Hammersmith v Fulham Juniors – Save the Dates

A couple of dates for your diaries – following on from the highly successful game between our clubs last season, (a tightly contested 6-6 draw!), Hammersmith will again be taking on the mighty Fulham Juniors over at their home venue on Haldane Road.

This time we’re making it a double-header, with games on Tuesday 15th November, and a second round on Tuesday 21st March. Both dates added to our Club calendar.

The Juniors are a terrific side, ably run and coached by Paul McKeown. As always with the youngsters they are ridiculously fast learners and often their grade belies their true ability – it’s sure to be a good test!

We’d like to put out as many boards as possible so please get in touch with a team Captain to let us know if you are keen to play.

So Near But So Far (London 3!)

11.10.16 – London League 3: GLCC v Hammersmith 1

Yet again Hammer just missed out on a victory! An exciting and bloodthirsty match was the order of the evening, with no quarter given from either team.

The team was out graded from boards 1 to 9 but that didn’t faze us.

Honours of the evening go to two new members, Orial and Matteo. Orial playing board 8 and beating an opponent rated 144 in a complex game in grand style. Matteo triumphed against former Hammersmith Club Chairman Peter Morton! Both great victories and a great start to their London League careers.

Our wily Chairman Bajrush won in a blitz finish in a theoretical drawn endgame. But as we all know when it comes to blitz there is only ever one winner!!

The crowd gathers for the climax of the match…

It was great to welcome back Paul and Jeremy for their first games of the season. A tough loss for Paul and a draw that was probably a missed win for Jeremy.

John Goodacre and Safi also drew – the former has had a solid start to the season and the latter rebounded from a tough loss against Cavendish.

Finally to the other three boards – Sheikh had an amazing Sicilian Shozin game with water – the board was on fire with multiple tactics everywhere for both sides – unfortunately the fire consumed Sheikh and not his opponent.

John Wooley went down against the captain of GLCC, who was a lot stronger than his 127 grade might suggest – just bad luck.

Finally my good self got ground down on the black side of a Colle/Sicilian – not pleasant viewing I’m afraid!

Positives – we have discovered a couple of diamonds and Bajrush looks like getting back to his best form. Plus if John Goodacre, Safi, Paul, Sheikh and myself can get a win on the board then anything can – and will – happen.

Keep the Faith! Go Hammer 1!!

Result: GLCC 5.5 – 4.5 Hammersmith


London League 5 Opener

11.10.16 – London League 5: Greater London v Hammersmith

Hammersmith’s opening game in London League 5 took place against the traditionally-strong side of GLCC, at their home venue up in Holborn. Our new L5 Captain Robin Lee with the write up:

It was on balance a very closely contested match across all boards in the League 5 opener. On the top two boards, David Lambert and Brian Dodgeon got taken to quite technically advanced end games which were good to watch.

Brian eventually succumbed with a Rook and one pawn against a Rook and three pawns. David on board two drew in fine style in an endgame with just King and several pawns on either side – a demonstration of the finer points in King opposition.

Four boards, Eight Players… The calm before the storm

On board 4 Nick Rutherford gained an impressive advantage with the White pieces, playing the English opening. Aside from a trap his opponent set, he could have won and was unlucky to lose the game.

On board 3 I played an unusual line in the Sicilian Najdorf early on that might have unsettled my opponent. Luckily it left me with an advantage in development. After some strong attacking play from both sides in the centre, I was able to neutralise his rook pawn and rook attack, with my strong centre catching a bishop pinned on his Queen, helping prevent him from castling. After swapping pieces he resigned a few moves later.

Final result: GLCC 2.5 – 1.5 Hammersmith


The Ant & Dec of Chess

Our first Hammer training session was well attended last night with many new faces – welcome to Matt, Orial, Daphne and Adam!!

However the evening was dominated by our own version of Ant and Dec – Baj and Car (BajCar) – aka Bajrush and Carsten – who gave us a thoroughly enjoyable evening with great advice and amusing comments!!

Bajrush getting in to his new role as Dec

The evening began looking at the three different types of pin that occur in chess – followed by a forensic examination of our own David Lambert’s game against GM Chris Ward.

The intention was not to heap more misery on David but to illustrate graphically how the pin can be utilised to tie your opponent in knots and gradually increase your advantage. To the extent where tactics are inevitable and this translates into victory. You really appreciated that playing simple (not that simple!) positional chess can lead to a win without any risk to yourself.

Very instructive!

Training – always a crowd pleaser!

The session then started to free wheel with lots of questions from the members and a quick examination of openings. For players new to the game this was invaluable and the advice given by Bajrush and Carsten was really pertinent

  • Learn one opening – practise it and experiment
  • Always ask the question what does your opponent intend with their move(s)
  • A heightened sense of paranoia and scepticism are excellent qualities in a chess player
  • Rapid development with gain of tempo are ideal

Our evening finished at 10pm and everyone went away happy and curious to apply what we had learnt asap.

Opening Match Reports

With the games coming thick & fast we have a couple of recent match reports to share from our team captains:

03.10.16 – London League 6 Derby: Hammersmith HEDGER v Hammersmith

With our newly-formed additional team in London 6, Hammersmith HEDGER (named for the late, great Ken Hedger), we faced the prospect of a League 6 Derby for the first time in a long time. In the cauldron of Lytton Hall our two teams faced off in their opening game of the new season.

Our Hedger team saw club stalwarts Robin Lee, Nick Rutherford, Mike Mackenzie and Dan “Ruggers” Rugman face a slightly less well established ensemble with new captain Rich Wingfield, Chris “CJ” Moore, Andy Routledge and Shaun Gordon (sporting a fine fedora) in his first competitive outing for Hammersmith. Great to have our new faces on board representing the club!

The best-dressed team in chess
The best-dressed team in chess

Top board saw a hard fought game between Robin and Rich. Two players who’ve been on great form of late, Robin edged the encounter with Rich under time pressure and in the face of a beautiful Queen sacrifice. A good game.

Chris and Nick played out a draw on board two; probably a fair result in the end.

Andy managed to get the better of Mike thanks to some aggressive attacking play leaving Mike’s king isolated. A good result for the big man.

On board four Shaun was a late (and unexpected) replacement – probably not ideal preparation for his first game for the club! Facing Dan, he played a very respectable game, eventually succumbing with Dan taking a deserved win.

A great match by all concerned, and particularly pleasing that our new Hedger team opened their account with a victory. A fitting tribute to Ken.


06.10.16 – London League 4, Hammersmith v Newham

It’s always a pleasure to realise that your opponent’s 200-graded captain is stepping-down to make way for other players. Less pleasant to realise that half of the players you’re up against are under 13 years old!!

Newham are certainly a team of young guns, so you get the usual script. Lightning-quick moves, underestimated grades and a cast-iron resolve to play until they’re absolutely beaten. My opponent refused to quit even when it was a rook and two pawns against his lone king…

It was a pretty close match all-round with a draw feeling like the right result.

Adam and John were the last to finish; both had extremely tight games with Adam finally getting edged in a Rook vs Bishop endgame. John’s draw ultimately meant that we ended the night with honours even. He was up on material but faced into a pair of bishops locked together ominously.

The games on boards 6-8 seemed to be played at breakneck pace. By the time I drew breath to look up and walk around, the tables were clear and the boards put away. My commentary on these games is limited, but Phil was cursing himself in the Shakespeare for allowing a fork on f7. Always next time.

A special word must go to Danny Gordon – for not only making his debut but for starting with a win. Well done – long may it continue.


Training Days

A reminder – the first training & theory evening of the new season kicks off on Monday 10th October at our Lytton Hall home venue.

This session will be hosted by our Kosovan wizard of a Chairman, Bajrush, and is entitled “The Power of the Pin in the Middle Game” – sounds very interesting!!

Attendance is free and non-members are welcome to join for a taster of what we’ll be offering throughout the season. If you’ve not done so already, please check out our Calendar for dates of future sessions.

The sessions proved very popular last season & we hope to see you all there on Monday!

LL 3 – Tough Start for Hammer 1!

A Tough Match to Start the London League Season for Hammer 1, by Captain John White

Hammersmith went down 3.5 to 6.5 away to Cavendish in our opening match for the newly-promoted team.

We really missed the experience of Paul Kennelly and Jeremy Hodgson owing to holiday and other commitments. However, new members Jay Hinolan and Matteo Bezzini stepped up to the plate.

Jay suffered a loss in his first LL match – due to a heavy cold he was not in the best of form. He’ll be back stronger – having seen him beat Sue Maroroa in the simul during the Summer, I know he was well below his best here.

Matteo playing black got a draw – a solid start to his London League odyssey.

Both of these guys will be great assets for Hammersmith in the London and other Leagues this season. Welcome aboard!

To the rest of the games – the highlight was John Woolley’s return to form with an excellent win. Fighting draws from Brian Dodgeon, Bajrush, John Goodacre (great to see him back!) and yours truly.

Sheikh, Safi and Alex all had tough losses – early season blues I think.

A disappointing result but we were out graded by 15 points or more from boards 2 to 6.

We’ll be back, and stronger next time!



Full scorecard on LL site here.

Opening Night!

By our London League 3 Captain, John White

Hello fellow members – the most memorable evening since Hillary and Donald decided to get it on, took place last night in the Valhalla of West London Chess.

Chess is back at Lytton Hall!

Last night Hammersmith Chess Club returned to its home and the prospect of a tough and exciting season of league chess, blitz tourneys, events and great chess got a lot closer.

The evening was dominated by two events. Firstly – the presentation of merit awards to our most deserving players for their performances in the Thames Valley, London, and Middlesex Leagues last season.

Winners included our Chairman, Bajrush, Brian Dodgeon, Robin Lee, David Lambert and your humble correspondent.


Special mention should be given to John Ryan who received the award for the best increase in rating achieved over the 2015/16 season.


Once again the Club is indebted to our brilliant Secretary, Mike Mackenzie, who put in a lot of work to the awards to make it a special occasion.

HCC gets digital clocks in 2016!

With the gongs out of the way we got down to the first of four 10-minute Blitz tournaments of the season.

A new initiative this year, the Club will be operating a season-long series of four Blitz tournaments where members can rack up points according to their finishing positions. At the end of the final round the Club will crown our inaugural Blitz Champion.

Seventeen people took part in this first round, including a number of new and potentially-new members – we extend our warmest welcome to Phil, Ken, Paolo, Giovanni and Matteo. Pleased to say that Matteo plays his first game for the Club this Thursday – good luck!

The nuts & bolts of the evening saw our Chairman Bajrush beating League 4 Captain David Lambert in the hotly-contested final. A well deserved victory for Bajrush and a solid placing for David – a great night was had by all. Full Roll of Honour and points awarded as follows:

  • Winner – Bajrush (17 points)
  • Runner Up – David (16 points)
  • 3rd (Joint) – Brian, Matteo (15 points)
  • 5th (Joint) – Chris, John W, John R, Robin (13 points)
  • 9th – Sheikh (9 points)
  • 10th – Giovanni (8 points)
  • 11th (Joint) – Paolo, Matt (7 points)
  • 13th (Joint) – Ken, Rich, Danny, Mike (5 points)
  • 17th – Phil (1 point)

Congratulations to all concerned and all the best for the coming season!!

Don’t forget – if you haven’t done so already, please get your Club Membership Fee and ECF Membership Sorted – both essential if you wish to play League Chess for Hammersmith. Please get in touch for details.

Middlesex Fixtures & the Return to Lytton Hall

We have now confirmed all our upcoming fixtures in the Middlesex League – full details available on our calendar, and on the Middlesex website.

Please take a moment to check the fixtures in advance – with Hammersmith entering 7 teams across 6 leagues this season, the fixture list is busier than it has been in a long time! Thames Valley fixtures should be confirmed next week.

In addition, we are pleased to confirm our return to our home venue Lytton Hall on Monday 26 September, after a very successful (and hot!) Summer at the Albion.

It will be a busy evening – starting with a short presentation ceremony for our players of the season, closely followed by a blitz tournament for all-comers. Promises to be a great opener to the season & we’d love to see as many faces down there as possible!

2016/17 Fixtures, and some updates!

As the new season rapidly approaches, we’ve got a couple of notices and reminders for you:

  • London League fixtures for the coming season have now been released! All games have been added to the Hammersmith Calendar, and are also available on the London League website. It will be a busy year for Hammersmith with an additional team in League 6, named in honour of the late Ken Hedger, as well as teams in Leagues 3, 4 and 5, along with our Thames Valley and Middlesex League teams!
Not long to go…
  • Library evenings at Shepherds Bush, and Kensington libraries are suspended until week commencing 26th September. Apologies to anyone wanting to attend, but owing to other commitments we won’t be there for a few weeks.
  • Monday 26th September also sees us re-locate to Lytton Hall for the new season. We’ll be waving goodbye to the Albion until next year!
  • September 15th sees an interesting tournament at Richmond & Twickenham Chess Club over in Teddington, West London: The Abraham Neviazsky Memorial Tournament. All games to start with 1.b4 (The Polish). Entry is £5  – full details on their Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/325250471147570/