North v South

The Southern Counties Chess Union (SCCU – catchy!) celebrates 125 years of existence this year. It was the first of what was to become five regional chess unions in England, which later gave birth to today’s English Chess Federation.

To mark the historic milestone they’re hosting a huge chess shindig up at Swiss Cottage next month.

It’s going to involve upwards of 400 players taking part in a massive North v South game – a nod to the distribution of the historic counties of England around the river Thames. You can read more about the fascinating history here, but the essentials you need to know are as follows:

  • When: Saturday 16th September, from 1pm
  • Where: The Hall School, Swiss Cottage, NW3 4NU
  • What: All moves over 125 minutes, across as many boards as possible
  • ECF rated? – YES!

Hammersmith members have already started registering their interest – all you need do is choose a side, and drop an email to the relevant team captain. Rivalry aside, it’s rare to see so many competitive games in a single place – should be a belter!

Rumour has it the nearby Swiss Cottage Tavern will be rather busy afterwards too… Good luck!

https://sccu-chess.com/index.php/en/north-v-south-match

Stop Press! Graded Rapid-play Tourney!!

Brace yourselves for a frantic evening of chess! This coming Monday 14th August we’ll be hosting a pre-season Graded Rapid-play night.

Following hot on the heels of last season’s hugely successful Rapid-play evening, this is another opportunity for everyone in the club to obtain a quick-play grade.

Details as follows:

  • Where: The Albion pub (upstairs function room)
  • When: Monday 14th, two games starting at 7.45, and 8.45 – one as White, and one as Black, against an opponent of similar ability
  • Time Control: 30 mins per person, no increment

Anybody who is ECF registered for the 17/18 season is eligible to play, we’ll just need to know your ECF number – this includes any non-members who want to come along.

And, in a sneak preview of our plans for next season – we’re finessing details for our season-long Club Rapid-play tournament. We’ll be offering graded Rapid-play games on a monthly basis for anyone who wants to enter… watch this space!

Down & Out in Kensington!

01.08.2017 – Yes, the Hammer posse took to the mean streets of Kensington to bring chess to the good citizens of the Royal Borough.

The vehicle to deliver our brilliant game was a pub crawl. Not a curious choice considering the partiality of many Hammerites to the odd tipple!

The idea, originally, was to play a 10-minute blitz tourney playing two rounds in each pub – a noble idea. The pubs in question, and the order in which we would proceed were the Elephant and Castle, The Goat, The Builders Arms and the Devonshire Arms. However, I have to report a deviation from the plan when the posse missed out on the Builder’s Arms, choosing The Greyhound instead.

Unfortunately, due to various factors the concept was quickly abandoned and the job of casual chess accompanied by lots of beer, took over. Coupled with a somewhat leisurely approach to time-keeping, the evening proved a more social than competitive event.

Plus, the natural camaraderie aspect and good conversation added to the evening. In other words, the usual rubbish that chess players usually engage in!

So, this report has little to do with chess, but more to do with the quality of beer consumed.

As you know, I have a penchant for bestowing nicknames on the participants of any Hammer event, and there will be no exception here. The Magnificent Seven were:

  • Carsten – The Great Dane (in honour of Bent Larsen and his latest ECF grading)
  • Adam – Pickle
  • Matteo – The Suit
  • Jay – Jaz Z (obviously!!)
  • Dipender – Mr Dipenderble (Dr D for short!)
  • Ken – Kool
  • Me – Clueless

Plus a late night interloper, Jeremy aka “Brexit” – I must point out that did not turn us into the Hateful Eight!! My first and only Quentin Tarantino reference of this report!

We also picked up a friend of Dr D, and a couple of members of the public who were duly dispatched by the veterans in summarily manner.

I think the Great Dane was troubled, in chess terms, only by The Suit and maybe Jay Z.

Kool, Pickle and Dr D had a solid evening of beer consumption and a mixed evening at the board.

As for Clueless, he successfully pickled Pickle but crashed and burned against the Great D. Finally, he had a 50/50 result with Jay Z where the chess played was of the most dubious nature. I think beer at this stage was definitely affecting his play – and definitely not for the better. At the end, he won his first game against Brexit, and then lost the next three.

To be honest the night took on something of a posh version of Ulysses by James Joyce as, like the great literary work, we progressed regally from pub to pub. Indeed, we looked like a CAMRA investigation team rather than a highly-regarded and prestigious West London chess club!

The winner of the evening overall was the social craic, with the beer a close second and in a distant last place the quality of the chess.

In terms of competition I can only report the result of the best pub.

The winner was clear-cut – The Devonshire Arms. In the words of the Great Dane, they have “Summer Lightning” – enough said.

In clear second place, the Elephant & Castle (not the South London version), followed by The Greyhound and finally, The Goat.

It was an odyssey of an evening and maybe wisdom/nirvana in the form of The Devonshire Arms was found in the end.

So, a great night and thanks to the Magnificent Seven plus One – totally worthwhile.

Normal chess life resumes at The Albion on Monday, with the next of our Training & Theory evenings – see you there!

 

CORRECTION: Castling… at the Elephant?

Bit of a gremlin in the machine earlier… a clarification on the plan for tomorrow nights pub-based chess festivities:

We start off at the Elephant & Castle pub, in Kensington (Holland Street, W8 4LT), and continue from there!! We won’t be visiting Elephant & Castle in South London after all…

1. The Elephant and Castle – 7.15-8pm
2. The Goat – 8.15-9pm
3. The Builders Arms – 9.15-10pm
4. The Devonshire Arms – 10.15-11pm

Links to all the pubs above – they’re all within walking distance of each other in the Kensington area. Apologies to anyone who was really looking forward to going South of the River – maybe next time!!

The Elephant & Castle pub, Holland Street… easily confused with a place in South London!!!

 

C4, D4, or E4… that is the Question?

I thought it was about time to get Shakespeare on the Hammer website.

At club level chess, I am currently rated ECF 150 (roll on July) – you do wonder what is the best opening move.

Taking the White side first.

I am a confirmed e4 player as White – it feels more natural, I have more knowledge of the openings resulting from this move. I am in my comfort zone.

This season, more than ever before, I am feeling the irresistible pull of d4 or c4. Indeed, I am experimenting more and more on chess.com in bullet chess. The problem is translating that experience into the over-the-board, long game and match scenario.

Always a good read – the chessgames.com opening Explorer – e4 the clear favourite

One of the pearls of wisdom I can pass on to the more youthful members of the club from my 58 years in this mortal coil, is that the older you get, the more risk averse you become.

To put it another way. Imagine me as a 25-year old – I was one once – and I had been a competent skier. If the choice was between a black run or a red run, the former would win every time! Thirty-two years later the choice is now between red and blue – with the latter winning most times. In other words, your desire to be reckless diminishes as surely as the march of time.

So, will I make the change? Maybe, or maybe not! Next season is the crunch time.

Now the Black perspective.

When an opponent flashes out c4 or d4 I immediately assume they are a more sophisticated player. They have read a bit!

In my mind, they are prepared for a strategic and positional struggle. They know a thing or two!

The stats don’t lie – c5 by far the most common Black response to 1.e4

e4 feels more basic, more caveman than high-brow. The struggle will be more tactical and a positive result more likely. It feels like your opponent is shouting “charge!”. A fight to the death is taking place and you cannot avoid it.

c4 or d4 feels like let’s see where we go, as I exert the advantage of first move. However, they will seek to slowly strangle you, and do so without risk to themselves.

Bobby Fischer played e4 for practically his entire chess career, until embarking on his WCC match against Spassky.

I know there were two c4 games in the interzonal in that cycle, but his real switch came when the title was on the line.

Poor Spassky must have been totally bemused as it appeared he had no preparation to go on, and coupled with his laid-back character, no defence.

In a recent article for the website I referred to the use of psychology in chess. The result in a game of chess, like all other sport, is often dictated by mental strength. If you can, legally and fairly, get inside the head of your opponent and use that properly, you are well on your way to victory.

Fischer’s use of c4 made hours of analysis and preparation completely redundant. A massive psychological blow.

To sum up – and remember this is just my view! – all three moves are good, and maybe wisdom and experience comes in to the equation.

I have been a confirmed e4 man all my life but am starting to feel the irresistible pull of a Queen-sized offering. Am I being pragmatic, or just getting old? You decide!!

John White.

If you’d like to write an article for the website, please get in touch. All contributions welcomed! 

 

Reminder: Theory Night – Monday 17th July

Don’t forget, the next evening of training & learning takes place this coming Monday at the Albion, starting about 7.30pm.

Our top-rated player, Carsten Pedersen, will be running through a couple of games to give us his thoughts & insights. Come join us!

A Ginger (GM) Analysis

A couple of interesting media-related links to share with you this week, first up:

  • Simon “Ginger GM” Williams gives us his analysis of the Game of the Week from the last round of the Summer League

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2U7CFLa6K1I&feature=youtu.be

After every set of fixtures, the team captains from all the clubs involved have a chess-based conclave to decide which performance warrants the “Game of the Week” moniker.

The white smoke this time went up in favour of an enthralling battle between Mo Islam (East London Knights) and Malcolm Dancy (Battersea), featuring a hard-fought positional struggle, a number of winning chances and ever-changing initiative, plus some strategic mistakes for both players.

There’s also a shout-out for Hammer’s only victor of the round – with a Performance of the Week – young Nadhmi. Check it out!

Thanks to all involved for the video, and well done to the above mentioned players!

 

  • As if that’s not enough… hot on the heels of awarding us 3rd place in their Britain’s Best Chess Club Website list, the well-informed folks at Chess Journal have also featured us in the latest of their Club Profiles. You can read the full article here:

Club Profile #4: Hammersmith Chess Club

Enjoy!

Hammer in the 21st Century

Ladies & gents, an exciting new era in team-management beckons!

Our Summer League captains, Marios and Ken, are trialling a new way of managing teams & we want all Hammersmith players onboard.

The simple solution is a brilliant app called Teamer. It’s a standard download on your smartphone and will allow much simpler, more dynamic and intuitive arranging of teams in future. It’s definitely the way forward, and we want everyone at Hammer to be on board with it.

There are many Pro’s to recommend it to you all, but in summary:

  • Very user friendly
  • Match calendars readily visible
  • Accept/decline match invitation with a simple click
  • Performance and attendance stats recorded
  • Cool features – photo-sharing, team discussions
  • Makes a captain’s life much, much easier
  • Organises all our teams on a single, streamlined platform
  • An end to group emails

Ken and Marios have already set up all Hammer members on the app – you’ll have received your invitation email already, and it’s remarkably easy to sign up from there.

If they’ve missed you – don’t worry, please click the following link to set yourself up so that we don’t miss you!

http://tinyurl.com/y9aq4eck

Any questions, feel free to add a comment – thanks!

Ken & Marios.

Teamer in action

3rd July – Team Rapidplay

Our Hammersmith Summer of Chess continues this coming Monday 3rd July with a team Rapidplay tournament at The Albion.

The tournament will kick off just after 7.30pm, lasting until around 10pm, with each player assigned to one of four teams. Everybody will get to play three games against similarly-rated opponents on each of the other teams.

Time control will be 20 minutes for all moves, with no increment, and the games will not be graded.

It’s an open event – no need to pre-register, but latecomers should be aware that they may not be able to participate once the teams have been sorted and the first games have kicked off! Non-members and casual drop-ins are of course very welcome!

Anyone not wanting to take part in the tourney is welcome to join us for the evening and play some regular blitz/casual chess on the side.

Lastly, and most importantly… a mystery prize will be awarded to the winning team!! Come on down – should be a great evening of chess!

While we’re on the subject, we have finalised details of our Summer Training evenings – save the following dates:

  • 17th July – Carsten gives us his analysis of some games submitted by members
  • 7th August – Bajrush presents an evening of Openings and Tactics
  • 4th September – Matteo takes us through the Caro Kann Defence

Summer League: Gameweek 2

27.06.17 – Totally Hammered vs Streatwise, Summer Chess League

Looking back, the torrential rain downpour that arrived last night was definitely an ominous warning that something was going to happen… and so it was in the match where, aside from some brief chinks of sunshine from Pavel and Chris – who both drew – the good ship Totally Hammered lived up to its name, losing 4-1 to Streatwise.

We were out graded on every board, so considering the situation, our draws were a fantastic result. For those wishing to relive the experience, all the games are now up on the Summer League website.

We also welcomed two new players to the club for their debut games: Nadim Osseiran and Chris Dmitrov! I believe they are both coming along to next Monday’s club night, so please give them a warm welcome when you meet them.

Hot, hot, Summer League action!!

Anyway team, let’s not dwell on failure – we have a few weeks to prepare for the next match in July (18th July – save the date!). Six boards to cover, many beers to be drunk, and a chance for vengeance!!

Anyone wishing to play, please get in touch!

As a reminder, the remaining fixtures are:

  • 18th July
  • 22nd August
  • 5th September

Ken K, Totally Hammered Captain.

Full set of games below – Captain’s report from Just Hammered vs Battersea Volts still to come… It contains the only ray of sunshine from the evening – a victory for one of our newest – and certainly our youngest – member, Nadhmi. Pleased to say we’ll also be posting a full analysis of that game from one of our strongest players. Stay tuned!!

 

 

Totally Hammered vs Streatwise

1. Barjrush Kelmendi 183 vs Robin Haldane 191 0-1

2. Martin Smith 172 vs Pavel Nefyodov 164 1/2-1/2

3. Chris Dimitrov es133 vs Nello Attianese 169 0-1

4. Gabriel Barr 168 vs John Ryan 124 1-0

5. Chris Moore 112 vs Alan Romeril 137 1/2-1/2

6. Jose Dimiti 113 vs Nadim Osseiran es95 1-0

Volts vs Just Hammered

1. Chris Beckett 202 vs Carsten Pedersen 201 1/2-1/2
*not ready*

2. Marios Kouis es150 vs Motiejus Gudenas es169 0-1

3. Tim Valentine 126 vs Paul Kennelly 161 1-0

4. David Lambert 123 vs Rayan Balluz es100 0-1

5. Leon Watson 122 vs Kaan Corbaci es120 1-0

6. Naadhmi Auchi 105 vs Peter Yusoff es80 1-0

In Addition…

The British Bangla Chess Association are having a 10-minute blitz tourney this coming Sunday – the 2nd July starting at 3pm.

The tourney will take place at

Tower Hamlets Parents Centre, 1 Links Yard, 29 Spelman Street, London E1 5LX – it is just off Brick Lane

Entry fee is £7 for Non- BCCA players and it is run on a first come first served basis

So if you want to take part please phone either Mostaque on 07903 559 812 or Tariq on 07930 528 293

Monday Nights @ The Albion

After the excitement of the Summer League Launch in recent weeks, our Summer events program proper kicks off at the Albion tomorrow night.

We have the unflappable John White leading the session, taking us through an adjourned position from a game he played a couple of years ago. Although a pawn up, it was a very difficult position to defend.

John & Bajrush at the demo board

John will be taking us through the following themes:

  • Analysing your available moves in a difficult position
  • How multiple threats can be conjured up with minimal material
  • Psychological reactions, and managing the psychology of a changing game environment – from holding the advantage, to losing the advantage
  • Middlegame-to-endgame crossover

The session will start around 7.30-8pm, and as always it is FREE for members and non-members alike. Come join us!

And don’t forget what’s coming up in July – we’ve got more training events, a Team Rapidplay, a couple of coffee shop invasions, and a pub crawl!