Removing the Monkey in London League Division 4

Hammer 2 were recently back in action as we defeated Metropolitan 4 by a score of 6-2 in the fourth tier of the London League. The Hammer crew had been forced to wait almost 3 months for the encounter, a cruel twist of the fixture calendar meaning no games since October.

The score looks comfortable on paper, but full credit to the Metro team for giving us a few scares along the way, making light of their grade disadvantage as they did so. Full match-card as follows:

Heading into the match, your captain on Board 7 and newcomer Daniel on Board 8 were desperate for a win. Equipped with that rare ability to steal a defeat from the jaws of victory, both were on what can politely be called ‘challenging’ runs of form. Fortunately both ended the night as victors but in very different fashions.

Daniel kicked things off in whirlwind style on Board 8 with a win in 10 moves. Having only recently turned his skills to standard-play time controls, this was his first win for the club, taking advantage of several opposition missteps to force an early submission. After finally having overcome the bad luck omen of sitting next to his ailing captain on Board 7, Daniel stayed and patiently cheered on the team for 2 hours plus. A brilliant attitude that encapsulates what the club is about. 1-0

My win came after far more positional manoeuvring. It looked destined for a draw for much of the game, before a tactic enabled a pawn to be snaffled for free in front of the King, levering open the monarch’s defence. Very relieved to take the full point. 2-0

Charlie on Board 6 had a moment of aberration, lapsing into autopilot and quickly moved his knight twice in the opening. We were now out of book (any book) by move 2! It didn’t look pretty when we replayed in the pub afterwards, but actually the mistake also seemingly baffled his opponent. No advantage was gained until a further misstep allowed a centralised queen with several threats and attacking changes. What followed was a typical double-edged game where Charlie bravely fought and created complications before he finally succumbed.

I’m afraid I didn’t see as much of the action on the top boards as I would have liked, such was the head-down nature of my own game. However, all 5 remained unbeaten, with good wins for Christof, the ever-reliable John, and Jeremy, marking his first match for us this season.

I’m delighted to be able to present two of those games here for your enjoyment.

Christof, as white, taking the full point:

And Brian, also as white, playing a solid draw and continuing his strong start to the season:

Next up for Hammer 2 is Metropolitan 3. We’re set for a tougher challenge there but I’m sure we’ll raise our game for the occasion.

Long live Hammer!

As Promised – A Hammer goes Close

As promised in my report on our annual GM Keith Arkell simultaneous – I bring you the game from ultra-new Hammer, Vasil Velichkov, and GM Keith – this was the second of the draws from that superb evening.

Vasil played a massively impressive game – a Nimzo-Indian variation – that had Keith deep in thought and definitely on the back foot.

Hammer Captains please note Vasil has serious skills and will be a valuable addition to the Hammer ranks – I am going to rate him at 120E but he plays at a higher level.

Why don’t you judge what his rating should be from this very exciting game against Keith – Vasil played White.


Some game.

Lord Clueless over and out