Dispatches from the Battlefront – Middlesex Division 2 Sector

Unquestionably, in my mind, the greatest musical genius to come out of 8 Mile Detroit is one Marshall Mathers, aka Eminem – in 2002 he released the album “The Eminem Show”, his fourth studio album. One of the tracks was “Without Me” and in homage I start this report with a verse from that song with huge apologies to the great man.

“Guess who’s back, back again,
Clueless’s back, tell a friend”

Yes, Captain Clueless, former erstwhile and hapless commander of Starship Hammer 1 LL Division 3, has returned to leadership duties. He has been re-assigned to the Middlesex front and has taken control of Hammer 2 Division. Captain Pickle has taken over Hammer 3 but has handed over a superb, battle-hardened and focused squad. They not only achieved promotion last year, but won the Division, and have started with a victory in the first skirmish against the fearsome Metropolitan One.

Last night saw the second battle encounter – an away fixture at another tough nut – Albany 1. They have form – last year they inflicted only one of two defeats on the Hammer 1 LL team – they definitely know chess!!

As is traditional, each team member will be designated a nickname/codename for this season. To be honest, it is for life… The Hammer Heroes, in board order:

  1. Chris Skulte – aka “Sydney” or “Showbag
  2. Tommaso – aka “Forza
  3. Paul K – aka “Dead Eye
  4. Jeremy – aka “Brexit
  5. Sheikh – aka “Pandit
  6. John – aka “Clueless
  7. Nadhmi – aka “The Gift
  8. Izzy – new member and future star – “The Money” – why, you may ask? Basically, because he is a graduate of LSE and he is up there with Tommaso and Matteo in the sartorial elegance department. In other words, he is in the 1% of chess players who know how to dress.

Please note Clueless was a last-minute substitute for MatteoThe Suit“, as he had to call off.

To the games:

Board 1 saw Sydney taking on a tricky opponent. This player always turns up between 20 and 40 minutes late and then proceeds to confuse and outplay his opponent by moving at lightning speed. This was the fate that befell Thomas T-Bone last season and hence Clueless imparted this intel to Sydney. Did he listen – probably not. Despite having a very  heavy dose of man-flu, Sydney, after a slightly dubious opening, played a Harbour Bridge of a game – it was of the Grand Design variety. Hammer 1-0 up and here is the game for your enjoyment:

Board 2 the Forza playing white had a difficult night. His opponent kept the position closed and did not allow the open positions that our man thrives on. His opponent seized the control of the open b-file gradually and slowly built the pressure – it was tough and very methodical. Although the force is strong in Forza, there was little he could do. Albany had made it 1-1.

Board 3 now and Dead-Eye taking on a very technically correct opponent. The position ended up in a K and P ending with his opponent holding an extra pawn. Dead-Eye tried everything to prevent him from realising the advantage but ultimately had to give ground and the point as well. Hammer down 1-2.

Eyes turn as they do in these Brexit times to our own version of Brexit – our Jeremy – our Brexit is the superior version with ideas galore and a totally pragmatic approach. He does not need an attorney-general – he finds his own way. Playing an opponent graded 20-plus points higher, he took the game to his opponent. He found a way and scored a great win – he is 3-0 for the season and pushing his grade back up to where it belongs. Here is the game:

All-square at 2-2 and things were getting tense. So, using author’s license I am going to skip the encounters of Pandit and Clueless for the time being.

Board 7 saw The Gift in imperious form and a beautifully-played game – his chess is definitely maturing and developing rapidly. His was the first game to finish and out Hammer on the scoreboard. Hammer now 3-2 ahead and confidence was growing.

Middlesex debutante IzzyThe Money” was on the money in taking on a wily campaigner in the form of Steve Sonnis, a player whose 129 grade conceals a lot of chess knowledge and skill. The Money played like a seasoned veteran and was never in trouble and comfortably secured the draw. Hammer on the verge, 3.5-2.5 up.

Clueless then chipped in with a hard-fought draw, employing his usual tactic of getting his opponent out of his opening repertoire and forcing him to rely on his own resources. The game ended in a multiple minor-piece and pawn ending, with both sides going for the win. With time running out, a draw offer was made by my opponent and with less than two minutes on my clock, was quickly accepted. Hammer now at 4-3.

A half match-point guaranteed – could be the full point.

All eyes turned to Pandit, who had been on the back foot for most of the game, however a rash time-trouble move by his experienced opponent allowed him back in. In a flurry of moves and with both flags about to fall, his opponent forced a checkmate. Hammer had just missed out.

The match was drawn 4-4, a result Captain Clueless would have taken at the start of the night. A great performance from the team and yet another demonstration of the steely resolve that Hammer teams are displaying this 2018/19 season.

Clueless over and out, and roll on next Monday – I leave you with the current table:

And Finally…

Firmly in the Trevor McDonald tradition, here is a seriously entertaining game from Ryszard’s match against Kinds Head 1 in Division 1 of the Middlesex League… enjoy!

Good Times in Middlesex

As the World Championship concluded with a result, finally… we bring you some recent games  from Hammer members to enjoy.

First up, a gruelling game from Brian which swings up and down, ultimately ending in a fair draw:

This was from a game in Middlesex Division 3, against Ealing, on Tuesday night.

The match ended 4-4, with a comfortable win for Sheikh on top board, defeats for Chris and Dave, and draws in the rest of the team (and a default win for Hammer on 8).

Big congratulations go to Ville Karhunen, playing outstandingly in his debut for the club! We look forward to many more successful games!

And this marks Dipender’s final game in the captain’s seat, as he hands the reins over to Adam. The team are in great shape – unbeaten, and top of the table! Our thanks to Dipender for steering a smooth course for the good ship Hammer!

Our other featured game is from Ryzsard, in the Middlesex Division 1 match against Hendon. A very stylish win on top board, capping off a mauling of the opposition, 6.1-1.5…. enjoy:

Christmas in the Middlesex League

19.11.18 – Middlesex Division 2: Hammersmith 2 vs. Metropolitan

On Monday the season got underway for the second team in the Middlesex League. This year we’re competing in division 2, having been promoted from a very competitive division 3 last season.

Our first opponents at the Anvil were Metropolitan, an established club from the city with a number of strong players.

Paul and Matteo sat down on boards 2 and 4. They started the clocks and waited patiently for an opponent to show up. No-one came. 2-0 Hammer.

Yasser, playing his first Hammer game of the season on board 1, had the black pieces. He played a solid game with few mistakes by either player. They entered a closed endgame with a lot of manoeuvring from both sides. In the end a zugzwang caused Yasser to lose control and succumb to a loss. 2-1.

Sheikh on board 3 played an exciting tactical skirmish. With kings exposed and pieces hanging all over the place, spectators had absolutely no idea what was going on. In the end his opponent found some crafty back rank ideas, forcing resignation. 2-2.

Nadhmi with white sat down on board 5 with his usual confidence and focus. He went up an exchange for a pawn, but his opponent had all the initiative. Nadhmi chose exactly the right moment to give back the exchange and steered the game to a draw. 2.5-2.5.

Charlie’s opponent saw a greek gift that not even Zeus could have claimed. From here the win was fairly straightforward. 3.5-2.5

Our new junior Yazhou was playing white on board 8. He played an impressive game against a strong opponent. Most pieces were exchanged off and they entered an endgame with a  rook and five pawns each. Sadly for Yazhou, his opponent’s outside passed pawn gained him a couple of crucial tempi, as the white king was forced to the edge of the board. In the end black found a way to mop up the white pawns and queen one of his own. 3.5-3.5.

So it was down to Simon to determine the match result. He answered 1.d4 with …g6 and went from a Modern into a King’s Indian where white played an early e3 rather than e4. White played the opening a little un-ambitiously and Simon was nearly equal fairly early on. White pushed e4 and missed a tactic as nxe4 left a bishop on b2 en prise, going a pawn down. there was then a pawn clash on the queen side and Simon played a slight inaccuracy. White thought he had a tactic but Simon saw one move further which liquidated into a winning endgame. After a further blunder Simon was left with two passed connected pawns in the centre that were ready to roll. It was an instructive game, concerning control of the dark squares as well as tactical features. 4.5-3.5 Hammer.

Overall, a great start for the team, helped slightly by a couple of defaults. We have two more matches over the next three weeks, in which we’ll be looking to build our momentum and secure a strong league position going into Christmas.

Adam

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like… Christmas!

Don’t forget – the Hammer Chess Christmas Party takes place on Thursday December 6th, at Wahaca Charlotte Street, starting from 7pm!

Full details are available here, but in short, everyone is invited! It’s going to be a relaxed, fun evening amongst friends, and there may even be some chess boards!

If you’d like to come along please contact John to reserve your spot ASAP – john.white49@ntlworld.com

See you there!

 

El Chessico – Pt. II – Tuesday 6th November

Roll up, Roll up! The big day is almost upon us…

Forget about Christmas – El Chessico pt. II is the only thing people are talking about this month, and it all kicks off tomorrow evening.

Three years of rivalry, grudges, scores-to-be-settled, oh and some friendship in there too – we’re putting it all on the line tomorrow night across 30+ boards against those noisy neighbours in saaaarf London, Battersea Chess Club.

Full details below – please get in touch if you have any last minute queries. And we have a tentative board order too (subject to change!). It’s going to be EPIC:

  • Tuesday 6th November, 7.15pm sharp start
  • Battersea Labour Club, 81-83 Falcon Road, SW11 2PF
  • Clapham Junction is the nearest station
  • Time Control: 70 minutes, +10 second increment
  • All games rated
  • There is a huge trophy to be won!

Tentative Board Order:

And There’s More!

Battersea will also be hosting a special Blitz tournament, inspired by the WCC match in conjunction with Chessable, on Tuesday 20th November.

There will be cash prizes, and more than a couple of Hammers have already thrown their hats into the ring.

If you’re keen to take part, please get in touch with Battersea’s Aldo, who is helping organise: aldocamilleri@aol.com

Puzzle of the Week #024

Welcome back, and we’re straight down to business again.

Last week’s puzzle generated a load of interest- quite a thronker, it’s fair to say. But it’s big JimlocoStevenson who takes the plaudits this time, with the following sequence:

  1. …        Rf1+!
  2. Rxf1, Rxd1+
  3. Kxd1, Kxf1 – and the pawn ending is won for black, as he maintains the opposition.

The actual game (BernsteinDake, US Ch. 1936) went: Rxd1, Kxd1, Rxf5, gxf5, f6, Ke2… ending drawn.

On to this weeks puzzle – White to move, answers in the comments please:

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!

The Return to Lytton Hall

It’s been a fabulous Summer – amazing weather, a packed calendar of Summer League chess, plus our own Summer Programme (tip of the hat to Mr Cranston for organising such a feast of activities!), but all good things must come to an end.

As of this coming Monday 17th September, we say farewell to our Summer home at The Albion, and return to the familiar surroundings of Lytton Hall until next Summer.

Lytton Hall… aka The Anvil… aka Valhalla

But this being Hammer, we are marking the occasion with our Annual Awards ceremony and prize-giving. If you’ve not been before, it’s a rip-roaring evening of fun, celebrating the best of Hammer, aided with snacks and drinks, to mark the beginning of the traditional chess season!

Chances of Hobnobs – Strong to Certain

This year we’re giving out no fewer than TWELVE prizes to the following individuals:

  • Paul McKeown
  • Andrew Macleod
  • Paul Kennelly
  • Simon Harding
  • Nadhmi Auchi
  • Robin Lee
  • Charlie Sturt
  • Tony Niccoli
  • Bajrush Kelmendi
  • Ben Rothwell
  • Chris Moore
  • Matteo Bezzini

The fun starts from 7.30pm, at Lytton Hall – see you there!

The Cork Chess Congress, and FIDE World Championship Visit

Hammerites! We’re pleased to share details of some upcoming events which may be of interest to you all – keep on reading…

2018 Cork Congress

Our good friends over in Cork have announced details of their 2018 Congress. It’s a fantastic annual tournament, split into grade-limited sections, with an amazing €3,000 in prize money! Got to be worth a trip over! Details as follows:

  • When: 5th – 7th October 2018
  • Where: Gresham Metropole Hotel, Cork City, Ireland (easily accessible from Cork Airport, Train and Bus stations!)
  • What: 6-round swiss event, with 3 sections: 1600+, 1200-1600, and U1200, €40 to enter
  • Who: corkcongress@gmail.com to enter
  • Web: www.corkchess.com/congress

The hotel is running a special B&B rate for attendees, and loads more information is available on their webpage – link above.

All the best!

FIDE World Chess Championship

Hammersmith Chess Club presentsa trip to the FIDE World Chess Championship in London!

Members will be attending Round 5 – the eagerly awaited contest between reigning World Champion, Magnus Carlsen, and his younger contender, Fabiano Caruana, on Thursday 15th November 2018 at The College in Holborn, Central London.

To secure a ticket, please visit https://www.ticketmaster.co.uk/FIDE-world-chess

Further details are available from Dipender Gill (dipender.gill@imperial.ac.uk), who is organizing the Hammer visit! Friends & partners welcome!

Puzzle of the Week #022

Our last puzzle proved a bit of a thronker, with only one real solution proffered by the mighty Hammer faithful.

It’s Adam “Pickle” Cranson who takes the plaudits – congratulations! – with the following line:

  1. Nc6! Qc7 2. Re7!! – Winning the Queen for Rook & Bishop, with an easily won position.

This was from a game in 1954, Bykova v Kogan, at a Moscow-Ukraine match. Taken from The Soviet School of Chess, by Kotov and Yudovich, which apparently does actually contain some decent chess, amongst all the Soviet propaganda! East-side!!!

To this week’s thinker – white to move and win, answers in the comments: