Rock the Citadines

10.10.18 – London Division 4: Hammersmith 2 v Lewisham

Hammersmith Deux’s second match in London Division 4 pitched us against Lewisham, an opportunity to try and score a repeat of our most impressive performance from last season as we took down the big dogs from Sarf-East London.

Once again, they wheeled out their big hitters and it’s to our credit that we find ourselves TIED at 3.5-3.5, with Bens match adjourned for another night. When you consider we were outgraded on every board, it’s impressive that we’re still in the mix and could get something from the match yet. Full match card below:

A really tough match. I have to admit being a little surprised by the strength of their team, not least by how far down the board-order they were able to keep churning out 150+ players! I fancy they’ll be in the mix at the top of the table at the end of the season.

Full credit to our 1-2-3 of Paul, Sheikh and Nadhmi who secured solid draws against their higher-graded opponents. Particularly well done to Paul who kept things together following some general silliness that crept over from another match entirely!

John managed to hold his nerve, seemingly coping with The Clash occurring in his peripheral vision, and ran out the clear winner following a blunder at a crucial moment. The match was technically adjourned but the resignation came shortly before they were forced to reconvene.

It was difficult to keep track of some of the games, but I’ve tracked down a couple of PGNs to keep you entertained.

Brian succumbed to a powerful Queen-side pawn push following an early 2.f4 in the Sicilian. Nastly little attack, and The Hat looked doomed when the Rooks paired up on the 7th:

Adam continues his strong start to the season with a great win, making light of the 15-point grading gap. Some analysis/notes included here from the man himself:

El Chessico – la segunda parte, 6th November

The gauntlet has been thrown down, and Hammer have answered.

Just over two years ago the noisy neighbours – Battersea Chess Club – challenged Hammer to a mass-board match. The first “El Chessico” match was on, and the ranks of Hammer were mustered.

Naturally, Hammer won the first match played in SW11 and drew the second in our Summer home, The Albion.

2016 – the game that launched the Summer League

One of the unintended consequences of this was the launch of the Summer League. It has also led to a healthy over-the-board and social media rivalry as well – and let’s not forget the friendship aspect (or should we?). So….

After much debate with Battersea and after receiving the full endorsement of your Hammer Committee, it has been decided to make this an annual event, with a serious trophy.

The unique aspect of this challenge match is that it’s literally club-against-club. It will be a match played over at least thirty boards at the home of Battersea. It will be mega, it will be awesome.. it will be EPIC!

The event is to be held on Tuesday 6th November 2018. This is the best chess club in West London, taking on the best club in South-West London (they don’t have much competition, admittedly).

Who will come out on top, not only securing the trophy, but most importantly at least 12 months of bragging rights.

No true Hammer can turn down the opportunity to put one over the noisy neighbours, surely??

If you’d like to take part in this unique event, please drop an email to John: john.white49@ntlworld.com

With over 70 members in the Hammer ranks, places will be limited. The closing date for expressing interest is the 25th October. It will be a ‘friendly’ match, but games will be rated.

Hammers arise, and assemble – the call to arms is made. The honour of Hammer is at stake!

John.

First Blood

No, we’re not talking about legendary lone warrior John Rambo – it is of course our opening fixture of the 2018/19 season. Read on for a plot almost as thrilling…

24.09.18 – Middlesex Division 3: Hammer 4 vs. Hammer 3

Sparks were set to fly in our opening match-up as Hammer were pitted against Hammer, in a no-holds barred grudge match to kick off another great season of chess.

Dipender’s Hammer 3 team (lead in his absence by the tactful Dave Lambert, while Dipender was sunning himself on a beach in Greece) were pitted against the Hammer 4 team captained by Wyatt in the third Middlesex League.

The 4th team was outgunned in every matchup and looking to take first blood straight away with a no-show on board 7, when Abakar bravely stepped up at the last minute to his first shootout for the club. Needless to say he was off guard and quickly thrown by one of the formidable Auchi trio, but he showed true Hammer spirit and will be a valuable asset in the future Hammer arsenal.

Being new to fatherhood clearly hasn’t hurt Simon’s game, with a strong performance against Shiraz on board 4, with some analysis from Simon below:

The only draw of the evening came on board 5 as old-hand Dave took on young-gun Kostis. In truth, it wasn’t a classic. Dave emerged from the opening with the slightest of edges but he couldn’t force any meaningful concessions, and the game fizzled out into a straight pawn vs. pawn endgame. A creditable result for Kostis who ended the match with the initiative on his debut.

On board 3 we saw a captain stand-off with Adam (Middlesex 2) coming head to head with Ben (London League 3), where after an exchange by Ben of two pieces for a Rook, Adam managed to come away with the win:

However, the upset of the night came from our very own recently-crowned most improved player, Andrew Macleod, who successfully turned giant-killer in taking down Brian. What a great result from the promising young talent!

After the dust settled and the night was over, the under dogs were unable to cause enough of an upset and the stronger Hammer 3 team came out victorious, with bragging rights to boot. With a rematch already scheduled for the end of November, Hammer 4 has time to regroup and rethink their strategy in order to prove themselves as formidable contenders for the top spot.

Coming up next week, another Hammer v Hammer grudge match beckons, with Ben’s London 3 team playing Dave’s London 2 squad. Stay tuned!

Puzzle of the Week #023

It’s been a couple of weeks, so here we go again!

Dipender takes the prize for last week’s puzzle, with his second bite at the cherry – well done Dipender!

Taken from a match in 1976, the finish was produced by 15yr old prodigy, Maia Chiburdanidze, on her way to becoming world champion.

To this week’s challenge then – Black to play and win. Answers in the comments:

2018-19 Fixtures are OUT!

With 11 teams to cater for this season, it has been no mean feat, but we have now finalised our fixtures for the coming season! You can check out all the details on our calendar: http://hammerchess.co.uk/calendar/

It all kicks off on September 24th at the home of chess (aka Lytton Hall), with our two teams in Middlesex Div 3 facing off. We then have a crazy busy October featuring 17 games!

This is followed by a steady flow of games in the run up to Christmas (don’t forget about the London Chess Classic in December!), and then back with a bang for 22 games in January, with the following three months also averaging 20 games a piece!

January 2019 – just the 22 games then…

Things slow down towards the Summer, with our current final (and 136th) fixture in early June. It is going to be a mad one!

Please ensure you familiarise yourself with our fixtures & the games you’re likely to be playing – our team Captains should have reached out to all of you to discuss which games you’d like to be involved in, and they’ll do their best to accommodate everyone when possible.

If you need to get in touch to ask a question or find out more info, you can find all details of our teams & captains (along with a link to their emails) here: http://hammerchess.co.uk/teams-captains/

Details of venues, addresses and match start times will be confirmed by captains ahead of each game. If you’re in any doubt, just drop them a line.

Amongst the fixture highlights this  year:

  • Newcomers Football RadarBBCA and Smartacus in London 5
  • Two new Hammer teams in the Middlesex League, meaning we will now play some home games at Lytton Hall on Tuesday evenings (we’ve reached capacity on Mondays!!)
  • New opponents East Ham (we’ve not played them in a while!) in London 2, and Maidenhead in the Middlesex League
  • We’ve also included the Celtic Tigers weekend fixtures on our calendar for the first time – a number of Hammer regulars are now playing for our sister team in the 4NCL

A final reminder – only players who have paid their membership, and are ECF-registered, are eligible to play league games for Hammersmith. If you want to get involved please ensure you have both of these sorted in time, else captains will be unable to pick you!

Get set… it’s going to be a great season!

Thomas Bonn 1-0 IM Gavin Wall

A Sunday evening treat for you all – Hammer’s own Thomas “T-Bone” Bonn, gives us his recent defeat of IM Gavin Wall in a Summer League game from the last round:

Definitely one of the results of the round.

The IM was playing for Battersea in the open division as we saw a heavyweight clash finish 2-2 , with no fewer than 5 players rated over ECF 200.

Full results and standings can be found on the Summer League website:

http://www.summerchessleague.org.uk

The competition continues with Round III taking place this coming Tuesday 24th July.

And Don’t Forget…

Top player Carsten Pedersen hosts a FREE training evening tomorrow night at the Albion – starting 7.30pm. Everybody’s welcome – spread the word!

It’s one of a series of Summer events we are running – the full roster follows:

The Fellowship of the Hammer – Corking in C-Orc-dor

[Official Warning – This report contains graphic passages on alcohol abuse and requires a knowledge of J.R.R. Tolkein’s masterpiece – The Lord of The Rings]

Yes, the official chess season was done and dusted and that could only mean one thing – the Hammer Crew were once again off on their foreign quest in search of beer, pubs, friendship, fun and a bit of chess. The Hammer 2018 tour party was primed and ready – the only question was where to go?

The chosen city of our munificence was the beautiful city of C-Orc-dor, set in the South West of the Emerald Isle in the ancient province of Munster. The prize was to destroy the legendary Ring of Cork and secure peace and friendship forever. A noble quest if there ever was one.

The chief protagonists in this cabal were Mark Watkins, aka Mark Gamgee, Chairman of C-Orc-dor Chess Club, and John White, aka Clueless Baggins, the Hammer emissary. A covert meeting was held on the 28th December 2017 in a dubious inn on the quayside in C-Orc-Dor. The two men quickly agreed dates and the format over a few beers and several casual games of chess. The deal was done and the challenge was on.

By plane, train, automobile and boat, the Hammer Fellowship arrived in Cork on Friday the 8th June. The Fellowship were given special codenames for this quest by Clueless – their familiar designations are also given below:

  • Chairman Bajrush – Wily – aka Aragorn
  • Ryzsard – Breslau – Eomer
  • Chris Skulte – Sydney – Gimli
  • Wyatt – Gandalf, and surprisingly… still Gandalf
  • Dipender – Mr Dipendable – Elrond
  • Shiraz – Vintage – Pippin
  • Chris Moore – RU Serious – Faramir
  • Mike – Mad Dog – Merry
  • Paul K – Dead Eye – Legolas [Ed – genius.. ]
  • Eva – Athena – Eowyn
  • John – Clueless – Clueless Baggins

This tale starts with a simple fact. The beautiful city of Cork is definitely not Mordor – it is simply stunning, with pubs, bars, restaurants and music galore. There is craic to be had everywhere and the people of this proud city are hugely welcoming and friendly.

The Fellowship assembled at the home of C-Orc-Dor Chess Club on the Friday after dumping their luggage at various places around the city. Clueless Baggins on behalf of the Fellowship presented a certificate to Mark Gamgee that declared everlasting friendship would be the goal, but we were there to win the Ring of Cork.

The C-Orc-Dor Chess venue is truly stunning with panoramic views of the River Lee and plenty of space to play. A genuine and relaxed atmosphere was established and all settled down to enjoy lots of bliss, chess and getting to know our new friends.

The leader of the Fellowship, Aragorn, was in great form and as the night wore on rallied the Hammer boys and urged them to great deeds in the two long-play matches scheduled for the following day.

As the night drew to a close the Fellowship dispersed with certain Hammers seeking alcoholic and musical entertainment. The inn that drew most of the attention went by the Gaelic name of Sin E (a very quaint quayside bar with a musical bent) – the raiding party consisted of Gimli, Aragorn, Eomer and Clueless and they were joined by Eowyn. A good few Stouts were consumed – as is well documented, alcohol can raise the courage levels. The music provided the perfect backdrop but travel fatigue took its toll and the Hammers hit the sack with a vengeance.

The following morning C-Orc-Dor greeted us with brilliant sunshine and the Fellowship gathered to take on the challenge of a morning long-play game. The fate of the contest would be decided over two ten-board contests – one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

The morning Hammer line-up in Board Order was:

Eomer, Gimli, Aragorn, Legolas, Clueless Baggins, Eowny, Faramir, Elrond, Pippin and Gandalf.

Before battle commenced, welcoming speeches and gifts were exchanged, and the Ring of Cork was revealed. Whether it would be a source of discord or harmony was to be determined…

My precious!!!

The games were played under time incremental conditions. In this tense morning session, the contest swung backwards and forwards, with both clubs at different stages holding the edge.

This was the tale of the morning session:

All the games were closely contested with a real, epic heavyweight contest on board One with Eomer (Ryszard) holding a slight edge – huge complications then ensued and the outcome of the contest hung in the balance. In a hard-fought game Eomer could not hold it down and went down in flames – a real battle of Helms Deep proportions.

The Hammer Fellowship heroes were Gandalf (Wyatt), Pippin (Shiraz), Paul (Legolas) and Aragorn (Bajrush) who all scored excellent wins. Whilst Baggins (Clueless), Elrond (Dipender) and Gimli (Chris S) stayed true and solid to the quest and drew. There were tough losses for Eowyn (Eva) and Faramir (Chris) – like the Lord of the Rings they were united in their bravery.

The Fellowship had sneaked a 5.5-4.5 win – a truce was called and both teams regrouped and took on board refreshments ready for the afternoon struggle.

If it was possible, the afternoon session was even more intensely fought with the fate of the Ring coming down to the last game to finish.

Ryszard (Eomer) was under severe pressure, facing multiple threats, but as time pressure came into play, kept his cool and started finding consistently strong moves that challenged his opponent. In a battle of nerves and skill he held out and gained a great revenge win.

Chris (Gimli) was in awesome form and when that is the case, a win usually ensues – he did not disappoint. Hammer at 2-0

The Fellowship heroes of the morning, Aragorn (Bajrush) and Legolas (Paul K) both suffered afternoon reverses with their opponents playing excellent forcing chess that merited two deserved wins. It was getting tense at two points apiece.

Clueless Baggins was involved in a real struggle having punted a Budapest gambit, and with forceful play had established a definite edge. As is common with Baggins, he has issues converting positional advantages into a win. Pushing hard for victory, he let his worthy opponent off the hook and went down in flames.

Both Faramir (Chris M) and Gandalf (Wyatt) scored excellent wins against stronger opponents. Indeed with his heroics this weekend Wyatt has emerged as Gandalf the White and definitely not Grey. A tremendous performance by both men.

Two more losses were suffered by Elrond (Dipender) and Merry (Mike) with both Fellowship heroes fighting to the last. Hammer down 5-4 and on the ropes.

All eyes turned to the final encounter which would decide the destiny of the Ring of Cork – a win for either Cork or Hammer in this game, and the Ring would stay intact and balance would not be found. A draw would see the Ring of Cork broken and divided.

All eyes turned to Pippin.

No pressure

In a great struggle Pippin (Shiraz) ended up in a  rook and pawn endgame that really went down to the last pawn. He had a winning line, that he failed to see in time pressure, and the game petered out to a draw.

Definitely no pressure at all…

This meant that the overall match was drawn and the Ring of Cork would be cleaved in two and its spell broken! Harmony and balance would triumph and both clubs would be forever bound in friendship.

In the end, Fellowship won and the great chess clubs of Cork and Hammer will always be bound by friendship, an appreciation of beer, and a mutual love of the noble game of chess.

With the serious business done and dusted both clubs ambled along to the Franciscan Well brewery, where with the burden of combat already a distant memory, beer, chat and chess endured long into the night. There is nothing like copious amounts of good beer and pizza to create a brilliant night.

Friendships were formed and will endure.

I have vague memories of leaving The Well at about 1am in the company of those ill-reputes: Bajrush, Chris S, Ryszard and Wyatt, in search of another bar. Cork City was still buzzing.

There was definitely more beer and shots consumed and somewhere around 3am Ryszard, Bajrush and I surrendered and sought our way back home. Wyatt and Chris went in search of more entertainment – I can only admire their capacity and stamina.

The following morning Chris S missed his flight – a definite case of the effects of over-indulgence, while the remnants of the Fellowship gathered for the last hurrah at the Cork Chess Club. A blitz tourney had been arranged as a parting gift – from a medical perspective one of the best antidotes to excessive beer consumption and hangovers!

In an excellent tourney, First Place was taken by Ryszard with the critical encounter against Bajrush proving a mesmerising battle. In the end Ryszard won and deservedly took first place.

We thanked our hosts – they had put on a brilliant chess and social weekend that will live long in the memory, and departed on the best of terms. Real kudos should go to Mark and the Cork Chess Committee.

This is where the tale should end, but some of the Fellowship decided to wander the streets of Cork City, take in a meal, consume the odd drink before, before heading for the airport and home.

Honour had been satisfied – we had also had the very best of weekends. There will be further adventures to come.

Here ends the tale of the Fellowship of Hammer.

Summer League – Round One

Making his Captaincy debut, Charlie takes us through his Team’s Round I Results from this week!

The Summer League Round I shone upon us on 26th June. With temperatures at highs of 28 degrees, there was a warm air of certainty around the Labour Club, and after such an inspirational weekend of drinking, frolics, quiz games, and lazy afternoons with the Espion Dutch Crowd, it was hard not to feel like you were on your Summer break! “A working holidayGM Keith Arkell responded to me, as he gleefully shook the hand of a wide-eyed and big-smiling 6 year old fan who offered him a game of chess.

What a week we have had! Thank you again John for driving on and pushing through a great weekend [writeup to follow next week!]. It has been an absolute pleasure to join Hammersmith Chess Club, and what an honour to be asked to lead the Hammer Heads into the abyss that is the Summer League 2018.

To the team then! I was lucky enough to have my first team selection made up of Brexit, Clueless, and “the Suit“, with myself making up the team on Board 4. I couldn’t have asked for an easier start to this captaincy business.

I didn’t get to see much of the game on Board 1, but attach the game below for you all to peruse. Jeremy was in a bad position early on against a really exciting line (IMO!) by Black. But through grit, determination and of course a bit of help, Jeremy pulled through and delivered the first win for the team.

1-0 up, and on to Board 2, where Clueless seemed lost! But then I realised he often pulls that face to lull his opponent into a false sense of security. So with a presented opportunity of a tactic (see move 13), John found a discovered attack which could have led to recapturing his lost pawn. Instead of recapturing the pawn (see move 14), John decided to push his pawn instead. Leading to more positional play the game looked decidedly drawish as they shook hands.

One and a half up, and it looked like this captaincy was pretty easy!

When I looked over to board 3 I got to see Matteo deliver a lovely check with his Queen that gave him a rook for free. His opponent smiled gracefully, “well played”, and they shook hands.

Although the early positional plays are unclear to me (my weak point, I know), the tactical finish was beautiful! Matteo gave me a win, smiled, and disappeared in the blink of the eye. Well played sir, and thank you for turning out.

Thank you to all of you for playing, and anyone else who is interested in playing some Summer League chess for the U150’s section please drop me an email: charliesturt2000@yahoo.co.uk, and I will try my best to fit you in.

Onto the last game. I would like to add that, due to all the distractions we have had of late, it was hard for me to put on my game face, but when Harry Morgan sat down opposite me all I needed to do was remember what we @Hammersmith Chess say via WhatsApp… “It’s Hammer Time!!

So I was in no mood to take the draw offered on move 39, but to be honest I was in a terrible position, so who knows what goes through my head sometimes!!

However, just like Jeremy I too voted “to leave” and although it seems to some that we may have put ourselves in a worse position (see move 41), maybe like Harry, Europe will also blunder (see move 43) and we will come out stronger for it.

Charlie.

If that’s not enough…

Continuing the excellent web-form of last season, the Summer League is again putting every game online each week for your perusal and enjoyment!

Summer Chess League – Launch Night – June 19th

Ladies & Gents, the Summer League is almost upon us!

It all kicks off next Tuesday evening from 7pm at Battersea’s home venue – The Battersea Labour Club, down on Falcon Road, a mere 5 minute stroll from Clapham Junction station.

Remember, the Summer League is a bit different from the usual staid and sometimes stuffy atmosphere of most league chess, and the launch night will be no different – it’s going to be a chess extravaganza! With fully 26 teams this year (yes, twenty-six – that’s not a typo!!), Summer Chess has gone London-wide, with entries from all over the city.

First up, GM Simon “The Ginger GM” Williams, will be providing one of his entertaining & equally insightful lectures for the audience. This will be followed by a blitz tournament, a Chess-themed quiz, and a series of puzzles.

It’s going to be massive!

Importantly – if you are planning on coming along, you need to ensure you complete the doodle below so that the Battersea folks can manage numbers & ensure everyone gets to take part. It takes all of 20 seconds to complete:

https://doodle.com/poll/in3dgm7zzgkzw7fb

Sign up to ensure you don’t miss out – it’s going to be a great evening!

And remember, the rest of the game nights are as follows – your captain should already have been in touch to check availability. If not, just drop us a line!

Stop the Press!! Hold the Front Page!!!

The Hammersmith Blitz Champion 2017-18

After the shortest AGM in Hammer history, the hammerites got down to the fun part of the evening – the final leg of our three-tourney-cycle to determine the Handicap Blitz Champion of the Club for the 2017-18 season.

Twenty-three of the best of our club entered this final round with the two blitz gurus of the club, Chairman Bajrush, and Carsten, vying for top dog status. They were #1 and #2 in the rankings after the first two rounds and surely one of them would emerge as the champion?

However, matters were not so simple, with 23 points up for grabs for first place in this final round.

Without further ado I can announce that the winner of the third-round of the Blitz Tourney with a perfect 8/8 was Tony Niccoli.

Not only that, but he also seized the overall title as well with this superhuman performance that propelled him into first place. A stunning score of 43.5 points.

In second place was new member Thomas, with a total of 42.5 points – another epic performance.

In third and fourth respectively were bookies favourites, Carsten and  Bajrush.

The best result of the night was Robin Lee, who finished joint 5th despite being ranked 15th – a really stellar performance.

A big vote of thanks must go to Adam who ran the tournament really well and used the software expertly to keep matters rolling along.

So, we have a new champion – yet another sign of all the changes happening in our vibrant club – roll on next season! The best is yet to come.

The tournament results in full: