A triple dose this week – Hammer Firsts taking on the might of Wimbledon, Athenaeum and Charlton in that order.
The first match was against Wimbledon – always strong and a local rivalry not only in the LL but also the Thames Valley league.
The second match was against Athenaeum – a club with a huge history – they are the oldest chess club in London, founded in 1873. Even Lord Clueless was not alive then.
The final match was against Charlton – another club with a huge history and always up for a fight. One of my earliest memories of Charlton was seeing a young GM Danny Gormally playing for them – rated about 175 ECF in those days.
Here are the scorecards:
So a draw, a win and a loss – not bad considering we were playing three of the premier chess clubs in London and we are missing a lot of our top players – OK, am gonna say it – why has Ryszard taken up on Wednesdays and a T-Bone, T-Bone, my kingdom for a T-Bone. Rant over!
Let’s look at the matches and the individual games.
First up directly after the holiday season was Wimbledon. Hammer were out-graded by 20 points a board, yet we still drew 2-2. We are punching well above our weight.
Great wins from Chris D and Bajrush – both games worthy of a serious study. A hard-fought game for Skults against an IM, and Lord Clueless was a late substitute and neither of us could get the requisite half-point for the win.
These are the games:
I think Skults was really unlucky, and Clueless was doing OK then lost his way. The draw seemed a fair result.
Match two brought us up against Athenaeum – to be honest the Hammer crew were in imperious form – in fact, awesome form.
Carsten, Chris D and Jonathan were dominant and scored decisive wins – once again, Carsten played a very correct endgame, Chris had fire on the board and Jonathan had a combination of both. Bajrush – Hammers Wily Coyote – had a perfect hippo unfortunately it sunk and did not stay buoyant. A 3-1 win, a great result – the games follow.
Definitely a superb team effort – get in there Hammer!!
To the third and final match, and the highest-rated team we have faced – ignore the ECF ratings listed above – on the Tornelo platform we knew we had a tough task.
IM Mark answered the call to beef up our top board, and I thought we had a fighting chance. Once again, Chris D the Hammer Postman – he always delivers – an in-joke there for our Hammer golf aficionados – scored a highly tactical win. Really great chess to watch.
The other Chris – Skulte version, took on a really tough opponent. Indeed he fought to the bitter end, nearly achieving parity, but in the end he went down in flames and glory. Bajrush playing a fellow wily competitor in Nick Briggs ventured the hippo but again the beast refused to stay afloat – really interesting game though.
Finally, to IM Mark. He was winning – at least I thought he was – and a rushed move at the end cost him an instant material loss. He was gutted but again, a game worthy of careful study.
A 1-3 loss hard to take, but it was so hard fought.
All twelve games here were decisive and are credit to the fighting nature of each Hammer and their worthy opponents.
All this gives the following League table with two rounds to go:
Lord Clueless is still content – the final matches are against Streatham & Brixton, and some club called Battersea. Yep, no idea who they are either.
Lord Clueless will be raising the banner/standard and calling all hands to the pump – this is the business end of what has been a great and thoroughly enjoyable tourney.
Lord Clueless – the 2021 version.