First up, a very exciting update on the recent British Bangla Rapidplay tournament, followed by some truly momentous news from the Thames Valley Division. This report is definitely worth a full read! Please enjoy…
A Chairman’s Performance
A trio of Hammers took part in the recent BBCA Rapidplay on 11th November, and the results were very encouraging!
Chris and Kostis both took part in the major section, with our Wily Chairman, Bajrush, playing in the Open (no grade limit!) section.
Kostis came away with 2.5 points out of 6 – a solid result. Chris bettered that slightly, with 3 points from 6. But the performance of the day goes to Bajrush, with a whopping 5 out of 6, and a share of 2nd place!
The third round saw him facing GM Bogdan Lalic as white, with the following position:
Black to play. Bajrush gives his thoughts: “I think I have a winning position, but miscalculated the next move. Black played Bd2, the only move to save him losing the game on the next move (Qg8+). After, I should play Kg2, but instead played Qa2 and ended up losing”.
Still, Bajrush ended up sharing 2nd prize with a GM and an IM! Not a bad performance at all!!
05.11.18 – Thames Valley Division 3: Wimbledon v Hammersmith
Captain Robin reports from the front line….
Our first match got off to a shaky start with a 4-1 defeat, and one adjournment, against the very strong Wimbledon team.
The one bright note was Sheikh on board 2 with a rapid win. His game is presented below – on the White side of a Sicilian:
Nadhmi came up against a 161 player, and played courageously up to the very end.
Yazhou on board 5 adjourned with a possible slight advantage. We wait to see how that goes!
12.11.18 – Thames Valley Division 1: Hammersmith v Surbiton
The Thames Valley Times Are A Changing – A Clueless Onlooker Reports
Back ’63 a young man called Robert Zimmerman captured for an entire generation the scent of change and hope that was in the air. He was Bob Dylan and the rest is history.
The second verse of ‘The Times they are a-changin’ for your delight is given below because it perfectly encapsulates the journey made by Hammersmith Chess Club in the last four years:
Come writes and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won’t come again
And don’t speak too soon
For the wheel’s still in spin
And there’s no tellin’ who
That it’s namin’
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin’
Nowhere has this progress been more forcibly demonstrated than the Thames Valley League.
On Monday night Hammer took on one of the perennial powerhouses of the First division – Surbiton A. Hammer have never beaten Surbiton A – last season we got a draw when some player called Clueless salvaged a draw in a murky adjourned game. Indeed, your correspondent can vividly recall a 7.5-0.5 mauling the Hammer crew took 20 months ago that was really traumatic at the time. Hammer were light years away from ever achieving parity, let alone victory.
However, this season Hammer have started at a pace in the Thames Valley League – as of Monday night, before the Surbiton encounter, we were 3 and 0. The match would prove how far along the road we have come.
The times are a changing – nothing shows this more than the scoreboard below:
First thing – we won. We won handsomely.
However, what strikes me is the change in our team line-up. Only Carsten, Bajrush and Marios played in the massacre 20 months ago.
Thomas, Sylvain, Tony, Paul and Jim have all joined the Hammer family since that 7.5-0.5 thrashing and hence do not bear the scars of that bruising encounter. Yep, not only the times are a changing, but the personnel definitely are as well.
Enough musings. To the games.
In board order, Carsten had yet another OTB no quarter given match-up with Chris Briscoe. I would love to know how many times they have played each other. Methinks it is up there with Karpov-Kasparov numbers. The one thing these games are not, and that is boring. It always seems to be primeval chess. Carsten is probably the most correct Hammer player I know but something happens to him when he runs into Chris. The inner Viking takes over.
This was a no holds-barred game with kings on an open-board with heavy artillery raining down. It was tightrope stuff with the result possibly going to either player. In the end Chris manoeuvred his black bishop to f3 to give a check, putting it en-prise, and this seemed with time ticking down to throw the Great Dane. A few moves later Carsten resigned in a position where he was one move away from delivering the coup-de-grace himself. Hammer down 0-1.
Thomas, our finest piece of French T-Bone, had a very positional game with his 200 rated opponent – playing black for a long period it looked like he held an edge with this bishop pair versus an opposing knight and bishop on a fairly open board. In a complex series of maneouvres he lost a pawn and was then fighting to salvage a draw which he duly delivered. Hammer on the scoreboard 0.5-1.5
Board three was possibly the game of the evening – our Wily Chairman Bajrush playing white against another 200-rated player. Yep, the patented Wily opening variation got another punt – but astonishingly he introduced a novelty – he actually castled! – which I thought was against the entire spirit of the variation. It was a very exciting encounter with white’s thematic c5! Making space for his bishop on c4 being a highlight. The whole game is given below for your enjoyment. Nobody plays chess like Wily!
Board 4 brought our newest newbie Sylvain to the fore – I must say this was a game of warfare that encompassed the whole board – it was brutal and complicated. There were tactics galore accompanied by deep strategy – it gave me a headache just looking at it. However, the finish was prosaic – white in desperation had launched a speculative kingside attack rather than just accept a totally passive position. Sylvain seized his moment by taking a knight with his Queen forcing a recapture with the white Queen and then playing Nf2+ forking the Queen – just very classy. I hereby nickname him Aramis!
Hammer nudging ahead 2.5-1.5
Board 4 saw the Surgeon in excellent form against a very tricky opponent Nick Faulks. Playing to provoke weaknesses in the black position, Tony induced his opponent to lash out. However, he had missed a sequence that lost a piece and then compounded the error by moving his queen to a7 instead of d8 and dropping an exchange. Here is the game:
Next up was Paul McK, the Prof, who deplores the Slow Play format and let it be said is fairly vocal about it. However, I do share his view that it should be confined to the dustbin of history. I have to confess I did not see much of the game but there looked like a lot of manoeuvring and the draw was agreed in one of those positions that would please the detractors of the current Carlsen and Caruana WCC match.
Hammer at 4-2 up and guaranteed at least a draw.
Next to the plate was Zeus – Marios had uncertain form to the end of last season due to a huge chess workload. However, with a new career, a lack of beard and an uptick in sartorial elegance he is returning to his best form.
The game below is him at his best although he unnecessarily berated himself for missing 18. Nd5! – the good news for Hammer is Zeus is back. It is always good to have the Gods on your side.
Hammer past the winning post at 5-2. Our first ever win over Surbiton A. Cue fireworks, music, ticker-tape parade and raucous celebrations. But hold your horses – Jim “El Loco” Stevenson still had to check-in.
All eyes turned to our LL Hammer 1 captain playing a slow-play finish game where he held the upper-hand. Now my knowledge of El Loco’s games is filled with Kings Gambits, with tactics and strategy in perfect harmony. This was not one of those games.
This was a drudge and a sludge affair where there were no tactics, just the heavy sound of positional moves. Jim had won a pawn in a position where there were two rooks vs two rooks and an opponent intent on just making the sealed move point. Jim was striving to convert when the adjournment came – fortunately his sealed move means he is +3 according to the uber brain, Stockfish. We expect good news shortly.
This was a stellar performance by the team – and it provides this pleasing picture:
Hammer has come of age!!!
A great Hammer night, and many congratulations to Captain Wily and the crew.