The Hammer Christmas Chess Soiree – Ostend – 2nd December 2022 to the 4th of December 2022.

The Hammer Christmas Chess Soiree- Ostend – 2nd December 2022 to the 4th of December 2022.

Covid has affected every part of our lives these past two- and a bit years. We have lost loved ones, had to cancel holidays, curtail our social lives and in our chess world, we endured no over-the-board chess for nineteen months. 

An early casualty of the pandemic was our planned trip to the beautiful German city of Lubeck. It is now approaching two years since Hammer last ventured abroad -the time is right to start again.

The Royal Chess Club of Ostend is a famous chess club in West Flanders and they have agreed to host us for the weekend – a blitz tourney Friday night and a long play game on Saturday. Interspersed will be a chance to enjoy the atmosphere and all the delights that await us.

Note the Royal designation – Hammer is definitely moving up in the world. Also, I must thank GM Daniel King who opened the door to negotiations and who has in the past turned out for Ostend over the board.


The rough itinerary is as follows

Friday 2nd December – Hammer crew boards a private coach at “middayish” – travel to Folkestone – travel through the tunnel and then up the coast to Ostend. We get settled into our hotel or accommodation (TBA), some grub to then be taken and then we attend the Royal Ostend chess club for a Friday night blitz tourney. I am sure a beer oasis awaits us later on and a chance to get to know our new friends.

Saturday 3rd December – In the morning we may do the Christmas markets, or a cultural tour followed by the club-on-club long play challenge. We will be playing for the Evans Cup. Then a meal with our hosts and then retire to a suitable bar

Sunday 4th December – more Christmas markets and sightseeing before returning to London mid-afternoon.

This is a unique opportunity for all Hammers to enjoy an amazing chess challenge against a more than worthy opponent – enjoy a historic city, and the fabulous Christmas markets, take in the culture and sample some amazing beer. Also, a chance to make new friends and spread the goodwill and camaraderie of our beautiful game and the renown of Hammer

Please note the Ostend club has an excellent Junior section so for the first time we would like to take a Junior Team for the trip if we can get the numbers.

Now some fun facts about Ostend and the Royal Chess Club

  • Ostend has over five miles of sandy beaches and is the 9th biggest city in Belgium.
  • Ostend is connected to Bruges and Ghent by canals
  • It has a population of over 70,000.
  • It is a historic city with a history dating back at least 1000 years.
  • It held two famous chess tournaments in 1907 and 1907 – these happened before I was even born. The names of Rubinstein, Bernstein, Janowski et al featured in these tournaments.
  • The creator of the Evans Gambit – seafarer William Evans – is buried in Ostend!

What true red-blooded Hammer could resist?

So, if you want to take part, now is the time for action. The Closing Date is the 31st July 2022. The reason for the tight decision date is this is an incredibly busy time of year and accommodation will go quickly.

So, what do you need to do if you want to take part?

  • First, email Lord Clueless to say count me in
  • If you act early, then you will be on the trip – a deposit will be taken as the club will need to book a coach and possibly a deposit at the hotel. 


Time is short, as the many Hammers who have enjoyed the delights of Amsterdam, Cork and Wroclaw in the past three years – these weekends are just superb.

Ostend awaits us.

Lord Clueless expects every Hammer to do their duty!

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