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|