October Updates from the Hammer-House!

As our first full month of the 2018-19 season draws to a close, we’ve re-capped all our October results and activities for you to review.

It’s been an amazing start so far ,with 8 Wins, 1 Draw, and 3 Losses, plus our Hammer Derby in London Division 4. Enjoy!

Match Results
We also:
29.10.18 – Middlesex Division 3: Hammersmith vs. West London

Hammersmith won the toss and were White on Odds. The results fell as follows:

  1. Nadhmi Auchi 0-1 Colum Jezierski
  2. John White 0-1 Raghu Kamath
  3. Brian Dodgeon 0-1 Russell Campbell
  4. Simon Harding 0.5-0.5 James Pooler
  5. Aditya Patel 1-0 Stuart Winter
  6. Dipender Gill 1-0 Sam Brown
  7. Hammersmith Default win
  8. Hammersmith Default win

Nadhmi played a tough game on board 1 against a much more experienced player. Although this game was lost, it was definitely a useful learning experience for the rising star.

John also played a much higher rated player on board 2, and misplaced his knight in the middle game to block an escape square for his bishop. This left him a piece down, and although the fight went to the end, John eventually couldn’t hold on.

Brian’s opponent played slightly inaccurately in the Caro-Kann opening, which gave Brian enough confidence to try an enterprising knight sacrifice on move 15 for two pawns to give exciting attacking chances.

But although his opponent was never able to castle, he found a very accurate method of neutralising the threats and stabilising the centre, so Brian was heading for a late middle-game with just two pawns for the knight. In trying to find more ways to attack, he overlooked a trick involving a rook sacrifice for a pawn that would have led to a knight fork on king and queen. Brian avoided the trap, but the extra pawn he won meant it was a losing ending. Game is presented below:

Simon played out a gruelling draw after searching hard for a win. Aditya played an exciting game and came out a few pawns ahead in the middle to comfortably convert to a win in the endgame.

Dipender completely stuffed up the opening, but managed to just about hang in there to steal the victory in a fortuitous endgame:

So Hammersmith managed to sneak ahead, by some luck!! A 4.5-3.5 win!

Next game is 14th November – recruitment email to follow in the next few days.


Back With a Bang in London Division 2!

24.10.18 – London Division 2: Hammersmith vs. East Ham

Hammersmith’s keenly anticipated London League Division 2 odyssey got off to an encouraging start with a comfortable 7.5-2.5 win over East Ham. Every member of the team looked focused and played with great determination to squeeze the maximum from every move. In the end our greater strength in depth prevailed.

I was delighted to have Alexander and Nadhmi debuting on the lower boards. Both played excellent games and looked like seasoned veterans. The future of the club is in good hands with young guys like this coming through.

Carsten has kindly provided some excellent notes to his fine win on top board, which is well worth serious study – see below.

Thomas and Bajrush seemed to win very comfortably on 2 and 3. Paul rose from his sickbed to force his opponent to defend doggedly for the three hours to secure a draw on board 4.

Unfortunately a last minute emergency at work meant Chris had to pull out, but Neil sportingly stepped in on board 5, 40 mins down on the clock and out graded by some 80 points, he put up a tremendous battle and just missed a deserved draw at the end.

Marios, on 6, played a King’s Indian Defence with panache, his king side attack breaking through neatly. I played an enjoyable hack on 7, though Stockfish was quick to point out various improvements for both players.

Paul K faced a particularly solid opponent on board 8, finally wending his way through a tricky endgame to secure a draw.

On 9, Alexander played a very well controlled, positionally strong game to down his experienced opponent. On 10, Nadhmi did likewise to secure a well earned draw with a higher rated opponent.

It will be a long hard season ahead, no doubt with many ups and downs, but if the team battles like this all season, hopefully we won’t be too far away in the battle for the coveted promotion spots to Division 1.


Carsten Pedersen vs. Peter Jaszkiewsky

“The setup with h3 & Be3 is recommended by John Shaw in his recent 1. e4 repertoire book, and I’d resolved that if I got the chance I’d play it with white, as I’m likely to sooner or later get it with black!

However, when we actually got there I realised I couldn’t remember anything about it! Shows recommendation is based on playing 14. Re1 but instead we followed the old mainline for a few moves until blacks 16…h6? (Berg* continues: 16….Bh5 17. Nf3, Bxf3 =, on Paul K’s preferred 14… Rae8 (“the old move”) he suggests 15. a3 with a small white advantage).

Black’s h6 is a serious positional mistake, with e6 covered the Knights job on g5 is done and it needs to be redirected to e5 anyway, so spending a tempo on chasing it there does not make sense, especially as it also seriously weakens the b1-h7 diagonal. Essentially the rest of the game centres around white trying to exploit this, assisted by black misplacing his pieces in a failed attempt to put pressure on f4 & g3 with Nh5 and Qh4.

29. Qxg7 was played with the flag hanging only because I’d seen 30. Bh4, when I expected 30… Qxh4 31. Rxd7+!, Kxd7 32. Qxf7+, Qe7, when I assumed there would be something. While my opponent was thinking I noticed 33. Ba2 and white picks up a second pawn. After Ke8 – which I had not considered at all – I had to make sure I’d not messed up. Stockfish points out the incredible 31. Qh8+ Rf8 32. fxe6 Rxh8 33. exd7# which I was nowhere near seeing.

Fortunately what I played is more than good enough, the point is that black can’t take on f5 after the Queenswap (exf5, gxf5 Nxf5, Rxd7 Kxd7, Bxf5+ is deadly and taking with the bishop just loses a piece after Rxf7), in the finish he’d obviously overlooked Be1 but there was no defence anyway.”

*Emmanuel Berg, in vol.3 of his quality chess series on the French.

A Hat-trick of Wins

October has been a rip-roaring start to the Season at Hammersmith. We follow with a bunch of write-ups, reporting some fantastic results for the club – read on!

24.10.18 – London Division 5: Lewisham v Hammersmith

Despite being out graded on 3 of the 4 boards, Hammer managed a brilliant 2.5-1.5 win:

Dipender was the first to finish, and his win is shown for you below – pretty comprehensive in the end:

Yazhou dropped a couple of pawns in his game, which proved decisive in the endgame, where he succumbed to a defeat.

Dipli played very well to win a piece in the middle-game, putting Hammer 2-1 up by the 30 move time control.

Brian was last to finish – he gives us his commentary and game below:

“By move 28 I’d arrived at an ending of 2 bishops & 6 pawns for my opponent, vs 2 bishops and 4 pawns for me. Getting a centralised King and swapping off one pair of bishops, I managed to win a pawn back and carefully exchange enough pawns to finish with bishop & 2 pawns vs. bishop and one pawn, which was eventually enough to get a draw and give us the win by the odd half-point. A bit of revenge for the recent Div 4 match v Lewisham, where they turned up with 6 of their 8 players graded above 150!”

Thames Valley Update

There’s a very good atmosphere in the Thames Valley Camp at the moment, with Hammer riding high on 3 wins from 3 as we compete in the top tier of the league setup.

Our three games to date have gone as follows:

  1. Hammersmith vs. Ealing Juniors: 5-3 WIN
  2. Wimbledon B vs. Hammersmith: 2.5-4.5 WIN
  3. Richmond & Twickenham vs. Hammersmith: 2.5-5.5 WIN

Those last two away results are particularly pleasing – especially the result at Richmond, against a side that out graded us, and included Carsten managing a draw against IM Gavin Wall – brilliant result.

Hammer’s strength across the board order is really paying dividends across all the leagues this season. Match cards and League Table presented below:

And the League Table makes for good reading. Early days, but looks like it might be a straight two-way shootout between the mighty Hammer, and Wimbledon’s A-team:

And don’t forget…

Tonight sees our Middlesex 3 side take on the mighty West London, for bragging rights down this end of the Piccadilly Line!

And we’ll shortly be reporting on our first result of the season in the lofty heights of London Division 2! Stay tuned…


British Bangla RapidPlay & Other Updates

The Annual British Bangla Chess Association FIDE Rapidplay is coming up  – and as always there are some serious cash prizes up for grabs, with a side dish of Biryani!

It’s been a great tournament the last few years, and the BBCA are terrific hosts & very welcoming – and terrific competitors too, as we know from our Summer League matchups!

Full details below, but the key thing to note is the £1,360 prize fund, which includes 3x grading prizes for the best performers at the lower levels – great idea!

  • When: Sunday 11th November 2018, 11am kickoff, 7pm prize-giving
  • Where: London Enterprise Academy, Commercial Road, E1 1RD
  • Entry: £25 entry (ECF bronze members will need to pay an additional £7.50)
  • What: Six round, Swiss pairings, 15 mins +5 sec increment
  • Contact: britishbanglachess@gmail.com

Further information is available on the BBCA website, along with entry forms and a current list of players:


Other News & Reminders…

Diversity Officer – if you’re  interested in talking to us about this new position on our Committee, please get in touch. We’ll be locking this down on 26th October.

Safeguarding – we are now a fully-fledged child-friendly club, having signed up to the ECF’s Safeguarding Policy and with the appointment of a Child Protection Officer – full details here – we encourage all members to familiarise themselves with the ECF’s policy

El Chessico – we’re at 30+ boards already, and are still looking for signups for this huge event on Tuesday November 6th, at Battersea Chess Club. Please contact John if you’d like to play: john.white49@ntlworld.com

Club Internal RapidPlay – if you haven’t done so already, please get in touch with your opponent and get your First Round match arranged! All results need to be reported back to the Tournament controllers by Friday 16th November. The clock is ticking!!

Tomorrow night sees us making our London Division 2 debut against the mighty East Ham! It’s been a wild ride for our top London team this last few years, with two rapid promotions. We’re now dining in the elite section of the London Club setup! Big JimLocoStevenson captains the side… wish them luck!

And finally… The Hammer Christmas Party will soon be upon us! The date is set for Thursday 6th December, and we have a spot reserved for us at Wahaca restaurant on Charlotte Street. It’s already proving popular, so don’t delay and get in touch with John to confirm your place: john.white49@ntlworld.com. Remember – partners, parents, friends and anyone else is welcome, the more the merrier… we just need to confirm numbers.

Rock the Citadines

10.10.18 – London Division 4: Hammersmith 2 v Lewisham

Hammersmith Deux’s second match in London Division 4 pitched us against Lewisham, an opportunity to try and score a repeat of our most impressive performance from last season as we took down the big dogs from Sarf-East London.

Once again, they wheeled out their big hitters and it’s to our credit that we find ourselves TIED at 3.5-3.5, with Bens match adjourned for another night. When you consider we were outgraded on every board, it’s impressive that we’re still in the mix and could get something from the match yet. Full match card below:

A really tough match. I have to admit being a little surprised by the strength of their team, not least by how far down the board-order they were able to keep churning out 150+ players! I fancy they’ll be in the mix at the top of the table at the end of the season.

Full credit to our 1-2-3 of Paul, Sheikh and Nadhmi who secured solid draws against their higher-graded opponents. Particularly well done to Paul who kept things together following some general silliness that crept over from another match entirely!

John managed to hold his nerve, seemingly coping with The Clash occurring in his peripheral vision, and ran out the clear winner following a blunder at a crucial moment. The match was technically adjourned but the resignation came shortly before they were forced to reconvene.

It was difficult to keep track of some of the games, but I’ve tracked down a couple of PGNs to keep you entertained.

Brian succumbed to a powerful Queen-side pawn push following an early 2.f4 in the Sicilian. Nastly little attack, and The Hat looked doomed when the Rooks paired up on the 7th:

Adam continues his strong start to the season with a great win, making light of the 15-point grading gap. Some analysis/notes included here from the man himself:

Rapidplay – Round One, plus… Simul Evening!

The 2018-19 Hammersmith Internal Rapidplay Tournament has begun!

20 brave souls have thrown their hats into the ring for the opportunity to win this prestigious annual event. As with last year there are 4 sections, so plenty of opportunity for everyone to bag some glory, regardless of playing strength.

We’ll be running updates every month with the current standings and new pairings – so stay tuned.

The first round officially kicks off today, with the full (random) pairings below. Future pairings will operate on a Swiss system, so they get much tastier as the competition goes on:

Players are asked to contact their opponents using the information emailed out to you, and arrange your games ASAP – the round needs to be completed by close of business on Friday 16th November. If you miss this deadline, you’re looking at a default and nil points!

If you have any queries (or maybe the FOMO is too much and you want a late, late entry!), please contact the tournament controllers:

Good luck Hammers!!

Bonus: Simul Evening – 22nd October

This coming Monday 22 October marks our first free evening at Lytton Hall this season with no home games, and as a result we’re putting on a small competition!

It was originally intended to be a training night, but we thought it’d be much more fun to play a few simultaneous games against our top players – Carsten, Tony and Bajrush – and get their thoughts & analysis afterwards.

This is a great opportunity to take on a top chess player, with the added time and thinking advantage that a Simultaneous provides! Depending on numbers, we’ll split the group and have 5-10 Hammerites taking on each of our top bods. Games will all be on a casual basis – no ratings for this one!

In addition, there’ll be the usual opportunity to play some more casual chess against other Hammerites, and enjoy a cup of tea with a hobnob. Who could ask for more???

Happiness is a warm cup


The Hammer 2019 Christmas Party – 6th December 2018

Yes, the dread C-word has entered the Hammer lexicon and orbit. For once, I am not talking about chess, but the one associated with mulled wine, over-indulgence and presents.

In the immortal words of Noddy Holder…. it’s Christmas!!!

The restaurant and bar area has been booked – and all Hammer members are invited, as are partners (they do put up with a lot – this is a small thank-you!) – indeed all are invited, including Mums & Dads.

This is the social event of the year – it will be glamorous, it will be intelligent, and it will be FUN!

The venue is Wahaca restaurant on Charlotte Street in W1 – a central location with excellent transport connections (Goodge Street, Tottenham Court Road, and Oxford Circus stations are all very close) and great food. If you have never been, this is a chance to enjoy some great Mexican food and excellent drinks of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic varieties.

Wahaca, Charlotte Street – the stuff of Christmas dreams!

Check it out online:


We’ve booked part of the cocktail bar for 40 people between 7-10pm – with options for finger food style buffet, although if you decide you’d prefer a sit-down meal we can arrange table bookings in the restaurant. The booking can also accommodate more people if needed!

The next steps are as follows – we need to know numbers, and food requests by November 25th at the latest.

For food there are three choices:

  • Lighter bites (£12.50 pp)  – details below
  • The Whole Shebang (£17.95 pp) – details below
  • Sit Down Meal (on request – refer to menu on website)

Email John to confirm your attendance, and preferred food choice: john.white49@ntlworld.com

Hammer will be bossing Fitzrovia on the 6th December so be there and make it a brilliant night to kick-off the holiday period!

This is an official product of the John White Social club & I approve this message.



Hammer vs Hammer in London Division 4

Some things just shouldn’t happen. Like ketchup on a good steak, or denim on denim. Another of those things is Hammer turning on Hammer in an unholy match-up. Still, rules are rules and our two sides in London League Division 4 were pitted against each other to kickoff the 2018-19 season.

It was a well fought match with Dave’s higher graded Team Deux ultimately coming out on top against Ben’s Team Trois. As ever though, the tale of the tape is much more complex than just running through the match card presented here.

First to finish was the Clash of the Captains. Dave came out on top with some unusually attacking play in the old ‘castle long and throw your pawns forward’ Sicilian ruse. Ben’s h6 defence ‘felt’ wrong (and displeased Tony in the analysis) but the computer, thinking 10-moves deep thought it okay. Nevertheless, it was a tough one to defend and the position soon developed in Dave’s favour. 1-0 to Hammer 2

It was soon level as Robin quickly dispatched Abakar on board 7. A tough gig for Abakar making his debut, and inheriting a tighter than normal time control given he stepped in due to a no-show. There was no chance of Robin going easy on the youngster though. Tactics abound and the hammer soon fell. 1-1

Kostis continues his fine unbeaten run in his Hammer career with a somewhat fortunate win against Dan. Ruggers built up a strong positional edge flowing from a solid opening, and looked ready to take control, before a mistake allowed a Knight fork on Rook and Queen. Dan threw everything forward to try to score a retaliatory attack, but it wasn’t to be. 2-1 to Hammer 2

The Italian Job in board 1 was settled in Tomasso’s favour, as he managed to out-maneouvre Matteo in an extremely open tactical struggle. I didn’t see the game develop but the position looked like Tommaso had once again employed his trademark style of favouring fast development over nice-to-haves, like pawn structure! 3-1

Dipender overcame Shiraz in a good encounter on Board 6. Things looked fairly even until a capture with check turned the tide in Dr Gill’s favour. He now had a centralised Queen and the initiative to pick holes in Shiraz’s defence. 4-1

Andrew continues the fine form that won him last season’s Most Improved Player accolade, with a fine draw against Adam – graded some 23 points higher! I wonder what that gap will be next season! Andrew is improving quickly and surely has the potential to push on towards the 130-range within the next 12 months. A draw a fair result on the night. 4.5-1.5

The final two matches went to the wire. Simon and John played out a very entertaining draw, which pitted legal eagle against executive chair of the JWDC. A prestigious match-up if ever there were one. John has claimed to ratchet up the pressure but Simon parried well, reducing proceedings to a tense endgame with both Queens on the board. As is often the case in such situations, a perpetual check is never far away and discretion proved the better part of valour as a half-point apiece was secured. 5-2

The match of the evening was reserved for the last to finish. A titanic struggle between Blair and Nadhmi, played infant of the baying masses with only seconds remaining on the clock. We had a well-balanced, tense middle game with blocked pawn chains and myriad tactics ready to be unleashed if someone made a wrong turn. Nadhmi looked the more likely to progress, slowly building pressure on the Queen-side with doubled rooks and a useful looking knight.

Blair defended brilliantly and kept finding the right resource in order to keep Master Auchi at bay. With a couple of minutes on the clock, Blair broke free with an advanced pawn and looked to romp home before Nadhmi sacrificed his Bishop to carve out the defence and push for a crushing attack.

Great chess on both sides, but there had to be a winner and Blair coolly played through to take the win, seemingly ignorant of the ticking clock. I think I felt more pressure watching it!

6-2 and the match awarded in favour of Hammer 2.

A great evening’s chess, and thoroughly enjoyable being part of it. I’m sure both sides have much to look forward to over the course of the season.

But alas, time waits for no man and the same is true for Hammer. Both sides are in action again in short order:

  • Hammer 2 face Lewisham tonight (Wednesday) 10th October
  • Hammer 3 take on Morley College on Friday 12th October
Hot off the Press!

And a quick note on last night’s result at Greater London, where our London Division 6 HEDGER team took on stalwarts GLCC.

A keenly-contested match saw Dan Rugman on top board, stand-in Captain Andy on two, and youngsters Taymoor and Laith on three and four respectively.

With all boards deciding to go quick-play, the match was over by 8.30pm and I’m pleased to report that Hammer secured a creditable 2-2 draw against our hosts, who outgraded us across the shop.

A tense affair on top board

Particular credit must be given to Taymoor, with a fast-paced romp home in little over an hour, followed soon after by Andy edging out his opponent. At 2-0 up (game presented below), Hammer looked in great shape and with an outside chance of forcing a win.

Alas, it wasn’t to be – despite level-pegging for much of their games, both Dan and Laith eventually succumbed to a combination of sharp tactics, and unfortunate errors. However, both played solid games and there will be much more to come from them this year.

Still, a good result for the team and much to be positive about for all four Hammers.

Hammer Internal Rapidplay Tournament 2018-19

Register by 13th October to Guarantee Your Place!

The Hammer Internal Rapidplay Tournament is back! Last year’s tournament was a great success, and we hope to build on it this season.

With a score of 7.5/8, our chairman Bajrush was last year’s clear winner in the Open section, and he took home the trophy. Grading prizes were awarded to the following:

  • Kings (<160): Matteo Bezzini – 5/8
  • Bishops (<130): Ben Rothwell – 5/8
  • Knights (<100): Chris Moore – 4/8

Undoubtedly the real winner was Hammersmith Chess Club, who now boast 31 players with a rapid grading, up from 20 in January 2018!

This year the tournament will be run over 7 matches, down from 8 last year. Pairings will be decided by a Swiss system, and the controllers will be Adam Cranston (Middlesex 2 Captain) and Dave Lambert (London 4 Captain). All matches will be graded with the ECF under ‘rapidplay’.

This year there will only be two rounds before Christmas – the first running from mid-October to mid-November, and the second from mid-November to Christmas. After Christmas we’ll revert to one round per month.

It’ll be up to each of you to track down your opponent and arrange a time/date of your choosing to play – we’ll provide the necessary contact details. We ask for you to do this within the first week after pairings are released, and enter the agreed date and venue into a shared spreadsheet.

With fewer matches on Monday’s at Lytton Hall this season, we hope these will provide a good opportunity to play your games. This is not a requirement though – the game could be played at one of your houses, or down the pub. It really doesn’t matter as long as you’re both happy with the conditions & the game gets played within the month.

You arrange your match and enter it into the spreadsheet; You play your match; You let Adam & Dave know the result, and they’ll do the rest.

They’ll tabulate the standings and publish the next set of pairings at the start of each round. Then you’ll have the next week to arrange Game 2, and so it goes.

Competition Structure
  • Fee: £0 – included in HCC Membership Fee (however, you must have paid your subs)
  • Matches: 7, over course of seasons
  • Pairings: Swiss system
  • Graded: Yes, all games to be submitted for July 2019 grading list
  • Scoring: 1 point for a win, 0.5 points for a draw, 0 points for a loss
  • Tie-Breaks: Decided by Sonneborn-Berger method
  • Format: Rapidplay
  • Time Control: 30 minutes for all moves; 15 seconds increment
  • Conditions: Entirely up to you and what you agree with your opponent. If you’re both happy, that works for us.
Competition Timing
  • October: Registration – if you wish to play, contact Adam or Dave by 13th October
  • October-May: Games 1 to 7
  • Entry Requirements: You’re a member of Hammersmith Chess Club. You’re registered with the ECF for the 2018-19 season. You’re happy to commit to playing the full 7 matches throughout the season

Prizes will be awarded for the best score in each of the below categories. No one will be eligible to win more than one award:

  • Open: No grade limit
  • Kings: <160 ECF
  • Bishops: <130 ECF
  • Knights: <100 ECF
Small Print

Grades will be based on the July 2018 grading list

  • If you have a Rapidplay grade, we’ll use that
  • If you only have a Standard grade, we’ll go with that
  • If you have neither, we’ll estimate your grade

All players will be permitted to take a maximum of 2 byes over the course of the tournament between rounds 1 and 6, scoring 0.5 points in each case.

Requests for byes must be submitted in advance of the end of the previous round.

Late entries may be permitted at the discretion of the tournament controllers. Late entrants will start with 0 points as standard.


Failure to arrange a match within the first week: Both players will be awarded 0 points. Unless a player can demonstrate they have made reasonable and repeated (3 or more) attempts to find a suitable time & date for the match, in which case they may be awarded the win by default.

Failure to complete a match within the designated month: Both players will be awarded 0 points.

Adam and Dave to make the final decision on any disputes.

The tournament controllers reserve the right to make minor tweaks to the tournament as the season progresses due to unforeseen circumstances. In such a scenario, a written update will be provided to all the players.

If you have any questions, please drop Adam or Dave an email:

And remember – if you wish to play, please let us know by 13th October at the absolute latest. We’ll produce the first set of pairings shortly after the deadline.

Thanks, and good luck!

Adam and Dave.