The Visit of KOSK to Hammersmith Chess Club in September 2023

Hammers, we are delighted to announce the visit of royalty to our noble but humble chess club. The Royal Chess Club of Ostend will be visiting us from Friday the 8th of September to Sunday the 10th September. To take part in a weekend of chess and camaraderie that will live long in the memory.

Nearly 20 Hammers travelled to Ostend last December to play some great chess, make new friends and enjoy unbelievable hospitality. It was an unforgettable experience. It is now our turn to be hosts and we will be putting on some show.

We want as many Hammers to get involved as possible. These are some of the things that are being planned.

Friday Night – Welcome buffet and much beer followed by a blitz tournament – I will be asking as many Hammers as possible to take part and will be asking you to register for some true Euro blitz.

Saturday – Starting about 11am -Two long play games with a basic time of one hour possibly with an increment where each KOSK player (there are 12 of them) will play one white and one black game. There will be a lunch break However, we would like to offer more than 12 Hammers the chance to play in this section.

After the chess is over, we intend to take our friends for meal locally in Hammersmith to round off the evening. You are all most welcome. We just need an indication that you will be joining us so we can arrange the seating plan.

There are also other events that may or may not happen that weekend– please keep your eyes glued to the website and chat groups for Updates.

Hammers, remember it is your club – so get involved – and more details will follow how you can join the range of activities.

Chairman John (aka Lord Clueless)

End of 2022/23 League Season Update

Another Chess League Season went by and Hammersmith has participated with 17 teams across all the different leagues and divisions, which meant close to 1,000 competitive and rated games of chess for our members!

Our top team in the London League finished in clear second place, very close from taking the title from Wood Green this time – but the real highlight is how much fun everyone has when playing League chess as a team, it really is a great way of bringing the club together.

Over 50 of our members have played more than 1 game during the season, several of them being new joiners – the work of our Team Captains (and Club Secretary Adam Cranston) in encouraging them to join our teams has been excellent.

Many of our Captains have been new in their positions this year, including Club Captain Robin Sarfas, but they have all done an amazing job at finding players for their team’s matches, keeping an eye on the scores, and building a spirit of camaraderie across old and new members. We hope they have enjoyed the process and will stay for the next Season. Anyone else interested in becoming a Captain, please reach out to either Robin or Adam.

Below are our final standings for each team. This year we have also given out a Game of the Season Award, with commentary from GM Daniel King.

Hoping for an even more successful 2023/24 Season!

Hammersmith Chess Club


Zwischenzug! – Club Event with WIM Natasha Regan and NI Matt Ball

On Monday 10th of July starting at 7:30pm, to celebrate the release of their new Chessable Course, we have a special evening planned for members – read more below.

The zwischenzug, also known as an intermezzo, or an intermediate move, regularly catches out club players but gets little attention in books and courses.

Finding it can be the difference between good and great chess play.

It’s a tactic that was played successfully more than 30 times in the 2023 World Championship – helping Ding Liren to victory, and once you study it, it will pay you back over and over, allowing you to turn the tables on your opponents.

On Monday 10th July, WIM Natasha Regan and NI Matt Ball will visit Hammersmith chess club for an evening of zwischenzug puzzles and discussion followed by bughouse chess.

Natasha and Matt recently published the Chessable course “Zwischenzug! A comprehensive guide to intermediate moves”  in which they explore the patterns in chess positions that mean an intermezzo may be lurking. Join them live and get ready to outplay your opponents with deadly effect.

The evening will involve a talk, puzzles, and finish with a bughouse tournament where you can put some of the lessons from the evening into practice. See you at the MindSports Centre on the 10th!

Chris Skulte

The Chess River Valley Walk – 30th July 2023

The summer period in the chess calendar is a strange time of year – the British Championship takes centre whilst club league chess goes into sleep mode. In other words, chess kind of takes a holiday.

So, in holiday mode the Hammers will be taking on the challenge of the Chess River Valley walk – from Rickmansworth to Chesham. The Hammer Summer Chess Challenge Walk.

The walk will take approximately 4 hours and is a low to medium challenge with some amazing countryside on offer.

The chance to encounter some raw nature with likely appearances from red kites, grazing horses, and livestock and slightly bizarrely…… alpacas.

The river is chalk-based so at times the water is crystal clear- indeed if it a warm day at about halfway there is a chance to dip your bare feet in the river whilst sitting on a low-bridge.

The reward, if you commit to the walk, is not only great camaraderie but the lure of the Mad Squirrel Brewery.  All great physical exertion deserves the reward of a decent pint of beer. The Mad Squirrel delivers.

There is an option as well to have a curry afterwards or journey back into London for something to eat but let’s take it as it comes – by the way there is a Waitrose close to Rickmansworth station if you want to pick up a sandwich. Finally, some more detail can be found at this link:

So, come and join us -we will meet at midday at Rickmansworth tube station and take on the challenge of the Chess River Valley.

If you are interested drop me an email or whatsapp so I have an idea of the numbers.

Lord Clueless

Important Announcement – 2023 AGM

Dear Members, the club’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) is approaching – this year it will be held on Monday 3rd July at the Mindsports Centre. The observant among you will note that this is a month later than usual. This is due to the chess season being pushed back by a number of match postponements caused by tube strikes.

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

  • President – John White
  • Treasurer – Matteo Bezzini
  • Secretary – Adam Cranston
  • Club Captain – Robin Sarfas
  • Diversity Officer – Tom Rendle
  • Auditor – Nadim Osseiran
  • PR & Events Officer – Chris Skulte

We are sad to announce that Benji Portheault and Jim Stevenson have decided to step down from the Committee this year. As Webmaster for the last two years, Benji has spearheaded the development of our fantastic new logo. This now features prominently on all the Hammer stash we sell via our new merchandise store, again set up by Benji. As Junior Officer for a year, Jim has continued to grow the size of our junior club, leading a new subcommittee instrumental in providing a high level of coaching to juniors of varying abilities. The Committee is grateful for Benji and Jim’s contributions.

With this in mind, Gastón Franco plans to stand for election as Webmaster, and Tom Townsend plans to stand for Junior Officer.

The Committee proposes to make a few amendments to the club constitution as follows:

The Annual General Meeting
  • The AGM will take place on the first Monday in June, every year, when the club meets within 45 days after the 31st May each year.
  • The minutes of the previous AGM will be displayed by the Secretary on the information board 30 days before the AGM sent out by the Secretary with the information pack for the AGM.
  • The notification of the AGM will take place in a form of an announcement on the club website 45 30 days prior to the actual meeting.
  • Any member can propose a motion for consideration by the AGM provided he or she they have a seconder and has done this in writing to the Secretary 30 21 days before the AGM.
Committee Rules
  • Any member can stand for any position on the Committee but must have their nomination seconded by another member and give notice to the Secretary 30 21 days before the AGM.
Duties of The Officers of The Club – The Club Captain
  • Must be a team captain of a Hammersmith team in the London League, Central London League, Thames Valley League or Middlesex League

Any member who wishes to stand for a committee position, or to submit a motion for the meeting, should do so at least 30 days prior to 3rd July – that is, 4th June.

If you want to support any of the committee roles, we would love to hear from you too, as there is a lot of work to run the club and any time is valued.

Please contact Club Secretary Adam, to submit details:

Thank you for your continued support!

Strong finish for Hammersmith in London League Division 1

Hammersmith won a very exciting match against strong opposition, and we present you with some of the games, including analysis from our First team players.

As the League season is coming to an end, our last match for the First team in Division 1 was against none other than Cavendish Chess Club, a real powerhouse of the London chess community. We were sitting in second place (behind Wood Green, who had already secured the title), but since Cavendish had played fewer matches than us, they were one of the clubs with chances to catch us – the other one being Hackney. We were expecting them to bring their very best, so naturally we tried to do the same. The result was a thrilling match full of interesting games between the strongest players from both clubs!

We all gathered at Cavendish’s venue close to Russell Square, everyone was on time (yes, even Bajrush!) and ready for the big fight. Our Captain Jim Stevenson did not play, but he was present in support of the team and, as he had promised, he won the toss so we would get white on odd boards. Before the start of the games, we observed a minute of silence after hearing the tragic news of the passing of dear Hammer (and former board 1 for our club) WIM Sue Maroroa Jones earlier that day and our opponents respectfully joined us.

The games were entertaining from the start and Carsten drew first blood on board 6, not only defending against what looked like a scary kingside attack, but also setting up a devilish trap with precise calculation, which allowed him to win a piece when his opponent failed to see the danger. Carsten Pedersen’s thoughts on the game are below:

Cavendish hit back by winning on board 1, but Hammersmith took the lead again on board 8, with Bajrush ending his Div 1 season with an astonishing 6/6! Soon the score became 3-1 in our favour, with a win on board 7 full of tactics and hanging pieces. Comments by Gaston Franco:

Alex skilfully made a draw on board 3, in a game where it looked like one of his bishops might have been trapped at some point, but the rest of his pieces came to its rescue. We only needed one more win and we got it on board 4 with a positional masterpiece after his opponent got a weak pawn in the centre. Alistair Hill explains it below:

On board 6, Thomas was pressing with a strong initiative, but had given up some material and both players got in time trouble. As we all know, “T-Bone” is ruthless when it comes to blitz and spotted a nice tactic that ended the game immediately. The last game of the match was, as usual, played by Marco on board 2. His GM opponent sacrificed a pawn for initiative in the opening but black also had his chances and soon started playing for a win. Marco Gallana shares his ideas from a few instructive moments of the game:

Thus, the match ended with an impressive 6-2 win for our Firsts and the team went for a celebratory pint at a nearby pub, where we discussed the games and Jim may or may not have promised to stay as captain for one more season.

L to R: Marco, Gastón, Carsten, Alex, James, Ali. Photo Credit: Captain Jim Stevenson

The win helps us remain in second place, and pending some results from other clubs it could mean we are the best (real) chess club in all of London! After getting some rest over the summer, we’ll be ready to try to defeat Wood Green next year once and for all.

While we still have a few more games to go for other teams/leagues, personally I might have to give them a miss. Wishing everyone a great summer and see you back soon at the board!


Free Bridge Taster Session – 16th May

Now we share a home with other Mindsports, especially bridge players, a number of members and spouses / partners have mentioned they would really like to try bridge.

So we have organised something for you. We think it’s going to be really special.

You may not know it but fellow London Mindsports club, the YC bridge club, is the strongest in the land, and boasts umpteen national and international champions as members. Strangely enough, they look just like us!

We are truly delighted to be able to say that former English champion and renowned bridge teacher, David Parry, has agreed to run a special taster session for HCC members and friends and spouses / partners. We are also going to invite other London chess players and if you have someone you would like to bring along, please do so. This is one of those once in a lifetime opportunities. Don’t miss it!

This is for complete beginners. If you know what a playing card looks like then you’re halfway there, jokes David. But if you have played a little in the past and want to pop along, then please feel free to do so.

The taster will take place at the London MindSports Centre on Tuesday 16 May 2023.

It will be a 90-minute session followed by blitz chess for those who want it, and general drinks and socialising in the bar for those who don’t.

And it’s all free! Well, apart from your drinks.

  • 7.15pm Arrive
  • 7.30pm Prompt Start
  • 9.00pm End
  • 9.15pm Blitz Chess and Gossip

The taster is just that, a taster. David will be following up with a full Saturday Bridge for Beginners session later.

We can only accommodate as many people as will fit in the room, so if you want to come, please, please do sign up asap. Entry is strictly on a first come, first served basis, but as HCC members you have 24 hours to register before we open it up to all of London.

To register, just fill out this very short form:

We will confirm places in due course, and look forward to seeing you there! 🙂

Chris Skulte

Hammer supporting chess in the community

In October 2019, Hammersmith (along with our arch-rivals Battersea), combined forces to head into Wandsworth Prison for a day of training and rapid matches which turned out to be an amazing experience for those both inside and outside of the prison. (Link attached below)

The Big House Chess Match

We have been contacted once again (by Peter Sullivan) to support some initiatives within some of London’s prisons (Pentonville and Wormwood Scrubs). It would be great if someone was keen on providing regular support (to backup an existing team), but I am also putting together a list of people that may be interested for ‘one-off’ events at these locations too.

Ultimately, everyone who has participated before has said the experience has been extremely rewarding. Please note that this is open to both men & women.


  • We are looking for volunteers to help out with chess sessions at Wormwood Scrubs and Pentonville prisons.
  • We run weekly, two hour sessions during the week and we are looking for a team of three or four to cover them.
  • The men really appreciate the opportunity to play and some improve rapidly.
  • Peter Sullivan runs a chess club at Wandsworth and it is one of the most challenging and rewarding things he has ever done.
  • Prisons in the UK enter teams in the World Internet Prisons Chess Championships in which the players have the opportunities to compete against prisons in countries like Argentina, Zimbabwe, India, Iran and the US.

Anyone thinking of volunteering will undoubtedly have a whole host of questions. We will setup a session to learn more for those that are interested.

If you are interested in any of the above, please fill out the form below and we will be in contact with more details:

Thanks all for considering taking a moment to really provide support to a positive initiative.

Chris Skulte

County Chess: Middlesex Seniors (18+) vs Middlesex Juniors (u18) – 6th May 2023

Hammersmith is an affiliated club of Middlesex County Chess Team, with many of our players playing for the various rating divisions to fight it out for the number one county in the country. See more about Middlesex here:

To commemorate the King’s Coronation and celebrate Middlesex Chess, they are organising a Seniors vs Juniors match.

If you would like to play (or are interested in learning more to play for the county), please contact with Anthony, or Keith on the details below. (with an extra shout-out for 1600+ juniors to get involved)

Mid-Season Update on the Hammer Internal Tournaments (2022/23)

Time is running so fast and February 2023 is almost over. League chess season is at its peak now and many hammers are defending our club colours week-in week-out and achieving very good results. Meanwhile, the club continues to offer its members year-long opportunities to play ECF-graded internal tournaments.

As a reminder, this year we have three different handicap year-long cups:

  • The Sledgehammer Cup for Standard Play
  • The Rockhammer Cup for Rapid Play
  • The Hammersmith Handicap Blitz Cup

The current interim mid-season standings are as follows:

  • Sledgehammer Cup: Charlie Rigby first, Peter Rose second
  • The Rockhammer Cup: Ljubomir Koncar first, Andreas Antoniades second
  • The Hammersmith Handicap Blitz Cup: Bajrush Kelmendi first, Harry Bryant Second

Those tournaments are open to all playing levels, and are based on a handicap framework so every player has very good chances to score. They are meant to be as flexible as possible and members are encouraged to contact other club members and organise their own OTB games for standard chess and rapidplay. This will encourage members to meet each other and play serious rated games at the time and place of their convenience, particularly during Monday club nights. With more than 200 players in the club, you could play a very large number of rated games during the year both in standard and rapidplay. We have a specially dedicated Whatsapp group for those tournaments where we publish the results and standings regularly and you are encouraged to come forward on this channel to contact other players and organise your games.

Additionally, the club secretariat will continue organising Sledgehammer, Rockhammer and Blitz special club nights, and in those special events participants will be paired for several games during the night.

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

Please note that

  • This year those tournaments will be OTB only.
  • All OTB games are ECF-graded (except for Blitz), online games will not count towards the tournament.
  • Players must be ECF-registered 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 with the rest of the 2022/23 Hammer Tournaments Season!

The Internal Tournaments Team