Hammer Evolution – The Next Step

Hammer Evolution – The Next Step

This club has made enormous strides in the field of diversity and opportunity in the last six years. The appointment of a Diversity Officer as a full Committee member was an indication of your committee’s intent to ensure that the club was welcoming to chess players of all backgrounds.

We have run Women’s tournaments, coaching from top women coaches, and seminars to boost and increase our women’s membership numbers. We have moved into a venue that offers superb facilities and a safe environment.

Despite our progress and efforts, we are still overwhelmingly at both Junior and Senior level a male dominated club. 

This is not unique to our club and is an issue that occupies the higher echelons of our brilliant sport.

It is time to do something radical.

The Hammer Committee voted last week to reduce the membership for women and girls from £65 to £10 for a season – this will remain in effect for the foreseeable future.

This is something the Committee was entirely at one with and determined to make work for both women chess players and the club.

Incidentally those women members who joined in the last 6 months will be contacted by our treasurer Matteo as they are entitled to a refund. Please check your email.

Finally, our previous Diversity Officer Raluca has had to relinquish the post due to various factors (main one being she has commenced a PhD)– she gave brilliant service and was innovative in the way she helped promote diversity in the club.

We are pleased to announce that Tom Rendle will be taking on the role of Diversity Officer on a temporary basis. The Committee would like to hear from members interested in the role long-term, as well as anyone with ideas/suggestions. Please apply asap to our secretary Adam,

John White aka Lord Clueless
PR Officer

The Hackney Manor Challenge

Yes, the latest mega match saw the Hammer Heroes take on those East End mobsters, Hackney, on holy ground – “The Anvil”- aka as the Mind Sports Centre. A battle spread over 31 boards with no quarter given, in a quest for ideological supremacy – a truly West vs East encounter. 

Putting aside all the usual Clueless hype and trash talk this was a great evening with two clubs, each with a long and distinguished history settling everything over the chessboard. Almost sounds civilised.

The most pleasing aspect of the evening was the genuine joy to be back playing over the board and being part of a team. All the usual chess nuances were on full display- the intensity, the sportsmanship, the support of your colleagues and the crowding round the board watching a game’s conclusion – things the internet cannot dream of delivering. It was so good to be back – with genuine competition and playing rated OTB chess.

Our opponents were a noble bunch and like Hammer have the right chess club philosophy and must extend thanks to Bryan Ellis and Bob Eames for their work in getting the show on the road

Any match of this size is a logistical nightmare and several noble Hammers stepped in to fight honourably for our esteemed opponents to make up the numbers. So, a big shout out to Jeremy, Alejandro, Abigail, Andrew and your reporter who made the ultimate sacrifice. 

The one benefit we could claim was we were able to use our blue-on-blue encounters as Sledgehammer matches at the same time – a double whammy.

Anyway, the scene was set, and this is the tale of the tape.

It is often a good idea to break a match of this magnitude into three sections 

  • Boards 1-10
  • Boards 11-20
  • Boards 21-31

It gives you the impression of three mini-matches within one big match

Hammer took boards 1-10 convincingly 6.5 – 3.5 with solid wins for Marco, Thomas, Jim, Alex, and Gaston. Our Great Dane Carsten admitted he was totally bust but somehow kept it going and was able to bounce back and secure the win. There was a draw for Christof and tough losses for Clueless, Tom and Robin.

The Jeremy vs Tom encounter was full-blooded with Tom sacking a piece for some pawns and hoping to get a pawn avalanche going. Jeremy played very coolly and demonstrated the superiority of bishop, knight and mobile king over a rook. A very instructive game.

The second mini match from 11-20 saw Hammer edge it 5.5-4.5 with again some fascinating games on offer – indeed this could have easily gone the other way with Jonathan seizing on an oversight by his opponent that allowed a bishop skewer of the white rooks. After that, it was a matter of technique to secure the win. There were solid wins for Liam, Michael, and Liam. Draws for Andrew, Chris, and John G. It was particularly good to see John G back in the club after a long absence. This was countered by losses for Matteo and Andrew C. Both had the edge in their games, and it was tough to see them fall after their initial strong play. Denis was a last-minute substitute and went against a very tough and seasoned opponent – I thank him for stepping in at such short notice.

So, Hammer leading this contest 12-8 – the match was down to the events on boards 21-31

The bottom boards always seem to be Hammer’s strength in these types of encounters and although a tight affair the Hammers brought it home 6.5-4.5. Some good wins for Guillaume, Nick, Nadim, Charlie and David. Fighting draws for Jamie, Javier, and ultra-new member Jonathan A. 

The three losses were painful – for young Alex he learnt how harsh chess can be when he lost from a winning position whilst Todd went in against a much higher and very experienced opponent. Jonathan’s game I missed.

In the end a very good Hammer victory – 18.5-12.5 and achieved with a lot of new faces.

There will be a return leg and I wait for the word from our Hackney friends – however, in mega board chess Hammer, for now, stands proud and undefeated.

Thank you to you all.

A very content Lord Clueless.

Here is the match card.

1 2256 Alistair Hill 0-1 Dashiell Shaw 2275
2 2223 Marco Gallana 1-0 Bob Eames 2268
3 2193 Thomas Bonn 1-0 Zoltan Kovacs 2125
4 2185 Carsten Pedersen 1-0 Piro Balloglu 2080
5 2110 Jim Stevenson 1-0 Jonny Tennyson 2020
6 2088 C Brixel 0.5-0.5 Lukasz Domanski 1980
7 2067 Alex Freeland 1-0 John White 1960
8 2000E Gaston Franco 1-0 Emyr Jones 1915
9 1900E Tom Townsend 0-1 Jeremy Hodgson 1908
10 1821 Robin Sarfas 0-1 Chris Levy 1870
11 1818 Matteo Bezzini 0-1 Paul Conway 1855
12 1803 Liam Fleming 1-0 Chris Gribben 1753
13 1765 John Goodacre 0.5-0.5 Paulo Rosario 1698
14 1713 Jonathan Hoong 1-0 Matthew Field 1700E
15 1660 Chris Moore 0.5-0.5 Marc Morgan 1660
16 ???? Denis Chapurin 0-1 Peter Burgoyne 1653
17 1653 Michael Telicki 1-0 Zeb Jones 1638
18 1623 Andrew Macleod 0.5-0.5 Aharon Landman E1600
19 1600E Liam Butler 1-0 Chris Thorne 1480
20 1570 Andrew Cuff 0-1 Joshua Sweed 1400E
21 1400E Nick Groves-Kirkby 1-0 Tony Saunois 1374
22 1400E Jamie Pitts 0.5-0.5 Alejandro Albiol 1400
23 1400E Todd Sandler 0-1 Mark Rivlin 1697
24 1400E Guillaume Allain 1-0 Shir Bar-Tal u/g
25 1375 Javier Silvarrey 0.5-0.5 David Battiscombe u/g
26 1350 Jonathan Ausena 0.5-0.5 Abigail Burton u/g
27 1250 Jonathan Mather 0-1 Robert Smillie u/g
28 1143 Alex Royce 0-1 Oli Cairns u/g
29 1135 Nadim Osserian 1-0 Andrew Kirk 1100
30 1100 Charlie Rigby 1-0 Bryan Ellis 17
31 1100 David Tyrrell 1-0 Thomas Lacy u/g