Upcoming Theory & Practice Sessions

We are pleased to announce details of our upcoming Theory & Practice sessions for May! Details as follows:

  • Monday 9th May, from 7pm – following hot on the heels of our previous session, another look at endgame tactics. April’s session was really valuable & very well received, particularly the discussions on the Lucena and Philidor positions. This will then be followed by another match involving all players – similar to the previous session, it should get everyone thinking well outside of the box!
  • Monday 23rd May, from 7pm – a session run by Carsten – currently our top-rated club player and GM-slayer! – this will involve a deeper look at some endgame scenarios, followed by a move-by-move analysis of some recent games from our club players. The game analyses are always fascinating, if only to see just how differently (or perhaps similarly!) a stronger player views the positions. Always gets you thinking and a great way to see moves you wouldn’t otherwise have thought of.

As usual the sessions are free of charge and open to all-comers – no need to be a member, just get in touch if you’d like to come along; we’d love to see you there!

Hammersmith Chess Club – April 2016 Report

BY CLUB SECRETARY, MIKE MACKENZIE

The games came thick & fast in April, with the club playing no fewer than 10 matches as we approach the end of the season.

Monday 4th April – Thames Valley League
Ealing Juniors v Hammersmith
Hammersmith won the match 4-3 with 2 matches remaining. Monday 11th April we are home to Ealing B, followed by Thursday 12th May away to Harrow A. We are now favourites to win the League and promotion.

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Points

Position

10

7

1

2

7.5

1st

Keeping the home fires burning at the Club House were myself and Andy, who organised, controlled and won a blitz tournament! With five members in attendance, plus a late appearance by Graham, we had an all-play-all competition, results as follows:

Andy 4-3-1-0 = 3.5 points – Winner
Mike 4-2-1-1 = 2.5 points
Chris 4-2-0-2 = 2 points
Phil 4-2-0-2 = 2 points
Chris 4-0-0-4 = 0 points

Phil is one of our newest members. The other Chris was a guest of Chris Moore’s; he lives in Spain but dropped in for a game whilst over on vacation.

Wednesday 6th April – London League Division 4, Team 1
Hammersmith v Kings Head
Great result for the team last night, an 8-0 whitewash!! Cannot get any better! Our closest rivals DHSS who have played 6 (two games more than us), having won 5 and drawn 1. We meet on the fields of Agincourt on Tuesday 26th April. Let’s get as good a turnout as we had last time and we will have the same success as Henry V!!

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Points

Position

8

7

1

0

7.5

1st

Thursday 7th April – London League Division 6
Wanstead v Hammersmith
A splendid win for Hammersmith securing top spot with 1 game to go. It was a tense affair going to the wire. With the scores level at 1.5-1.5, Robin Lee beat off a furious attack and seemed to be heading for a draw. However he managed to Fork his opponents Rook and Queen, winning the exchange and eventually the game.

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Points

Position

8

6

1

1

6.5

1st

The might League 6 team
07.04.16 – The mighty League 6 team in action. On the left, closest to camera Robin grafts for his win, behind him is John, with Dan at the rear of shot. Captain Mike decided to sit this one out, preferring to catch up on the day’s news (background, with paper!)

Monday 11th April – Thames Valley League
Hammersmith v Ealing B
Another tense game that went to the wire. Hammersmith with 2 wins, 3 draws and 1 loss held on to draw the game and win the match 4-3. This will secure promotion to Division 1, however the Championship will probably go down to board count against Richmond. Hearty congratulations to captain Bajrush and his team!

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Points

Position

11

7

1

2

7.5

1st

On the other side of the hall four new guests arrived, receiving welcome packs and applications forms – welcome to our new members! We hope to see them at our next training evening.

Wednesday 13th April – London League Division 5
Hammersmith v Metropolitan
Although hopelessly out graded, we put up a good show with 2 draws and 2 losses. We have struggled a bit in this division, but with the influx of new members will certainly do better next season!

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Points

Position

6

2

1

3

2.5

9th

Tuesday 14th April – London League Division 4, Team 2
Newham v Hammersmith
Our London League 4 second team welcomed two of our newest members, Gokhan and Phil. Gokhan fared well on his debut with a win. Robin was again the star, winning in 16 moves! The overall result was a loss for us 3-5. No shame in that though, Newham are top of the league!

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Points

Position

9

1

0

8

1

10th

Monday 18th April – Middlesex League
Hammersmith v Muswell Hill
This last 3-5 loss means we are relegated to Division 3. A great shame for Bajrush and his players – we’ll be back in Division 2 next season.

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Points

Position

12

1

2

9

2

8th

Tuesday 19th April -Exhibition Match
Hammersmith v Fulham Juniors
This was Hammersmith’s first clash with a Junior team. A suburb little tournament, turn out, and a very pleasing result. Two matches were played, with a 3-3 result in both – match drawn! You can read a full report of the match here.

Thursday 21st April – London League 5
Battersea v Hammersmith
A nice win for Hammersmith, with Dan excelling again on board 4, and John R winning with a nice controlled attack, despite giving away 13 grading points to his opponent.

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Points

Position

7

3

1

3

3.5

8th

Monday 25th April – Free Evening & Training Session
A special Committee meeting took place at the clubhouse from 6.30pm to finalise details of our Club Constitution. Some other business was discussed and will be finalised at our next Committee meeting.

A training session started after the meeting in which Bajrush demonstrated Rook-Pawn endings. The endings were well known positions: the Lucena and the Philidor positions (the two articles are well worth a read if you’re unfamiliar with either of them). Another successful turnout and an excellent display from Bajrush.

2016-04-25 training6
25.04.16 – The training in full swing. Mike, Bajrush and several other members watch on as Robin takes on a visitor – no pressure Robin!

To round the evening off an excellent and original tournament took place, whereby members were split into two “teams” but then rotated around the boards. An excellent way to encourage original and agile thinking about positions. 12 members took part and it was superbly controlled by Bajrush. We will certainly do this again!

Tuesday 26th April – London League Division 4, Team 1
DHSS v Hammersmith
Our promotion hopes took a setback with this loss to what looks like the strongest team in the league. Hammersmith lost narrowly, 3.5-4.5. We have one game left and should be overwhelming favourites to beat Athenaeum who are floundering near the bottom of the table. This will give us 8.5pts. Newham have completed their season on 8pts. Streatham who have also completed their season have the same score as us but after beating Kings Head 8-0 have a board count of +36 compared to our +30. DHSS have two to play (Kings Head, and Wanstead). Sitting with 7pts they could end up with 9pts.

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Points

Position

9

7

1

1

7.5

2nd

Thursday 28th April – London League 5
Hammersmith v Streatham
An excellent draw for Hammersmith – on board 1 Robin won in double quick time against a strong 130-rated player, and I had a nice controlled draw against a 123.

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Points

Position

8

3

2

3

4

8th

May Fixtures:

  • 3rd May – Ealing 2 (A), Middlesex League
  • 6th May – Morley College (A), London League 4 (Team 2)
  • 11th May – Athenaeum (A), London League 4 (Team 1)
  • 12th May – Cavendish (A), London League 6
  • 12th May – Harrow A (A), Thames Valley League
  • 16th May – Kings Head (H), Middlesex League
  • 18th May – Metropolitan (A), London League 4 (Team 2)
  • 26th May – West London (A), London League 5

Full list of fixtures & results can also be found here.

Library Evenings and Rota for May
As you may have read previously, we will shortly be expanding our library evenings as a result of the enormous success of our weekly spot in Hammersmith Library. Full details can be found here, but the dates for May are as follows:

Monday 9 May – Kensington (5.30-7pm)
Tuesday 10 May – Shepherds Bush (5.30-7pm)
Wednesday 11 May – Hammersmith (6-7.30pm)
Thursday 12 May – Fulham (6-pm)

Monday 16 May – Kensington (5.30-7pm)
Tuesday 17 May – Shepherds Bush (5.30-7pm)
Wednesday 18 May – Hammersmith (6-7.30pm)
Thursday 19 May – Fulham (6-7.30pm)

Monday 23 May – Kensington (5.30-7pm)
Tuesday 24 May – Shepherds Bush (5.30-7pm)
Wednesday 25 May – Hammersmith (6-7.30pm)
Thursday 26 May – Fulham (6-7.30pm)

Monday 30 May – Kensington (5.30-7pm)
Tuesday 31 May – Shepherds Bush (5.30-7pm)
Wednesday 1 May – Hammersmith (6-7.30pm)
Thursday 2 May – Fulham (6-7.30pm)

Thanks to all members & players, and best of luck in our remaining games this season!

Hammersmith Chess Club: Notice of AGM

Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Hammersmith Chess Club
Date: Monday 6th June 2016
Time: From 7pm
Location: Lytton Hall Home Venue

agm-logo
It’s the AGM!

Ladies & Gentlemen, Members of the Club, our Annual General Meeting will be held on Monday 6th June this year. This is your opportunity as members to engage with, and shape the direction of the club. Please make every effort to attend.

As the club continues to evolve and grow, we will be looking to adopt our first proper Constitution this year. This is a small but important part of bringing the club fully up to date, open and transparent, and run for the benefit of all its members.

We will also have a full schedule of the usual annual updates from the Committee as follows:

    • Matters arising from the previous AGM minutes
    • Approval of those minutes by vote
    • Reports from the Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer, PR Officer, Webmaster and Club Captain
    • Questions from the floor for the reports will then be called for
    • Once finished the reports will be accepted by vote
    • The Treasurer will the present the Committee’s recommendation for the annual subscription for the forthcoming year outlining the reasons for the figures presented. The meeting will be asked to approve the subscription
    • The election of Officers for the following year
    • The appointment of an auditor
    • The presentation of trophies and awards to recipients
    • Any Other Business and the closure of the AGM

This will then be followed by an all encompassing Blitz Tournament to round the Clubs year off in style!

We’re really looking forward to it – hope to see you all there 🙂

Last Updated: Apr 26, 2016 @ 10:02 pm

Hammersmith v Fulham Juniors: 6-6 thriller!!!

Hammersmith had the pleasure of taking on Fulham Juniors this week at their home venue, the Brunswick Club on Haldane Road.

The Juniors are a truly thriving club. Under the inspired leadership of club manager Paul, they regularly see over 40 youngsters turn up to events, and have on occasion had over 50 turn up! We were delighted to have the chance to play some local up and coming masters!!

Despite the vagaries of the London Underground District Line causing a default on one board in the first game, we were able to produce a strong team over 6 boards for a 2-game event. It finished 6-6 overall, which is a credit to the youngsters – this after some unlucky performances saw at least 2 won positions end up lost for Fulham.

We were captained by our Chairman Bajrush, and our top club player Carsten was able to work wonders in the analysis room afterwards. Bajrush did at one point confess to cheering on the junior team! Not sure how we feel about that 🙂

Full results as follows:

Round 1:
Vignus Widdicombe (77) 0-1 Chris Moore (86)
Xavier Cowan (65) 0-1 Adam Cranston (147)
Tomas Le Rendu (68) 1-0 Shaun Gordon (-)
Samuel Le Rendu (74) 1-0 Graham Snow (76)
Mattias Le Rendu (43) 0-1 Richard Wingfield (-)
Luke Pakenham (47) 1-0 DEFAULT

Round 2:
Vignus Widdicombe (77) 0-1 David Lambert (121)
Xavier Cowan (65) 1-0 Chris Moore (86)
Tomas Le Rendu (68) 0-1 Adam Cranston (147)
Samuel Le Rendu (74) 1-0 Graham Snow (76)
Mattias Le Rendu (43) 0-1 Richard Wingfield (-)
Luke Pakenham (47) 1-0 Shaun Gordon (-)

Credit to Adam on our team for recovering well in both games after getting stuffed out of sight for most of the match! And a very good game from Xavier in the second round defeating Chris.

Thanks again to John and Paul for arranging. Fulham are a terrific club, their contact details below:

https://www.facebook.com/FulhamJCC

https://www.twitter.com/FulhamJChess

Last Updated: Apr 21, 2016 @ 5:35 pm

Upcoming Training: Rook Endgames, and Knights vs Bishops!

Save the date: Monday 25th April, starting 7.45pm at our home venue!

This Monday evening our Chairman Bajrush will be leading us through a session on Rook endgames at the training board. Anecdotally this is probably one of the more common endgames you’re likely to come across in a face to face game, or online, so it’ll be very useful for all who attend. At this stage in the game the advantage can switch very easily and it’s valuable to know any tactics that can help sway things your way.

This will be followed by an interactive game of Knights v Rooks, where we’ll have two teams playing each other with players taking turns to make moves. Hopefully this will give everyone the chance to sense the positions and discuss possible moves – really get us thinking about the lines to play and combinations. Should be fun!!

As ever, the session will be free and open to anyone who wants to come along – just drop us a line first so we know to expect you. It’d be great to see you there!!

Last Updated: Apr 20, 2016 @ 6:28 pm

Chess Updates – Free Library Evenings, and Match vs. Fulham Juniors

Free Chess Evenings at Local Libraries

One thing we have been running for a while now is a weekly open-evening of chess at Hammersmith Library (Wednesday’s from 6pm) hosted by one or more of our club players. It’s totally free and anybody is welcome to drop by for a game and see what you can learn!

Our ultra hard-working member Anda, has been a mainstay of these evenings and she’s regularly reporting attendance of up to 10 people an evening! We are obviously delighted with the response, and it’s been great to see a number of youngsters getting involved too. These sessions will continue for the foreseeable future – please drop by if you’d like a game!

Largely thanks to the heroics of Anda and the buzz she’s managed to create with these sessions, we are today pleased to announce an expansion of this initiative to some other libraries in the borough. Starting in May, we will be in the following libraries on a weekly basis, with chess sets and a couple of club members, ready to play against all-comers!!

We’ll also continue to be at Hammersmith Library every Wednesday from 6pm.

IMG_5342
Chess at Hammersmith Library!

It is a great opportunity to play some face to face chess against (relatively!) knowledgeable and experienced players, test your moves out, talk a bit of theory, or just see what you can learn. We’ve had all levels of players turn up, from total novices to wily online players who can mix it with the best. It’s a fun, stimulating and enjoyable way to spend an evening – we’d love to see you there!

Get in touch if you’ve any questions or would like further details!

 

Hammermith v. Fulham Juniors, April 19th 6.30pm, Brunswick Club, 34 Haldane Road, SW6 7EU

We are pleased to announce that Hammersmith Chess Club will be taking on Fulham Juniors in an eight board match 19th April. Although they are a “junior” club, they’re only really junior in the age of their members and it will be a strong team we face, with their top board player rated approx. 170 ECF!

Fulham Juniors were founded in 2013, with the admirable aim of bringing fun & competitive chess and instruction to junior players in the Hammersmith & Fulham area.

For our part, we hope to make the event a semi-annual match and establish closer links with Fulham and other junior clubs in the area. It also gives our members more opportunities for competitive games of chess.

Save the date – our long-standing member Graham Snow will be honorary captain for the game. If you are interested in playing or coming along please contact John White.

Last Updated: Apr 14, 2016 @ 8:20 am

 

Hammersmith Chess Club – March 2016 Report

By Club Secretary, Mike Mackenzie.

March was a busy month for the club on all fronts, with eight league games and a couple of events down at the club. Here’s a quick recap:

Monday 29th February – The club took advantage of a match-free evening at our home venue to host another training session run by club Chairman, Bajrush Kelmendi.

The previous week’s session proved a great success and was very well attended, hence we had another good turnout tonight. Opening theory and Endgames were the order of the day, admirably presented by Bajrush. He also covered Pawn structures in depth, passed pawns, isolated and doubled pawns, which was enlightening. Bajrush then shifted to a couple of his own personal games that were good examples of the evenings themes.

IMG_5760

Our Chairman, on closing the event, revealed that he had a special opening of his own creation which he uses against all opponents when playing White. What is it? Well, you’ll have to play him and draw the Black pieces to find out! Members were so impressed with it that one team captain is going to adopt the setup next time he has white!!

I think we need to patent this opening and give it a name. Therefore, anyone that attended the session please think of a suitable name – suggestions in the comments at the bottom of the article, or by email. I will start off by naming it “The Mixed Grill”!! Very suitable I believe.

Thursday 3rd March – London League Division 4, Team 1
Hammersmith v Wanstead 2
Another win for Hammersmith, 5-3. The team is pushing hard for promotion – latest position as follows:

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Points

Position

7

6

1

0

6.5

1st

Monday 7th March – Thames Valley League
Hammersmith A v Hounslow A
This was a thumping win for Hammersmith, 4.5-2.5. The team looks strong in this division too with 3 wins, 3 draws, and just 1 defeat:

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Points

Position

8

5

1

2

5.5

2nd

Tuesday 8th March – London League Division 6
Hammersmith v Greater London
A nice win from Hammersmith on GLCC’s home turf, 2.5-1.5. We are tied for 1st place in the division with Battersea, who we play on 31st March. Latest position as follows:

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Points

Position

6

4

1

1

4.5

Tied for 1st

Thursday 10th March – London League Division 4, Team 2
Hammersmith v Streatham
Streatham out graded us on all boards by quite a long way. Brian Dodgeon playing board 1 (and as stand-in Captain) was the hero of the night, gaining a very creditable draw with a 164!! There were 2 adjournments and we defaulted board 8. Result 6.5-0.5 in favour of Streatham.

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Points

Position

8

1

0

7

1

10th

Monday 14th March – Committee Meeting & Theory Session – Game Analysis
The club exercised its first Committee Meeting of the year. All issues discussed are included in the minutes for the meeting.

This was followed by a brilliant analytical display from Carsten Pedersen of 3 games submitted by members from the Simultaneous against GM Chris Ward earlier in the year. We had 13 people turn out, full of questions, comments and suggestions for Carsten to answer.

IMG_5880

First up was Chris Moore playing the French, with Chris Ward demonstrating why he is a GM! Even Carsten could not save the game in the post-mortem!!

Your author was up next, playing my favoured Modern Benoni opening (which I suggested to the GM I would play if he opened up with 1.d4, which he duly did). I felt I played the opening quite well but Carsten pointed out some weak moves which gave Chris the advantage. From there it was only going to go one way.

Last up was Dave Lambert playing the Nimzo-Indian, an opening Chris has written 3 books on. Dave held his position well making very few bad moves, eventually being forced into retirement – death by a thousand cuts!

Carsten then gave a few useful tips: Prepare for pawn storms when castling on opposite sides; Backward diagonal moves are always hard to foresee; Beware of Alekhine’s cannon – a Queen on d1, a Rook on d2, and another Rook on d3.

A loud round of applause was the order of the day for such a fine display. Well done Carsten! He has requested feedback to assist him with future demonstrations – leave your comments below.

Thursday 17th March – Middlesex League
Harrow 1 v Hammersmith
Bajrush has sent an email requesting full commitment to the remaining Middlesex fixtures as the team battles to avoid relegation. The current picture:

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Points

Position

10

1

1

8

1.5

7th

Monday 21st March – Thames Valley League
Wimbledon C v Hammersmith
6 wins from 7 boards for Hammersmith in this game – an excellent result with the last game adjourned. 3 matches remain in the division. If Hammersmith can secure 3 more wins we are guaranteed promotion to Division 1.

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Points

Position

9

6

1

2

6.5

Joint 1st

Wednesday 23rd March – Middlesex League
West London v Hammermsith
3 games remain this season. Hammermsith secured a nice draw in this game but it doesn’t look like it will be enough to stave off relegation:

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Points

Position

11

1

2

8

2

7th

Monday 28th March – Bank Holiday – Club Closed for Easter

Thursday 31st March – London League Division 6
Hammersmith v Battersea
A great win for Hammersmith against our main rivals for the Division title. We now lead the division by a point with 2 games left. This game was on a knife edge at 1.5-1.5, with Dan Rugman’s game to complete. A pawn up, it looked to be heading for an adjournment until Dan unleashed a great mating attack which his opponent fell straight into. With the win on the last board, Hammersmith won the game 2.5-1.5.

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Points

Position

7

5

1

1

5.5

1st

Thanks to all players in a busy month of games – good luck with our April fixtures!

April Fixtures:

  • 4th April – Ealing Juniors (A), Thames Valley League
  • 6th April – Kings Head (H), London League Div 4 (Team 1)
  • 7th April – Wanstead (A), London League Div 6
  • 11th April – Ealing B (H), Thames Valley League
  • 13th April – Metropolitan (H), London League Div 5
  • 14th April – Newham (A), London League Div 4 (Team 2)
  • 18th April – Muswell Hill (H), Middlesex League
  • 21st April – Battersea (A), London League Div 5
  • 26th April – DHSS (A), London League Div 4 (Team 1)
  • 28th April – Streatham (H), London League Div 5
Note: subject to change – team captains will confirm in advance
Last Updated: Apr 11, 2016 @ 6:05 pm

Internal Club Tournaments – Your Feedback Requested

By John White

One of the key ingredients for the success of our club is to have a credible and worthy chess club tournament(s). This is something I have been asked to consult members on.

Currently the club has the Christmas Blitz Tournament running and nothing else – it is very popular and is a great social evening.

My proposal is this:

The annual Club Blitz Champion will be decided over the course of four tournaments: the one at Christmas, and three other tournaments to be held during the rest of the year.

My feeling is it would be best to hold one of these on the first Club Night of the season, and one after the AGM. The other would be held between January and March. The overall competition would have a trophy and a cash prize.

Secondly, an internal Rapid Play tournament would be held throughout the chess season with the aim of having the games rated so you obtain an ECF rapid play grade – the time limit would be 30 minutes per player for the whole game. Again, a trophy would be on offer.

This would allow members to play a substantial game with a meaningful purpose – this caters for those members who prefer a more cerebral challenge.

We’d like your feedback as soon as possible so we can propose a motion for approval at the AGM. Could you please leave your comments below, and/or email me directly.

Many thanks! John.

Blitz Tournament & Training Evenings – Save the Dates!

Happy Easter everyone! As the chess season continues thick & fast, so do the training evenings at the club – please save the following dates:

  • Monday 4th April – Blitz Tournament
  • Monday 25th April – Training & Theory
  • Monday 9th May – Training & Theory
  • Monday 23rd May – Training & Theory

We are pleased to announce that on Monday 4th April we will host a 5-round Swiss Blitz tournament at the club, with time controls between 10 and 15 mins. It should be a great evening of fast, competitive chess! We’ll aim to start at about 8pm, but club will be open as usual from 7.30pm. Content of future training sessions to be confirmed nearer the time.

This will be an open tournament with free entry – non members are welcome to come along and try out their chess skills against our seasoned club players. If you’re not a member and would like to join in, please just drop us an email to confirm your attendance: updates@hammerchess.co.uk

easter_chess
The chicken on the left played a ‘cracking’ endgame…

If you can’t make a Monday evening at our club venue, we also run a free weekly session at Hammersmith Library (on Shepherds Bush Road, 2 mins from tube station) every Wednesday from 6-8pm. It’s hosted by a player or two from the club with a number of boards, and anyone is welcome to come up and try their hand at a game. The evenings have proven very popular of late, particularly with younger players. It’s a great way to get some hands on experience of the game! We are looking to shortly expand into Shepherds Bush and Kensington Libraries – more on that soon!

Do come along to these events if you can – you’ll be very welcome!

Last Updated: Mar 25, 2016 @ 12:50 pm

A Brief History of Hammersmith Chess Club

Hammersmith Chess Club has been around for a while – since 1962 to be precise. That might seem like the fairly recent past to some of you – perhaps even living memory for many of our members – however for those of us born after 1980 that is, quite frankly, a different era. Up there with pre-history for the millennial generation!

To bear this out, indulge me for a moment while I recount some of the events that happened in Britain in 1962.

  • The Beatles were yet to release an album. Hard to imagine a time before the Beatles isn’t it, but this was quite literally a pre-Beatles era. They had some of their first sessions at Abbey Road in 1962, and released their first ever single (Love Me Do) in October of that year.
Ford_Cortina
The Mark I Fort Cortina – launched the same year as Hammersmith Chess Club!
  • The Ford Cortina was launched – for the princely sum of £573 you could buy yourself a brand new Cortina! Other motoring options available at that time – the Vauxhall Victor, Hillman Minx (!), and the Morris Oxford Farina.
  • The first ever James Bond film – Dr. No – premieres, with Sean Connery playing the famous secret agent. Glad to see this is still going strong today, albeit without the schhhpeech impediment.
  • Francis Crick, Maurice Wilkins, and James Watson win the Nobel Prize for their discovery of DNA – the building blocks of life!

I don’t need to point out that mobile phones didn’t exist, nor did the internet, home computers, concorde (now since retired!), Malawi, CD’s, Z-Cars, Steptoe and Son, and England were yet to win the World Cup. I could go on…

My point is, we have been around for a long time, and it’s only right that some of that history is recorded and shared.

Luckily for us our ever-diligent club Secretary, Mike Mackenzie, recently re-discovered a treasure trove of historic material about the club whilst tidying up our equipment cupboard. As long ago as 1967 we were producing a regular newsletter for members. I’d like to share a few snippets and factoids from those fascinating records.

  • The Club first opened its doors on 3rd September 1962 at Westcott Lodge, now a Grade II listed Georgian House. Membership at the time was 22, including John White (made life President in 2012 to mark 50 years of the club) and Peter Martin (a long-time Treasurer and later Secretary of the club).
Westcott Lodge as it stands proudly today
Westcott Lodge as it stands proudly today
  • Hammersmith Borough Council (itself a throwback – now Hammersmith & Fulham Council) helped found the club, starting with an open chess competition in 1961 for which the council provided a handsome cup for the winner. Sometime after that competition, the council met and agreed the formation of Hammersmith Chess Club.
  • It took some time to properly establish the club, and it wasn’t until 1966 that the club elected it’s first President, Lady Herbert. Lady Herbert was well known on the chess circuit at the time and something of a character. She was married to Sir Alan Patrick Herbert, himself a very interesting and erudite man – the club certainly had friends in high places! Membership had by then grown to 35 and cost around 30 shillings (£1.50!) – that’s right, Hammersmith Chess Club even pre-dates decimal money!
  • In July of 1968 Dr. Jonathan Penrose, British Champion, gave a simultaneous display at the club, winning 17 games and drawing 2. His fee was reported as 6 guineas (£6.30 in modern money). Given the level he played at, it is quite impressive that two club players managed a draw against the great man.
Dr. Penrose plays Mikhail Tal in 1960. Full game here.
Dr. Penrose plays Mikhail Tal in 1960. Full game here. It finished as a victory to the British Champion
  • At some point in 1968 our former President John White (back then just a regular member, one presumes) recorded a record 8th-straight victory in competitive chess, a club record! Sadly John is no longer with us, however his long-term contribution and dedication to the club lives on in the annual John White tournament – a handicap rapid play event we hold every Christmas. We were lucky enough to have John’s son present the trophy last year on the inaugural occasion of the re-named event.
  • May 1968 saw the West London Open Junior (U-19) Championship, where several of Hammersmith’s most promising players competed. This included one Peter S Morton. Those of you familiar with the London club circuit will recognise Peter as an ever-present player. He stepped in as acting Chairman for us following John’s death, and is still an active player across the London Leagues.
  • Also in 1968, our U21’s took on the over 21’s at the club. It sounded like a great match, finishing 8-8. Below photos document the event, which also made the local press!
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Pictured in the centre with a beard and holding up the Key, is John White, former life President of the Club
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An impressive result from the juniors considering the youth of some on the team!
  • 1970 saw the club move venue to St. Paul’s Church Hall, Sussex Place, having outgrown the premises at Westcott Lodge. I stand to be corrected, but I believe this is the church that you can see as you pass over the Hammersmith Flyover – the attached conference facility is now a RIBA-award winning architectural gem – oh to have our club nights there now! One wonders how the church and parish felt back in 1961 when the flyover was constructed! A frequent gripe of members at the time appears to be a lack of sufficient heating in the hall!
  • Later in 1970 the club sent a team of seven players to Amsterdam to take part in a triangular match. I wonder how they got on – did the famous coffee shops exist back then??
  • The London Chess Congress Novice section in 1972 was won by a very young Hammersmith player. At just 9 years old, Julian Hodgson also won the Under 10’s prize – a pocket chess set. Julian would of course later go on to become British Champion.
Four times British Champion Julian Hodgson began his illustrious career at Hammersmith
Four times British Champion Julian Hodgson began his illustrious career at Hammersmith
  • Interestingly, around this time there seemed to be a great deal of correspondence chess going on at the club. Hammersmith had a team in division two of the British Correspondence Chess League in 1973-74. In this era of online chess and smartphones, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the British Correspondence Chess Association is still going strong!
  • Dominic Lawson was the opponent for a Hammersmith player in a 1974 game in the Thames Valley League. A famous family name – Dominic is the son of former Chancellor of the Exchequer Nigel Lawson, and brother of T.V. chef Nigella.
  • Later that year, IM Robert (Bob) Wade played a simultaneous at the club, ending with a Q&A on his chess experiences. Bob played numerous times for England and was well regarded as a coach and author. He even helped Bobby Fischer in his preparation for his 1972 match against Boris Spassky. Rather predictably, the first question he got asked: “What was it like playing Bobby Fischer?”
  • At some point around 1975 the club moved venue again, to Blythe Hall. This seems to have gone down very well with the members – much warmer than the church hall! Drunken Knights club get their first mention around this time too. Pleased to say they are still going strong as well!
  • Our chess book library commenced in 1975 too. The first title to be loaned out – “Yearbook of Chess 1969/70”. The library continued through the rest of the decade and up to 1984 when our final title went on loan – “100 Chess Gems”. Good times.
  • The 1980’s are short on detail in the archives, but we do have our first mention of Ken Hedger in 1983, as captain of our third team in the Hammersmith League. Ken is another regular on the London chess scene, and is still an active player today, some 30+ years later.
  • March 1996 the club finally received money through from it’s insurers for rain damage to our boards! The record isn’t entirely clear how this happened but it was very well received! Carsten Pedersen also gets a mention for the first time – Carsten is currently the strongest player at the club.
  • John Wooley took over captaincy of our Thames Valley team in 1998, successfully seeing the team through to promotion to Division 1. John is another stalwart of the club and still plays strong chess in the Thames Valley league today.
Sue pictured in 2013 by which time she had already achieved the WIM designation
Sue pictured in 2013, shortly before she achieved the WIM designation
  • 1999 sees the last entry of note in the archive, but it’s a good one! Our in-house tournament that year was won by Michael Bushill. More notable was the 3rd placed player – CJ De Mooi. You may have heard of CJ – a long-time fixture on the BBC quiz show Eggheads, he’s also appeared on Countdown, Fifteen to One, and numerous other shows, as well as having a successful modelling and acting career! His life is not without controversy too – have a read of his Wikipedia biog here.
  • The late 2000’s saw Sue Maroroa on the books of Hammersmith. Sue has had a distinguished chess career, including earning the title of Woman International Master, with a victory over GM Mark Hebden to her name. She was the strongest player at our club whilst a member.

As you can see, it’s been an interesting 54 years since the club first opened its doors. Times have certainly changed since then, but I wonder if the game itself has changed much in those years? Over the next few weeks we’ll be putting up some of the games from the archive newsletters so we can have a look to see for ourselves. See you soon!

Last Updated: Mar 10, 2017 @ 2:14 pm