Hammer goes 960!

Diversity is in the DNA of the Hammersmith Chess club, and what in chess can be more diverse than Chess960, also known as Fischer Random chess? Don’t think this is not chess. Even the FIDE has organised its first formal World Championship in Chess960 last year, and this is the only title not currently owned by Magnus Carlsen, but by Wesley So. So, there is something special about Chess960.

Over the last few months, Hammers have enjoyed lots of activities around this variation. During Corona lockout, our Finnish club legend Rauno gave a Zoom based introduction into Chess960. Shortly after that, our GM Keith Arkell offered a Simul exhibition on lichess exclusively for club members in the Chess960 format. In order to prepare for this, Christof shared his opening principles of Chess960 in another Zoom conference. Needless to say that Keith Arkell won all his eight games, confirming the statement that Chess960 brings out the true chess master, without players relying on memorised opening lines. Well, up to a point at least…

During the opening phase, it seemed that the ordinary club members generally performed as good if not even better than the GM, so there is something to learn from special 960 opening principles.

A further club event started early May and is still being played, a correspondence online tournament on chess.com with Chess960 rules. 12 games are still in progress, the farthest ahead in move 40. The scoreboard leader is Jim, but with Moritz close behind, it is a race comparable to Liverpool’s 2019 chase of Man City, and it will all depend on their 2 still undecided games against each other.

The club’s Chess960 activities continue. This week, a special session of the Junior Hour focusses on Chess960, and next week there will be another club internal Simul, this time by Christof against the Juniors. And in the recently started new season, the Jackhammer960 Cup has been added to the established Sledgehammer and Rockhammer Cups. Games are handicap-scored as well, but it is with randomly allocated Chess960 opening positions in rapid time control, as in the FIDE World Championship. It is time to register, please contact Nadim.

And if you want to come prepared, watch the club’s Youtube channel. A special playlist dedicated to Chess960 was set up with so far three videos: the general introduction, the opening principles, and the analysis of the Simul opening moves.


Sledgehammer & Rockhammer 2019 – The Results!

In 2019, Hammersmith introduced two new internal tournaments, with a handicap scoring system, allowing players from all levels to compete and have fun playing ECF graded over-the-board games. At least, that was the original idea until COVID-19 struck the world, and it became challenging to play OTB chess.

At that point the tournament rules were relaxed to allow online games to count for the tournament while not being ECF graded. This has enabled Hammers to continue playing in those tournaments during the lock-down period.

On June 30th 2020, the 2019 season was officially closed and we can now announce the winners.

Sledgehammer Cup 2019 results (Standard Play)

Winner:  Christof Brixel (97.5 points)
Runner-up: David Lambert (83.5 points)
Third: Nadim Osseiran (49.5 points)

Rockhammer Cup 2019 results (Rapidplay)

Winner:  Nadim Osseiran (49.5 points)
Runner-up: Christof Brixel (45 points)
Third: David Lambert (43 points)

All the details for the 2019 season (games & standings) can be found on this link to the tournament record sheet.

The 2019 cups will be distributed to the winners as soon as the social distancing situation permits, hopefully soon!

Launch of the 2020 Hammer Tournaments Season

This year we will have 3 different Cups:

  • The Sledgehammer Cup for Standard Play
  • The Rockhammer Cup for Rapid Play
  • The Jackhammer960 for 960 chess variant in Rapid Play time control

Those tournaments are open to all Hammersmith Chess Club members. All you need to do is to contact fellow members and submit the game result via this link to the game submission form.

Some changes have been made to the rules as follows:

  • Online games will now count towards the ECF online grading (except for 960 chess)
  • Only games that are rated on the online platforms will be accepted, casual online games will not be accepted
  • Players are encouraged to have a live video connection during online games
  • Game results will only be accepted via the provided game submission form, results by email will not be accepted.

For complete information and rules, please have a look at the Hammer Tournaments 2020 Documentation

Good luck for the 2020 Hammer Tournaments Season!

The Internal Tournaments Team