I start with a disappointing announcement that El Chessico is being delayed and will not take place on the 4th December. Due to various factors, Aldo and I have taken the decision to postpone the match until the New Year. Christmas fortunately is not postponed.
It will still take part on a Wednesday night and I have submitted four suitable dates. I will keep you all posted.
However, I am delighted to announce that Hammer member, top man and a Grandmaster to boot – Keith Arkell – will be taking on 25 Hammer members in a simultaneous challenge on Monday the 9th of December at the Anvil, kicking off at 7pm.
This is a brilliant challenge and the first twenty-five people to register are in for a real treat. The evening will cost each participant £1.50… cash on the night.
What you need to do:
– Be a fully paid member of Hammersmith Chess Club for 2020
– Email Lord Clueless on firstname.lastname@example.org to confirm participation as soon as possible
This is a great event for the Yuletide season and brought to you by Hammer Chess Productions Inc.
Do you have what it takes to take on the full T Bone, served with french onions, cooked rare and with a rich Bearnaise sauce in full mortal chess combat? If the answer is yes then read on….
Thomas, full blown Hammer hero, French to the core, a man with a mere 201 ECF rating and one of the finest men alive is taking on all comers next Monday the 28th of October.
The place… The Anvil. The time… 6.15pm. The format is a mass simultaneous… first 20 bods who email Lord Clueless (email@example.com) will grab the places. Priority will be given to our Junior members.
Thomas has promised not to employ any French rugby forward tactics (topical).
This is your chance to put aside study and work worries, and relish the chance to put your wits against the most visually expressive chess player in the club. He is so French!!!
Get emailing ASAP… places are going fast – so be sharp.
Clueless on holiday and enjoying the delights of Malta… but will be checking his email.
As all our members know, both the new and old, the greatest rivalry our club has is with Battersea Chess Club – affectionally or disrespectfully know as the “Noisy Neighbours”. In the past three years we have held three challenge matches – Hammersmith has emerged victorious on each occasion. This has given us severe bragging rights as well as the edge in the many social media exchanges.
There is no love lost at the chess board but there is always great camaraderie afterwards. Last year the match took place over thirty boards – check the report. Thanks to the Hammer Junior shock troops the result was never in doubt.
So, to this year’s encounter.
This will be an ECF rated encounter with a time control exactly the same as the Summer League- one hour to start with and 30 second increments a move.
Basically the competition is on to see who can get the most players committed to the actual match to start with. So, Hammers I need you to commit ASAP to this match at Battersea’s venue starting at 7.15pm on the 4th December – a Wednesday.
The chess season is well and truly underway! We have three reports for you, courtesy of PR Officer John White.
Round One of the Hammer Blitz Tourney Cycle
Yes the opening round of our blitz cycle took place this past Monday at the Anvil. This is one of the most awaited events of the club year where even the most lowly chess devotee can take down one of the big names.
Defending champion Chairman Wily was there to see off the competition and retain his title. But the competition would be stiff with T-Bone, The Surgeon and a host of junior talent to face.
Seven rounds of no quarter given blitz would answer all questions.
Hammer also played host to two visitors from Lubeck Chess Club…Andrea and her son Fabian.
As usual Secretary Pickle was in charge and did a superb job with the pairings.
Your reporter Lord Clueless was reduced to the role of casual observer.
Without fanfare here are the results with some notable performances amongst them.
What the final table demonstrates is that reputation counts for nothing in this format.
Round One say new Hammer Laurie (aka Supermac) take down Wily…an excellent performance.
Round Two saw the Clash of the tourney between the T-Bone and The Surgeon. I reckon they played a 120 plus moves each in 10 mins. This equates to the clock being hit every two seconds.
The Surgeon had a won game but the sheer will-power of T-Bone saw him triumph on time. A phenomenal game.
Outstanding overall performance of the evening must go to Conall who scored 5/7 for a superb third-place tie.
Indeed all the juniors Amaya, Zain, Cian and Taymour scoring well. Hammer’s future is in very safe hands.
So Round One is done and dusted with the pride of Marianne T-Bone winning by a clear point and taking an early lead in this year’s tourney. A real dominant performance.
To all other Hammers remember it is your best three scores that count out of the five cycles. So even if you have missed this opening night you have four more attempts to register results.
Just remember you have to be in it to win it!!!
Hammer’s Night at the Club Oscars
Yes the most important chess award ceremony of the year preceded the opening round of the Hammer Blitz Tourney.
Hosted by our own Chairman Wily this is the occasion where Hammer honours, publicly, it’s heroes and heroines.
It was a great occasion and once again demonstrated how youthful the club is becoming.
Long may it continue!!!
2018-2019 Players of the Season
Thames Valley 1 – Tony Niccoli
Thames Valley 2 – Matteo Bezzini
Middlesex 1 – Bajrush Kelmendi
Middlesex 2 – Paul Kennelly
Middlesex 3 – Liam Fleming
Middlesex 4 – Ben Rothwell
London League 1 – Chris Skulte
London League 2 – Nadhmi Auchi
London League 3 – Robin Lee
London League Major – Andrew Macleod
London League Minor – Taymour Auchi
Most Improved Player of the Season – Taymour Auchi
Hammer Overall Player of the Season – Jim Stevenson
Winners in the Hammersmith Rapid Play Tournament
Open Section – Tony Niccoli 6/7
Rooks Section – Nadhmi Auchi 4.5/7
Bishop Section – Kostis Nikolis 4.5/7
Knight Section – Ken Kwabiah 4/7
Chairman Wily also had the pleasure to confer book prizes to all our juniors who have made an outstanding contribution to our Club and represented their country – Amaya MacDonald, Alex Royce, Zain Patel, Cian Ward, Conall McBrinn
A really great ceremony and all our winners are to be roundly congratulated.
Hammer 2 kicks off in Middlesex 2
Yes the Hammer boys were at it again in 2019. Our opening fixture at the Anvil was against Albany -tough opposition at anytime.
Captain Jonathan put the team together but could not be there due to work commitments so asked Lord Clueless to take charge.
Fortunately, despite many Hammers not being able to play he picked a team of fighting gauchos.
New Hammers Laurie and Will were given their debuts and a nice mixture of youth and experience made up the rest of the team.
Due to a slight mix up Brian “The Hat” was a no show but luckily Christof by the miracle of modern transport was able to deputise (he flew in from Munich!!)
Lord Clueless had the cunning plan of playing Christof on board 2 instead of himself.
Then Chairman Wily asked if he could have Christof for their tough opener against Richmond in the TV. Clueless graciously conceded and the match got underway, with Clueless a late substitute on board 4.
Keep up with me please..
The Hammer team lined up as follows and in the time honoured tradition the assignment of nicknames is also accorded. Lord Clueless thanks to his recent elevation to the peerage bestows the following
Laurie aka “Supermac”
Liam aka ” An fear ciúin”
Pavel aka “Spock”
John aka “Lord Clueless”
Eddy aka ” Edgy”
Benjamin aka ” Soie”
David aka “Toffee”
Will aka ” Banksy”
I also designate the following nickname to Christof…”Der Vater”.
Yes I have used Irish, French and German nicknames to emphasise the diversity of our amazing club.
To the match… outgraded on average by 29 points a board Hammer faced an uphill struggle. Luckily we are built of stern stuff and we were determined to punch above our weight.
The first game to finish was Spock where showing real “enterprise” he sacked a piece for two pawns plus preventing the black king castling. This was great tactical chess with his opponent one step away from disaster all the time. In the end the Albany man defended accurately and was relieved to take the draw.
Edgy on board 5 also drew but held the initiative throughout a full-blooded contest. He reckoned he missed a win..but by any reckoning a superb result as he was outgraded by nearly 40 points. Hammer at 1-1.
Supermac had a tense struggle… playing white, in an endgame two pawns down, with a rook and opposite coloured bishops. Laurie showed the fighting spirit inherent in all Hammers. He manoeuvred his passed pawn to a6 where it tied down his opponents bishop and then used his king and rook aggressively to prevent any progress from his opponent. A truly brilliant rearguard action. Hammer tied at 1.5-1.5.
Soie on board 6 making his debut unfortunately lost… I did not see the game but he is a most welcome addition to the Hammer ranks. Better luck next time. Hammer trailing…
Next to finish was Lord Clueless playing black in a Bb5 Sicilian. These lines though can be quite dull with white having an edge but in reality hoping for a black mis-step. If you want to see a masterpiece in this line check out the classic Ivanchuk-Kasparov encounter from Linares 1991.
Clueless played a quiet opening, definitely the influence from my 4NCL experience last year, plus following a touch of Speelman wisdom… wait for your opponent to make a mistake… they will.
Hammer at 2.5-2.5… the fight was really on.
Next up was Toffee on board seven against a familiar opponent… Howard from Battersea… but playing for Albany in the Middlesex.
As always Toffee went down fighting. Despite a knight for a rook exchange down he made Howard fight for the win.
Hammer down 2.5-3.5.
All eyes turned to Banksy making his debut on board 8 against an experienced 149 opponent. This was great to watch with the Banksy snaffling an early exchange and then breaking through a wall of pawns across the board. This was the performance of the night and an outstanding win. Afterwards he was reflecting on how different OTB chess is to its online brother.
There is more artistry to come from Banksy… where will he strike next?
The last game to finish was Liam (The Quiet Man) playing an opponent who over the past three seasons when playing Hammer has lost to Clueless, beaten T-Bone and lost to Showbag. A real roller coaster of results.
Liam’s play in the last six months has come on leaps and bounds… he is a tough opponent to beat and plays really solid chess.
This was a really tense game with action all over the board. Liam strived to hold the line but in the end his opponents greater experience won through. This was a tough loss especially after the fight our man had put up. Really unlucky.
So a Hammer loss 3.5-4.5… the strange thing is it felt like a victory… with a lot of big guns returning I think Hammer are well set for Middlesex 2 this season.
Clueless delighted to be handing back to Captain Jonathan… the fight is on.
Hammersmith has strength in diversity, and we draw our members from well over 20 countries, reflecting the rich, multicultural city in which we’re based.
One of our new members, Christof, has not only brought some superb chess to our club, but also a love of diversity. He’s penned a wonderful homage to our multinational membership, in the form of an imagined consultation match vs. our near-neighbours, Battersea! Please enjoy…
John: Chaps, against Battersea, I’ll be your Captain by default, and we are all white in our first match. Wyatt: Next match we will be All Blacks. Charlie: Let’s be English and start with c4. Paul: No English please! What about d4 and Queen’s gambit?! Rubinder: Fine with d4, there are so many Indian variations. Ryszard: d4 is okay, we might get the Polish defence. Eddy: The common name for that line is Orang-Utan, and the politically correct name would then be the Malaysian/Indonesian defence. Ryszard: Let’s not argue and play 1.b4, then we have Polish for sure. Adam: Noooooooooo! Against Battersea it is e4!!! Chris: Breaking News: Adam and e4! Jim: All the most discerning players start with e4. John: Hear ye, the word which the Lord (Clueless) speaketh. e4 it is.
Hammersmith: 1. e4 Battersea: 1… e5
Sylvain & Thomas: They don’t like the French! Carsten: Nor the Scandinavian! Rauno: Nor Caro-Kann with the Finnish Variation. Ken: Nor the Hippo, the politically correct name being African Defence. We should petition for official recognition. Bajrush: What a pity, we will not see the Yugoslav attack.
Hammersmith: 2. Nf3 Battersea: 2… Nc6
Pavel: Too bad, I would have liked to play against the Russian. Jim: Now let’s play d4, Scotch!! Tommaso: No, bishop c4, Italian!! Javier: Take it easy amigos, vamos a la playa and go mainstream with Spanish.
Phil: the best Canadian player used to play that. Chris: Nd6 is better. Top-ranked Australian players use it. Phil: Agreed. Our Caruana prefers Nd6 as well.
After 20 more moves, the Berlin Wall is destroyed, Battersea overcome and Hammersmith wins the game.
Marios & Kostis: We got some divine help from the Greek goddess Caissa. Rhys: Caissa is not Greek! She is an invention by a Welshman. Nadim: By the way, did you know that the game made its way to Europe in the 7th century via Lebanon? Jon: And it did not end in Europe. Look at the new chess elite from China! John: Soz Hammers, have to be paternalistic now: has everyone paid their membership fees??
However, Hammersmith Chess Club does not stand still!
We could never be accused of resting on our laurels, and in that vein we are delighted to announce two titled players joining the roster this year, as we step up our preparations for life at the top table! Please join us in welcoming:
“I’m delighted to welcome two of England’s strongest young IMs into the Hammersmith fold, and look forward to having them on our London League team in our debut season in Division 1.
Peter and Tom both have a wealth of international experience which will give Hammer a real presence on our top boards.
Many thanks to our very own wheeler-dealer-extraordinaire, Chris ‘Showbag’ Skulte for his persuasive skills in bringing the two IMs on board following the successful collaboration of the Grantham Sharks and the Celtic Tigers in the recent Battersea Summer Chess League.”
First, a quick bit of history – when Hammersmith Chess Club was inaugurated in 1962, a thriving junior section was seen as key to the new club’s success. This was duly implemented and paid huge dividends – a certain 4-time British Champion GM Julian Hodgson began his chess journey at Hammersmith.
However, over time the initiative stalled, along with the club – and by the early 2010’s we would be fighting for our very survival.
Fast forward to 2015 – a new Committee was elected with a mandate to transform the club, and part of the vision was to reboot the Junior section. It has taken us four years, but we are now ready to launch for the next generation of Hammers!
At 6pm on Monday 30th September 2019, the opening night will kick-off! We have lots of ideas how to make this work, but also need Hammers to step forward and help with the sessions.
I have always adopted the philosophy that us, the current Hammer members, are merely the custodians of Hammersmith Chess Club – our primary role is to hand the club onto the next generation as a vibrant and forward-thinking organisation.
So, Hammers, do your duty and get involved – Hammersmith expects!
The first round of our season-long Blitz tourney starts on Monday 7th October. It’s the third year of the competition which, in a gripping finale last year, saw our Wily Chairman, Bajrush, take the honours yet again in a thriller of a final round!
Monday 7th also marks our prize-giving ceremony at Lytton Hall, celebrating the best performances of the last 12 months, including…
The opening fixture of the new season awaits us this coming week, as our new Central London League team takes on the mighty Streatham & Brixton.
Brace yourselves – there’s an awful lot of chess coming up over the next few weeks & months! With the exception of our three Middlesex teams, all fixtures have now been agreed and can be found on our calendar. Please familiarise yourselves with the dates & fixtures, check your calendars, and make space in your schedule!! – team captains will be in touch to confirm match lineups very shortly.
And remember – it’s up to you to let the captains know when you want to play.
If you don’t reply to their emails, you’re unlikely to make the team!
Central London Chess Congress – 1st to 3rd November
Imperial College will be hosting the Central London Chess Congress in early November. It’s a five-round tourney with open and grade-limited (140 ECF) sections, held over 3 days, with some serious cash prizes on offer.
Our return to Lytton Hall is nigh – 16th September – and the start of the 2019-20 chess league season follows shortly afterwards – an exciting nine months await. Fixtures will shortly be added to our Calendar.
This is going to be one of the most momentous seasons in the 57 years of Hammersmith Chess Club.
These are some of the highlights:
Thames Valley Division 1CHAMPIONS – defending our title
London League Division 1debutants – the first time in our history in this Division!
Two teams for the first time ever in the Central London League, including our first Junior team
We are fielding 12 teams across all competitions this year
New captains (see below), a new Club Captain (Ben Rothwell), and special events
El Chessico – against those noisy neighbours from South of the river!
Junior section starting at the beginning of October
And lots more to be announced…. watch this space
As your new Treasurer, it is incumbent on me to remind you of the following:
Please pay your membership fees by 30th September 2019 at the latest, otherwise our team captains will not be able to pick you.
Please pay your ECF membership by the same date, otherwise our team captains will not be able to pick you.
And, most of all, ENJOY your chess!
Membership rates are unchanged from last year, and can be found here.
Payments can be made as follows: Hammersmith Chess Club
Matteo – HCC Treasurer, aka “The Suit”
The HCC Captains Roster
With 12 teams to cater for, there have never been more opportunities to play chess at Hammersmith. Our ever-expanding appetite for the game means we’ve had to juggle our captains slightly this season, and can now announce the full lineup:
You’ll recognise most of the names, but in any case they will shortly be reaching out to all eligible members when fixtures are finalised, so keep an eye out for the emails.
It’s up to you guys to make sure you make yourselves available when the captains are arranging teams – if you don’t respond to their emails, they won’t know if you’re available, and so you won’t be picked. The early bird catches the worm!
Please join us in welcoming our new captains this year – and thanks to everyone for stepping-up and taking on the challenge!
A couple of months ago Andy, aka Spider, brought to my attention the activity of the resurrected Epsom Chess Club, under the dynamic leadership of Marcus and Ravi they were making all the moves in all the right directions. They were a club setting out to do things the right way.
An email conversation took place between Clueless and Marcus and a match was arranged with a home and away leg. Mortal combat under the guise of spreading new friendships and camaraderie, it was really about putting the upstart back in their place as far as Hammer was concerned. It would be over eight boards and the combined score of the two matches would determine the winner and bragging rights.
The Thames Valley Division 1 champs and LL 1st Division royalty against the minnows of the 4th Division of the Surrey League.
A classic David vs Goliath confrontation of 3rd round FA cup proportions (think Hereford vs Newcastle 1972) – check this video out the pitch, the tackles, the sideburns and the fan invasions…….truly football from another era.
Would Hammer falter like Fulham born Malcolm MacDonald and Newcastle United?
Read on to find out……..
The first leg took place at the home of the upstart – a superb pub in Epsom – the Rising Sun – on the 15th July.
The match was drawn 4-4 with the Epsom team putting in a superb performance despite the Hammer top boards consisting of Carsten, Jim and Christof – the rest of the team was no slouch either with Andy, Ben, Ken, Kostis and Clueless. No matter despite the best endeavours of the Hammer crew the Epsom team matched it.
Epsom are definitely a club that punches above their weight!!
The second leg was held on the 9th of August at Sambrooks Brewery – this time surely Hammer would triumph with ease – our territory – in a spiritual home from home.
The Hammer team saw the usual Hammer beer suspects in -Carsten, Chris S, Jim, Marios, Adam, Clueless, Charlie and Eddy – serious firepower – surely this line-up would deliver victory.
In the end it turned out to be a very tense match with all games decisive – and although Hammer won 5-3 it could have gone either way.
The scary thing was Hammer were beaten on all three top boards with various mishaps occurring.
Carsten had a beer moment and left a piece en-prise – he made a fight of it but in the end could not get the perpetual he was playing for. A tough loss.
Chris S just had one of those smelly positions that was basically devoid of counter play, and in the end, Marcus gradually ground him down. Sydney needed beer to ease the pain. Hammer at 0-2!!
Jim had a totally equal position indeed possibly with a slight edge – spurning a draw offer and playing for a win in true Loco style.
In a time scramble he ended up walking into a checkmate in the centre of the board – this was really hard on Jim and he was totally frustrated with himself. The scoreboard moved on 0-3.
Hammer hopes turned to Marios – a bit of Zeus inspiration was desperately needed. Like the God he is- he duly delivered – Hammer now at 1-3 – the fightback was on.
Adam playing his favourite London system snaffled a pawn but was left with his bishop and rook pinned by the opposition rook. He was totally passive with his opponent missing the chance to get his king to f3 and start gobbling up the Pickle pawns. Fortunately, Adam’s opponent did not play that and Adam freed himself of the pin and smoothly converted. Hammer fighting back at 2-3.
Clueless on board 5 had an adventurous game with his opponent trying to solve the development problems that afflicted his QB and QR – in the end he could not find the answer with Clueless sacking a pawn and penetrating with his rooks and knight. Picking up the exchange on the way. For once he played a controlled endgame and made it 3-3.
On boards 7 and 8 Charlie and Eddy duly delivered -as my game was a bit intense, I did not see how they got on – however they both delivered victory – basically saving Hammer blushes and winning us this encounter 5-3.
This was a great event and thoroughly enjoyed by all and safe to say the analysis carried on in the Asparagus.
I must thank Marcus and the Epsom team for two great nights of chess and wish them all the best in the new season. For any chess lover in that part of Surrey this is the club to join.
I must also thank Sam and the team at Sambrooks Brewery – to any beer connoisseur out there this is a must visit – they are just the best – plus the Junction is a damn fine-pint. Check them out – https://www.sambrooksbrewery.co.uk/
Hammer is now 4-0 in club match challenges – with Battersea (two Chessico encounters), Bury St Edmunds and Epsom met and beaten – who will dare to challenge us next?