Sue Maroroa vs. Hammersmith!

As regular readers will know, Hammersmith Chess Club had the enormous pleasure of taking on Women’s International Master Sue Maroroa in a Simultaneous display across 14 boards on Monday 25th July.

It was a sultry evening in the Big Smoke and the atmosphere in the upstairs function room of The Albion pub was no different. What little ventilation was on offer didn’t really help, as we just about managed to squeeze in enough boards to accommodate everyone!

Former Hammersmith player Sue had generously agreed to play us this Summer and it was an enthusiastic crowd that turned up, ranging from our old timers, recent new members, and the odd potential signing. Sue had hoped that the evening would be “quick and painless”. Whilst we could ensure an evening free of physical torment, with 14 boards it looked anything but rapid!

Play commenced shortly after 7.30 and it quickly became evident that Sue would have a fight on her hands – not only was Hammersmith fielding a former Punjab Chess Champion in Amit Sharma, amongst other strong opposition, but the setup of the pub meant a long walk down to the far end of the bar with every circuit Sue completed – Hardly ideal given the heat & humidity!

It was a loooong way to get round all the boards

First blood went to Sue however, with a brisk ten-move victory over Shaun (someone had to be first!). Your correspondent followed soon after, conceding after 26 moves. Sue gradually clocked up the victories and whilst the war was clearly being won by the WIM, there remained a number of intriguing skirmishes that would end with victory for Hammersmith.

Amit eventually ended up victorious from a deep strategic game that had Sue thinking hard all evening.

The ice-man… Amit. The coolest thing in the pub that night

John Wooley went two pawns up in a commanding position leaving Sue with little option but to concede.

Jay Hinolan wound up with doubled pawns in a tight endgame, but somehow managed to get one to an imminent Queening position, forcing Sue to resign.

Jay looking very happy with his position

Chris Moore sealed a draw by taking out Sue’s last pawns. He came agonisingly close to forcing the game but there just wasn’t enough material to get his last pawn to a Queening square. Bad luck!

Chris looked under the cosh early doors but ended with a brilliant draw

Club Secretary Mike Mackenzie managed to hold on with even material throughout a long game which looked to be heading for a draw, however Sue was able to push forward and claim victory.

The evening finished with Sue notching up 10 wins, 1 drawn game, and conceding 3. Congratulations go to those players who obtained a result – some terrific chess was played. Thanks also to everyone who turned out for the event, it was great to see so many faces.

Special thanks to Sue for donating her time and energy on a very warm evening in the capital – Hammersmith Chess Club salutes you, and we hope it wasn’t too painful!

For more photos of the evening please check out our Facebook Album, and don’t forget to check out Battersea Chess Club’s website if you would like to play in the Simul they are organising against Simon William, aka the Ginger GM!

The Ginger GM

Following the success of our Simultaneous game against WIM Sue Maroroa, and hot on the heels of a successful double header across 27 boards, our good friends at Battersea Chess Club have very kindly extended us an invite to a 30 board Simultaneous they will be hosting against GM Simon Williams (aka “The Ginger GM“).

The Simul will take place on the evening of Tuesday 6th September at Battersea’s home venue, with an entry fee of £15. Spaces are limited – if you’d like to reserve a spot please drop an email to their organiser, Aldo:

Come, come, Mr Bond, you enjoy a glass of Chardonnay just as much as I

Simon is an English GrandMaster (peak rating of 2550), an accomplished author with several titles to his name, a respected commentator, and has a significant online presence with his own highly successful YouTube channel and website, providing training and insight into his games.

El Chessico – The Result!

Tuesday evening saw the second and deciding leg of our Summer double-header against Battersea Chess Club, dubbed “El Chessico” by those in the know. We had the pleasure of visiting their home venue – Battersea Labour Club – and what a venue it is!

A lovely centre near Clapham Junction with ample room, audio visuals, and pints from £2.35!! Mike Mackenzie was overheard describing it as “a hell of a drum”. Our hosts were equally hospitable – I’m planning my return trip as we speak!

The Battersea Labour Club – rumoured to serve the cheapest pints in SW London

Down to business though – the 15-board return leg was fabulously well organised – credit to Aldo & the Battersea folks for the arrangements. It was an even match up across all boards and the game played out accordingly, with a handful of games going right down to the wire.

It could easily have gone either way, but by the end of the evening the teams couldn’t be separated and the match ended drawn at 7.5-7.5, handing Hammersmith a win over the two legs, 1.5-0.5.

A full house – 15 boards of chess!
Simon Cowell turned up with a glass of Pinot Grigio

A few of the Hammersmith results deserve a shout out – firstly to Paolo for winning on his competitive debut for the club; Jorge also picked up another win in his second outing for us; Chris continued his excellent form with yet another result!; Carsten secured a tasty victory with a 10 move forced combination, and Jeremy secured a hard-fought win after a hair-raising struggle in the middle game (described as “a humdinger of a game”!). John, Pavel and Paul all with creditable draws in the mix too.


Thanks again to our hosts and opponents, and to everyone who turned out over the two legs (27 boards in total – quite a feat!). Well done to Hammersmith for the narrow victory, and here’s to making this an annual fixture!!

Battersea’s match report can be found here.


July 2016 ECF Grades – Now Out

The bi-annual grading update from the ECF has taken place, and new grades for all registered players can be found here:

Topping the charts for Hammersmith are the following five players, all of whom added at least 9 points to their respective grades:

  • Chris M (+21) !!
  • Brian D (+12)
  • Robin L (+10)
  • John R (+10)
  • Gokhan K (+9)

Fantastic news & well done to all – keep up the great work!


And don’t forget the following two events happenings this week:

Monday 25th – Simultaneous vs Sue Maroroa
Tuesday 26th – 15 board games vs Battersea

See you there!

El Chessico – First Leg to Hammersmith!

In one of the most highly-anticipated games of chess since June, the Titans of Hammersmith Chess Club took on the relative Royalty of London chess, Battersea Chess Club in the first leg of a double header modestly dubbed “El Chessico” (a pop culture reference to an obscure game of football somewhere in Spain) last night. Your correspondent is proud to report that Hammersmith achieved victory in an-evenly matched game, by 7 boards to 5.

This being the home leg we were delighted to welcome Battersea to our Summer venue, the Albion Pub on Hammersmith Road.

There were some notable performances from both sides. Worth calling out are the following:

Paul Westenhanner achieving a creditable draw on top board against Carsten; John Wooley drawing on board 5 against a much stronger opponent; Jorge Hinolan with a terrific win on his Hammersmith debut; and Danny Gordon also securing victory on his debut for the club. Fantastic effort chaps, and thanks to everyone who turned out.

Attention now turns to the return leg next Tuesday 26th where, due to popular demand, we have agreed to widen the game to 14 boards!! It will be a fantastic sight watching 28 players engaged in battle across the board.

As Battersea are hosting we will have the added difficulty of going “saaf” of the river, however I’m confident we can dig deep and overcome this disadvantage! We go again!!

A reminder – Monday 25th sees us hosting WIM Sue Maroroa at the Albion for a simultaneous display. If you’ve not done so already, please get in touch to confirm your attendance. It’ll be a great opportunity to play against a top class opponent!

Summer Chess Events!

As you settle in to your Summer and the last league games become a distant memory, fear not! We have organised some competitive games and events over the next few weeks to help keep your wood-pushing withdrawal symptoms at bay.

Not only will it be an opportunity to flex your chess skills, they also promise to be very sociable and enjoyable events. A reminder of what we have planned so far:

Monday 18th July: Hammersmith vs Battersea
The first of two games in what’s been dubbed the West London El-Chessico, sees Hammersmith take on Battersea over 12 boards in an ECF rated game at the Albion. Battersea are a great club with a rich history and some very good players. Should be a competitive & enjoyable evening!



Monday 25th July: Sue Maroroa Simultaneous
Women’s International Master and former Hammersmith player Sue Maroroa takes on Hammersmith Chess Club in a 20-board Simultaneous at the Albion. Sue ranks in the top 10 female chess players in the UK so this is a fantastic opportunity to get some game time against a top class opponent. Members and Non-Members are welcome so get in touch if you would like to play.


Tuesday 26th July: Battersea vs Hammersmith
The return leg of El-Chessico sees us head down to darkest SW London to play Battersea on their Home Turf at the Battersea Labour Club (very close to Clapham Junction). Who will win bragging rights??


If you’d like to participate in any of the three events please get in touch via your team captain or email us! Alternatively you can swing by on a club night and speak to one of the team – full details here.

Change of Date: Simul vs Sue Maroroa

All – please note that due to other commitments we have had to change the date of our Simultaneous game against WIM Sue Maroroa.

The event will now take place on Monday July 25th. All other details remain the same – save the date!!

  • Monday 25th July, 7.30pm
  • Albion Pub, Hammersmith Road
  • Contribution – Members: £1, Non-members: £2


It has so far proven very popular, so please let us know if you would to play.

We’re also looking for players for our two upcoming games against Battersea Chess Club. Get in touch with us or your team Captain if you’d like to play in either event.



Hammersmith vs Battersea

Save the dates!! We have agreed to hold a 12-board double-header against Battersea Chess Club in July, with one game at our Summer venue in The Albion on Monday 18th, followed by a game at Battersea’s home venue on Tuesday 26th. It’s a great opportunity to get a chess fix during the close season, and should be a competitive pair of games against London’s oldest chess club.


The games will be ECF graded and we’ll be playing London League (Quick Play) rules on all boards – so no adjournments. A great opportunity for all members, including those new to competitive chess. We have asked Battersea to put out an even spread of graded players so that we can have some relatively even match ups.

It’s an open invite and free to all members – if you’re interested in playing please leave a message below, drop us an email, or contact your team captain. Promises to be a great pair of evenings with some competitive chess which we’re really looking forward to!

Dates: Monday 18th July, Tuesday 26th July
Venues: Albion Pub, Battersea Chess Club
Details: London League Quick Play Rules, 12 Boards, ECF rated

Ken Hedger, 1934-2016

It was with great sadness that we learned of the death of Hammersmith player Ken Hedger last week. Ken had been at Hammersmith for a number of years and was a regular at Club Nights and in London League games. Our club Secretary and friend of Ken’s, Mike Mackenzie, has written a short tribute:

Ken, one of Hammersmith Chess Club’s great characters, passed away Sunday 12th June 2016.

Reflecting on his time at Hammersmith – he was unique, a snazzy dresser, he never once concerned himself with grades; he would play anyone, anywhere, on any board, and with his idiosyncratic style managed to fool even the best of players.

He would turn up armed with a completely new opening not found in any chess manual. It didn’t always work, but on occasions he would pull a rabbit from the hat.

He was a more than active chess player before he joined Hammersmith, captaining and serving on the Committees of other clubs. He was a familiar, well known face with all opposing teams.

I travelled many times with Ken and enjoyed his company immensely. His three loves were chess, cigarettes, and coffee.

He will be truly missed by all members old & new, by opponents, and by friends.

God bless you Ken.

Your friend, Mike Mackenzie.

Simultaneous vs. WIM Sue Maroroa

As Summer approaches and the Chess Leagues take a well-deserved break,  we are lining up some exciting events of competitive and fun chess to keep our collective fingers on the chess pulse!

Sue pictured in 2013 by which time she had already achieved the WIM designation
Sue pictured in 2013 by which time she had already achieved the WIM designation

The first Event we are pleased to confirm is a Simultaneous display against Women’s International Master Sue Maroroa.

Sue is a former Hammersmith Player, and with an ECF rating of 213 currently ranks in the top 10 female players in England. She is a former New Zealand Chess Champion, has played at several Olympiads, achieving the WIM title in 2009 and later achieving International Master norms in 2014. Definitely a force to be reckoned with!

The event will be held at the Albion on Monday 11th July, starting between 7.30 and 8pm. We have space for 20 boards on a first-come first-served basis – if you’d like to reserve a spot please get in touch or leave a message below.

  • Monday 11th July, 7.30pm
  • Albion Pub, Hammersmith Road
  • Contribution – Members: £1, Non-members: £2

We are also working on a few more events this Summer – a small taster below:

  • Club vs Club challenges – we’re currently in touch with some other London clubs about arranging a Club v Club game across 8 or more boards. A great chance for some competitive chess, particularly for our newer players.
  • 30 Minute Club Tournament – an internal tournament that will run throughout the Summer, involving several games for all players involved.
  • 10 Min Blitz Tournament – similar to other blitz-tournaments we have run this year, we’ll have an evening of blitz chess for all-comers.
  • Chess Pub Crawls – we’re lucky that the club is based in a part of London blessed with very good pubs! So why not combine the two in the form of a chess pub crawl! We’ll see how your Benoni looks after a few pints!
  • Chess Charity Day in Association with MIND – we are organising some open air chess in Lyric Square, Hammersmith, on September 10th as part of a MIND-charity day. A great cause and should be a fun day playing games against the public in the open air! Hopefully the weather is good to us.