I goofed! Bringing people 30 minutes late to this match – my apologies to all!
Not the ideal start by any means but never-the-less, we had a couple of bright spots last night.
Chris won in short order, as is almost routine for him. With the White pieces, he launched into a Queen’s gambit with a Slav Defence. In a crescendo of a finish, he had 3 major artillery units bearing down on the opponent’s Rook posted at f8, defended only by his King on g8. Checkmate arrived shortly thereafter. Sweet win.
I had a quiet King pawn opening but got careless, losing a Knight due to a Royal pin. The Knight loss became a Rook loss – the price to get out of the pin.
I fought back, no doubt spurred on by Chris’ win, and got a dangerous passed e-pawn on the 3rd rank, protected by a connected f4 pawn.
Eventually my opponent got into time problems and offered me a draw, which I finally accepted. After nullifying my passed-pawn for the extra Rook, material balance was restored. Still, he could have won this Rook and pawn ending, having 3 connected pawns to my 2 unconnected pawns… a lucky escape for the captain on board 3.
Brian on board 1 got a draw fairly early on, against a very evenly matched opponent. Kudos here.
John had a commanding centre position against the Sicilian, and was unlucky not to press home his attack.
A decent result after losing a collective 2 hours of chess at the start – well done all.
Another double-header of updates for you this evening – we are a busy lot!
16.01.17 – Thames Valley League – Kingston v Hammersmith: Good News at Last!
At 10.25pm on the 16th January 2017 hostilities were ceased and a temporary truce declared. Seven games decided and one sent off to the adjudication office. The score is nicely balanced at 3.5 points each.
The adjourned game in question is Adam’s. Confidence is high this side of the Thames, however it is not over till it is over. More on that later…
Hammer’s TV team were playing Kingston at their new – and very nice – venue, the Druid’s Head, in the centre of the Market Sq, Kingston-Upon-Thames.
The Hammer Heroes of the night were undoubtedly our boards 1 & 2, Carsten and Bajrush, facing opponents graded well above them, the boys came through in style.
Carsten calmly and logically refuting an exchange sacrifice and emerging in a dominant position. Avoiding a good many Knight forks his h-pawn (“Harry”) was the hero. As GM Simon Williams would say, “Harry just wants to be a Queen!”. In this game, his wish came true!
Our Wily Silver Fox (WSF) had an amazingly complicated game with controlled chaos on the board… as usual. At one stage he was a pawn down but with a dominant position and a Rook on the 7th. Time pressure played its part, and we all know there is only one winner when time is short. Our WSF duly delivered.
Two great victories!!
The draws were secured by Brian, Jeremy and Paul. These were not soft draws, but at no time were the Hammer boys in trouble.
The losses were suffered by Pavel and your correspondent.
This was Pavel’s first taste of defeat for Hammer, and from what I saw, in a very complicated and double-edged encounter. He will be back… watch this space.
My own game was one of two halves. To be honest, one long half and one so short it does not merit the designation “half”. My opponent and I just made the time control (30 moves in an hour), and this was one part of the game. In the first half I had to tread a fine line and avoid numerous tactics. I managed to achieve equality and was starting to assume the initiative.
Then I blundered – leading to immediate loss. The second game I have done this in a row.
No player minds losing when you have been outplayed, but to blunder and lose instantly is not something you can easily entertain. Hopefully I have learnt from these painful losses.
So the match depends on the result of Adam’s game. Playing his preferred London system, and utilising smart tactics, he has a position where he’s a pawn up with a passed Harry pawn waiting to pounce.
Worst result Hammer can achieve is a draw. The most likely result a win. A great performance as were again out graded across all boards.
Hammer TV are on the scoreboard.
Rejoice one and all.
17.01.17 – London League 3 – DHSS v Hammersmith: Up & Running – a Great Start to 2017!
The news you have all been waiting for in 2017. Not the UK Brexit strategy (still waiting!), nor the Trump Presidency, and not even the winner of The Voice.
Hammer 1 won for the first time in Division 3 of the London League!
Read that last sentence again – this time slowly and carefully. Breathe it in, digest it, enjoy it… and most of all celebrate it!
Last night Hammer beat DHSS 6.5-3.5 despite defaulting our first game of the season.
Yes, Hammer 1 have broken their duck and are now truly engaged in the fight for Division 3 survival.
We did not need a Sam Allardyce to guide us – all we needed was to trust in our ability and hope for a slice of luck that has been absent for us all season. Last night we got it right and were on the right side of the result for the first time this season.
It may be said that your correspondent is prone to hyperbole from time to time, however on this occasion I believe it is fully justified. The Hammer Heroes rose to the challenge and delivered a great morale-boosting victory.
To the nuts & bolts of the clash…
The evening did not start well – Orial got delayed at work and we had to default on board 9. This, coupled with Matteo and Bajrush arriving well after the clocks started – your captain’s nerves were frayed! Indeed, I was like a jack-in-the-box; constantly out of my chair and unable to relax and concentrate on my game.
Things went wrong at first with Matteo playing his worst game of the season, quickly going a Rook down through an oversight. He embarked on a desperado attack which was efficiently repelled by DHSS captain David Gilbert. All of a sudden Hammer were 2-0 down and staring relegation in the face.
Things started to turn when John Wooley gained a draw with the Black pieces. A foothold in the match had been achieved – something to build on.
Cometh the hour, cometh the men… and those men were the four stalwarts of Hammer Chess – Bajrush, Paul, Jeremy and Sheikh. They may have won many games for Hammer over their years of service, but never have four victories been more vital, or more welcome. They shed the weariness of years and played like demons.
Paul was the first to finish – under sever pressure he played beautifully to negotiate his way through all the difficulties to secure Hammer’s first win of the night.
Bajrush stared with a 20 minute deficit. By the end of the game his opponent had 4 seconds left, while our WSF (Wiley Silver Fox!) had over 30 minutes. A study-like endgame resulted in victory. Hammer had their second win.
The score was now 2.5-2.5.
Next up was Sheikh. IN a game where he always had control, he emerged into a single Bishop endgame two pawns up. Avoiding any stalemate traps, he forced the way through calm, logical play. The third Hammer win of the night.
Jeremy now decided to join the fun, playing a brilliant game. He always held the initiative and forced the win through a tactical sequence. These situations always happen once positional dominance has been achieved. The ending was almost Carlsen-esque in its beauty. One for the website, definitely.
The score was now 4.5-2.5 in Hammer’s favour.
Josue playing his first game for Hammer, had a very symmetrical game that always seemed destined to end a draw. This was duly achieved – a solid start to his London League career.
Your correspondent’s game was also drawn. To be honest, I did not cope well with the absence of Orial and the late arrivals of Bajrush and Matteo. My brain was elsewhere and I decided that a pragmatic approach of not trying to force the win, was the best way of dealing with the situation. That, coupled with the importance of the outcome of the match definitely resulted in my first case of Captain’s nerves. Definitely not a pleasant experience.
The score was now 5.5-3.5. The win was secured.
The last game to finish was Adam’s. The sight of the whole Hammer team standing or sitting to watch the conclusion of the game was an added pressure for Adam. You could almost feel the collective will power urging Adam on to victory.
Turning down a draw and negotiating all before him, he finished in great style and secured a deserved victory.
A great night and the beers in the pub tasted very sweet!
I have never felt more proud of the boys and hopefully this will be the springboard for the rest of the season.
A double-header of match reports for you this evening, chess fans! Read on…
12.01.17 – London League 5: Battersea v Hammersmith
In round 5 of Division 5, Battersea were at home to Hammersmith, where a prognostication of a close match couldn’t have been more wrong. It was a depressing night that started off with snow showers and blistery cold wind, which had us shivering outside in the dark in huddled masses, whilst the door key man was yet to show!
Illness was to reduce Battersea to an absent Captain, and nearly took out the Hammersmith captain too, who had himself a long weekend bout with a sore throat and other flu-like symptoms.
The first to finish was Chris Moore on board 4. Chris with the White pieces opened with the Scotch Game, a very double-edged opening that can reward the attacking chess style. It was soon apparent that White was positionally secure with good attacking possibilities. Chris pressed home his attack and his opponent was lost. Congratulations to Chris on a cracking win!
Next up was Robin Lee on board 3 who had the Black pieces. After a quiet opening a small inaccuracy by White afforded a tiny crack in his fortress. Black launched his Bishop on a hapless h3 pawn, but the Bishop couldn’t be retaken due to a fork of King and Queen by Blacks Knight on e4. This opened up the King to attack and reoffered the same Bishop for another pawn sacrifice (technically it had nowhere to fall back to), Black obtained a dangerous edge.
The game reduced to an endgame with Black having two extra pawns & active pieces on both sides, and White having loose, isolated pawns. After a Knight fork of the White King and Bishop, White gave up.
David Lambert with the White pieces on board 2 had a quiet game that eventually reduced down to an endgame position of two pawn islands of 3 and 3 for David, against 3 and 2 for Black, both with supporting Kings in the middle. The Kingside pawns were mirror images of each other.
It was a textbook finish, with David pushing the majority 3 pawns on the Queenside and creating a passed pawn on the a-file. This was then sacrificed at the opportune moment and David’s King walked over to munch 2 pawns at leisure. Black had no choice but to resign.
A classic win by David a la Steinitz School of chess – beautiful structure with incremental advantages being gained slowly. I remember watching rugby and seeing the ball being passed along with an overlap on the attacking wing – beautiful to watch as the extra man scores! I’ll have to ask David if he played rugby. Yes, chess mirrors rugby!!
On board 1 Brian had a very dangerous attack going on an unshielded King in the corner with open files and ranks, it looked like a clear win for Brian, with his opponent’s Queen and King seemingly skewered by a Rook. Analysis will have the last word, but a draw was agreed, the match being already won.
Result: Battersea 0.5 – 3.5 Hammersmith
Happy New Year Indeed!!
12.01.17 – Middlesex League: Harrow 2 v Hammersmith
Fresh off the back of their decisive victory against the first team, Hammersmith were back in West London for the second week running to play Harrow 2.
Our team had changed considerably – with Carsten, Bajrush, Paul and Pavel all rested, Jeremy was promoted to Board 1 and Ken Kwabiah made his debut on Board 7.
Although we weren’t expecting our opponents to put up too much resistance, it was somewhat disappointing that they weren’t able to field a team anywhere near as strong as the team they sent to us in October. With the bottom three boards ungraded and only one board over ECF100, it was plain sailing for the most part.
Jeremy trapped his opponent’s Queen in the opening, forcing an early resignation. Orial obtained a dominant position early on, and squeezed his opponent positionally into concession.
Congratulations to new members David, Ken and Matt on boards 6, 7 and 8, all of whom made easy work of their young challengers.
Adam made a pig’s ear of his winning Kingside attack, and wouldn’t have won if it wasn’t for a lucky piece-winning tactic as his opponent broke through on the Queenside.
John Wooley had a slow start, getting nothing out of the opening, but after his rival blundered a pawn he smoothly simplified to a won endgame.
The only disappointing result of the night was John Ryan’s loss on Board 5. John was pressing for a win a pawn up, when out of nowhere his opponent’s Knight landed on e4. On this square it became a monster, threatening checks, forks and material gains in all directions. John had no choice but to give up his own Knight for a pawn, promptly succumbing under the multiple threats from Sir Lancelot.
Result: Harrow 1 – 7 Hammersmith
We now have a long wait until our next game against Harrow 1 on 27th February at home, where a win would all but seal a promotion spot.
Ken became the 23rd different player to play for the team so far this season, and joins a group of 12 players on 100%!
The most daring raid since Kramnik stormed Castle Kasparov at the Riverside Studios, took place on Monday in West London. A heroic bunch of Hammer’s finest took on the “street” chess players in Cafe Néro just off Kensington High Street.
The Hammer crew consisted of Paul “dead-eyed” Kennelly, Tony “the surgeon” Niccoli, Phil “no way” Ehr, Orial “the wiz” O’Caithall, Dave “eye, eye” Pearson, Nick “flick” Rutherford, and John “no idea” White. Reinforcements came in the shape of Pavel and hopefully new member Josue.
Hard to imagine a more intimidating sight than the Hammer Posse walking into contested turf. Our aim: to own the manor.
The chess was pretty bloodthirsty and direct. This was great fun and new friendships were formed. This is the joy of chess – it is a common language.
Part one of the evening complete, four of us in the shape of “no way”, “no idea”, “the wiz” and Josue headed over to the Albion for a more serious kind of refreshment.
We ran into Les, a past member of Fulham Chess Club and an excellent chap all round. Some good beer and ropey chess were on the menu but all was well in the world.
The raid went well and hopefully things will happen as a result.
The final act of the evening was GM Keith Arkell also enjoying a pint in the Albion coming over for a chat. A perfect end to a West London Chess odyssey!
Ladies & Gents – we’ve got some exciting news of a few fantastic London-based chess events to share.
First up, our friends at Battersea Chess Club have given us the opportunity to be amongst the first to register for a pair of events they will be holding in December.
On Tuesday 6th December, they’ve a double-header – firstly, IM John Bartholomew will be playing a Simul against all-comers from 5.30 to 7.30pm. Full details can be found here, but in short – entry is £10 per player, which includes two free drinks from the bar at their venue, and free entry to their open Blitz tournament which starts immediately afterwards.
The Blitz tourney will be run Swiss-style, with the first 60 entrants absolutely free, although if you’ve already paid up for the Simul your entry is guaranteed to be free no matter how many people play. It starts at 7.30pm sharp, with the winner taking all donations and a very fine trophy too! You don’t even need to be a club member – Can’t say fairer than that!
If that’s not enough, on Tuesday 20th December Battersea will be hosting former British Champion – the “Prince Charming” of Chess – GM David Howell for a Simultaneous exhibition.
With a FIDE Rating of 2655, David is one of England’s strongest players. The Simul starts at 7.30pm, with entry £20 for non-members. Further details here.
Full details can be found on their Facebook page here, but broadly speaking it’s a 7-round Rapid play Swiss tourney with three different groupings depending on ability. Substantial cash prizes are on offer for placing, from £500 down to £40.
Entry is £15 for adults, £5 for juniors, and the fee includes free refreshments throughout the day, along with a Biryani (chicken or veggie!) for lunch. Almost worth it for the food alone!
We have now confirmed all our upcoming fixtures in the Middlesex League – full details available on our calendar, and on the Middlesex website.
Please take a moment to check the fixtures in advance – with Hammersmith entering 7 teams across 6 leagues this season, the fixture list is busier than it has been in a long time! Thames Valley fixtures should be confirmed next week.
In addition, we are pleased to confirm our return to our home venue Lytton Hall on Monday 26 September, after a very successful (and hot!) Summer at the Albion.
It will be a busy evening – starting with a short presentation ceremony for our players of the season, closely followed by a blitz tournament for all-comers. Promises to be a great opener to the season & we’d love to see as many faces down there as possible!
It’s not often a film about chess comes along – though the recent biog of Bobby Fischer stands out – but here are some details about an upcoming chess-themed cinematic event…
The film “Life of a King” is being screened on Tuesday 30th August at Walthamstow Empire cinema. The film stars Cuba Gooding Jnr, and is an inspirational tale based on the true story of an ex-con who, determined to help at-risk youths avoid the mistakes he made, forms a chess club to offer them an alternative to street gangs. Tickets are £10.50 and the screening starts at 7pm – full details can be found here.
As part of the screening, Hackney’s first team captain FM Bob Eames is giving a free simultaneous on the afternoon of Saturday 27th August. Keep your eyes posted on Hackney’s website for details.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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 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!!