Mr. Dipenderble

A couple of weeks ago we hosted our first ever team rapidplay night at the Albion. The teams were as follows:

Reti Rovers – Carsten, Ken, Ljubomir
Capablanca Crushers – Marios, Kaan, Nadim
Lasker Legends – Thomas, Pavel, Nick
Alekhine Athletic – Jay, Dipender

Each player played one 15-minute rapidplay game against a player from each other team. It was a hard-fought affair.

Reti Rovers 3 – 0 Capablanca Crushers
Carsten 1 – 0 Marios
Ken 1 – 0 Kaan
Ljubomir 1 – 0 Nadim

Lasker Legends 0.5 – 2.5 Alekhine Athletic
Pavel 0 – 1 Jay
Nick 0 – 1 Dipender
Bye 1/2 – 1/2 Bye

Reti Rovers 1.5 – 1.5 Alekhine Athletic
Carsten 1 – 0 Jay
Ljubomir 0 – 1 Dipender
Bye 1/2 – 1/2 Bye

Capablanca Crushers 2.5 – 0.5 Lasker Legends
Marios 1 – 0 Pavel
Nadim 1 – 0 Nick
Bye 1/2 – 1/2 Bye

Reti Rovers 0 – 3 Lasker Legends
Carsten 0 – 1 Thomas
Ken 0 – 1 Pavel
Kaan 0 – 1 Nick

Capablanca Crushers 1 – 2 Alekhine Athletic
Marios 1 – 0 Jay
Kaan 0 – 1 Nick
Nadim 0 – 1 Dipender

Alekhine Athletic emerged victorious, with Jay and Dipender dropping just half a match point, winning a tasty chocolate bar and an exciting card game. Player of the tournament was Dipender, scoring three wins out of three.

More fantastic prizes on offer later in the summer
Ath Rov Leg Cru MP GP
Alekhine Athletic x 1.5 2.5 2 2.5 6
Reti Rovers 1.5 x 0 3 1.5 4.5
Lasker Legends 0.5 3 x 0.5 1 4
Capablanca Crushers 1 0 2.5 x 1 3.5

After the success of the first training session of the summer, Carsten hosted our second session on Monday. He spent two hours going through a game that I lost in the summer league a few weeks ago:



He had clearly put a lot of preparation in, and I think everyone, especially me, learnt a lot.

Key Ideas

  • Avoid playing very theoretical openings (e.g. Najdorf Sicilian). Your opponent only has to learn one variation, whereas you have to prepare for many
  • In closed positions, look at which pawn breaks will improve your position and how best to prepare them
  • Any pawn that can not be defended by another pawn is, by definition, a weak pawn. Look for these weaknesses and try to exploit them
  • Everyone misses tactics from time to time. This is not the time to panic. Collect yourself and play the position

The next training session of the summer will be hosted by our chairman Bajrush on 7th August.

Finally please note the upcoming Monday 24th July session, originally planned for Cafe Nero, has been moved to the Albion after a poor showing from the regulars last time. See our schedule for full details of the summer programme.

Adam

C4, D4, or E4… that is the Question?

I thought it was about time to get Shakespeare on the Hammer website.

At club level chess, I am currently rated ECF 150 (roll on July) – you do wonder what is the best opening move.

Taking the White side first.

I am a confirmed e4 player as White – it feels more natural, I have more knowledge of the openings resulting from this move. I am in my comfort zone.

This season, more than ever before, I am feeling the irresistible pull of d4 or c4. Indeed, I am experimenting more and more on chess.com in bullet chess. The problem is translating that experience into the over-the-board, long game and match scenario.

Always a good read – the chessgames.com opening Explorer – e4 the clear favourite

One of the pearls of wisdom I can pass on to the more youthful members of the club from my 58 years in this mortal coil, is that the older you get, the more risk averse you become.

To put it another way. Imagine me as a 25-year old – I was one once – and I had been a competent skier. If the choice was between a black run or a red run, the former would win every time! Thirty-two years later the choice is now between red and blue – with the latter winning most times. In other words, your desire to be reckless diminishes as surely as the march of time.

So, will I make the change? Maybe, or maybe not! Next season is the crunch time.

Now the Black perspective.

When an opponent flashes out c4 or d4 I immediately assume they are a more sophisticated player. They have read a bit!

In my mind, they are prepared for a strategic and positional struggle. They know a thing or two!

The stats don’t lie – c5 by far the most common Black response to 1.e4

e4 feels more basic, more caveman than high-brow. The struggle will be more tactical and a positive result more likely. It feels like your opponent is shouting “charge!”. A fight to the death is taking place and you cannot avoid it.

c4 or d4 feels like let’s see where we go, as I exert the advantage of first move. However, they will seek to slowly strangle you, and do so without risk to themselves.

Bobby Fischer played e4 for practically his entire chess career, until embarking on his WCC match against Spassky.

I know there were two c4 games in the interzonal in that cycle, but his real switch came when the title was on the line.

Poor Spassky must have been totally bemused as it appeared he had no preparation to go on, and coupled with his laid-back character, no defence.

In a recent article for the website I referred to the use of psychology in chess. The result in a game of chess, like all other sport, is often dictated by mental strength. If you can, legally and fairly, get inside the head of your opponent and use that properly, you are well on your way to victory.

Fischer’s use of c4 made hours of analysis and preparation completely redundant. A massive psychological blow.

To sum up – and remember this is just my view! – all three moves are good, and maybe wisdom and experience comes in to the equation.

I have been a confirmed e4 man all my life but am starting to feel the irresistible pull of a Queen-sized offering. Am I being pragmatic, or just getting old? You decide!!

John White.

If you’d like to write an article for the website, please get in touch. All contributions welcomed! 

 

Reminder: Theory Night – Monday 17th July

Don’t forget, the next evening of training & learning takes place this coming Monday at the Albion, starting about 7.30pm.

Our top-rated player, Carsten Pedersen, will be running through a couple of games to give us his thoughts & insights. Come join us!

A Ginger (GM) Analysis

A couple of interesting media-related links to share with you this week, first up:

  • Simon “Ginger GM” Williams gives us his analysis of the Game of the Week from the last round of the Summer League

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2U7CFLa6K1I&feature=youtu.be

After every set of fixtures, the team captains from all the clubs involved have a chess-based conclave to decide which performance warrants the “Game of the Week” moniker.

The white smoke this time went up in favour of an enthralling battle between Mo Islam (East London Knights) and Malcolm Dancy (Battersea), featuring a hard-fought positional struggle, a number of winning chances and ever-changing initiative, plus some strategic mistakes for both players.

There’s also a shout-out for Hammer’s only victor of the round – with a Performance of the Week – young Nadhmi. Check it out!

Thanks to all involved for the video, and well done to the above mentioned players!

 

  • As if that’s not enough… hot on the heels of awarding us 3rd place in their Britain’s Best Chess Club Website list, the well-informed folks at Chess Journal have also featured us in the latest of their Club Profiles. You can read the full article here:

Club Profile #4: Hammersmith Chess Club

Enjoy!

And the 3rd Best British Chess Club Website is…

… that’s right folks, a mere 18 months after we re-launched our website in January 2016, we have been officially recognised as one of the finest Chess Club websites in Britain by the wise folks at ChessJournal. You can read their full article here:

The Top 5 British Chess Club Websites

We are naturally delighted to have placed in the top 5, and even more delighted to have placed ahead of our local friendly rivals, Battersea! Not the first time that’s happened either…

It’s been a fine effort by the many people who contribute regular articles & updates, not least our ever-faithful team Captains. ChessJournal were particularly complimentary about the number of events we hold too, and how this “really makes you want to visit the club“. Props to all involved!

To mark the occasion, we’re issuing a call to all members for new articles to post – we want your contributions! As long as it’s vaguely-chess related, we’ll publish your article! It could be about anything at all, but here’s a few ideas to get you started:

  • How you got involved with the game, your personal “chess journey”
  • Playing chess in another country, for those non-UK member out there, and how it compares
  • Your most memorable game – perhaps it was a funny moment that happened, or you played chess somewhere particularly exotic!
  • A short writeup of a tournament you’ve played in – bonus points if it was somewhere other than London!
  • Your preferred opening lines, tricks & tips, or other playing advice
  • Anything else – we’ll post it!

If you’d like to write something please let us know: updates@hammerchess.co.uk

We’re already got a few ideas from the usual suspects, but we want to hear from all of you. It’s your contributions that make this website such a success – don’t be shy and get in touch!!

Hammer in the 21st Century

Ladies & gents, an exciting new era in team-management beckons!

Our Summer League captains, Marios and Ken, are trialling a new way of managing teams & we want all Hammersmith players onboard.

The simple solution is a brilliant app called Teamer. It’s a standard download on your smartphone and will allow much simpler, more dynamic and intuitive arranging of teams in future. It’s definitely the way forward, and we want everyone at Hammer to be on board with it.

There are many Pro’s to recommend it to you all, but in summary:

  • Very user friendly
  • Match calendars readily visible
  • Accept/decline match invitation with a simple click
  • Performance and attendance stats recorded
  • Cool features – photo-sharing, team discussions
  • Makes a captain’s life much, much easier
  • Organises all our teams on a single, streamlined platform
  • An end to group emails

Ken and Marios have already set up all Hammer members on the app – you’ll have received your invitation email already, and it’s remarkably easy to sign up from there.

If they’ve missed you – don’t worry, please click the following link to set yourself up so that we don’t miss you!

http://tinyurl.com/y9aq4eck

Any questions, feel free to add a comment – thanks!

Ken & Marios.

Teamer in action

“Just Hammered” by name…

27.06.17 – Summer Chess League – Battersea Volts v. Just Hammered

Downpour, suspended railway services and poor performances over the board sets the background for a baptism of fire rather than a captain’s debut!

Stranded in Shepherd’s Bush railway station waiting for a train to Clapham among countless souls, I got to experience a bit of Greece in West London… every train to Clapham gets cancelled and we are informed only seconds before the scheduled train arrives at the platform.

Luckily our opponents agreed to delay the kick-off so that we could get there on time (Kaan also struggled on his way from Uxbridge!!!). Thank you, Volts, very sportsmanlike!!!

On to the chess stuff, Board 1 saw the highest rated pair of the night, Chris Beckett vs Carsten Pedersen going all out.  Beckett made a dubious pawn sacrifice to gain the initiative but Carsten failed to find the best route out of the tactical mayhem and mutual blunders in time trouble allowed White to force a perpetual. 0.5-0.5

Board 2 – Yours truly vs M. Gudenas, I managed to get my opponent into a line of the Ruy Lopez – Schliemann I had prepared for Pavel (… now you know bud!!) then I mixed the move order and a complete meltdown followed. My opponent played very accurately, never allowing me a chance to come back. Apparently, knowing too much about a position is as dangerous as being clueless. 1.5-0.5

Board 3 – Tim Valentine vs Paul Kennelly, Paul played his favourite French and gained a material advantage after his opponent went all berserk on the Kingside. Unfortunately, he relaxed before the game was over and blundered all his advantage away, plus interest. 2.5-0.5

Board 4 – David Lambert vs Rayan Balluz, David tried to be creative in a theoretical line of the Najdorf… that’s a NO NO unless your surname is Kasparov. Despite having to drop the exchange he got a pawn and the Bishop pair for it and fought valiantly but was unable to save the half point. 3.5-0.5

Board 5 – Leon Watson vs Kaan Corbaci. This was a very interesting fight in a Benoni-Kings Indian Defence hybrid which was decided in time trouble by Black’s lack of space and light square weaknesses. 4.5-0.5 JH we are not looking good…

Board 6 – Nadhmi Auchi vs Peter Yusoff. A very special game, “Peter was born in the year Jesse Owens won golds at the Berlin Olympics, Nadhmi was born in the year Pirates of the Caribbean II came out“, as Leon pointed out! Nadhmi got a decisive advantage on move 4!!! and converted smoothly. Our beacon of hope in a rather grim night and the only Hammersmith player out of two squads to score a full point on the night. 4.5-1.5

That’s all folks!

Marios.

3rd July – Team Rapidplay

Our Hammersmith Summer of Chess continues this coming Monday 3rd July with a team Rapidplay tournament at The Albion.

The tournament will kick off just after 7.30pm, lasting until around 10pm, with each player assigned to one of four teams. Everybody will get to play three games against similarly-rated opponents on each of the other teams.

Time control will be 20 minutes for all moves, with no increment, and the games will not be graded.

It’s an open event – no need to pre-register, but latecomers should be aware that they may not be able to participate once the teams have been sorted and the first games have kicked off! Non-members and casual drop-ins are of course very welcome!

Anyone not wanting to take part in the tourney is welcome to join us for the evening and play some regular blitz/casual chess on the side.

Lastly, and most importantly… a mystery prize will be awarded to the winning team!! Come on down – should be a great evening of chess!

While we’re on the subject, we have finalised details of our Summer Training evenings – save the following dates:

  • 17th July – Carsten gives us his analysis of some games submitted by members
  • 7th August – Bajrush presents an evening of Openings and Tactics
  • 4th September – Matteo takes us through the Caro Kann Defence

Training @ The Albion: Part 1

26.06.17 – The Albion Public House – Yes, the first training night of the Summer Program was delivered this Monday just gone by Clueless (aka. John White) – not a nickname to fill you with confidence – at our temporary Summer residence, The Albion.

The theme of my training session was to look at the following points, and what part they play in a chess contest:

  • The psychology of chess – what your opponent can do to you, and more importantly, what you can do to your opponent
  • The transition from Middle-game to Endgame
  • That even with reduced material you can still conjure up serious threats and tactics
  • Analysis of move options in a difficult position
  • The role of computers in analysis and adjourned positions

Using an illustrative game of mine, from just over two years ago, played against Ealing 2, I hoped to explore all of these themes. Please note, I will only examine the line played. You can have fun with all the variations and the what-ifs!

One caveat to all of this is my own ability as a chess player. I can probably calculate three moves deep on a good day, but due to the amount of chess I have played I do have some feel for what is the right move in any given position.

We join the game just as White, my opponent, had to seal his move.

Some background to the encounter which may explain some of the comments through the analysis:

  • The result of the game did not have any bearing on the result of the overall match – this was just for personal satisfaction
  • My opponent was quite abrasive and not friendly at the board. At the time, he was graded 143 and I was graded a mere 126. I think the grade disparity may have also influenced his opening choice – 1.f4 Bird’s Opening
  • On completing his sealed move, he offered me a draw. At the time I replied that I would like the opportunity to examine the position and decide once that had been done
  • I looked at the game briefly and decided that I would accept the draw if it was still on offer. I contacted my opponent and made the draw offer. He had obviously analysed the position – my suspicion is that he had probably used a chess program – and turned down the draw offer. After sometime, he agreed a resumption date. I did not look at the game again
  • His comment to me before we resumed, at the board, was “I bet you wished you had taken the draw offer”. This was unsportsmanlike and arrogant, but had the benefit of reinforcing my determination not to lose. It also dictated my behaviour over the first two moves I played

To the game, and I will supplement the move analysis with my thoughts at the time. The critical action took place over about 15 moves.

White sealed Rh3 – I was relieved when it was played on the board. I was dreading Ba3 and a subsequent BxN. At this stage I deliberately waited 10 minutes before playing my next move, KxP. I wanted it to appear I was shocked by his move.

He immediately banged out Kg3. Again, I took my time and thought for 20 minutes – this was part deliberate, as well as part trying to figure out what to play. I knew he was not playing his researched line, and I wanted to find something he and his engine had not considered.

I reasoned that I wanted to keep as many pieces for now on the board, activate my pieces and prevent penetration by his Rook. The move I played, which I found at the board, allowed this to happen. I played Bf7. I played it with supreme confidence to rattle him. A bit of chess psychology.

He visibly started; my ruse had worked. He thought for a while and continued with his original plan. Kg4 was played.

I responded with Kg7 to prevent any Rook penetration along the h-file.

He then banged out Ba3 – if you put it in the engines a mistake. I immediately played Nd7.

His response was to play Bd6 to which I replied Rc3 and for the first time I felt the initiative had changed hands. He played Bb5 and I instantly replied Nf6+. I had achieved my goals set out when I played Bf7.

This is where the tactics started with any King move other than Kf3 allowing a juicy Knight fork. He retreated with said move and I followed up with g5, threatening g4+ and picking up the Rook. He retreated his King to g2. Check out the move options for white here.

I now felt slightly sadistic by playing Rc2+, driving him back to the first Rank. He played Kf1. Now consider the position – whose King has more space and whose pieces have real targets, and how vulnerable is White’s Queenside? Quite a transformation, and all in the space of 9 moves.

In the next few moves the minor pieces were swapped off and White picked up the g-pawn. However, the commanding position of the Black King and the vulnerability of the White Queenside pawns decided matters in favour of myself.

My opponent resigned many moves later – he did not shake hands and was totally bemused. He was beaten psychologically as he could not adjust to the change in events.

All I can say is that revenge is a dish best served cold.

This small section of the game decided matters and demonstrates all of the above themes.

The use of psychology to unsettle your opponent. Doing something out of the ordinary.

On a personal note, I find it unbelievable that we still allow adjournments in UK League Chess. In these days, when everybody is time precious, the extra costs involved and the use of chess programs makes the continued employment of the adjournment option ludicrous. I fervently believe this is the overwhelming view of most league chess players. We are being held back by a vociferous minority!

We have to get with the times!!

(And a final tip to all future trainers at The Albion – get there early as it took a while to locate the demonstration board and setup the furniture)

 

Summer League: Gameweek 2

27.06.17 – Totally Hammered vs Streatwise, Summer Chess League

Looking back, the torrential rain downpour that arrived last night was definitely an ominous warning that something was going to happen… and so it was in the match where, aside from some brief chinks of sunshine from Pavel and Chris – who both drew – the good ship Totally Hammered lived up to its name, losing 4-1 to Streatwise.

We were out graded on every board, so considering the situation, our draws were a fantastic result. For those wishing to relive the experience, all the games are now up on the Summer League website.

We also welcomed two new players to the club for their debut games: Nadim Osseiran and Chris Dmitrov! I believe they are both coming along to next Monday’s club night, so please give them a warm welcome when you meet them.

Hot, hot, Summer League action!!

Anyway team, let’s not dwell on failure – we have a few weeks to prepare for the next match in July (18th July – save the date!). Six boards to cover, many beers to be drunk, and a chance for vengeance!!

Anyone wishing to play, please get in touch!

As a reminder, the remaining fixtures are:

  • 18th July
  • 22nd August
  • 5th September

Ken K, Totally Hammered Captain.

Full set of games below – Captain’s report from Just Hammered vs Battersea Volts still to come… It contains the only ray of sunshine from the evening – a victory for one of our newest – and certainly our youngest – member, Nadhmi. Pleased to say we’ll also be posting a full analysis of that game from one of our strongest players. Stay tuned!!

 

 

Totally Hammered vs Streatwise

1. Barjrush Kelmendi 183 vs Robin Haldane 191 0-1

2. Martin Smith 172 vs Pavel Nefyodov 164 1/2-1/2

3. Chris Dimitrov es133 vs Nello Attianese 169 0-1

4. Gabriel Barr 168 vs John Ryan 124 1-0

5. Chris Moore 112 vs Alan Romeril 137 1/2-1/2

6. Jose Dimiti 113 vs Nadim Osseiran es95 1-0

Volts vs Just Hammered

1. Chris Beckett 202 vs Carsten Pedersen 201 1/2-1/2
*not ready*

2. Marios Kouis es150 vs Motiejus Gudenas es169 0-1

3. Tim Valentine 126 vs Paul Kennelly 161 1-0

4. David Lambert 123 vs Rayan Balluz es100 0-1

5. Leon Watson 122 vs Kaan Corbaci es120 1-0

6. Naadhmi Auchi 105 vs Peter Yusoff es80 1-0

In Addition…

The British Bangla Chess Association are having a 10-minute blitz tourney this coming Sunday – the 2nd July starting at 3pm.

The tourney will take place at

Tower Hamlets Parents Centre, 1 Links Yard, 29 Spelman Street, London E1 5LX – it is just off Brick Lane

Entry fee is £7 for Non- BCCA players and it is run on a first come first served basis

So if you want to take part please phone either Mostaque on 07903 559 812 or Tariq on 07930 528 293

Monday Nights @ The Albion

After the excitement of the Summer League Launch in recent weeks, our Summer events program proper kicks off at the Albion tomorrow night.

We have the unflappable John White leading the session, taking us through an adjourned position from a game he played a couple of years ago. Although a pawn up, it was a very difficult position to defend.

John & Bajrush at the demo board

John will be taking us through the following themes:

  • Analysing your available moves in a difficult position
  • How multiple threats can be conjured up with minimal material
  • Psychological reactions, and managing the psychology of a changing game environment – from holding the advantage, to losing the advantage
  • Middlegame-to-endgame crossover

The session will start around 7.30-8pm, and as always it is FREE for members and non-members alike. Come join us!

And don’t forget what’s coming up in July – we’ve got more training events, a Team Rapidplay, a couple of coffee shop invasions, and a pub crawl!