Shootout at the Wheatsheaf Corral!

24.04.17 – London League 3: Albany v Hammersmith

A seismic evening of London League 3 chess took place last night in London W1. A critical relegation fixture in Division 3. Hammer were pitted against the might of Albany, who are gunning for promotion to Division 2.

As I said in my last dispatch, this is belt and braces time and Hammer need to deliver.

Let me set the scene – for one moment just closer your eyes. Think Clint Eastwood riding into town in “A Fistful of Dollars” – the Ennio Morricone soundtrack in the background. The long gunman facing insuperable odds.

Imagine that scene and you will be halfway there to where your Hammer heroes were last night. There was only going to be one outcome as they sat down to fight.

As with all things this season, Hammer do not do things the easy way – they are just addicted to pressure. We just have an innate desire to make things as difficult as possible… for ourselves!

Let me demonstrate why:

  • Three of our nominated players have not been able to compete this season
  • Last night we were missing Orial, Josue and Marios. Not easy men to replace.
  • We defaulted a game – Sheikh had an unfortunate lapse of memory. Something I cannot reprimand him for because he has been so good this season.
  • It mean that Hammer started this crucial match already a point down.

Fortunately Brian, Adam and Robin were able to step up. Hammer were ready.

The scene has been set… let’s look at the detail of the evening.

The first man to finish was Robin in rapid fashion. Playing white the game was over so quickly I only saw a brief glimpse of it. My memory is of a white Knight on b5 coupled with his usual fianchettoed Bishop on g2 and pawn on d3 setup. That is all I can relate. Hammer were now 1-1.

Next up was Safi playing one of his best games of the season, he left his b2 pawn en prise. A greedy black Queen took the bait and then proceeded to get trapped. Safi smoothly converted. 2-1 to Hammer.

Things then settled down and the evening wore on.

The outcome saw victories for Paul, Adam and myself. Draws for Bajrush, Jeremy and Matteo. A tough loss for Brian after achieving a winning position, was the only blemish on a great night of Hammer chess.

Paul’s game was one of classical manoeuvring and probing. Paul very rarely plays badly and is very solid and logical in his approach. This was another good and deserved win. Hammer now at 3-1.

Adam was in dominant mood. I think he was four pawns up at one stage and he only had to negotiate a couple of tactics to secure the win. This he duly did and Hammer cruised to 4-1.

Chess is a really easy game if you are playing well and your opponent helps.

My win was on the white-side of a Caro-Kann that had elements of an advanced French. Luckily, I came out of the middle game with a passed b-pawn which grew as it advanced up the board. I had multiple ways to win and decided the most prudent course was to head for an endgame with the same number of pawns, but the bonus of an extra Knight. My opponent actually lost on time but his position was completely bust! I was just glad to get the point – Hammer now flying at 5-1.

Our WOSF of a Chairman performed his usual Kosovan wizard – turning a lost position into a murky one and then into a draw. How does he do it? Who cares – the match point was secured. 5.5 – 1.5.

Jeremy has had a very solid season for Hammer – no losses and standing at 70%. Last night he was solid on every level. Playing black, he agreed the draw when he had the edge but made a pragmatic decision. Hammer now in heaven at 6-2.

Finally, Matteo also agreed a draw when a sealed move was imminent. Hammer beyond paradise at 6.5-3.5 win (including our defaulted board). An outstanding result and achieved in the face of tough odds.

One slightly sour note is that as a result of the defaulted game we lost half a match point. Hence, we are still not theoretically safe. The last three matches have cost us and now we can afford no more mistakes in our last match against Kings Head on the 9th May.

I conclude with a deep, heartfelt thanks to the lads last night and must single out Robin for special mention. Not only did he put himself forward when I was scrambling for a team – he stood down when Jeremy became available. He then responded immediately to my request to step in again when Marios had to withdraw on the day. Robin exemplifies all that is best in the Hammer spirit, and Hammer Chess.

We are lucky to have him.

Till the next time – live long and prosper my fellow Hammerites!!

 

Meanwhile… down at the Club House…

24.04.17 – Rapidplay @ Lytton Hall

It was a great evening last night as we marked our first attempt at a Rapidplay evening at Lytton Hall.

It’s long been an ambition to organise a fully-fledged internal Rapidplay tournament and last night marked a significant step towards making that a reality. Undeterred by having most of our “big hitters” in a pub somewhere in central London for our crucial Division 3 match, the rest of us rolled-up our sleeves and got stick in to some 30 minute action.

It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening with some good attacking chess, and a couple of games that went right to the wire! Hopefully it worked for the guys involved too. Please let us know in the Comments below. It’s amazing how much quieter Lytton Hall is when people know it’ll affect their grade!

The night was also significant in that it marked our youngest ever member to take his bow. Yep, we were joined by 9-year-old Nadhmi making his debut for the club, and a very good show he made of it too. He ran me extremely close in his first match, only to lose on time (I wasn’t far behind), but managed to pip Nick in his second. A very solid performance and very happy to have him on board!

Other highlights included Shaun chalking up his first graded win! Well done, Sir. Let’s hope that’s a sign of things to come!

If there was a winner on the night, we probably have to give that accolade to Ken, emerging with 1.5 points from his 2 games played. But more broadly I hope everyone enjoyed the experience, and let’s see if this can’t pave the way for a more structured Rapidplay tournament next season. More on that at the AGM!

Full results below. You should see these results reflected in the July 2017 grades.

It was also a real pleasure to see so many new faces at the club. Last night we welcomed a total of 5 new people – Sassa, Panos, Aaron, Dipender and of course, Nadhmi. Sorry we couldn’t include you all in the Rapidplay. We’re a bit hamstrung unless you’re formally ECF-registered! Still, I hope you enjoyed your own matchups and your first taste of Hammer Chess! Hope to see you all again soon.

Dave.

Hammersmith Chess Club: Notice of AGM

Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Hammersmith Chess Club
Date: Monday 5th June 2017
Time: From 7pm
Location: Lytton Hall (home venue)

Ladies & Gents – our Annual General Meeting is on 5th June this year, at our home venue. As usual, it will be an informative and fun occasion as the Committee present details of our Club’s progress this season, and plans for next season, plus the usual business for members to vote on. It’s the chance for all members to have their say on how the Club is run – please make every effort to attend.

We’ll also have the fourth and final round of our season-long Blitz tournament (check out the standings after round 3!), and the usual drinks and nibbles – what a treat! Formal notice below:

Notice of the AGM for Hammersmith Chess Club

The Annual General Meeting of the Hammersmith Chess Club will take place on Monday 5th June 2017 at Lytton Hall, commencing at 7pm.

I give notice that the following Committee Members will be standing for re-election:

  • Bajrush Kelmendi – Chairman
  • Michael Mackenzie – Secretary
  • Chris Moore – Treasurer
  • John White – PR Officer
  • David Lambert – Auditor
  • Adam Cranston – Club Captain
  • Andy Routledge – Webmaster

Please note, if any Club member wishes to stand for a position on the Committee, under the Club Constitution they have to be seconded by another Club Member and written notice must be given to the Secretary at least 30 days before the AGM.

Furthermore, if a Club Member wishes to propose a motion at the AGM, it must be seconded by another Club Member and submitted to the Secretary at least 30 days before the AGM.

The minutes of the 2016 AGM will be displayed on the Club Notice Board by the 20th April for your examination.

Michael Mackenzie.
Club Secretary.
Hammersmith Chess Club.
michael.mackenzie5@btinternet.com

 

A Tough Night at the Office

20.04.17 – London League 4: Hammersmith v Streatham

Our penultimate match in Division 4 saw our battle-wearied troops face the top-of-the table Streatham. It always looked a tough match on paper (they’ve been known to have a 130 on Board 8!) and such was the case in practice. We lost the match 1.5 – 5.5, with Adam’s game yet to conclude.

However, we should perhaps look at ourselves and say we could have done better! Their line-up was relatively soft by their high standards, and particularly with a few games sitting 50/50 for much of the evening, we could perhaps have run them a little closer.

One thing that wasn’t close was the battle on Board 8! A combination of illness and pest control robbed us of our final player, so we had to start with a default and 0-1 down.

My match was the first to finish. A fairly anaemic variation of the classical Sicilian that fizzled to a drawish position after 25 moves. I felt my opponent had the slightly better position, so was happy to take the draw. I was glad to see Fritz agreed with my analysis after the fact! 0.5 – 1.5

Next to finish was Brian playing on Board 1. He reached what looked like a fairly level middle game, but conceded immediately following a clever Knight fork on Queen & King. It looked like it wasn’t possible due to a Bishop recapture, but that in turn led to another discovered attack on the Queen.

What do they say? Tactics flow from a better position? That’s the challenge of facing someone performing at 175! That rounds off Brian’s season for us, as he’s stepping up to help John secure Division 3 status in the crucial closing matches. Cracking season all round though, Brian! Hope to have you onboard next time around. 0.5 – 2.5

The next 3 matches sealed our fate with each going the way of Streatham. Very unlucky not to take something from the trio.

Ken, as is his custom, played in an open, attacking style and reached a late middle game slightly down but with chances. He was a pawn down, his opponent conceding doubled-pawns in return, but the general structure allowed attacking play for both sides. With Queens still on the board, tactics would be decisive and Ken’s opponent forced through to create checking opportunities. When the trusty Rook got involved, a checkmate shortly followed. 0.5 – 3.5

John, as is NOT his custom(!), also got into a really open position! His opponent raided into his territory with his Queen but it appeared like a potential overstretch as John’s Rooks were connected and gave him chances to attack with tempo. He obtained a pawn advantage and told me later he regretted the opportunity to force a Queen exchange. Nevertheless, play picked up again in an even position. Tactics abounded and John was forced to give up his Knight to save his Rook. He battled on, trying to push for promotion but was eventually forced to concede. 0.5 – 4.5

Nick’s game only had Robin as competition for “most interesting” of the evening. It turned into a pretty unbalanced affair. Nick’s opponent, playing White, lodged a fairly horrible Bishop on the h6 square, which is where it stayed for most of the game. He also had to contend with a pair of advanced pawns that seemed to beckon the Knight to make them their outpost!

Nevertheless, Nick was a pawn up (unless my eyes deceived me!). If he could find an accurate defence, he might be able to hold out. Nick offered a draw, a charming offer that was declined on more than one occasion. With the clock ticking, Nick succumbed to time pressure as the flag fell. A minor inquest was held as to whether they’d played 36 (or was it only 35?) moves but the record books have this as a loss. 0.5 – 5.5

So onto Robin. The man with nerves of steel. Gifted a Knight in a previously equal middle game, in part due to his opponent having touched the wrong piece (!), Robin looked in a good spot. In normal circumstances, this may have result in a routine win but Robin was well down on the clock, so they played on.

He increased his lead from a Knight to a Rook with a tactic he learnt from chess.com (so he tells me) but it was still precarious. At this point it must have been 2 minutes v 20 – the time-out looked a real possibility. Sensing the situation, his opponent aimed for complications, forcing the clock into the final minute of play. Robin kept his cool mercurially and forced the mate with literally seconds to spare. Great to watch. 1.5 – 5.5

Last but not least was Adam. His position looked particularly unpleasant when his opponent rooted his Bishop on d6, right in the middle of his defence. It looked a monster, and effectively dominated a Queen and two Rooks! The battle was now to somehow exchange Bishops without losing pushing tempo to do so. He did it, but at the expense of an extra (doubled) pawn; not a bad price to pay in my book. In fact, Adam managed to chop off the doubled-pawn and that’s where they adjourned. It looks fairly even, so we’ll see what happens.

League table below with one match to play, for us at least..!

Thanks,
Dave.

Puzzle of the Week #005

Slightly later than planned (apologies – Bank Holiday weekend, and on-going preparations for the Charity Event on 29th April – volunteers still required!!), we return to Puzzle of the Week!

After some light heckling on the apparent easiness of last week’s effort, I can confirm that first prize goes to Paulcan you keep the noise downKennelly – well done Paul!

Nobody got the reason as to why it was chosen, however. It was in fact a tribute to American GM Art Bisguier, who died earlier this month. The position was from one of his best known games, Bisguier-Larsen, Zagreb 1965, White to move and win. Not very difficult, granted, but quite aesthetically pleasing! Solution Mainline:

Rxf6! Bxf6, Bg7! Bxg7, Qh7#, or Bxg5, Qh8#

Larsen played Bh8 to avoid this but was mated a few moves later anyway. The whole game is worth a look.

So to this week, and a puzzle chosen by our GM-slaying member Marios (heckle in his direction if you find it too easy!). He has said: “Its beauty is matched only by its difficulty!!“. White to move, answers in the comments please…

Golden Lane is Not Paved with Gold!

11.04.17 – London League 3: Metropolitan 2 v Hammer 1

April in the chess season always brings with it a congestion problem. This phenomenon is usually associated with our national sport where there are many trophies, competitions, and vital points to acquire. In other words, the business end of the season.

The challenge is also complicated by exhaustion and injuries making this the most difficult part of the season.

This is where Hammer Chess Club and our match against Metropolitan 2 was critical to our survival in Division 3 of the London League.

The previous evening Marios, Brian, Sheikh, Paul and myself were in Hounslow, fighting to retain Division 1 status in the TV League.

Unfortunately, we were missing our WOSF of a Chairman and Orial to bolster our ranks. Luckily Brian and David stepped into the breach and the Hammer team were ready.

Furthermore, we dropped a point due to a walkover. This made the task of winning or even drawing the match infinitely harder.

However, the news was not good – we were pipped 4.5 – 5.5 on the night and this has thrown us back into the relegation mix. We are now in a real fight for survival.

The irony is that even with the default we should have won or drawn the match – a familiar tale if you have followed the fortunes of Hammer 1 in LL3. Our recent run of luck finally ran out!!

The winners on the evening were Marios, Sheikh and myself.

The draws were picked up by Paul, Safi and David.

The fallers were Matteo, Brian and Josue.

To the detail…

Marios just keeps on going and keeps on clocking up the points. Despite suffering from a horrible cold and an obdurate opponent. He spurned draw offers – Marios got angry. Not visibly, or in his conduct, but in his determination to punish his opponent. In a quick-play finish his opponent finally blundered and lost a piece. Marios converted and deservedly won the game. Moral of the story – do NOT mess with this Greek!!

Sheikh’s game – despite him sitting beside me – was a blur. All I know is that Sheikh is in a fine vein of form and really delivering the points for Hammer in all leagues. Sheikhum Style is very much in vogue.

My own game was against an opponent I played two years ago. As is customary with me I lost despite having total control of the game – that loss really hurt at the time. Unfortunately, my memory for face is also going south – so I did not recognise my opponent – but it all became clear when he played the Petrov. As he had done two years earlier.

Revenge beckoned!!

For once I rose to the occasion and triumphed in sacrificial style – my best ending of a game this season. I may even submit the last 6 moves to the website.

Just remember – revenge is a dish best served cold!

Of the drawn games, I only saw brief glimpses – but I can say for sure that David held a pull throughout his game and deserved more than he got. As for Paul and Safi I cannot comment – I saw too little of their games. All I can say is that they have been great players for Hammer 1 this season.

The pain of defeat engulfed Matteo, Josue and Brian.

I think they would agree with me, but both Josue and Brian were chasing lost causes in their games. They were the sort of games where a loss or the draw was the only result you could get. The longer they went on, the further the draw option retreated into the distance and inevitably they succumbed to defeat. I think they are games they both need to forget quickly.

The one who should have drawn or even won was Matteo. Indeed, the computer analysis approved of his temporary sacrifice of a pawn to head for victory. Unfortunately, a common word in this report, he misplayed the ensuing complications. This was a painful loss and in his slightly dejected state he also left his wallet behind. After some rapid calling and texting, he responded and returned to the hall to reclaim it!!

On reflection a 5-5 score, even taking into account the default, would have been a fair result for both sides on the night.

The luck spurned Hammer 1 on the evening though.

Now is is belt and braces time if we are to retain Division 3 status – no  more defaults and no more match losses is our goal.

Go Hammer – keep the faith!!

John.

Chess in Flyover Town

10.04.17 – Thames Valley League: Hounslow v Hammersmith

The weary warriors of Hammer TV schlepped over to very West London on Monday night for a critical relegation fixture in Division 1 of the Thames Valley League.

We were missing our WOSF of a skipper, Bajrush, who had the poor excuse of needing a holiday!! Cannot blame him in reality and to be brutally honest several of the team last night, including myself, are displaying symptoms of that well known affliction “COS”. Correctly identified as Chessed-Out Syndrome!

The heroes of the evening came in the form of Marios, Sheikh and Paul.

Marios continued his winning start to his London League Chess career with a dominating performance. He was the first to finish and showed what a potent force he is for our club. There is no stopping this man, despite suffering from a horrendous cold, and obviously not well, he just keeps going and knocking them over. Unbelievable!

Due to the match layout, Sheikh and Brian had to play their games in another room. This was not great but they both rose to the occasion. Sheikh from what I saw was under extreme pressure on the Black-side of a Sicilian and looked dead in the water. But not for the first time, he was calm and collected in his defence and then proceeded to win very quickly. “Sheikhum Style” is pretty deadly.

The ultimate hero of the evening was Paul. His was the last game to finish and we needed a win. In an equal position he probed, he switched his point of attack and in the end Karpov-like, he induced the error from his opponent. Never was a win in TV this season so needed! He was the personification of the Geese saving Rome, Hammer TV’s last stand and he delivered under the pressure. A real clutch performance.

Carsten and Brian both drew their matches – Carsten could do nothing with Black in a position that was always tough to win. He agreed a draw as soon as this became clear.

Brian had to tread carefully with two knights against a rook and pawn ending but comfortable secured the draw. A good result.

Over to the tales of woe…

Tony played a dynamic game and was overwhelmingly in control but somehow ended up losing a rook in the process of trying to deliver checkmate. He gained a reprieve later when his opponent blundered the rook back, but even so the position was still difficult. With time running out he could not hold back his opponent’s pawns. Just a bad night in every way.

Pavel also bit the dust. To be honest he was in difficulty once his opponent’s knight had parked itself on e6, behind Pavel’s pawns, and anchored there with the support of a d5 White pawn. Gradually the pressure built and Pavel just ran out of options. Sacrificing the exchange postponed the inevitable.

As to my game I was winning – I was winning so well I had an extra piece – the trouble was his Q-side attack developed unbelievable momentum and I succumbed in meek fashion in the end. A real XXXX of a game on my part.

The game ended a 4-4 draw.

So, in the end the Hounslow trip was worthwhile – but only just!

Keep fighting, Hammer TV!!

 

Puzzle of the Week #004

Another Monday, another puzzle of the week. But first, to last week’s winner.

It was a really nice puzzle from Carsten, and indeed, one which he saw live – or more precisely, the post-mortem just after the game had finished, whith White still looking shell shocked! Mortensen – Karlsson, Esbjerg, 1998:

20… Rxf3 (so White can’t play Ne1 protecting c2)
21. Rxf3, Nb4 and white resigned due to 22… axb4 (or cxb4), Ba4 with mate in max 4 moves.

Very pleasing, and I think John White takes the plaudits this time. Well done, John!

To this week’s puzzle then – one point for the correct solution, and a bonus point to anyone who can say why we chose this game:

The Anatomy of a GM Ward Defeat

Following hot on the heels of our recent Simultaneous against GM Chris Ward, our only victor of the evening – Marios – has produced a fantastic writeup of the game – check it out here.

It’s thrilling stuff and a terrific performance from Marios – he’s rapidly rising to become one of our top players this season!

In other news, we have a number of chess books in our library for sale, all at super low prices! They’re great titles and if you’re keen to sharpen up on a particular opening or aspect of the game, we highly recommend investing:

£5 Titles:

  • The Caro Kann – Joe Gallagher
  • Sicilian: Grand Prix Attack – Gawain Jones
  • Sämisch Kings Indian Uncovered – Cherniev
  • Piric in Black or White – James Vigus
  • Leningrad System – Stefan Kindermann
  • The Caro Kann Advanced – Byron Jacobs
  • The Caro Kann – Peter WellsSOLD to David Lambert
  • The Scandinavian – John Emms
  • The Sicilian Scheveningen – Kasparov & Nititin
  • Play the Najdorf Scheveningen – John Emms
  • The Slav – Cyrus Lakdawala
  • Play the Kings Indian – Joe Gallagher
  • The Open Ruy Lopez – Glenn Flear
  • Nigel Shorts Best Games – Nigel Short

£3 Titles:

  • A Guide to Attacking Chess – Gary Lane
  • My Best Games of Chess – Vishy Anand
  • More Simple Chess – John Emms
  • Attacking with d4 – Angus Dunnington

£1 Titles:

  • Spanish – Romansin
  • Ideas Behind Chess Openings – Rueben Fine
  • My Best Games – Anatoly Karpov
  • An Opening Repertoire For Black
  • Fischer – Spassky 2 – Return of a Legend

Free:

  • Chess Puzzles in One Move (for Juniors)
  • Chess Dictionary – S. Gligoric
  • Worlds Greatest Chess Games – Rueben Fine

If you’d like to purchase any, please contact our erstwhile Secretary, Mike Mackenzie – michael.mackenzie5@btinternet.com

29th April – A Call To Arms!

Hammersmith Chess Club – we need your help!

We are super excited to be hosting the latest round of the ECF’s “Chess Master @ The Local” initiative on Saturday 29th April, at Lyric Square in Hammersmith Town Centre.

It’s a fantastic enterprise designed to raise the profile of the game and engage the local community – the ECF have supplied us with one of England’s finest players GM Jon Speelman for the event; we have also secured the services of the inspirational Lateefah Messam-Sparks for the day too.

It promises to be a terrifically fun and engaging day of chess in the heart of West London, and is a fabulous opportunity to raise cash for the worth folk of Hammersmith MIND charity, as well as the profile of our 55-year old club.

However, none of this is possible without our Club Members – and we’re asking for your help. The more of us who get involved, the better – we already have solid commitment from 8 of our players for the day, but we need more!

Any offer of help – no matter how small or large – is HUGELY welcomed.

We need people to help with: logistics, setting up, handing out fliers, taking on the public in chess matches, putting up posters to publicise the event, helping carry equipment over from the club. You needn’t commit to the whole day, just an hour or two would be amazing.

We are also in desperate need of a gazebo (you know what the British weather is like on a Bank Holiday!!)! If you have one we can borrow for the day (it will be treasured and returned in pristine condition!!) that would be brilliant – even better if you can help bring it to Lyric Square!

Please get in touch – we need your help! John White is the man to contact: john.white49@ntlworld.com

From the entire club – thank you in advance!!

The Anatomy of a GM Ward Simultaneous

04.04.17 – The might of Hammer and friends took on the challenge of GM Chris Ward this past Tuesday in the hallowed halls of Valhalla… aka Lytton Hall!

Twenty souls turned out to take on the former British Champion in a battle to the death. Maybe the quality on our part was patchy – but we had the numbers, the advantage of home turf and the hunger to improve on our encounter with Chris last year. Plus we had secret plans and clever tricks – thank you Roald Dahl – to throw him off his game… more of that later!

Before…
… and After

Before relaying the events of last night, I have to thank Chris on behalf of the club for schlepping over to West London to take us all on.

Chris is a great GM for a simultaneous – he is funny, empathetic and easy going. I totally recommend that chess clubs book him for an evening and am delighted to provide his contact details if you are interested. Please contact us at info@hammerchess.co.uk

Let’s have a look at the old scoreboard before examining the high points of the evening. Chris won 17 games, drew 2 and lost 1. However, the devil is in the detail.

Already a moral victory for our side – last year we lost 14 and won 1. Okay, I am stretching the point but whatever!

The hero of the evening was Marios – playing his first ever Benko Gambit – who recovered from a lost position to triumph with excellent endgame technique to force the win. Marios admitted that Carsten, our victor from last year, had given him excellent advice the previous night in the pub. Always a good source of inspiration.

The hero of the night – what a prize!!

His prize? A signed copy of the Queen’s Gambit book…. written by Chris himself.

Other highlights from the evening were our WOSF of a Chairman, who rescued a lost position to force a draw – as everybody knows Bajrush has the unique talent of posing questions in any position. Chris, possibly inevitably (it was well past 11pm) missed a resource and Bajrush pounced. The draw was agreed.

WOSF has a cuppa while Pavel frets!!

The funniest moment of the evening involved two of our Irish members, John and Orial, who contrived – despite being 3 boards apart – to play the same variation. This was totally unintentional and Chris only realized by about move fifteen he was playing the same game twice. To mark this unusual event, this variation will be forever dubbed the “Munster Twin Variation”. Sadly, unlike the rugby team, it was not victorious in either case.

The Irish contingent

The unluckiest player of the evening was David, who played brilliantly to achieve equality and then threw in a tactical show of Qc5! This wrecked Chris’s pawn structure and gave the advantage of Bishop over Knight. The added bonus being he controlled the b-file with his Rooks. Confidence was high on the Hammer side.

David, Mike, Kaan and Chris weigh up their options

Unfortunately, Grandmasters do not give up easily and through a combination of clever manoeuvring and sheer willpower, Chris got back on terms and then started to squeeze. David cracked and Chris had secured another win. A great game from David and so unlucky.

Our guest from Battersea, Tim, also played an excellent game and achieved a material advantage of Rook against minor piece and a pawn. Unfortunately, Chris simply rearranged his pieces and continued with his King side attack. Another great struggle ended in another win for Chris.

Mamma Mia!!

I must also commend Pavel, playing an extreme version of a Schliemann he had chaos on the board after about 7 moves. Chris sank into thought and in the end accepted a piece sacrifice to win the King’s Rook. The move Pavel missed was Be6 when the situation would have been as clear as mud. This chance came and went and Chris smoothly converted.

Spaghetti all over Pavel’s board at the end. Brutal!

Adam played an Albin counter gambit and again Chris sank into thought. The position was double-edged until Adam played Na5 with ideas of penetrating on b3. However, Chris negotiated all the tactics, a desperado piece sacrifice and then secured the win.

The best of the rest??

To the best of the rest, our three participants from SW Junior Chess Club acquitted themselves very well. Their coach Tony Noccoli would have been proud of them. Chris, with great grace, turned down draw offers and clocked up another three wins.

Some chunky defensive positions out there

The rest of the Hammer crew went down in a blaze of glory – well, to be honest Chris was not in any danger and simply used his superior skill and technique to win comfortably.

As for me, I secured a draw at 11.20pm. My result was down to the combination of several factors: the sacrifice of other players, the time and the fact I had supplied Chris with beer, crisps and sausage rolls (the secret plans and clever tricks angle!). I think he realized he was morally obliged not to crush me like last year!

Our thanks to Chris for a top, top night!

This takes my simultaneous career results against Chris to two draws and a painful loss. The three games span twenty-five years and a 33% return is not bad for a keen wood pusher!!!

Finally, I must also mention our Secretary Mike, who setup the boards and tables for the event. We are lucky to have him.

John.