Chess made a triumphant return to the rarefied surroundings of Lytton Hall last night, as we began to finalise our preparations for the rapidly-approaching new season of chess!
It was a welcome return to our spiritual home after a successful stint in the Albion this Summer, and we saw a huge turnout of around 25 people over the course of the evening.
There were several new faces, plenty of the friendly faces we’re all used to, and the welcome return of two old(ish) faces in the form of Chris Skulte and John Goodacre. Two loyal former-members coming back to the warm embrace of Mother Hammer.
What unfolded was a fantastic evening – many games were played, much tea was drunk, and dozens of biscuits were quietly devoured. It was also a great opportunity to get our house in order ahead of what is going to be a blistering Season of chess for the club.
With the Thames Valley League fixtures still to be decided we open our account in October with at least 16 matches that month, involving around 100 boards to be filled. Our captains will be busy this year!
With that in mind, please ensure that if you want to play for us this year, you meet our strict but simple set of eligibility criteria:
You’ll need to have both of these sorted before you play your first game – there’ll be no exceptions!
And finally… we’re still signing members up to our new, Season-long Rapidplay tournament. It’s a fantastic initiative, with over 20 players already committed to take part. If you want a piece of the action, please remember to contact Adam or Dave by the end of the month:
Monday was the Club’s final night in The Albion, and we rounded off proceedings with a handicap blitz tournament.
As the last throws of Summer fizzled out this week, nine brave players showed up to battle it out for glory, graded from 210 down to 83 – a great spread!
The rounds unfolded as follows:
When the dust had settled, the scoreboard was tight at the top:
The top two players went into an Armageddon playoff. Wyatt had the black pieces and four minutes to Pouya’s five, but only needed a draw to win the playoff.
Pouya blasted through Wyatt’s defences in emphatic fashion, sealing the win with time to spare.
Next week we’ll be heading back to Lytton Hall. There are no matches and no training, but a chance for everyone to meet some new faces and play some chess while not under the influence of beer!
With the new season barreling towards us, our opening fixtures are less than 3 weeks away. If you want to play for the club it’s essential you meet the playing criteria of ECF Membership, and Club Membership. Captains will be unable to pick you for a team if you haven’t sorted both.
There’s still time to sign up for our new Season-long Rapidplay tournament! We’ve already had over a dozen players sign up for what will be our most prestigious Club Competition this season. Entry is free – it’s included as part of your Club Membership.
Full details can be found here. Please email Adam or Dave to confirm your spot:
To be read in a Morgan Freeman voice, as in the Shawshank Redemption
As the sun sets on the first season of the Summer League (SL) I think a John Arlott-esque moment is called for and hence I shall share my thoughts with you, my fellow Hammerites, on this inaugural season.
The whole concept grew out of the challenge match between us and Battersea held on two nights in the Summer of 2016. The original El Chessico and the commencement of a great, but friendly rivalry between our clubs (note: we won the match!).
The biggest bonus of the event was meeting Leon and Aldo, of Battersea Chess Club. Two ultra-chess enthusiasts with energy and vision you cannot buy.
The former drove the SL website, as well as pioneering the idea of different names for the teams. He also had the stunning idea of approaching the British Bangla Chess Association (BBCA) and getting them to enter a team.
Aldo was the creative genius behind the Summer League. The introduction of such things as listing all the games online, the GM Simon Williams analysis, the branding, the visual displays, the sets & clocks, the banner and the trophy were all down to him. On top of it all, he organised the superb launch night – the best chess event I have ever participated in!
The league owes these two a huge debt and a huge vote of thanks and appreciation.
The other conspirators in this cabal were Richard Tillet from Streatham & Brixton, and Mo Islam from BBCA. Richard was the wise head on all the technical and law matters. He is the sort of guy you want on any Committee. Mo was the man who brought the BBCA to the party – he is a great guy, good chess player (we drew in our match up) and a real gentleman. Furthermore, the captain of the winning team.
From a Hammer point of view the final result saw us Totally and Just Hammered. We certainly lived up to our names. However, I never felt that in this first season from our perspective that was the overriding factor.
This was about giving as many members exposure to competitive and rated chess games over the long Summer. Plus, a lot of new members got a chance to play their first competitive match. Well over thirty members – including many new ones – took part, and we were able to blood two new captains.
In fact, I must pay special thanks to both Marios and Ken in stepping up to the plate and giving Adam and I the luxury of just playing chess. They did a first class job – especially with such innovations as Teamer in selection and a willingness to analyse games with members.
Two of our members featured in Simon William’s online analysis – Tony Niccoli, and Adam Cranston. Both games showed the fighting chess that Hammer is renowned for.
So, it ends till next Summer but we as a club have a solid base to build on as we start the “Old Chess Season”. There is so much in the pipeline for our club – new equipment, a new internal tourney, new members, a probable visit to Cork and the return visit from our friends in Amsterdam.
I will share one last anecdote, and this one really encapsulates the spirit of the Summer League and our great game.
On the opening night of fixtures, the two gentlemen who founded the BBCA asked if they could address the gathered company before the games commenced.
These two guys were both teachers, one primary one secondary, and had founded the BBCA to give the young people of Brick Lane and Tower Hamlets a creative and educational outlet. Not only that, but they wanted to use chess as a tool against radicalization and to promote harmony in that part of London.
I have seen chess do many things, but if our wonderful, mad and beautiful game can achieve that, then there really will be some hope for our world and our city.
Final Round Games & Results
The final gameweek of the Summer League saw both Hammer teams in a fight for pride (and points!).
With the title out of reach after some earlier, bruising rounds of chess, our Just and Totally teams were looking to end on a high.
Full results and all the moves are available here:
One final treat from last week – Hammersmith’s Tony Niccoli featured in the “game of the week“, prompting a thoroughly fascinating and insightful 30 minute analysis by Simon “Ginger GM” Williams on his YouTube channel. Well worth a viewing!
After a successful trial earlier in the year, Hammersmith Chess Club will be running a Rapidplay Tournamentover the course of the 2017-18 season. Bear with us – you’re in for a lengthy post!
The tournament will be run over 8 matches, with pairings decided via a Swiss system. The controllers will be Adam Cranston (Middlesex Captain) and Dave Lambert (London 4 Captain). All matches will be graded, so we should be able to work towards almost everyone receiving a Rapidplay grade by the end of the season.
Tournaments have typically failed in the past due to difficulties getting players together on a given night. No more.
With the exception of the kickoff and closing matches – which we’ll host Face to Face at the club – there will be one round per month, and it’ll be up to each of you to track down your opponent, and arrange a time/date of your choosing to play . It could be Lytton Hall, it could be at one of your houses, or it could be down the pub. It really doesn’t matter as long as you’re both happy with the conditions & the game gets played within the month.
You play your match. You let Adam and Dave know the result, and they do the rest. They’ll tabulate the standings, and publish the next set of pairings at the end of each month. Then you’ll have the next month to arrange Game 2, and so it goes…
Fee: £0 – included within HCC membership fee
Matches: 8, over course of season, one per month Oct 2017 to May 2018 inclusive
Pairings: Swiss system
Graded: Yes, all games to be submitted for July 2018 grading list
Scoring: 1 point for a win, 0.5 points for a draw, 0 points for a loss
Tie-breaks: Decided by Buchholz method (sum of opponent’s raw tournament score)
Time Control: 45 minutes for all moves; no increment
Match Conditions: Kick-off & Closing matches (matches 1 & 8) at Lytton Hall: “Tournament” conditions (no talking, no mobiles etc.)
Matches 2-7: Entirely up to you, and what you agree with your opponent. If you’re both happy with the conditions, that works for us. We will however schedule designated “Rapidplay” nights at the club throughout the season for those who fancy playing at Lytton Hall, perhaps followed by Training.
September: Registration – if you wish to play, contact Adam or Dave by 30th September
Oct 23rd: Game 1 (Face to face at Lytton Hall)
Nov-April: Games 2 to 7
May: Game 8 (Face to face at Lytton Hall) & competition finale
You’re a member of Hammersmith Chess Club
You’re registered with the ECF for the 2017-18 season (Bronze will do)
You’re happy to commit to playing the full 8 matches throughout the season
Four prizes will be awarded for the best score in each of the below categories. No one will be eligible to win more than one award:
Open (no grade limit)
Kings <160 ECF
Bishops <130 ECF
Knights <100 ECF
Grades will be based on July 2017 grading list.
If you have a Rapidplay grade, we’ll use that
If you only have a Slowplay grade, we’ll go with that
If you have neither, we’ll estimate your grade
All players will be permitted to take a maximum of 2 byes over the course of the tournament, scoring 0.5 points in each case.
Requests for byes must be submitted in advance of the end of the month, and in advance of the round in question’s pairings having been communicated.
Byes cannot be taken for the final round.
May be permitted at the discretion of the tournament controllers
Late entrants will start with 0 points as standard
Failure to complete a match within the designated month:
Both players will be awarded 0 points
Unless a player can demonstrate they have made reasonable and repeated (>=3) attempts to find a suitable time/date for the match, in which case they may be awarded the win by default
Adam and Dave to make the final decision on any disputes
The tournament controllers reserve the right to make minor tweaks to the tournament as the season progresses due to unforeseen circumstances. In such a scenario, a written update will be provided to all the players.
If you have any questions please drop Adam or Dave an email:
Dust off the diaries folks, & get your midweek excuses ready… we now have confirmed fixtures for most of our teams for the upcoming season.
Full details are on our Calendar page, and further information is available on the London League website (Middlesex and Thames Valley League fixtures are mostly TBC at present).
It’s going to be an absolute cracker this year – with one extra team in the Middlesex League, we’ll be entering 8 teams across 6 Leagues! There will quite literally be dozens of opportunities for all our members to get involved with competitive, Face-to-Face games this year.
That’s even before we talk about our soon-to-be-launched season-long, graded Rapidplay tournament (more details coming up later this week – stay tuned!).
Detailed information below:
Our London League odyssey officially kicks off on Wednesday 4th October, as our two Division 6 teams face off in the season-opener.
October is looking like an awesomely-busy month already, even before we add the Thames Valley fixtures – fully THIRTEEN games of chess! It’s going to set the pace for the rest of the season!!
Important Logistics you need to be aware of:
London League games have now MOVED – the Golden Lane venue is alas no more. The League has moved to a new venue near Holborn – The Citadines Hotel on High Holborn (94-99 High Holborn, WC1V 6LF) – it’s a 2 minute stroll from Holborn tube station.
The new facility is a bit more ‘plush’ than Golden Lane, and will offer free tea & coffee (!), as well as cheaper beer prices for those post-match analyses.
All games at the Citadines Hotel will start at 7pm, and will normally be held on a Wednesday evening
Note that, as usual, any clubs with a home venue in Underground Zone 1 will continue to host their home matches at their venue. In addition to this, our friends at Battersea will also be hosting their home games at their Battersea Labour Club venue this season (81-83 Falcon Road, SW11 2PF – 5 minute walk from Clapham Junction Station)
Please familiarise yourself with the fixtures you’re likely to be playing in, taking particular note of the start times (they vary considerably by venue!), and addresses. Full details are on our Calendar, and the London League website.
If you’re in any doubt, please just drop a line to the team Captain
Some of our captains will be arranging games using the Teamster smartphone app. This is a great piece of tech which we pioneered for our Summer League fixtures. If you haven’t already done so, I urge you to download it now. It truly makes yours and the captains’ lives much, much easier!
Playing Requirements – Important!
We will be operating a strict, but simple set of playing requirements this season as follows:
All players must be ECF registeredAND a fully paid-up member of the club BEFORE they will be picked for any League games.
ECF Registration – is very simple, and very cheap. From the ECF website: www.englishchess.org.uk – select “Join the ECF” from the right-hand menu, and simply follow the instructions. You only need to be a Bronze member, which is around £15 for the year, though of course you are welcome to choose Silver or Gold membership if you wish.
Hammersmith Chess Club Membership – is also very simple, and extremely good value. The full range of Membership options can be viewed here. If you haven’t already done so, please contact your team captain, or a member of the Committee and we can provide you with full details of how to pay your subs.
We will be imposing a strict deadline of September 25th for subs & ECF memberships to be paid. If you aren’t fully signed up by this point, team Captains will not pick you for games. There will be no exceptions.
Please help us out by ensuring you get signed up as soon as possible.
It’s been a while – once again – but we’re back for another installment.
Our previous puzzle back in June was an interesting one. With Black to move, there doesn’t appear to be anything decisive…. Dig a little deeper though, and you can see a neat combination that allows Black to pickup the White Knight hanging on d5.
Paul takes the plaudits for this one, with Black to move 1… Nxf3,2.exf3 Bg2, [threatening to take the White Rook] 3.Rg1 Bxf3+ [checking White, and allowing the Bishop to take the Knight for free on the next move]. Tidy.
Up next is this beauty – White’s move, with spaghetti all over the board. Solutions in the comments as usual please:
It’s well worth a look at some of these tussles – great opportunity to click through & learn, particularly from some of the stronger games.
As if that’s not enough, Hammersmith’s very own Adam Cranston features in the Game of the Week, an accolade meaning that the Ginger GM – Simon Williams – gives his full, 30-minute analysis of the game. That full analysis is available here on YouTube – well worth a look:
Doubly interesting too, as Adam is a practitioner of the London System, something the Ginger GM is a huge proponent of – he’s released a number of DVD’s and lots of training material on the system. Enjoy!
Last week, the club descended on The Albion for a night of rapid play. The competition was hugely varied – members, non-members, graded, un-graded, and from serious club players to beginners, all showed up to play.
Everyone was to play two games to be submitted to the July 2018 grading list. The lineup looked like this:
Round 1 threw up a few surprises. Potential new member, Nad, scored a fine win over John. While a blunder from Pouya allowed Mike Mac to capitalise.
The last game to finish saw Richard take out arch-nemesis Dave in a game that went right to the wire:
With tiredness setting in, there were a couple of dropouts for round 2. The highlight of the round saw Desislava taking Thomas right to the wire, missing a tricky win at the end and ultimately losing:
When the dust settled, Richard was the winner on the night, with 2 wins from 2. An honourable mention to Desislava, who played two good games against players graded over 200!
An enjoyable evening surely to be repeated in future!
Last night, Carsten hosted his second much-anticipated training session of the Summer. He played through three games of Chris Moore’s on the demonstration board, explaining common themes and describing Chris’s progression over the past two years.
It was a very well-attended and enlightening session. We look forward to many more in the future!
Next week the club is “officially” closed for the Bank Holiday. However, all the equipment will be at The Albion and no doubt there’ll be several members using it – we’d love to see you there.
This will be followed by our final two weeks at The Albion, starting with a session on September4th from Matteo “Suit” Bezzini, going through the intricacies of the Caro-Kann defence:
The Summer season culminates on September11th with our Summer handicap blitz tournament, with prizes to be won! Save the date!!