A couple of months ago Andy, aka Spider, brought to my attention the activity of the resurrected Epsom Chess Club, under the dynamic leadership of Marcus and Ravi they were making all the moves in all the right directions. They were a club setting out to do things the right way.
An email conversation took place between Clueless and Marcus and a match was arranged with a home and away leg. Mortal combat under the guise of spreading new friendships and camaraderie, it was really about putting the upstart back in their place as far as Hammer was concerned. It would be over eight boards and the combined score of the two matches would determine the winner and bragging rights.
The Thames Valley Division 1 champs and LL 1st Division royalty against the minnows of the 4th Division of the Surrey League.
A classic David vs Goliath confrontation of 3rd round FA cup proportions (think Hereford vs Newcastle 1972) – check this video out the pitch, the tackles, the sideburns and the fan invasions…….truly football from another era.
Would Hammer falter like Fulham born Malcolm MacDonald and Newcastle United?
Read on to find out……..
The first leg took place at the home of the upstart – a superb pub in Epsom – the Rising Sun – on the 15th July.
The match was drawn 4-4 with the Epsom team putting in a superb performance despite the Hammer top boards consisting of Carsten, Jim and Christof – the rest of the team was no slouch either with Andy, Ben, Ken, Kostis and Clueless. No matter despite the best endeavours of the Hammer crew the Epsom team matched it.
Epsom are definitely a club that punches above their weight!!
The second leg was held on the 9th of August at Sambrooks Brewery – this time surely Hammer would triumph with ease – our territory – in a spiritual home from home.
The Hammer team saw the usual Hammer beer suspects in -Carsten, Chris S, Jim, Marios, Adam, Clueless, Charlie and Eddy – serious firepower – surely this line-up would deliver victory.
In the end it turned out to be a very tense match with all games decisive – and although Hammer won 5-3 it could have gone either way.
The scary thing was Hammer were beaten on all three top boards with various mishaps occurring.
Carsten had a beer moment and left a piece en-prise – he made a fight of it but in the end could not get the perpetual he was playing for. A tough loss.
Chris S just had one of those smelly positions that was basically devoid of counter play, and in the end, Marcus gradually ground him down. Sydney needed beer to ease the pain. Hammer at 0-2!!
Jim had a totally equal position indeed possibly with a slight edge – spurning a draw offer and playing for a win in true Loco style.
In a time scramble he ended up walking into a checkmate in the centre of the board – this was really hard on Jim and he was totally frustrated with himself. The scoreboard moved on 0-3.
Hammer hopes turned to Marios – a bit of Zeus inspiration was desperately needed. Like the God he is- he duly delivered – Hammer now at 1-3 – the fightback was on.
Adam playing his favourite London system snaffled a pawn but was left with his bishop and rook pinned by the opposition rook. He was totally passive with his opponent missing the chance to get his king to f3 and start gobbling up the Pickle pawns. Fortunately, Adam’s opponent did not play that and Adam freed himself of the pin and smoothly converted. Hammer fighting back at 2-3.
Clueless on board 5 had an adventurous game with his opponent trying to solve the development problems that afflicted his QB and QR – in the end he could not find the answer with Clueless sacking a pawn and penetrating with his rooks and knight. Picking up the exchange on the way. For once he played a controlled endgame and made it 3-3.
On boards 7 and 8 Charlie and Eddy duly delivered -as my game was a bit intense, I did not see how they got on – however they both delivered victory – basically saving Hammer blushes and winning us this encounter 5-3.
This was a great event and thoroughly enjoyed by all and safe to say the analysis carried on in the Asparagus.
I must thank Marcus and the Epsom team for two great nights of chess and wish them all the best in the new season. For any chess lover in that part of Surrey this is the club to join.
I must also thank Sam and the team at Sambrooks Brewery – to any beer connoisseur out there this is a must visit – they are just the best – plus the Junction is a damn fine-pint. Check them out – https://www.sambrooksbrewery.co.uk/
Hammer is now 4-0 in club match challenges – with Battersea (two Chessico encounters), Bury St Edmunds and Epsom met and beaten – who will dare to challenge us next?
Clueless – mine’s a Junction please – signing off