn’t quite find checkmate. Sadly this left his own king very vulnerable, and saving it cost too much material and the game.

Dipender’s game was far different. In a Sicilian Dragon, Dipender held a slight advantage with the white pieces before his opponent blundered a bishop. From here the outcome never looked in doubt, and with the win Dipender joins Simon and John on a very respectable 4/6 for the season. 3-3

And so our fate was left in the hands of Charlie and debutante Adi. From the outset, it was clear Charlie’s opponent was not set up for a sharp game. Charlie tried his best to spice up the position, rejecting two draw offers, before finally accepting the third, by which point his position was slightly worse.

On the white side of a Semi-Slav, Adi started off very strongly, building up a big centre and eventually winning a pawn. He thought he had spotted a knight sacrifice that would deliver mate in three, but as can so often happen in chess, he had overlooked one small but important details – that the knight capture would give check and pick up a game-changing tempo. Two moves later, Adi threw in the towel. A frustrating debut, but from what I’ve seen, I have no doubt he will be a key player next year as we look to preserve division two status. 3.5-4.5

With two matches outstanding, we can only be caught by Hendon, and only if they thrash Kings Head away from home.

Adi becomes the 25th player to play this year, three short of last year. With eight of the club’s top players ineligible due to first team nomination, I’m extremely proud of the strength in depth the club now possesses. Having seen so many great performances, this year’s MVP will be a very tough choice.

Bring on next year!
Adam.

Hammer 1 Goes Into Fischer Mode in WC1V

After the Greek Tragedy in W1 there had to be a rebound in WC1V. Redemption was the only course on the menu for the boys of Hammer.

Welcome to the latest boy’s own adventure of the voyages of the Starship Hammer 1 and its one-year mission to boldly go to Division 3 of the London League.

In homage to our Chairman, we open this report with two Albanian words:

Pjesa Dhjetë

Star Date – 9/05/2018

Hammer 1, after undergoing repairs and mental retuning, has locked into orbit around the planet Cave-N-‘Dish in the Holborn quadrant of the Londinium galaxy. The mission was a delayed encounter thanks to the machinations of “The Beast from the East” and hence was played at the Citadines complex rather than the home planet of the ‘Dish.

This was a task again deemed critical by Starfleet – with the added pressure of Hammer 1 having to regain their collective mojo.

What would the response be?

Clueless, despite missing Sydney and the Suit in the landing crew, was glad to welcome back the talents of Wily and Forza. This was destiny time – seize it and Hammer 1 were firmly back on track.

The landing part in board order:

  • ThomasT-Bone
  • MariosZeus
  • BajrushWily
  • Paul McKProf
  • JimLoco
  • TommasoForza
  • JeremyBrexit
  • Paul KDead-Eye
  • SheikhPandit
  • with Captain Clueless (John W) brining up the rear

Hammer got a break before the match started when Cave-N-Dish forfeited board 10 – Hammer 1-0 to the good.

First game to finish was Wily in crisp and rapid form – his opponent a former Hammer captain, took him to the 30 minute mark before resigning in a hopeless position. For those sadists amongst you, here is the encounter:

Hammer now at warp speed 2.

Next to join the party was Pandit, who won in less moves than Wily but his opponent consumed large amounts of time and hence he spent longer at the board. This was another chess massacre and Pandit continues his return to form. Hammer now at 3.0 warp speed.

Next to extend the Hammer lead was Forza – employing his usual tactic of consuming more time initially and sacking a pawn in the opening for dynamic piece play. In no time his pieces were swarming over the White Kind and the end followed very swiftly. Hammer cruising at 4-0.

Hammer were pegged back in the next game when Brexit blew a winning position and succumbed to a tactic that had more points to it than even his opponent saw. Indeed, it was only in the post-game analysis he realised the full implications – I will say this only once – I was gutted for Brexit and frustrated for him. Despite his stance on the Brussels matter he is a good bloke and a devoted Hammer player. His form is uncertain and he has definitely hit the Irish Border conundrum. I am sure he will solve it, unlike HM Government, and move back to his best form. Hammer stuck at 4-1.

That was the only setback of the evening.

Loco playing a Kings Gambit was in scintillating form – the game was a real throwback to the Morphy-chess era. It was great to watch and demonstrated that as well as being an accomplished positional player, Loco can, when required, go “Loco tactical“. The ending was prosaic with Black losing his queen in one move or two Hammer now at 5.1 warp speed.

The Prof, with the black pieces, faced an opponent who was determined to keep the position as dull as possible. The Prof with the bishop-pair advantage probed, provoked, and induced square weaknesses around the White King. White’s position deteriorated rapidly and under pressure he succumbed to a tactical shot of Qxh4+ with White unable to take the Queen due to a bishop pin. Faced with a complete collapse in his position his opponent gracefully resigned. Hammer at 6-1 with the match victory secured.

Dead-Eye going into this encounter was on 94% for the season and after it had moved to 95% for the season. Playing the black side in the French defence he snaffled an early pawn then grabbed another two. White tried a desperado attack that was coolly repelled, and then Dead-Eye simply marches his c-pawn to c2 and that was that. Hammer at Warp speed 7.1

The last two games to finish were the top two boards.

T-Bone on board 1 was facing a familiar face in LL chess – the captain of Cavendish 3, Bertie Barlow – who definitely knows a thing or two. T-Bone consumed huge amounts of time trying to find an edge in a position that was fairly sterile. Despite having the two bishops he was encumbered by the fact that the position was closed and one of those bishops had defensive duties. Thomas is the most visually expressive player we have in the club – you can almost sense what he is thinking. How he achieved victory is beyond me, but he did – and that was purely down to sheer willpower and tenacity. Hammer at 8.1 Warp Speed.

Zeus played in the only slow-play game of the evening. Why oh why do we persist with this anachronistic version of our game? It is an absurd and outdated option in the modern world of computers and busy lives!

Rant over and now to the actual game. Zeus has been in uncertain form in recent weeks but tonight was the night he returned to form. Dominating an open c-file he induced and injudicious b-pawn advance form his opponent. This duly got consumed and then Zeus opened up the King-side. The game was adjourned at move 35, with his opponent sealing the move. Pub analysis indicates that Zeus is +1.7 and has multiple ways to win. The hope is that his opponent will see sense and resign, otherwise the game resumes next Wednesday.

Hammer at 8-1 with one game adjourned. A dominating performance by the Hammer crew – they totally bossed the planet of Cave-N-Dish.

Clueless announced part 10 of the mission had been successfully completed and has resumed his state of inner peace and contentment.

I leave you with the match card and latest table:

 

An Urgent Call to Arms!

Hammerites!! With only days to go, we need your help this weekend.

Hammersmith Chess Club is again teaming up with our friends at Hammersmith MIND, the local branch of a national mental health charity, for a day of chess & fundraising in Hammersmith town centre.

On Saturday 19th May, we take chess to the streets – Lyric Square, next to Hammersmith tube station – to raise awareness of an excellent charity, spread the good word of Hammer Chess, and enjoy our favourite game against the public!

We need volunteers!! Even if you can only spare a few hours, all help is gratefully received! If you can offer your services for any of the following, we would be extremely grateful:

  • Logistics: 8am onwards to help transfer equipment from our club, to Lyric Square
  • Setup in Lyric Square: from 9am, to help organise our stalls & chessboards in the square
  • Leafleting: from 10am to 4pm (or anytime in between), handing out leaflets for MIND and for Hammer Chess, helping to spread the good word to the public
  • Playing Chess: from 10am to 4pm (or anytime in between), playing chess against the public at the tables and chairs we setup in the square
  • Packing up & The Pub: from 4pm, helping close down the site, pack up our equipment, and retire to The Albion for the wash-up

Even an hour of your time would make a huge difference. Last year’s event was a massive success, raising hundreds of pounds and helping sign up dozens of members of public to the good ship HammerChess.

If you can spare any time, please get in touch ASAP: john.white49@ntlworld.com

Thanks from all at HammerChess

 

A Greek Tragedy in W1

Επεισόδιο Εννέα

There is an old adage that states every good run comes to the end. This is the best that can be said of a tragic cold Monday night in Fitzrovia. In scenes reminiscent of Medea and Oedipus Rex the Hammer 1 juggernaut came off the rails at the hands of Albany, crashing to our first defeat of 2018.

Welcome to the latest instalment of the Starship Hammer 1 and its one-year mission to boldly go to Division 2 of the London League.

Captains Log – Star date 30/4/2018

Starship Hammer 1 has gone into orbit around the Alba planet of Wheatsheaf in the Fitzrovian quadrant of the Londonium galaxy. The upcoming encounter of chess mental gymnastics is laced with potential venom and hidden danger. The playing venue has alcoholic distractions available and there is a hint of a Welsh poetic voice in the air as well as shades of Animal Farm and 1984. This planet has ghosts from the past.

Clueless is wary and concerned that there may be too many distractions and a possible air of complacency in the landing party. He is at fever pitch, the weight of expectation almost unbearable.

Read on if you dar and see if you can spot the use of Newspeak in this report in homage to George Orwell.

 

The team assembled on time, in the right place and in the right frame of mind. We had a strong team, confidence was high, the banter beforehand was spot on – surely nothing could go wrong.

We had a new board one Rauno – aka “Sync” – a miserable play on the capital city of a great country – Finland.

The team, in board order:

  1. Rauno (Sync)
  2. Thomas (T-Bone)
  3. Marios (Zeus)
  4. Chris (Sydney)
  5. Jim (Loco)
  6. Paul (The Prof)
  7. Jeremy (Brexit)
  8. Paul (Dead-Eye)
  9. Sheikh (Pandit)
  10. Matteo (The Suit)

Sync playing on board one returned to chess action after a substantial break from the game. He was delighted to be playing again. Indeed, all seemed well at first and into the middle game. He had established an edge with the white pieces and was on the brink of launching a devastating queen-side assault with a free bishop controlling d8. Alas, a couple of mis-moves followed and he allowed black time to mount a vicious attack on the kingside. The end was swift and Hammer were 1-0 down.

Grand surroundings for a game of chess

The T-Bone had an unnerving encounter of playing an opponent who always arrives 30 minutes late and then proceeds to play at Wily Ward Speed. Clueless counselled T-Bone on this matter beforehand and all looked well. Thomas was a pawn up and consolidating his position – he had two bishops versus two knights on an open board – he was in control and having a good think. Unfortunately, he placed his rook on b8 instead of c7 and this allowed a nasty white knight to jump in on c6 and pin his bishop. T-Bone has an excellent face crime face and I could clearly see his frustration. Despite strenuous and ingenious efforts, he could not avoid material loss and the rest of the game was a rear-guard action without hope. It was genuine daylight robbery. Hammer 2-0 down.

Board 3 saw Zeus in action. Even for a God, Zeus has played a lot of chess this season and in recent games has displayed a touch of weariness. Other possible explanations are a recent trip to Olympus or the amount of beer consumption and his recent love for karaoke (see our @Hammer_Chess twitter account for evidence!). Whatever, the answer to this dip in form is, it initially continued in this match. Zeus dropped a pawn in the opening – but this time there was no doubleplusungood ending as he fought back and equalised. A draw was agreed shortly afterwards – Hammer on the scoreboard but 2.5-0.5 down.

Board 4 saw Sydney in his worst sober game of the season. Facing a Bajrush-style opening with the black pieces he got himself into a real positional bind. His strategy was totally malquoted. A desperado exchange sacrifice did not relieve the pressure on his position and the rest of the game  was a matter of technique for his opponent. A truly horrible game for Sydney and very frustrating for him. It was just one of those nights when Caissa dished out a bit of humble pie. Hammer down 3.5-0.5 and Clueless reduced to downing pints and cursing Dylan Thomas and anyone else he could think of.

Loco on board five would surely stop the rot. Indeed, he did, but the combination of a slightly annoying opponent and a fairly dull position conspired against him converting the edge he had. In the bar afterwards, he confessed to a bellyfeel about the game that indicated it was going to be a draw. Hammer trailing at 4-1 and stick in impulse rather than warp speed.

Something had to change and the burden of recording Hammer’s first win shifted to the Prof. I have to confess Clueless was most anxious in his periodic visits to the board and altogether gloomy about the outcome. However, I forgot the Prof always takes the “Reverse Amber” approach (Rudd – I will not resign) and keeps throwing oil on the fire. This Lasker approach will always produce results, especially in mutual time trouble, and the Prof duly converted. The Prof along with Wily has more lives at the chess board than a cat, and his uncompromising approach will always yield interesting games that test the nerves of his opponent as well as those of his captain. The record does not lie and his record this season shows a clean sweep when he has played.

Hammer now at 4-2 but still stuck in impulse speed and the core reactor was still misfiring.

The fate of the match then moved to the next four boards and Clueless had assumed a more optimistic air. The outcome of the match was still to be played for and Hammer were well-placed in all four games. A definite case of plusgood.

Board 8 saw potential player of the season Dead-Eye once again deep in thought. Paul really is a picture of concentration at the board as he summons all his willpower for the coming struggle. This night was no different as he went into ownlife mode and struggled mightily to force a win for Hammer. It was a tough game as his opponent was obviously settling for a draw and that is what he achieved. Hammer now at 4.5-2.5 and still in arrears.

Pandit on board 9 once again rubbed Hammer salt in the wounds of his opponent, Charlie’s (Sorted) old maths teach, and scored a dominating win. I was so pleased for Pandit as he has had some tough losses this season and this was a return to form and most welcome. He induced a black-square weakness around the Black King and basically was threatening checkmate in a variety of ways. It was great to see Pandit playing effortless chess, it was total duckspeak. Hammer at 3.5-4.5 down.

The Suit played a perfect game against a lower-rated opponent. Snaffling a pawn and exchanging down to a King and pawn ending. He then demonstrated technique forcing his pawn through and gracefully accepting the resignation of his opponent. It is a minitrue that he is returning to his best form.

The Suit, looking good

Hammer equalise at 4.5-4.5 – and like real political life, it was all down to Brexit.

I must add a caveat here and state I have taken writer’s poetic license here to add to the drama of this report and Jeremy’s game was not the last to finish. I have to confess employing goodthink to produce this report.

Brexit with the white pieces seemed to have everything under control despite his opponent controlling the f-file. Clueless was definitely not concerned and there was no hint of a hard border for Brexit. The conclusion was nothing to rectify here.

Unfortunately, this was just one of those nights and nothing really went Hammer’s way after a couple of mis-moves on Brexit’s part the game was over and Hammer had lost 4.5-5.5.

Clueless was distraught despite several pints of beer thrust into his hand he was inconsolable. On reflection I realised that nothing had changed – this is not newspeak – our destiny is still in our hands and if we play to our best we will go up and complete the mission.

My challenge to the Hammer boys is it’s do-or-die time, the clock is at 11 minutes to midnight and we have to seize our destiny. Hammer will win through, we are too good a team to let this golden chance slip.

This is not thinkpol on my part, nor fake news, but reasoned logic on how this team has performed this season. We will not be denied.

I leave you with the match card and current division standings.

Clueless over & out.

RapidPlay – Round VIII – The Grand Finale!

It was back on September 6th 2017 when we first announced our new, season-long RapidPlay competition. Over 7 gruelling rounds since, we’ve edged ever closer to discovering our first Champion in the inaugural Hammersmith RapidPlay Championship!

Round 7 – played across the month of April – didn’t turn up too many surprises, with most results running largely to form. However, there are two results worthy of note, both of which may well be instrumental in deciding the award winners at the end of May, as our 8th and FINAL Round draws to a close.

  • Tony triumphed against Marios in the battle of the big hitters, leaving Bajrush out in front to secure the overall prize
  • Ben edged out Wyatt in the hotly-contested “Battle of the Captains”, which might just have a hand in deciding the prize in the <100 category

As we look ahead to the pairings for Round 8, let’s remind ourselves of the 4 award categories as well as the runners & riders still in contention to claim victory:

  • OpenOverall winner
    • Bajrush is the man to beat here. A positive result against Nadhmi will bring home the silverware…
    • Marios and Tony will be hoping young gun Nadhmi can spring an upset so they can usurp our all-conquering Chairman
  • KingsUnder 160
    • Matteothe SuitBezzini leads the way, with 5 points from 7
    • A whole host of players lie in wait, hoping for a slip-up; John White and Nadhmi could be the beneficiaries
  • BishopsUnder 130
    • Simon and Ben are jostling for top position with 4 points from 7
    • Rich Wingfield is best placed to steal-in if Simon and Ben oblige
  • KnightsUnder 100
    • Ben’s destiny is in his own hands here. A draw/win will clinch it
    • Beyond that, it could still be anyone’s… very tight!

Monday 21st May has been allocated a “RapidPlay Night” at the club, so we’d love you to play your match there if you can.

However, we know that won’t be possible for everyone; not least Bajrush, Tony and Marios who are in action that night. Either way, please get in touch with your opponent asap so you can organise your match as quickly as possible. We’d love to have the tournament sewn up by that Monday if possible so we can hand out the gongs on the night!

Good luck all.

London 4 Update

I bring tidings of two quick-fire results within London Division 4; a narrow 3-5 loss to table-topping Newham, and a comprehensive 6.5-1.5 win against strugglers Metropolitan 4.

First up was Newham in a matchup that gave us the chance to nestle in amongst the league leaders, but in truth with those around us having games in hand, realistic chances of promotion already alluded us. Still, the match represented a great opportunity to test ourselves against a strong side. We were ultimately edged out but nearly all of the matches went to the wire in terms of close endgames, and we could easily have won on another night.

Matteo, Adam and Gokhan were particularly disappointed with their endings, but respect must be due to their opponents who played particularly well and took advantage of minor slips. Full scorecard below:

Brian has kindly shared his match for us all to enjoy – a fine win against his young opponent, now graded >150. He’s also included some of his own analysis and commentary:

“My opponent played an early Queen side fianchetto and put a lot of pressure on my e4/d4 pawns. By advancing 7.e5 I hoped to block his bishop’s long white diagonal, so he exchange two minor pieces on c3 and e5 to open the diagonal, at the expense of having to defend his isolated e5 pawn against my 12.Qg4 advance, eventually losing it. After he castled long, he developed dangerous double-rook pressure on the open g-file with an advancing h-pawn, but by pinning his g4 rook against his king (19.Qh3), I forced him into a complex minor-piece exchange, which was his only way to preserve attacking momentum, but left him a piece down for a pawn, menacing me with Queen and rook threats while I carefully got my exposed King to safety on the Queen’s side. Once my remaining rook was developed, I could attack his King on the seventh rank, forcing the exchange of all major pieces to an easily-won ending.”

I should also reserve particular mention for Dipender. Playing in his debut season for the club, he’s performing admirably in Division 4 and has established himself as one of our most reliable players. This victory against 137-graded Dybowski Jnr representing his best ever performance in an over-the-board encounter.

Next up was a match against Metropolitan’s 4th team. It’s worth reflecting on that for a moment. As we progress as a club, we’re contemplating entering a 3rd team into the London League structure, but our foes have maintained 4 for some time. Pretty impressive stuff.

However, it seems that stretch is proving a bigger challenge than normal this season,as they’ve struggled to consistently put out a full team this season, with inexperienced players often taking up the lower boards.

Hammersmith were in no mood to go easy on them though, as we ran out comfortable winners. The scoresheet tells its own story with a near clean sweep across the boards. Congratulations to Paul Mustafa who broke his duck for the club by scoring his first win. The first one’s always the hardest!

The results leave us 5th with just our finale against Kings Head to come. We should be hopeful of getting a positive result there but whatever happens, we’ve had a great season and are certainly moving in the right direction. Lest we forget we finished 9th last season, with just 4 points to our name! Roll on Hammer!!