Announcements: Blitz Tournament, Summer Club, and our New Venue!

A few exciting announcements to bring you today!

Summer Club at the Prince of Wales

We mentioned three weeks ago that we’d be starting up again over-the-board at the Prince of Wales Townhouse. Our first night was a roaring success, with 26 players entering the tournament.

This week we hosted a bughouse tournament, which was won by junior pair Nicholas and Yashvardhan!

There will be five more meet-ups at the Prince of Wales during August. They will start at around 6:30pm:

  • Tuesday 3rd August
  • Monday 9th August
  • Monday 16th August
  • Monday 23rd August
  • Monday 30th August

Note that 3rd August is a Tuesday, rather than a Monday. 30th August is a bank holiday, but there’ll doubtlessly still be a few chess nuts keen to play.

On these dates there may be some more friendly tournaments organised or training offered via the demo board. To join the WhatsApp group where further details will be shared, please contact

Our New Venue

It gives us great pleasure that we can now announce that the new Hammersmith Chess Club venue will be the London MindSports Centre!

London MindSports Centre
21-23 Dalling Road
Hammersmith, London, W6 0JD

This venue, just down the road from the Prince of Wales, is due to complete its renovation very soon. It is spacious, well-ventilated, and with excellent facilities including a bar and kitchen, we expect it to provide a great atmosphere in which to play chess in London.

We hope to organise a moving-in party on September 6th with special guests – watch out for more details to follow!

Brainstorm Blitz – Monday 2nd August

The reason next week’s Summer Club is on a Tuesday, is that Hammer member Kishan Pattni is organising a blitz tournament on Monday, at The Globe, Marylebone.

  • 9 rounds
  • 3+2 mins per player
  • FIDE-rated (national membership not required)
  • 70% of all entry fees returned in prizes with 1st, 2nd and rating prize(s) guaranteed
  • Entry/cash on the day accepted. Advanced registration recommended as places are subject to availability.
  • Special offer entry fee for Hammer members if entering before the day of the tournament – £10.00

Juniors are welcome if accompanied by a parent/guardian. You can register using the form here:


OTB Hammer Tournaments Are Back!

During the Lockdown and social distancing period, the online format for the Hammersmith Internal Tournaments was very popular and many players were able to compete and enjoy a good game of chess. 

Now that the social distancing rules are being progressively lifted, Hammers will be able to play OTB internal tournament games again, and this will be very enjoyable to all of us at the club!

Those tournaments will continue to combine online and OTB formats, so that the choice is available to players, and to maximise the opportunity to play high-quality games of chess between the members of our club.

On June 30th 2021, the 2020 season was officially closed and we can now announce the winners as follows:

Sledgehammer Cup 2020 results (Standard Play)

Winner:  Robin Sarfas (37 points)

Runner-up: David Lambert (30 points)

Third: Chris Moore  (17 points)

Rockhammer Cup 2020 results (Rapidplay)

Winner:  Christof Brixel (60 points)

Runner-up: Raluca Stroe (29.5 points)

Third: Adam Cranston (28.5 points)


Jackhammer960 Cup 2020 results (960 Rapidplay)

Winner:  Nadim Osseiran (29 points)

Runner-up: David Lambert (14 points)

Third: Javier Silvarrey (12.5 points)


Launch of the 2021/2022 Hammer Tournaments Season

This year we will continue to  have 3 different Cups:

  • The Sledgehammer Cup for Standard Play
  • The Rockhammer Cup for Rapid Play
  • The Jackhammer960 for 960 chess variant in Rapid Play time control

Those tournaments are open to all Hammersmith Chess Club members. All you need to do is to contact your fellow club members, agree an appointment for an OTB or Online game, and then submit the game result via this link to the game submission form.

Please note that

  • Online games count towards the ECF online grading (except for 960 chess)
  • Only games that are rated on the online platforms will be accepted, casual online games will not be accepted
  • Players are encouraged to have a live video connection during online games
  • All OTB games are ECF graded.
  • Players must be ECF-registered in order to play OTB games.
  • Game results will only be accepted via the provided game submission form, results by email will not be accepted.

For complete information and rules, please have a look at the Hammer Tournaments Documentation

Good luck for the 2021 Hammer Tournaments Season!

The Internal Tournaments Team


The Return of OTB Chess at Hammer!

Over the last 16 months, the global pandemic has played havoc with our lives. Some have been affected more than others, but one thing is the same for all of us: over-the-board chess has been off the menu.

To some extent we are lucky that chess can be played online, but there’s no doubting it isn’t quite the same. Gone is the buzz of moving physical pieces, hitting the clock, and enjoying our rival’s reaction as their position slowly crumbles! So it is with a huge amount of joy that we can finally announce that OTB chess is returning to Planet Hammer!

Sadly the pressures of the pandemic have meant that our old Goldhawk Road venue has changed ownership. However, we soon hope to announce an even better venue for the club, into which we’ll be moving early-September.

Until then, we intend to set up camp in the Prince of Wales Townhouse, right next to Ravenscourt Park station. It really is a hidden gem, with excellent food, fantastic beers, and a great atmosphere in which to play chess. Some members have been meeting there unofficially over the summer to get in a little OTB practice under strict Covid restrictions.

With lockdown easing from next week, the club intends to host a welcome back blitz tournament on Monday!

  • Date: Monday 19th July
  • Registration: 7pm
  • Start: 7:30pm

The tournament will be time-handicapped. Both players will receive 10 minutes between them, but the weaker player will receive a greater share of this time, depending on the difference in their ratings. Every player can expect to play around 7 games, the exact format to be decided based on the number of entries. There may be a small prize for the winner.

Please fill out this form if you intend to take part. If the event proves popular it may not be possible to accept additional entries on the night. Priority will be given to Hammersmith members.

Hope to see lots of you there!


Chess Champions of the 4 Nations!

Is there anything Hammersmith Can’t do?!?

By Christopher Skulte

Hammersmith has long been a bedrock of fame, be it Hammersmith Bridge that was first designed by William Tierney Clark, opening in 1827 as the first suspension bridge crossing the River Thames, or The Dove (pub), which boasts the Guinness Book of Records as the smallest public bar in the United Kingdom, or even the famous (infamous) movie star Hugh Grant, who was born in Hammersmith.

Now we can add a new accolade to the list, where a number of Hammer’s master-level players (IM Peter Roberson, IM Thomas Rendle & IM Mark Kvetny) played for the national league squad TigerSharks to win Division 1 of the 4NCL Online League, which consists of many professional and semi-professional chess players.

NB: TigerSharks are a combination of two division 1 4NCL teams, the Celtic Tigers (which many Hammers play for, and is managed by Hammer’s own Chris Skulte), and the Grantham Sharks. In the 4NCL Online they are managed by Ryszard Maciol (another Hammer).

Part 1: The Group Stages

The top division of the 4 Nations Chess League Online (online due to Covid), is made up of teams of 4, who are split into 4 groups of 8, where the top ranked team from each group goes through to the semi-finals.

TigerSharks finished top of their group with 6 wins, and 1 draw, and the second highest game points of 22 (an average game sore of 3.1-0.9 per match!). Only Chessable’s White Rose managed higher, with 23 game points over the 7 rounds.

The other teams progressing to the finals were:

  • Chessable White Rose 1
  • Guildford Young Guns (Guildford are current 4NCL champions)
  • Chessable White Rose 2
Part 2: The semi-final

It was all systems go for the semifinal, luckily for us, we faced the weakest of the 4 teams (though there is no easy opponent at this level), and form holding true we were able to win comfortably 3-1.

The other game saw the highest rank team, Chessable’s White Rose, led by England #3 and current Online European Blitz Champion Gawain Jones, draw the match with Guildford. IN the event of a draw, whoever wins the highest board wins, therefore an amazing upset win for Guildford.

Part 3: The Final

The moment of the season, having been knocked out of the previous knockout semi-finals by 2-2 draws (losing on board count), the team has one goal on our mind for the first final. Games have been commented on below in the order which they finished.

Board 3 (White): In a tight encounter against Grandmaster Mark Hebden, after a slight misplay by Kvetny on move 25, Hebden started to press, Mark gave a final attack to try and save the game, but alas it wasn’t enough.

3 games to go: TigerSharks 0-1 Guildford

Board 1 (White): In the next match to finish, Peter slowly built up an advantage, though some good defence and counter play by Wadsworth brought the game back into balance. Expertly played by both at this point, pieces were slowly traded down into a draw.

2 games to go: TigerSharks 0.5-1.5 Guildford

To win the match, we now had to win on board 2, otherwise we would lose on game points, or tiebreak – unfortunately at the time our opponents had a +4 advantage on that board.

Board 2 (Black): All eyes were on this game, it was an extremely tactical encounter between two strong international masters, Reimanis and Suarez. A key moment being White’s 26th move, which brought the game back to even. Reimanis then continued to outplay his opponent, got the advantage, and sealed the win with beautiful style.

1 game to go: TigerSharks 1.5-1.5 Guildford

To win the match, we only had to draw the last game.

Board 4 (Black): The final game of the match was international master Rendle vs Grieve. It was an extremely close encounter, with a lot of pressure built up on both sides. Navigating the difficulties, Rendle was able to steer the game towards a peaceful ending.

Final Score: TigerSharks 2-2 Guildford

We win the title!!!

The final match table is below, we sit down with a beer to digest the season, have a sleep, dust off our pieces, and get ready to defend our title. Hammer’s influence grows larger yet again!

25th May 2021 @ 7.30pm – An Online Chat with GM Daniel King

Hammers, a real treat – Grandmaster Daniel King, totally all-round superb chap, Hammer member, and chess media star, will be Zooming exclusively with the Hammer posse.

Image credit: Wikipedia

From 7.30pm on Tuesday the 25th May on the Hammer Zoom account, he will be presenting on the Kings Gambit (a reference to his DVD from last year) – taking questions, and giving insightful answers.

What questions will you ask?

Is the Kings Gambit really playable in modern chess? What chances does Nepo have against Carlsen? Where is Carlsen right now in terms of his chess evolution? When do you think OTB chess will return?

It is your opportunity to put these questions and many more to one of the people in the know.

If you want to be involved in this special event please email me: to pre-book your place. Hammer membership is a requirement.

PR Officer

Important Announcement – 2021 AGM

Dear Members, the club’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) is approaching – this year it will be held on Monday 7th June, and with due consideration to the pandemic, will be a Zoom meeting.

The Committee gives notice that the following members will stand for re-election:

  • Chairman – Bajrush Kelmendi
  • Treasurer – Matteo Bezzini
  • Secretary – Adam Cranston
  • Club Captain – Ben Rothwell
  • Diversity Officer – Raluca Stroe
  • PR & Events – John White
  • Auditor – Nadim Osseiran
  • No Portfolio – Chris Skulte

We are sad to announce that Andy Routledge has decided to step down from the Committee this year. As Webmaster for the last five years, Andy has been instrumental in developing the website to be one of the best in London, and the Twitter feed one of the most active and entertaining out there. The Committee are hugely grateful for Andy’s contributions.

While Andy will be hard to replace, he will need replacing nonetheless; so we are actively inviting applications for the position of Webmaster. Any member who wishes to stand for a committee position, or submit a motion for the meeting, should do so at least 30 days prior to 7th June – that is, 8th May.

In both cases, a motion or nomination can only be submitted by a fully paid up member of the club, and must be seconded by another fully paid up member. Both will be subject to a Committee recommendation and vote at the AGM.

Please contact Club Secretary Adam, to submit details:

Thank you for your continued support!

Hammer Q&A with… The Queen of Katwe!


It is an honour to welcome Phiona Mutesi, Woman Candidate Master, also known to the world as the Queen of Katwe, for a meet and greet on Saturday, 27 March, at 19:00 GMT, followed by a Q&A session.

The Queen of Katwe – Photograph credit: David Llada @davidllada

The stirring life story of Phiona has inspired the Disney movie “The Queen of Katwe”, released in 2016. Check out the trailer: 

Phiona is one of the first titled female chess players in Uganda, representing the country at four Women’s Chess Olympiads in Azerbaijan, Norway, Russia and Turkey. She is currently studying at Northwest University in Kirkland, Washington, where she has opened a chess club in 2017. 

Under Phiona’s leadership, the Northwest University chess club secured the Top Small College Team title in its first season of competition. 

Please do watch the movie if you have the chance and come prepared with your own questions for Phiona. It’s available to watch on Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+!

We look forward to seeing you on Saturday! Please register your interest via the following link:


And in other exciting news…

Junior Hour – April Residency with WIM Camelia Ciobanu

Following on from Camelia’s excellent workshop on Tuesday, she will be taking up residency at our weekly junior hour for the entirety of April.

I’d like to thank Christof for the huge amount of personal time he has put into running the junior hour so far this year. The committee and members are massively indebted to his commitment, and I know I speak on behalf of everyone when I offer our gratitude for the countless hours he has invested in bringing up the next generation of Hammers.

With a huge spike in interest from adult beginners, owing in no small part to Christof’s efforts and the success of The Queen’s Gambit, we have decided to rebrand the junior hour as the Weekly Workshop. Camelia will be hosting five sessions in April:

  • Thursday 1st April, 6:30pm
  • Tuesday 6th April, 6:30pm
  • Tuesday 13th April, 6:30pm
  • Tuesday 20th April, 6:30pm
  • Tuesday 27th April, 6:30pm

Zoom links will be sent weekly to all existing junior hour participants. If you are not on that mailing list, but would like to attend these sessions, please let me know. These sessions, along with all club activities, can be found in the club calendar.

Camelia is also hosting a simul on March 30th, in case you’d like to test out her tactical prowess before signing up! See this video for more details.



A Workshop with WIM Camelia Ciobanu


We are excited to inform you that WIM Camelia Ciobanu will be running a workshop for Hammersmith Chess Club members on Tuesday, 23 March, from 18:00 GMT.

WIM Camelia Ciobanu

Camelia was awarded the first National Champion title at the age of ten. She has won multiple competitions both in Romania and abroad. Since she moved to Italy, Camelia is currently most active in Sardinia, Sicily and Rome. 

Her chess lessons are known to be very inspiring and interactive. She is a well-versed chess coach in all aspects of the game: her sessions focussed on understanding the position, detecting weaknesses in the opponent’s position and making the right plan. 

The session on Tuesday will include tactics exercises, the analysis of a middle game, with other variations as well and the opportunity to ask Camelia questions and learn more from her experience as a titled chess player and trainer. 

The workshop will take place on Zoom instead of the Junior Hour, which will resume the following week on Tuesday 30 March 2021. All members are welcome. Please sign up to attend at the following link:

Raluca Stroe

P.S: Below is one of my favourite chess games of WIM Camelia Ciobanu. I hope you will find it as interesting.

Hammer Firsts Get The Triple XXX Treatment

A triple dose this week – Hammer Firsts taking on the might of Wimbledon, Athenaeum and Charlton in that order.

The first match was against Wimbledon – always strong and a local rivalry not only in the LL but also the Thames Valley league.

The second match was against Athenaeum – a club with a huge history – they are the oldest chess club in London, founded in 1873. Even Lord Clueless was not alive then.

The final match was against Charlton – another club with a huge history and always up for a fight. One of my earliest memories of Charlton was seeing a young GM Danny Gormally playing for them – rated about 175 ECF in those days.

Here are the scorecards:

So a draw, a win and a loss – not bad considering we were playing three of the premier chess clubs in London and we are missing a lot of our top players – OK, am gonna say it – why has Ryszard taken up on Wednesdays and a T-Bone, T-Bone, my kingdom for a T-Bone. Rant over!

Let’s look at the matches and the individual games.

First up directly after the holiday season was Wimbledon. Hammer were out-graded by 20 points a board, yet we still drew 2-2. We are punching well above our weight.

Great wins from Chris D and Bajrush – both games worthy of a serious study. A hard-fought game for Skults against an IM, and Lord Clueless was a late substitute and neither of us could get the requisite half-point for the win.

These are the games:

Chris Skulte:



Lord Clueless:

I think Skults was really unlucky, and Clueless was doing OK then lost his way. The draw seemed a fair result.

Match two brought us up against Athenaeum – to be honest the Hammer crew were in imperious form – in fact, awesome form.

Carsten, Chris D and Jonathan were dominant and scored decisive wins – once again, Carsten played a very correct endgame, Chris had fire on the board and Jonathan had a combination of both. BajrushHammers Wily Coyote – had a perfect hippo unfortunately it sunk and did not stay buoyant. A 3-1 win, a great result – the games follow.



Chris D:


Definitely a superb team effort – get in there Hammer!!

To the third and final match, and the highest-rated team we have faced – ignore the ECF ratings listed above – on the Tornelo platform we knew we had a tough task.

IM Mark answered the call to beef up our top board, and I thought we had a fighting chance. Once again, Chris D the Hammer Postman – he always delivers – an in-joke there for our Hammer golf aficionados – scored a highly tactical win. Really great chess to watch.

The other ChrisSkulte version, took on a really tough opponent. Indeed he fought to the bitter end, nearly achieving parity, but in the end he went down in flames and glory. Bajrush playing a fellow wily competitor in Nick Briggs ventured the hippo but again the beast refused to stay afloat – really interesting game though.

Finally, to IM Mark. He was winning – at least I thought he was – and a rushed move at the end cost him an instant material loss. He was gutted but again, a game worthy of careful study.


Chris S:


Chris D:

A 1-3 loss hard to take, but it was so hard fought.

All twelve games here were decisive and are credit to the fighting nature of each Hammer and their worthy opponents.

All this gives the following League table with two rounds to go:

Lord Clueless is still content – the final matches are against Streatham & Brixton, and some club called Battersea. Yep, no idea who they are either.

Lord Clueless will be raising the banner/standard and calling all hands to the pump – this is the business end of what has been a great and thoroughly enjoyable tourney.

Lord Cluelessthe 2021 version.

Hammer Firsts Getting it Done in the LL Online

A double-dose this week – A pre-Christmas fixture report and one from the resumption of the league last week. After a slow start, Hammer are starting to get into their stride so a battle against league leaders Hackney, and one against one of the struggling teams – Imperial – would give a true indication of our team.

The first match was against Hackney – League leaders and one of the perennial powerhouses of London League Chess.

First of all, this was a superb performance by Hammer – IM Mark and Chris D were in scintillating form and played very forceful chess.

Here is the scorecard:

IM Mark was in awesome form against a tough opponent, and all-round good guy, Bob Eames. Mark was never in trouble and I ask you to just enjoy this demonstration of forceful chess:

Next up was Carsten, where he had to be very careful in a tricky position – I think his experience counted for a lot here when if he had over played the position, he could have ended up in a lost position.

Hammer 1.5-0.5 to the good.

Next up was Lord Hurricane himself, my fellow peer, in a tough complex Sicilian he was always under pressure – he battled to the end with a possible stalemate in the offing. However, it was not to be. Hammer pegged back to 1.5-1.5:

It all came down to the final game – and Hammer have new member Krasen (Chris) who was fighting for the match victory.

Krasen has a truly combative style – it is as if complications suit his temperament and bring out his best chess – this is a deadly positive in rapid chess.

This was spectacular stuff and worthy of close study:

Yes, not for the first time Krasen had ensured a Hammer victory – a great result and definitely a marker for the future.

The first match of 2021 saw Hammer taking on Imperial College – Jonathan’s old alma mater – this match on paper should have been a certain Hammer victory.

For once, life followed the script and Hammer duly delivered the win. Here is the scorecard:

A clear Hammer win – the only draw from Ryszard – but what a game! Indeed, the endgame is worth serious study – I know he has posted it on the Hammer chat.

All I can say is he stole half a point from the jaws of defeat after an uncharacteristic error in the opening. This is a fascinating game:

Hammer all square and up next was Carsten. I have to say that Carsten is probably the most classical chess player in the club – he is steeped in chess literature and is very correct. This was a perfect illustration of his style. Controlled the middle game and excellent endgame technique:

Hammer forging ahead 1.5-0.5

Next up was Krasen, whose game was first to finish. This was an all-out assault from about move 5 when he had four pieces in the game and his opponent one. This was hyper-aggressive chess with no holds barred attitude. This is a terrific attacking display. Plus it put Hammer 2.5-0.5 up – match point secured.

Finally, to our board 4 Jonathan, who was again in superb form. He was in control from move 12 and displayed a deadly accuracy at the end to finish his opponent in good time.

Hammer overwhelmingly winners at 3.5-0.5 – a fantastic result.

This gives the following table:

Lord Clueless is in excellent mental health and dead proud of these Hammer heroes.

On a final note – the hidden chess player in my last report was the unique Tigran Petrosian – probably the most different of all the World Champions.

I have not included one this week, but invite all readers of this article to share one good thing from the last 10 months of OTB chess starvation in the feedback. It does not have to be chess!

One good thing, I have conquered the skill of making puff pastry from scratch – none of your Delia cheating – this I regard as a significant accomplishment.

It is time to accentuate the positive and start looking forward to a hopefully better 2021 – world and chess wise.

Lord Clueless.