Plagiarism has a long ignoble history in chess, stretching from hundreds of years ago to the modern day. So, I feel no shame in utilising the timeless genius of Jane Austen and paraphrase her with the following quote:
“I rejoice in the superiority of our connections”
Hammer is fortunate to have Grandmaster Keith Arkell as a member of our club. I know how much that means to him and how enthusiastic he is about what the club has achieved and the direction it is going in.
Every December after the conclusion of the London Classic he always takes part in a simultaneous against Hammer members. This year , he went one step further, he took on twenty plus members and the next night debuted in the Middlesex League – for some reason playing on Board One???!!!!!
This is a brief report on those two evenings.
The simultaneous involved him taking on 23 Hammers and scoring 20 wins and three draws.
From beating Thomas (T-Bone) and Christof (Der Vater) to the Hammer Youth of Zain and Alex he was relentless – three hours of total concentration – that means he spent, on average, 8 minutes on each game. That is pretty awesome.
The three draws were achieved by Claudio, potential new member Vasil and young Cian.
Claudio played accurately and was the last to finish – showing his customary tenacity and stubborn qualities. He survived the famed Arkell endgame technique and was rightly praised by Keith in the Albion post-mortem.
Vasil – had an amazing game- I hope to bring you the game later. At the end Vasil was a Queen and Rook up (indeed he had two queens on the board) forcing Keith to play for a perpetual. Superb play.
However, without doubt the stand-out performance of the evening came from 8-year-old Cian Ward who displayed all the fighting chess qualities endemic in the heart and soul of every Hammer. He played so solidly and so well- maybe Keith could have won but Cian never gave up.
The highest praise was forthcoming from Keith for this performance – enjoy!!
The night ended inevitably in The Albion where Keith shared his thoughts on the Arkell endgame (King, Rook and Bishop vs King and Rook with no pawns), recent tourneys he had played and his chess books. A brilliant end to the evening.
The next day, his 13th day of chess in a row, he turned out to play for Hammer against Muswell Hill in Division 1 of the Middlesex League. His opponent was Mike Healey (ECF217) and a familiar face to many Hammers.
Here is the game, annotated by the man himself. The final position is completely lost and a classic example of a Good Knight vs a Bad Bishop.
On behalf of the whole of Hammer – I wish to thank Keith – and wish him a most Merry Christmas and all the best in 2020.
We look forward to next year’s encounter – revenge is already in the air!