Hammersmith 1 is back to work!

After the holiday period, our First team had their return to league matches with a crushing and undefeated win against a very strong Athenaeum. 5 wins and 3 draws with many interesting positions to analyze!

Happy New Year to all our members and readers! We present you with our top team’s first London League match of 2024: on the 10th of January, we visited Athenaeum Chess Club determined to get a win: our team would have been ready to play even if the Tube strikes had gone ahead!

In terms of lineups, we had a small edge on the top 2 boards, while the bottom six saw virtually no difference between our players and the opposition. It was an impressive team for Athenaeum and we knew from the start that it wouldn’t be an easy match.

The first two games to finish were on boards 3 and 4, with Fedja and Carsten making relatively quick draws, one with each colour so the match remained balanced. All the other six games went well past 9pm so it was a great fight!

The first decisive game came on board 5, where Gaston kept building up pressure against black’s pieces in the center until his opponent made a mistake that allowed him to win an exchange with Ne4! taking advantage of a pin on d5. There were some complications to go through, but the point went to us in the end.

Soon after, Maria also managed to win an exchange against Athenaeum’s team captain, and a full bishop a few moves later, and so she gave us our second win. Christof was facing some trouble on board 8, but he managed to not only defend against a very dangerous opening, and then going on to win after his opponent’s back rank weakness left the white queen overloaded after Qg5+!.

The score was 4-1 going into the last few games of the night, with Tom, Marco and Cian all having promising positions. On the top board, black was a bishop up but with a lot of weaknesses around his king, while white’s own monarch was able to walk up the board and regain the piece. After simplifying, white was about to win a lot more material with a fork on d6, and black resigned.

On board 7, young Cian had a very strong initiative, but his experienced opponent found ways to defend. A draw was agreed in mutual time trouble. Lastly, Marco showed great technique to win a long Rook vs Bishop endgame. Final Score: 6.5 – 1.5, with no defeats!

The win will brings us up to second place on the League Table, ahead of our match against the current leaders Richmond & Twickenham at the end of the month. It should be an exciting one, so keep an eye out!